She is only 21 years old, but she is already a jack of all trades of physics and communication. 4th year undergraduate physics student Meriame Berboucha from London calls herself an ‘Influencer’ as she continuously shares information about ‘the cool physics I am doing’. More than 600 people follow her on Twitter, about 200 see Instagram snapshots showing her daily lab routine. She runs a Facebook page for her outreach endeavours and, moreover, owns the ‘All Things Science’ blog. She is the author of various science articles even some featuring fusion. Award-winning Meriame is on a mission: To become a role model for girls in physics.

Fusion in Europe3

Why do you want to increase enthusiasm for studying physics?

I’ve caught the physics bug and I’d love to spread it to others so that they can enjoy it as much as I do. Physics makes me think about the world in a new light and see the beauty of it. It allows me to answer the very big questions like, ‘What are we made of?’, ‘Where do we come from?’ ‘How was the Earth made?’ I could go on and on… and that’s why I love physics!

What drives you to be a role model, especially for girls?

Whilst I was studying physics at A level I was the only girl in my class. Lots of my friends thought I was weird for taking physics and would ask ‘What’s it useful for? Why are you taking it?’ Anyway, I still loved physics. I finally became the first female in my school to go on to study physics in higher education. I set up a science club to get younger students interested. So all in all, those negative comments urged me to change the stereotype, to show others that not only is physics awesome, but girls can do it too!?

here do you see your future in physics?

I am about to start my masters project in which I intend to study shock waves in plasmas on a small experimental scale. These experiments can be used to model the shocks that occur in space, for instance, those formed by a supernova remnant. This will be carried out on the MAGPIE (Mega Ampere Generator for Plasma Implosion Experiments), the largest university-based pulsed-power generator. It is capable of delivering a 1.4 million Amp current pulse in 250 nanoseconds! That’s a Tera-Watt of power, the same power generated by a trillion energy saving light bulbs! Following that, I’d love to carry out a PhD at Imperial College London with the Plasma Physics group. There, I hope to study laser-plasma interactions which is very useful for inertial confinement fusion.

Did you already have any exchange with the EUROfusion Research Units?

I have only ever heard of JET and ITER at my university, through lectures and seminars but have never visited. I would love to visit one day and see these impressive machines and learn more about the research work being carried out there!

Keeping up with Meriame:

Twitter: @MBerboucha
Facebook: PopomaticImperial