Jocelyn Read, Ph.D., grew up reading science fiction novels and aspired to be a science fiction novelist. But as she read her favorite authors, Read observed that the scientific concepts often brought up were so sophisticated that in order to fulfill her dream as a writer, she needed to immerse herself in the science of the topics.
That led Read to astrophysics and a general curiosity of the scientific world beyond the sphere of the Earth.
“As I went to do a degree in university, I got absorbed in understanding the scientific questions,” said Read. “That’s what brought me to working in physics today.”
Read said that she and her team hope to give their students the tools they need to play a role in detecting gravitational-waves, a discovery that they believe they are on the brink of.
“One of our big goals is to give the students an opportunity to play a role in current, active research projects,” Read said. “The students will be able to engage and contribute to what the scientific community, in particular, the gravitational-wave community is currently trying to do to understand the universe.”
In a previous conversation, Read explained that a facet of history that is usually associated with developing civilizations and their impact on humanity are their contributions to science. She said there is a certain parallel between the advancement of culture and science.
Read said their impact, with Cal State Fullerton’s Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy Center, will be the base from which understanding the universe will grow from by working as a team, since they are “on the brink of a discovery.”
“In our center here, we’re sort of poised on the threshold of a new type of astronomy,” Read said. “This is what we often call a new window on the universe. So when we are able to directly able to detect gravitational waves, we have a new way of learning about the universe that we haven’t been able to use before.”
In a personal statement, Read said one of her passions is studying neutron stars, or collapsed remnants of very big stars that are the most compact astrophysical objects outside of black holes.
“Inside a neutron star, matter is compressed into strange new forms, pushing the limits of our understanding of condensed matter and particle interactions,” she said in her statement.
Read said she enjoys being a resource for students who are wrestling with the abstract concepts of the universe to come to for direction.
She said one of her favorite moments so far in the few months she has been at CSUF was when a student came to her with some feedback and said she looks at the sky in a different way.
“I got all these great ideas for research,” Read said, as the Daily Titan previously reported. “I feel like I have some catching up to do with being actually settling in at Fullerton. But right now, I’m happy—I’m very happy to do this work. It’s actually really nice to feel this support from a university.”
Moreover, Read expressed that she aims to bring the community of Fullerton and north Orange County to the center to learn about their exciting discoveries.
She said she wants to engage the community with the “beauty of ideas” that is expected to result from their research.
Ultimately, however, Read said she wants to see students experience the joy that comes with discovering and understanding new concepts.
“We hope to be engaging in this exciting time of discovery,” she said.