About Me

Me in a nutshell
Me in front of a picture of the Bullet Cluster and wearing a shirt that says "Smash Particles and Patriarchy"My name is Deanna C. Hooper and I'm a postdoctoral researcher at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, in Belgium. I'm a theoretical physicist; specifically I'm a cosmologist, which means I study the universe. Not to be confused with a cosmetologist, who studies cosmetics (you really don't want my advice on make-up!). I'm an intersectional feminist, I'm pan, and I use she/they pronouns.

Science is amazing: it offers credible, testable, evidence-backed answers to our questions. I love being a scientist, and I love talking about the universe.

If you are looking for my professional website, head over to dchooper.com. Below you can find a more personal description of my life.

The Past
I was born in England in 1991, but moved to Catalonia (Spain) at a very young age. In my early education I chose as many science and maths courses as possible.

I went to Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona to get a B.Sc. in Physics, with a mention in Fundamental Physics. While there, I spent my free time as Vice-President of the University Astronomy club.

I also had a part-time job teaching young kids. I thought trying to understand the universe was challenging, but trying to teach kids was even harder. Parents and teachers everywhere have my respect!

Mediterranean Beach with clear blue water, blue skies and some trees in the background
Sometimes I miss Catalonia
In 2013 I moved to Vienna, Austria, for my final year of undergrad studies at UniVie. Vienna is a crazy but amazing place.

In September 2014 I moved to Aachen, an extremely rainy city in the west of Germany, to do a two-year Master's Degree in Astroparticle Physics and Cosmology at RWTH Aachen.

During my Master's I studied inflation; a theoretical period of rapid growth that happened less than one second after the Big Bang. After lots of hard work, long hours in the office, and ridiculous amount of coffee, I obtained my Master of Science Degree, and was accepted into a Ph.D. programme, also in Aachen.

During my three-year Ph.D. programme I shifted my focus to one of the biggest mysteries of the universe: dark matter. I studied new cosmological probes of dark matter, which means I used the very big universe to try to understand the very tiny dark matter particles that we can't see, but we're pretty sure are there. In September 2019 I completed my Ph.D. and became Dr. Hooper. As a first-gen, this was an incredible moment for my family and me.

The Present
I'm now in the second year of my first postdoctoral position in Brussels. I'm still researching dark matter, trying to find connections between the properties of this weird species and what we see in the universe around us. That sounds fancy, but basically I spend my days thinking, writing (and debugging) computer codes, and talking about dark matter.

The Future
Eventual heat death of the universe. The universe will probably end as a cold, dark, desolate wasteland.

But on a closer time scale, I'm going to finish my first postdoctoral position in September this year, and then I'll head off to Helsinki to start my next postdoc. I will be shifting my research into gravitational waves, which is a topic I'm really looking forward to learning more about. 

There's so much more for me to learn; I'm still at the beginning of this great scientific journey.

16 comments:

  1. Deanna,

    Thanks for a great post yesterday (July 3). I was at church and had only a few minutes to peek in. I wish I could see you live more often. I caught the replay but it's not the same.

    Would you please send me the long answer to the size of the black hole if you took all the mass within the causal horizon and collapsed it.
    In addition, please send the link to Sean Carroll's page about the expansion of the universe and speed.

    I'm really glad you're here and I appreciate your scopes. My guests sometimes ask questions that are way above my pay grade, so I refer some to you.

    I'm currently reading "Einstein's Mistakes." Lots of detail I image you would understand, but a bit sad, since I want Galileo and Newton and Einstein to be perfect. Oh well.

    Best,
    Dennis

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    1. Hi Dennis,
      Thank you for your kind comments!

      I realised my typed-up version of the black hole question was really messy, I want to make it a bit better before I send it to you. I was planning on doing it today, but my notes are in the office! I'll send it to you over the next few days.
      Here's the link to the post my Sean Carroll: http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2015/10/13/the-universe-never-expands-faster-than-the-speed-of-light/ it's very interesting to read.

      It's always curious to see the mistakes some of our favourite scientists made. I think it makes them more human, in a sense. It reminds me that while we might be experts in some topics, our knowledge on other topics might be much less advanced.

      I'm going on holiday for a two weeks, so my periscope schedule will change a bit. Hopefully I'll be live at a time that doesn't overlap with your church.

      Cheers!
      Deanna

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  2. I'm enjoying your Periscope broadcasts. As an experienced lecturer, I'd like to recommend that you slow down. Your students may have a difficult time following you. I see you are aware of this, but your attitude of "just keep up" is going to decimate your teaching evaluations. More importantly, you may find the non-verbal feedback you get during your lectures distressing - and that's not much fun after spending so much time and effort in preparing your lectures. And face it, if you can have fun on the job, then you're going to have a wonderful life.

    Cheers,

    R.

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    1. Hi Robert,
      Thanks for your feedback. I agree that in lectures and the more in-depth scopes I need to adapt my pace to that of the students. In my AMA scopes I prefer to keep a quick pace, as a lot of people don't stay for long: they come in, ask a few questions, and leave. In this format, I think it's better to provide a quick, not-so-in-depth answer. When I get questions that require longer or more concise answers, I do try to slow down (although admittedly, I find it hard to talk slowly about stuff I'm so passionate about, I tend to get very carried away!).
      Best,
      Deanna

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  3. Wow. This is amazing! I like your way of writing. Keep you the work!

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    1. Thanks! I'm replying two years late, but take this as a sign that I am going to revive my blog!

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  4. The name sounds English, so why did you move to (what is still part of) Spain at an early age?

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    1. My family liked the country and decided to move there when I was young. Was great for me to grow up in a different country, learning several languages!

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    2. Thanks for the late reply! I was in Aachen for a conference back in February.

      Good luck in Brussels! I hope you plan to learn both Flemish and French if you can't speak them already!

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  5. I wonder why you left Vienna. I also studied there and love the city and probably should’ve moved there. It’s a wonderful city full of music art and great food. You said where you are is a rainy city. Of course Germany is much more structured than Vienna. What will you do once you finish your degree?

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    1. I was in Vienna for a one-year exchange only, so I didn't really have the option to stay there. And I wasn't convinced by the options in Vienna for a Master's program. But I agree, Vienna is a wonderful city! Once I finish my degree in Germany, I will move to Belgium to continue my career in science!

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  6. Hello,
    Being a cosmologist what are views about Cosmic Religion (A concept by Albert Einstein) where he considers the Universe as a single organic being. (This single organic being is the GOD in Cosmic religion)
    Waiting for your reply.
    Regards

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    1. I doubt that Einstein actually said anything like that.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    ReplyDelete