Making the most of student opportunities

Summer 2019 graduate, Tomáš Šoltinský, shares his experience studying the MPhys Astrophysics degree, and the amazing opportunities he undertook during his time here.

The reason why I wanted to study in the UK was to explore new opportunities. And guess what?  The University of Edinburgh provided so many of them! First of all, I should mention that the MPhys Astrophysics degree is quite flexible. I got to tailor my degree to be more theoretical, experimental or computational, and I got to choose courses ranging from General Relativity to Astrobiology. You can even change your degree like I did. (I started as a Physics student but changed to Astrophysics shortly after).

One of the most important opportunities I seized on was to participate in an exchange program. The University offers many interesting destinations such as Melbourne, Singapore or Chicago. In my case, I was accepted to undertake a year at Caltech in the US. I managed to work on my first two research projects there and realized that this is what I actually want to do in my future. So besides meeting inspiring people and making exciting memories, this was a self-discovering journey too. Highly recommended!

A substantial part of the physics degrees are the various project components. There is a lot of freedom to choose a topic for your project and hence end up working on something that intrigues you. During my projects, I have observed an exoplanet, modelled Dark Energy and investigated accretion disks around supermassive black holes. If you want to do more research, there are opportunities to apply for summer internship projects. After working with huge simulations of the evolution of our universe run on the University’s computer cluster during my summer internship at the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, I knew that I would love to do a PhD in computational astrophysics.

Edinburgh offers many ways to enjoy your free time. Jumping out of a plane (obviously, with a parachute) as a member of the skydiving club is my favourite. There are many historical sites in the city and breathtaking views in Scotland including Glencoe and Loch Ness.

Apart from studying, I volunteered as a Student Ambassador, providing tours of physics facilities and information on student life to prospective students. I am glad that the School offers such a rewarding position. This led me to an invitation for a parliamentary reception at Westminster.

Since I have managed to enjoy my time at the university in such a way, I bet you can have an amazing experience too!

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