Hi! My name is AchintyaMy name is spelt ಅಚಿಂತ್ಯ in Kannada and अचिन्त्य in the Devanagari script. and I write about science. You can find me online as “RaoOfPhysics”. I was born in 1987 in Bombay 🇮🇳 and grew up in New Bombay. I now live in Bristol 🇬🇧.
I work at UWE Bristol, the University of the West of England, as the Science Communication and Engagement Manager for the COALESCE project. I previously served as Community Manager for the AI for Science and Government research programme at The Alan Turing Institute, before which I spent over a decade as a science communicator at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
I recently obtained a PhD in science communication from UWE Bristol 🇬🇧. I also have an MA in science journalism from City University London 🇬🇧 and a BSc in physics from St Xavier’s College, Bombay 🇮🇳.
In what spare time I have, I enjoy watching and playing cricket, reading and tinkering with technology.
I am a native speaker of English but Kannada is my mother tongue. I also speak Hindi/Urdu, Marathi, a bit of French and Spanish (the former with a Genevan accent 🇨🇭 and latter with an Argentine one 🇦🇷) and am learning Italian.
I was a science communicator at CERN between September 2010 and February 2021: for the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) collaboration until February 2018Here’s a Twitter thread with some of my highlights with CMS. and for CERN’s Education, Communication and Outreach group in the International Relations sector since March 2018. My work mainly involved writing about physics, accelerators, engineering and computing. As part of my job, I got to speak to a wide variety of people working at CERN and visit some of the laboratory’s most fascinating locations.
I spoke on the Ratio podcast about CERN and more, if you fancy a listen:
But if you are a more visual person, here’s a video of me speaking to Professor Lucie Green about CMS and particle physics:
I was an official CERN guide, and took hundreds of visitors on tours of the CMS experimental site located in Cessy 🇫🇷. I represented the International Relations sector at the CERN Diversity Office’s roundtable for two years.
Here are a few of the articles I’ve written for the CERN website:
- “LHC Physics at Ten” features:
- LHCb discovers first “open-charm” tetraquark ·
- NA62 sees first significant evidence of rare process ·
- LS2 Report: CERN’s newest accelerator awakens ·
- CMS collaboration releases its first open data from heavy-ion collisions ·
- Xcitement down under: Australia gets first X-band facility ·
- Using LEGO to study the building blocks of the universe ·
I have had the privilege of writing for the CERN Courier on a few occasions:
- Preserving the legacy of particle physics
- Looking forward to photon–photon physics
- CMS prepares for the future
- The CMS experiment puts physics onto the menu
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the discovery of the Higgs boson, I was invited to publish a feature in Nature Reviews Physics:
As a freelancer, I have had the occasional physics news article and feature published in the magazine Physics World:
- Discovering the Higgs boson: a day in physics like no other
- Standing on the shoulders of programmers: the power of free and open-source software
- This was the cover feature of the September 2021 issue of the magazine.
- The story was also featured on the Physics World Stories podcast, in the September episode.
- Ordering electron and nuclear spins in quantum wires
- Shedding light on the masses of exotic nuclides
- Supernova origin of galactic cosmic rays confirmed
- Muon-capture experiment backs QCD prediction
- BaBar makes first direct measurement of time-reversal violation
I also briefly wrote for Geneva Solutions. Here is a selection of my articles:
- Marcel Salathé: Tackle scientific challenges with transdisciplinarity
- Project Pegasus and the right to cultivate one’s personal digital garden
- Plans move ahead for even larger particle collider at CERN
- AI has untapped potential for advancing climate science
- Decarbonisation technologies also address other environmental problems
- ‘Open science is an accelerator for SDGs’: Ana Persic, UNESCO
What could be more fun that being paid to read books? Here are some books I have reviewed:
- Elusive: How Peter Higgs Solved the Mystery of Mass – Physics World
- A Citizen’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence – Physics World
- When the Uncertainty Principle Goes to 11: Or How to Explain Quantum Physics with Heavy Metal – Physics World
- The Physics of Everyday Things: the Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day – Physics World
- Routledge Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology (2nd edition) – JCOM and CERN Courier
- Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence – CERN Courier
Over the years, I have become an advocate for open science“The opposite of open is not closed; the opposite of open is broken.” – John Wilbanks, particularly the use of free/libre and open-source software in research. I have contributed extensively to the CERN Open Data portal, and was involved in the first four releases of open data by CMS. You can watch me speak about the project at OpenCon 2016:
I was awarded a PhD in science communication from UWE in . Prof Emma Weitkamp was my director of studies. My thesis is titled “Particle physics and public engagement: A match made in minuscule matter”.
I studied the attitudes within the particle-physics community towards public engagement with science (or outreach), the factors that influence participation in such activities and barriers that prevent participation. My research focused on the CMS collaboration, which has over 4000 people, including physicists, engineers, technicians, computer scientists and students.
You can read my thesis in its entirity on the UWE Bristol Research Repository or on the CERN Document Server. Alternatively, and if your brower allows it, you can skim the embedded version below (once all 200+ pages load) – you may have to squint, though!
I pursued my PhD on a part-time, distance-learning basis, and began my studies in . The first three years of my studies were supported by CERN’s doctoral-student programme.
My ORCID is
I was trained in Indian classical music 🎶: Carnatic vocals for six years and the tabla for three years. Sometimes, I pick up a guitar and strum a few chords, or pretend to play the blues on my harmonica.
I enjoy watching, playing and generally following cricket 🏏. I play mainly for the Bedminster Cricket Club, occasional games for the Bristol Bushwackers, and one fixture per year for the CERN Cricket Club, whom I represented for a few years; I am a right-arm swing bowler and bat right-handed. Occasionally, I play table tennis 🏓 and have also trained a bit in martial arts 🥋 – karate and taekwondo.
I love tinkering with software and hardware, and my laptop runs Kubuntu 🐧. I am teaching myself the 🇷 language, mainly for my research, with the occasional sideways glance at Python 🐍 as well.
For many years, I contributed to the Mozilla 🦊 community: I hosted a couple of Mozilla Science Lab global sprints at CERN, started the (now-on-hiatus) Mozilla Study Group at CERN and mentored several projects as part of the Mozilla Open Leaders programme. If you want to learn more, you can read my interview for the StoryEngine project, conducted at MozFest a few years ago.
I can be found online on several platforms:
- Mastodon: @RaoOfPhysics@scholar.social
- Pixelfed: @RaoOfPhysics@pixelfed.social
- Twitter: @RaoOfPhysics
- Matrix: @RaoOfPhysics:matrix.org
- GitLab: @RaoOfPhysics
- GitHub: @RaoOfPhysics
- reddit: /u/RaoOfPhysics
Alternatively, feel free to drop me an e-mail to email@example.com.
My public-key fingerprint is
3B78 862A 0A60 3D7E 6A8A 1EE1 E76E B15E 4160 0AF4.