Finding Your Voice in a Large Collaboration

Meet this week's Grad Chat guest, Ben Davis-Purcell!


Graphic, text reads Finding Your Voice in a Large Collaboration Grad Chat by PhD Balance. There are two headshots one of Aidan, the host & one of Ben, the guest.

Hi everyone! My name is Ben and I use he/him pronouns. I am a physics PhD Candidate at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I previously completed my BSc and MSc in physics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. In between my MSc and PhD, I worked full-time as an Instructor and Outreach Coordinator at McMaster University. I am extremely passionate about science communication and outreach, and love chatting with people from all backgrounds and all levels of previous science knowledge. I strongly believe that science is for everyone, but that there is much work to be done to make this a reality. In my spare time, I love playing sports (especially hockey, squash and ultimate frisbee), playing drums, and cooking. Most importantly, I cannot wait until we can safely hang out with friends in person again.

I work on the ATLAS Experiment, a particle physics experiment located at CERN, the huge physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. ATLAS is an international collaboration with about 5000 members worldwide, and about 1/3rd of the members are students. As a graduate student, it is already difficult to stand out, or at least feel that our work is important and that we are doing a good job. This reality can be exacerbated when new students begin work in a larger collaboration. A "larger collaboration" can mean anything from local research groups of tens of people, experimental collaborations on the order of hundreds of people, or massive collaborations like the thousands of people working on ATLAS. I have been fortunate to work and do research in groups of all of these sizes. I'd like to start a conversation about ways to feel more comfortable, welcomed, and valued in larger collaborations and provide some tips that I have picked up along the way. I am also a member of the ATLAS Early Career Scientist Board, a committee that helps bring the issues and voices of early career researchers to the forefront within our large collaboration.

You can find out more about Ben on his Twitter account (@BenDavisPurcell).


Ben will be taking over our Twitter account today, before being our Grad Chat tomorrow with new host Aidan! You can join the Youtube Livestream Saturday (05/29) at 3 pm Eastern/12 pm Pacific using this link!


Alternatively, you'll be able to catch up on the episode on the NEW Grad Chat podcast published next Tuesday (06/01) here!