Friday, April 16, 2010

From a Physics Ph.D to climate change analyst

Today Jenny Riesz from ROAM consulting gave a really nice physics colloquium. Jenny was an outstanding physics undergraduate at UQ and then did a Ph.D here on the spectroscopy of melanin. We collaborated on this paper on the Transition Dipole Strength of Melanin.

Jenny is currently the Climate Change Manager at ROAM consulting. Here are a few things I learnt today.

After Jenny finished here Ph.D she wanted to get a job in industry. She sent out lots of applications and got not one single response. Eventually, through personal connections she got an interview.
One thing she learnt was to rewrite here CV. She should not have listed her publications at the beginning, but rather her skill set.

People who can define and solve problems are valuable and rare.

A Ph.D (particularly in a multi-disciplinary research area) can teach the value of networking and collaboration.

Australia has the longest electricity grid in the world.
Biggest expense is distribution of electricity (wires) rather than generation.

Australian Government has set a 20% Renewable Energy Target by 2020.
But this will be 80% of future growth in supply.
A key issue in meeting this goal and in reducing carbon emissions is where the resource is relative to the grid.

Small island nations are the most vulnerable to climate change. A 2 degree temperature increase could destroy 30 nations. Jenny has been involved with Project Survival Pacific helping these nations have a voice, including being part of the Solomon Islands delegation at the UN climate change summit.

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