Gilad Amar

Gilad AmarHaving grown up in the concrete jungle of Johannesburg, I did my undergraduate in Nuclear Engineering followed by Physics Honours at The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). This was followed by some brief research work for the Wits High Energy Astrophysics (HEP) Group on the Higgs boson. Then in 2014 I moved down to Cape Town in order to take part in the National Astrophysics and Space Science (NASSP) masters degree at UCT. Now after finishing the introductory coursework my research is on Machine Learning, specifically Deep Learning, applied to astronomy data under the supervision of Bruce Bassett.

What inspired you to study science, and astrophysics?

My first career ambition was to be a lion.When I learnt that this wasn’t possible I had to come up with an alternative.

You know how some kids always keep asking ‘why?’ ad nauseam, well for me that has never stopped. The ‘Big Questions’ that cosmology tackles in trying to explain the very existence of the universe as it is are fascinating. Considering the above it seemed like a great Plan B to study science, and perhaps be a lion some other time.

Do you have a role model in science?

I don’t have a particular role model, but have learnt from and been inspired by several teachers, lecturers and many scientists who share their insights with the world. That said, I must admit I’m curious about everything characters like Einstein and Feynman had to say about anything.

A quote that inspires you?

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. – Galileo Galiliei

Research interests

Cosmology and Artificial Intelligence

Favourite reference papers:

My favourite papers can mostly be found at http://www.improbable.com/ for their research that first makes you laugh and then think. I hope to win an Ig Nobel Prize someday.

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