Melissa Franklin is the first woman ever to achieve tenure in the Harvard physics department. She is an experimental particle physicist who has been working on the Collider Detector at Fermilab, an experiment designed generally to study the collisions of protons and anti-protons at the highest energies currently possible. In January, she will be working at the new Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
Question: What advice would you give to a girl who wants to be a physicist?
Melissa Franklin: I think it’s important to realize that the most interesting thing about you is what you are interested in. So, what you have to play up is perhaps your interests and follow your interests because that’s actually what’s interesting. That’s the only thing that is ever going to be interesting about you. And that can go a long way in physics, or in science. Just being able to follow your own ideas is really important. That’s not to be totally tied up with the idea of my idea, my idea, my idea, but just to follow in the direction of our own ideas. And honestly, there’s no point in being successful at physics if you can’t. I don’t know if that – I think that is a way to succeed actually, to have a vision.
Recorded on: October 21, 2009