Meet...Anastasia Ponomareva

29 July 2020

Name: Dr Anastasia Ponomareva
Job title: Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Astrophysics

What are you currently working on?
I am currently studying the evolution of neutral hydrogen across cosmic times. Neutral hydrogen is probably the most important element in the Universe since it is a building block of all the structures we see in it. For this project I am using data from the most powerful radio telescope to date, MeerKAT, which is located in South Africa.

Describe a typical day
A day of a modern astronomer is not very fascinating as we spend a lot of time behind our computer screens: reducing or analysing data and writing papers. My day typically starts with me checking my emails; since I have collaborators in different time zones, there are always plenty of emails to catch up on. Then I devote time to walking my dog which gives me the opportunity to plan the day ahead and set up goals. My working day usually ends around 6-7 pm, although currently, working from home, the hours are not as fixed.

If you had an entire day at your disposal, what would be your ideal way to spend it?
It would definitely include a game or two of tennis with my partner, plenty of fun time with our dog and being somewhere at the seaside. It would also include my favourite food like a Neapolitan pizza.

What is your favourite place in Oxford?
Definitely the Bodleian library. Ever since I was a kid I was fascinated by books and libraries. I used to have a picture of the Bodleian library framed when I was a child, so finally being able to visit it anytime makes me extremely happy and grateful.

Plan B: what would you be if you weren’t doing the job you are currently doing?
I would be a neuroscientist. I am truly amazed and fascinated by human brains; they are like Universes of their own. I am a great aficionado of the popular science literature in neuroscience. For example, the book We are our brains by Dick Swaab is a fascinating neurobiography of the human brain, which everyone should read to better understand themselves and the people around them.