Kristina Bordas describes talks about her job, which involves using coding and computer models to make decisions about where money is invested. She explains how her physics background gave her the skills she needed to excel in her job.
What first got you excited about physics?
I loved things like telescopes and magnets as a child. And being able to discover lessons for yourself through experimentation made physics a clear favourite of mine throughout school too.
What is your favourite physics memory?
I remember viewing nano structures on an electron microscope at university. I processed the images from these tiny, and normally invisible-to-the-eye structures – seeing them blew my mind!
Who inspired you when you were a teenager?
As well as my grandparents, my physics teacher was really inspirational. The effort and lengths they went to, to include extra demonstrations was incredibly admirable and opened my eyes to the world beyond the curriculum.
How did you get into your current job?
I now work in artificial intelligence, which requires similar problem-solving skills to physics and the ability to thing about the world in an alternative way. The computer modelling systems we are building will completely change the way we work in the future, which is really exciting.
AI in finance "Physics teaches you to use assumptions when appropriate in order to make progress on a problem." (Courtesy: Shutterstock/VideoFlow)
Have you overcome any challenges in your physics study or career?
Early in my career it certainly felt that there were opportunities open to male graduated that I was actively discourage from applying for. Finance was a very male-dominated place at the time and I was aware going into the filed that I might be expected to prove myself more that my male peers.
Do you use the physics you learned in school in your current job?
I think school physics encourages you to start exploring around a base topic and gather proof for yourself with experiments or further research. I use these skills a lot now when creating prototypes of AI products. I have to judge the success or failure of an idea purely on data.
What skills are useful for your job and for the industry you work in?
Working in the rapidly changing field of artificial intelligence, I’m constantly learning about new concepts and then experimenting with potential applications and expanding on the ideas of others. Physics teaches you to use assumptions when appropriate in order to make progress on a problem. I use that today to make sure we don’t get stuck in the detail when the bigger picture can actually teach us more.