Sophie Parsons

she/her
Materials Science Division

February 15, 2024

What do you like about working at the Lab?

As a PhD student, the access I have to the Lab facilities and the mentorship I have received from scientists who are experts in their field have been invaluable. I also have had the opportunity to conduct research contributing to cutting edge scientific problems that have a real impact on the United States and the world.

What do your day-to-day work activities include?

I conduct research on several different laser facilities so in that role I could be taking data on a laser, analyzing data with my team, or preparing shot plans for further experiments. I also do supportive simulations, diagnostic development, and sample preparation for these experiments.

What is your educational or career background?

I received my bachelor’s in physics from UC Berkeley. I started working at the Lab as an undergraduate student in Strategic Deterrence. After I graduated, I became an employee at the Lab before I transitioned to becoming a PhD student through UC San Diego, conducting all of my thesis research at the Lab.

What inspired you to go into your field of work?

I loved that physics provided concrete answers to some of the biggest mysteries in the universe. I also wanted my work to be impactful and I wanted to be working on solving big problems. This led me to major in physics as an undergraduate student and to continue pursuing physics into graduate school. The combination of fundamental physics problems with national security applications lead me to the Lab.

What advice would you give to a new employee at the Lab?

I would advise new employees to really take advantage of the expertise surrounding them at the Lab and to push to make sure they are constantly learning and growing as scientists.

What are your hobbies/what do you do in your free time?

I run marathons. I also rock climb and surf.

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