Jack Carlyle

you guys are insane, i am having so much fun in these chats




Bexley Grammar (1999 – 2004), Buller’s Wood (2004 – 2006), UCL (2007 – present)


Just submitted my PhD!

Work History:

London, Germany, Japan… Anywhere I can manage to get to!

Current Job:

Solar Physicist (just finishing the PhD)


Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL)

Me and my work

I look at massive explosions happening on the Sun which can reach Earth and beyond!

The Sun is completely covered in tangles of magnetic field which are constantly moving around. Sometimes they can get really “wound-up” and end up causing huge eruptions, spewing massive amounts of burning gas (actually, it’s called “plasma”) out into the solar system. I watch this plasma using special cameras on satellites and use some cool tricks to figure out how much stuff is exploding outwards! Sometimes I run computer simulations, as well, so I can see what plasma does in different situations and then compare this with what’s going on at the Sun.

My Typical Day

Wake up, drink tea, do science, play guitar, watch cartoons, go to bed.

One of the best things about being a scientist is that on a normal day, you don’t need an alarm clock. I usually get up at 9ish and head straight to the office with a huge mug of tea. In the mornings I check out what the Sun has been up to for the past 24 hours and see whether any big eruptions have been going on. I might run some programs to analyse the data if it seems interesting, or if not I’ll read some new results from colleagues at different universities. After lunch I like chatting with the other people in my office about what we’re all up to. You might think that sounds lazy, but it’s actually really useful; you’d be surprised how often problems can be solved by a fresh pair of eyes! In my free time at night I like making music, but if I’m tired I might just stick on an episode of Adventure Time. Then after one more cup of tea I go to bed, ready to do it all again.

What I'd do with the money

I want to get some local schools to build a lightning machine!

One of my favourite demonstrations in science is something called a Tesla Coil – it’s a tall metal pole which spits huge bolts of purple lightning out of the top! They are incredible to watch, and you can even hook it up to a keyboard and play a tune with the electricity. I’ve only ever seen one in real life once, but I think with this prize money and the help of a few classrooms we could attempt to build one! It wouldn’t be easy, but it would be a fascinating experience, and we’d learn a whole load of different scientific theories as we go along.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

chill puppy nerd

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Wavves or Drake

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Playing in the UCL Battle of the Bands as a one-person-noise-machine

What did you want to be after you left school?

No idea

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Only for hair dye and piercings

What was your favourite subject at school?


What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Travelled the world

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

The stars

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Still no idea

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

To be less forgetful, to be able to play the piano properly, and to be less forgetful.

Tell us a joke.

What’s orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot … sorry.

Other stuff

Work photos:

Selfie in a telescope!


Here I am about to submit my thesis at University College London!


Giving a presentation at the European Solar Physics Meeting 2014


I like a minimalist desk


Here’s my office and co-workers having a chat about magnetic flux tubes! Cool stuff.