Adryanna Smith
Graduate student
Duke University, United States

Every time we go swing dancing, I always meet another physicist or engineer or Linux enthusiast. A dance is asking for your creativity as much as your rhythm, so I think physicists really connect with it. Looking around the dance floor, all you see is the fluid energy in a couple’s steps—and you’re all smiles because it just looks effortless. But when you’re the one dancing, that’s when all of the freedom hidden inside the rules becomes clear. That’s when a subtle interaction will bring out your grin. I’m a second-year grad student working on how we’ll see supernova neutrinos in our detectors. I realized I loved physics when I was in a chemistry class and the only thing I could focus on was the electron. And then when I discovered quarks, that was a whole new world. They’re endearing. It’s easy to get caught up with ‘this is a desk, this is a banana, this is a fern.’ But then I think that under all of that, there’s this laughing ecosystem of particles that know how to interact with one another, and they have a system that works for them, and they get along. Just because we don’t always know how they get along doesn’t mean it’s not important.