Mats Ola studies solar "geysers"
– What fascinates me the most about astronomy must be the whole composition of it.
– My thesis work is about solar spicules. Spicules are thin "geysers" of plasma, lasting for several minutes and reaching thousands of kilometres out in the atmosphere of the Sun. The plasma inside these spicules are moving at speeds of up to 100 km/s, which is 360 000 km/h. They are usually observed off the solar limb, while in my work I have focused on spicules on the solar disk.
– What are the most important things you have learned in your master studies?
– Doing a master's thesis in astrophysics, I have learned to conduct and present scientific research of large data sets; that solar physics indeed is as fascinating as cosmology (I started my studies five years ago with the sole goal of doing a master's thesis in cosmology).
– I have also learned that I have AD/HD, and that being medicated remarkably helps me keep my motivation up (should have known that sooner). I have also learned that AD/HD is much more about a motivation deficit than an attention deficit.
– What fascinates you the most about astronomy? Why?
– It must be the whole composition of it. For me, the thought of it is a very humbling experience, as it paints a clear picture of the insignificance as well as the significance of our existence as sentient beings.
– Your "message in the bottle" to fellow master students is ...
– Do mindless work by yourself like painting a room, chopping wood, cleaning up a garden, etc (anything that involves your body, but lets your mind wander). I experienced many "eureka moments" related to my work while doing so-called mindless jobs.
– Exercise! Go for a walk or run in the forest; attend cycling or aerobic courses at a gym; anything that will keep your heart pumping. You will experience (like me) that focusing on working on a thesis will become a lot easier if you take care of your heart a couple of hours each week. Pro tip: don't know how to start? Start by just putting on workout clothes and take a walk around your building; the hardest thing to do is often to get outside of your house.