Clare Burrage

so many questions!

Favourite Thing: I like finding things out. It’s a lot like being a detective; I find lots of small clues and try to put them together to solve a big mystery!



Collingwood College, Camberley 1994-2001. University of Cambridge, BA Mathematics 2001-2004, MMath 2004-2005, PhD (Physics) 2005-2008.


I have a BA and an MMath in maths, and a PhD in Physics. At school I got A-Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and German

Work History:

I’ve been a research scientist at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, a laboratory in Hamburg, Germany (2008-2010) and also at the Université de Genève in Geneva, Switzerland (2010-2011). While I was a student I worked at LegoLand in Windsor.

Current Job:

I currently work at the University of Nottingham. I try to understand why the universe is expanding in the way that it is.

My STFC Facility:

University of Nottingham

Me and my work

Galaxies are flying apart from one another faster and faster, nothing we know about in Physics can explain this so I try to work out what new mysterious substance is the cause.

There is a mysterious substance that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate.  We call this Dark Energy, but really we don’t know anything about it!  I try to think of ways in which we could poke and prod dark energy in our laboratories to work out what it is.

My Typical Day

I will normally be trying (and sometimes succeeding!) to solve the equations which describe how the universe behaves, to do this I spend a lot of time talking to other scientists from around the world.

My work is very flexible, I can work when and where and how I like.  Sometimes I’m working on my own, and sometimes I’m working very closely with lots of other scientists all around the world.  I get to travel a lot – in the last year I’ve been to the USA, France, Italy, and many places in Switzerland and the UK where I’ve been living.  Talking to other scientists and telling them about my work is really important.  There’s no point discovering something new if you don’t tell the world about it!

What I'd do with the money

I would use the money to support the Sixty Symbols youtube project that we have here at Nottingham ( They have great videos of scientists talking about their work.

Sixty Symbols is a great site with a collection of videos of scientists talking about what they do in a way that everyone can understand.  I want to use the money to help them buy more equipment, and to make some videos about my work

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

curious, friendly, easygoing

Who is your favourite singer or band?

The Puppini Sisters

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Skiing down a mountain!

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

What did you want to be after you left school?

I had no idea! I knew I wanted to do something with maths, but I never had a grand plan.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

I was very quiet at school. My teachers were always asking me to speak up more.

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

I’ve studied how time travel might be possible!

Tell us a joke.

The barman says ‘we don’t serve neutrinos in here’. A neutrino walks into a bar.

Other stuff

Work photos:

This is what my desk looks like right now myimage1  I’m not very tidy!

The best time to visit:

There are lots of ways to come and visit us at Nottingham. There are public lectures and masterclasses for students, just look at our website: