Greig Cowan

Good luck everyone for the final!

Favourite Thing: Finding things that no one has ever found before.



Duncanrig Secondary School, East Kilbride (1991-1997); University of Glasgow for undergraduate (1997-2001) and postgraduate (2001-2005) study.


MSci in Physics and Mathematics; PhD in Physics.

Work History:

University of Edinburgh, UK; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne; A supermarket (while I was a student!)

Current Job:

Research scientist, analysing data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva.


University of Edinburgh

Me and my work

I look for the small differences between matter and animatter.

My Typical Day

Most days I write computer programs to analyse data from the Large Hadron Collider.

What I'd do with the money

Take my wife out for a nice meal… no, only kidding, I would use it take particle physics demonstrations to the only high school on the island of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland. My cousin is a teacher there. See some pictures of Islay below.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Inquisitive, motivated, enthusiastic

Who is your favourite singer or band?

The Flaming Lips

What's your favourite food?

Thai (but I’ll basically eat anything!)

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Sea kayaking in Thailand

What did you want to be after you left school?

A scientist

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Not really

What was your favourite subject at school?


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

I helped to confirm the existence of a new sub-atomic particle

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My dad and my school teachers

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

Probably a programmer for a company

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

Healthy, happy and wise

Tell us a joke.

Apologies, this is a bad one, but I couldn’t resist: “There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don’t.” Ask me if you don’t understand! :)

Other stuff

Work photos:

This is a picture of me being awarded the prize (on behalf of my team) for winning the yearly group quiz


There is also a definitely LEGO based theme in our group. Here is a picture of a LEGO representation of the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider.


And here is one of the Death Star. Yes, I really mean the Death Star. It’s not one of the detectors at the LHC…


Here is an image of the black/white boards in my office. Usually they are full of REALLY IMPORTANT stuff… but for the next couple of weeks they will be used to keep track of who has paid for and who is winning the office World Cup sweepstake (and, of course, who is winning “I’m a scientist, get me out of here!”) 🙂



Here are a couple of pictures of the island of Islay. It’s a great place, but can be a little bit isolated! Hopefully I can help to spread the word about particle physics to the students there!

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