Adam Parkes Bowen
I started out at Pangbourne Primary School, then went to Langtree Secondary school for years 7-11, Henley College for years 12-13 and the Univeristy of Leicester for my Bachelors, Masters and PhD
Triple Science, Maths, Further Maths, English, English Literature, History, Geography,Citizenship and R.E. GCSE's; Further Maths AS-levels; Physics, Biology, Maths A-levels;
My first experience of a work environment was volunteering at Oxfam which helped me get used to a working environment. Between my Bachelors and masters I did a month with a gardening company and another helping put together an orbital simulation course at the University of Leicester. While looking for work after the Masters finished I worked for a bit in a Co-op to earn a bit of money to live on.
PhD student at the University of Leicester, working with CaSSIS and HiRISE images to look at the landing site for the ExoMars rover
Favourite thing to do in my job: I enjoy the general variety of the work, but if I had to choose...I enjoy looking over the pictures of the landing site for areas of interest, it feels like a privelage to be able to work with them!
I'm currently living with a couple of mates in Leicester. When not at work I'm usually either singing or playing games.
I live in Leicester with two fellow PhD students who’ve I’ve known for the past 4-7 years. I’m quite an avid gamer, though I have started branching out to into choir’s, musical theatre and other activities recently. I have a dog called Gemma, a border terrier, who is at the ripe old age of 16!
My Work on the ExoMars Mission
I look at the landing site for the Rosalind Franklin rover using several different cameras on board spacecraft around Mars
I make use of the HiRISE aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and CaSSIS aboard the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, to look at Oxia Planum, the landing site for the Rosalind Franklin rover which is on the boundary between Mars southern highlands and the northern lowlands.
I am looking to identify and map materials of scientific interest, such as clays as they are formed in the presence of water. This means that if life was ever present on Mars there is a good chance that its remains will be buried within the clay. I also compare fractured surfaces at Oxia Planum with Gale crater, the site where the Curiosity rover landed, in order to try to work out properties of Oxia Planum by comparing it to Gale Crater.
My Typical Day: I generally get into uni between 9 and 10, either doing work on my laptop mapping cracks/looking over images, or working in the lab testing an instrument. After lunch I carry on with what I was doing before lunch, then finish between 5pm and 6pm
9.30; I get into the office, checking my emails after turning on my laptop.
9.45; After replying to any emails I received I begin doing the real work. At the moment this is going over areas which I have looked at for features of the landing area which may tell us about the conditions under which areas at the landing site were buried.
11.00; Quick coffee/loo break, before heading back to the office to carry on working.
12.30; Lunch with a few of my workmates, chatting about work, the news of the day, all the good stuff!
13.30; I get back to the desk, perhaps starting on another bit of work, using computer programs to alter pictures taken of the landing site to show where Martian mud could be at the landing site. This is important as Mars Mud would have been a good place for Mars life to have lived, and to preserve its remains after they died.
15.30; Another coffee break, then I may go down to the lab to do some tests with a instrument being tested, called SPLIT, which acts like a robotic hammer in order to crack open rocks. This is helpful as it allows us to search for potential martian fossils within the rocks which we wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.
17.30; I wrap up my work for the day then head to the gym, one of my after work activities, or home for food, chatting to friends and maybe some games!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Chipper, relaxed, humorous
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
That's difficult to say, as I've been very fortunate in my time at university/in academia. What most stands out is that I got to take part in a supporting role on an astronaut training/field trial in Lanzarote during the first few months of starting my PhD. It was very nerve wracking considering I’d only been doing the job for a few weeks, but was a great experience nonetheless!
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My mum worked in a school library which had a massive collection of New Scientist magazines. Reading them in year 4 and onwards opened up the worlds of physics, biology etc. to me, as well as politics and philosophy (its quite a broad-ranging magazine!)
What was your favourite subject at school?
Science, specifically physics/biology
What did you want to be after you left school?
Some form of scientist, though I didn't know what kind until I'd gone through a few years of university
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I got an after-school dentention once for getting in a fight over a keyboard in music class; never again after that!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Thats difficult, something involving biology probably. Or politics. Maybe the civil service...
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Caravan Palace (they play electroswing)
What's your favourite food?
Curry, probably a veggie korma!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I got to take part in a 6-month project during my Masters in which a team from the UK, France and Italy worked on designing a theoretically possible Mars colony, along with any necessary equipment such as rovers/vehicles. We spent about 2-months each in the UK, france and Italy as well, so it was fun both working on the project and also exploring the host countries.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To have more time to specialise in other fields in addition to physics (curse you mortal coil!), better self-control (if I buy a bag of cookies they will not last more than a day), and to be able to eat said cookies without feeling bad about it :(
Tell us a joke.
Why did the people not like the restaurant on the moon? Because there was no atmosphere.