Case Study: XinRan Liu

XinRan is currently a Research Associate at the School of Physics and Astronomy of the  Edinburgh University

How things work

XinRan was born in China and moved to Edinburgh when he was 7 years old. He has always been curious to find out how everything in the Universe works. To help him find some answers, XinRan studied science at GCSE and A-Levels. He then decided to study Physics at University.

“I have always been interested in learning how things work: Why are we stuck onto Earth? How does the Moon affect us? Why does gravity not suck us into the Sun? How are stars and galaxies are formed?”

A professional hunter of the invisible

XinRan describes himself  as a professional hunter of the invisible. As he further explains,

“Our eyes cannot see tiny cosmic particles which are constantly passing through our planet so particle physics researchers need to use massive detectors that are deep below the Earth’s surface.”

These detectors need to be underground so that they are protected from interference that is present at the surface. These particles rarely interact with anything, so XinRan has to be patient while he waits for them to be detected. He is curious to find out what the particles can tell us about things like what is Dark Matter and origin of the Universe.

Working underground

XinRan job has taken him to travel the world to work however he has always loved Scotland and he is happy to have found a job at the University of Edinburgh. According to him the best part of his job is as follows:

“It has taken me to some of the most spectacular places around the world many of which are deep underground. It has also introduced me to many amazing people along the way.”

XinRan is also passionate about work with young people.  He is recently developed an activity for schools to build mini Mars rovers and exploring the STFC Mars Yard at The Boulby Underground Laboratory.

Getting better at tennis

In his free time XinRan loves reading, kayaking, mountain biking and hiking. He also enjoys watching tennis but when it comes to play it he needs to improve his game.