Elaine lau

Web Developer and Creative Director, o2 Group

What is your physics education

What was your physics education?

B.Sc. Physics, University of Toronto, 1992
M.Sc. Physics, Simon Fraser University, 1994

Other education and skills?

Other education/experience?

Studied Industrial Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design for 2 years. This was followed by a year spent on exchange at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit and at Pratt Institute, NYC, also for Industrial Design.

What is was your first job, was it a physics job, did you use your physics background?

How did you get your first job? Was it a physics job? Did you use your physics background?

My first real job was as a web designer/developer with a tiny dot com company. I had a portfolio and an array of self-learned computer skills, but very little in terms of work experience. Due to the market demand for high tech workers, the company was willing and even happy to take a risk with a quote, diamond in the rough. My physics background, with its aura of geekiness, helped establish my technical credibility.

What were your subsequent job searches, career changes etc

Describe subsequent job searches and career changes.

I left the start-up to help form a web development company. It's a very different experience - running a business, as opposed to working for one. There's always new challenges and things to learn - this is where my problem solving skills really give me an advantage.

Memorable physics moments

What was your most memorable physics moment?

While nothing sticks out, I admit to having the occasional physics moment now, yes, even though I'm not actually 'in' physics anymore. Away from the obsessiveness of equations and symbols and details of experimentation, I find myself musing about physics concepts and ideas, with a greater interest and understanding than compared to when I was in school.

Which parts of your physics education have been most useful

Which parts of your physics education have been the most useful?

Definitely the problem solving aspect. It has become second nature to me, but sometimes I am aware that I approach problems and challenges in a much more efficient way than most people. I tend to abstract and classify problems and concepts, and am thus able to build upon what I know, as opposed to starting from the beginning every time.

Courses you wish had been available

Courses you wish had been available...

Ironically, they had been available, I just didn't know to take them. For anyone wanting to study physics, I recommend taking as many math courses as can be stomached. A better grounding in math would have made my physics classes much more enjoyable.

Differences between jobs that a person with a MSc can get versus BSc, or PhD vs MSc etc

Differences between jobs for graduates with MSc vs BSc or PhD vs MSc?

Outside of traditional physics jobs, I don't know that it makes much difference. It's more about work experience and having the right skill set.