Maria Julia Maristany

Masters student, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

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You belong here. And we need you here.

What do you do?

I study theoretical physics. This is an exciting field, very mathematical and highly abstract, that has the main goal of developing models and theories that can predict different phenomena and help us understand how things in our universe behave, from the tiniest quark to the biggest galaxy.

The field I currently work on is called quantum information theory. I study quantum walks - the quantum analogue of classical random walks. Quantum walks are an incredible versatile tool: in the context of quantum computing, they can help us create new algorithms and simulate quantum phenomena.

Why did you choose this field?

The school system is a bit different in Argentina, my home country, than here in Canada. Extra-curricular work at school was particularly very different - I did not really know what a physicist job actually was until after I enrolled in university to study Physics.
I started studying Physics because I liked math, but I did not want to study pure math - I wanted to use it as a tool to study something else. I never expected to love it as much as I do. Physics surprises me everyday. It is an incredibly rich, versatile, interdisciplinary and dynamic field. Not only I had the privilege to be able to attend a higher education institution, but I was also lucky in finding there something that I quickly realized I loved.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I grew up speaking Spanish. When I started learning English, sometimes I had to be dragged to my lessons kicking and screaming because I just really did not see the point in them. I wish I knew back then how valuable that education would prove to be later on in my file. I also wish I knew earlier that becoming bilingual is possible, and that I would be able to learn a different language to the point of using it even more than Spanish.

Why do you love working in STEM?

In STEM, you are always learning - the more you learn, the more you discover how much you do not know. While this is sometimes overwhelming, it is also very exciting: there is always something new, and science never gets boring.
STEM fields are also very colaborative. The community and teamwork aspect is also something I particularly enjoy.
My choice of career has also allowed me to expand my horizons, and meet people from all over the word. It is a truly remarkable, unique experience, and I am incredibly grateful for it.

Best advice for next generation?

You belong here. And we need you here.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“If we understand, we will care. If we care, we will help.” - Jane Goodall

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