INTERVIEW. Dr. Jacob Crossett: “I always had intense interests, whenever I found something I wanted to know all about it”

Dr. Jacob Crossett recently arrived to fill a postdoctoral position at the Institute of Physics and Astronomy of the Universidad de Valparaíso (IFA). His position is being funded by a grant known as ESO-Chile Comité Mixto, which supports the project “Understanding the connection between ram-pressure stripping and AGN”, and the principal investigator is Dr. Yara Jaffé.  

Originally from Australia, Dr. Crossett also worked at Birmingham University in the United Kingdom. He is now back to the southern hemisphere, where he feels more confortable looking at the sky and is willing to work hard to understand more about the life of Jellyfish Galaxies and of how the Universe works.

Why did you apply for this position?

I am interested in extra-galactic astronomy and the work here was with Yara, who has worked with lots of my colleagues, and the kind of things that are being done here, like looking at jelly fish galaxies, looking at Ram pressure stripping, seems very attractive. Also that Chile is a well-known place because of the observatories.

Have you been into the observatories in Northern Chile?

Not yet, but that is one of the experiences that I would love to have.

How were your first impressions of the place that will be your home for the next couple of years?

Lots of things had happened very quickly and I have been having a lot of admin. I know a lot of things have been happening, and you see that on the shops, but the people are still friendly, and happy to chat. It looks like they would be unfriendly because of the looks, but then you realize they are still doing ok. So it has been very nice, it is nice to be in the southern hemisphere, as I understand the sky better. And it’s nice to be in the coast as well. I went with some people to Con-con, which is nice and picturesque. There are some things that are similar, that I didn’t expect to be similar and there others that are really different. And it is very nice to know the differences and the similarities to other places I lived and visited

Your area of work is based on “looking at the big picture”, as you study galaxies and not particular objects. How did this come to your attention?

I really don’t know. I like all sort of different areas and that was the one that looked appealing to me at the time. I don’t know exactly why and it is actually a good question.  I suppose that one thing leads to another

Why do you think it is important to know about how galaxies evolved?

It is always interesting to know about how the universe works, but a bit closer, starting to understand all this processes in galaxies is important, as we are going now into a collision with another galaxy, with Andromeda. Is not for a few billions years that they will merge and run into each other, but that is the future of our galaxy and our solar system. We can look into that by looking into the observations of what is happening to other galaxies at the moment, and then know what is going to happen to our home, which is of course very interesting to look into the fate of the Sun and of the Milky Way.

How did your motivation for science grew on you?

As a boy I always had intense interests. Whenever I found something I wanted to know all about it. I used to like most kids to like dinosaurs, but instead of getting a little T-Rex I would read all about their bones, and what it would meant if you found one thing.  And I always seemed to had this intense interests, because I always wanted to found out things and learn things.

Do you have other interests other than science?

I try to play football, I mean trying, and I am ok… I played in Australia and the UK but I don’t know if I will be good enough to play in South America, but I will give it a try.  I like watching some sports and I like playing Australian Football, which is a very weird sport, if you ever have a chance to watch it makes sense to no one, it is a very weird sport. I like playing sports with other people; I’ve done squash, tennis, and football. I like to play with others as a team and to be social, that its what I enjoy.