Sabine Frey

UC Berkeley, Space Sciences Lab

Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Geography were my favorite subjects in school because of the logic, the clear cut facts. I could not decide what to choose as major, until in 11th grade during the introduction into my student research project I ended up in the laboratory of the big physics lecture hall of my home town college in Germany. Watching this fantastic collection of experiments demonstrate the laws of classic and modern physics was my defining moment. Two years later, I was enrolled in the Physics department of the University of Leipzig, and another seven years later I had a BS in Physics and Mathematics, a Ph.D. in Physics, was married to a Physics graduate student and had two kids.

Since then I have been dealing with magnetic fields in very different ways, for instance measuring diffusion coefficients in porous crystals used in petrol processing, or analyzing how certain elements are distributed in the upper layers of a silicon disc. These days I am studying the magnetic field itself. I mean the real thing, the Earth's magnetic field and what comes from the Sun. After 25 years I am still married to this one guy, have moved from Germany to California. The kids, three in total, are just before, in, and after their college years. It was not always easy to have changed the field or switch continents with an entire family. It sure is very interesting. Combining career and family takes sacrifices and patience. It helped me to have set priorities.

Working on a space mission is very exciting. I found it much more challenging than experimental physics in the laboratory. But either way, my work is mainly about solving problems and it is up to me how I approach it. I like this independence.


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