Astrophysicist to Data Scientist: My journey from academia into commercial and pro-bono data science

Astrophysicist to Data Scientist: My journey from academia into commercial and pro-bono data science

CDT- NGCM Seminar with Dr Adam Hill

In this CDT-NGCM seminar Adam described his journey from academia to data scientist. He explained how he learned new skills and moved into the rapidly expanding field of data science, both in the business and voluntary sectors.

Tenerife Observing – Hunting a nova
© Adam Hill, 2015

I graduated with a PhD in Astrophysics in 2006 and worked as a researcher at multiple labs around the world for the next 9 years. During my time at Stanford University I was exposed to the start-ups and innovations that were happening in Silicon Valley around machine learning and data science. Seeing an opportunity to enhance both my science and my future career options I began learning some of these new skills and technologies. In 2015 I became a full-time data scientist at a new start-up. In this talk I will describe my journey and some of the lessons learned along the way including how to make the transition from academia, how to stand-out to data science recruiters and what is “data science”. A significant part of my life post academia has also been in doing voluntary data science and so I will go through how data science projects can be successfully developed and delivered to the third-sector. Dr Adam Hill

Dr Adam Hill is lead data scientist at HAL24K working with client projects to deliver smart-city and smart-infrastructure solutions. He graduated with a degree in Astrophysics from UCL and subsequently earned his PhD from the University of Southampton. He has worked as a professional research scientist at multiple institutions around the world including Stanford University and was awarded a prestigious Marie-Curie Research Fellowship. In 2015, Adam, joined HAL24K as the first data scientist in the company and has been directly involved in developing many of the products and solutions HAL24K now delivers to its clients. Additionally he has been directly involved in growing the HAL24K data science team to a diverse group of ten talented data scientists as well as developing education and training relationships within the UK. Adam is also a core volunteer within the DataKind UK community working to help NGOs, charities and the third sector access data science talent and exploit modern data science and AI technology. Most recently Adam was one of the first people to be made a Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence encouraging data science entrepreneurship and innovation within the UK academic environment.

This CDT-NGCM seminar took place in the Mountbatten Seminar Room, Highfield Campus on 21 February 2020.