Dr Warrick Ball

Researcher in Physics & Astronomy


Warrick is one of our former BEAR Champions and is now a senior Research Software Engineer in Advanced Research Computing.

What is your Academic background and current research field?

I'm a postdoc in the Sun, Stars and Exoplanets group in the School of Physics and Astronomy. I broadly compute simplified models of stars that can be compared with observations to learn things like how old an observed star might be. In Birmingham, we focus on the vibrations of stars that are qualitatively like the Sun. In short, someone measures a star's vibration frequencies and I try to make models that would vibrate at the same frequencies.

Which BEAR Services have been most helpful to you in your research?

I use BlueBEAR routinely to compute large sets of model stars. I also specifically use BlueBEAR to run integration tests on a stellar modelling program for which I'm a core developer.

How widespread do you think BEAR Services are known in your School and how do you plan to spread the word?

While I think many people are aware of BEAR Services, there's some hesitancy in making the leap to using them, perhaps because people overestimate the difficulty and underestimate the gains. We already include some BEAR events in our college-wide postdoc career development (PERCAT) bulletins. I hope to encourage more people to join in the more community-oriented events that the ARC/BEAR teams organise. (I miss The Hacker Within!)

What's an interesting fact about you?

I once briefly went rowing in a crew that included the comedian Eddie Izzard.