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Nida Haram

PhD Student
Centre for Quantum Dynamics
Griffith University, Australia

Nida Haram

Country of Birth: Pakistan
Country of Residence: Australia
Educational Background: MSc and MPhil in Physics, Government College University Lahore


My first inspiration was my elder sister, who was studying science in university when I had to choose my subjects in high school. I realized that studying chemistry, biology, mathematics, or physics would let me explore Mother Nature. That was interesting! Later, I preferred applied physics over theoretical physics as I just didn’t want to stay at a desk solving equations, I wanted to enter the lab. And finally—for the love of nature, physics, and lasers—I started exploring the quantum world of atoms and molecules using laser as a tool.

As a PhD student, I am trying to explore the fine details of the ultrafast dynamics of electrons within atoms and molecules at the Australian Attosecond Science Facility. I use femtosecond laser pulses (as short as a millionth of a billionth of a second) as a tool and a high-resolution reaction microscope as a detection system. My job is to operate and maintain the ultrafast laser and detection system, conduct extremely sensitive experiments, process and analyze the data, and dig out meaningful information from that huge data.

Continuing my studies after completing my MPhil with distinction was the most challenging turn in my career. My parents wanted me to get married first and achieve my goals later. Luckily, I married an amazing person who fully supported my dreams. However, it took almost five years, while being a fulltime wife and mum, to come back to the field and start my PhD. With the support of my husband and family, especially my parents, I was able to win a competitive scholarship and secure a PhD position in one of Australia’s most sophisticated laser labs.

I was aware of the importance of networking when I stepped into this field, but there was no guidance on how to do it effectively. In this regard, I would like to give credit to SPIE, who provided me the chance to learn the basics of effective communication skills at the SPIE Optics and Photonics Leadership Workshop. I definitely feel the difference now!

Don’t be afraid of obstacles in your career at any stage. Your hidden potential is exposed only in such challenging situations. Use these hidden qualities together with your resilience and patience to overcome these obstacles. Also don’t be afraid of seeking help and guidance. Your courage to connect to people, explore new ideas and think differently make wonders happen. Just remember to believe in yourself!

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