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Professor Valerie Gibson

My research

My research area is in experimental particle physics, in particular the search for new phenomena using particles containing bottom and charm quarks. These are produced in copious amounts at the Large Hadron Collider and are detected by the LHCb experiment. The study of the production and decay of bottom and charm particles provides very precise measurements of the phenomenon called CP violation, which holds the key to our understanding of the matter-antimatter imbalance in the universe.

My journey

Circumstances were such that I didn’t start a family until my career was fairly secure. I was also fortunate to be appointed as a University Lecturer in the same place as my husband. We have therefore shared caring responsibilities for our children equally  throughout our family life. My first daughter was born prematurely and I was very poorly following her birth. This meant total removal from research and work for a period of nine months. It's not easy to re-establish yourself, at the same time as facing barriers (given new lecture course, difficulty in getting a nursery place, etc.) to a smooth return to work. When my second daughter was born, I was more experienced and the University had instigated a new carers scheme. This time I took advantage of a graduated return to work and a reduction in teaching load.