About Me

CV, education, and work experience.


my name is Franziska Schmidt, originally from Stuttgart, Germany, and currently a PhD student of astrophysics at UCL in London, UK. 


After graduating high school, I enrolled at the University of Tübingen (Germany) in 2009.  During my undergraduate course in physics, I took a gap year to complete additional studies at the University of Sussex (UK).  In 2014, I joined the computational astrophysics group working with Professor Wilhelm Kley and obtained a BSc in Physics for my thesis on the bouncing mechanics of landers on asteroids.  In early 2016, I completed my MSc degree in Physics with a thesis on dynamical friction on supersonic spheres in a gaseous medium in the same department.

Since October 2016, I’ve been a PhD student in the astrophysics department at University College London (UCL) working with Professor Mike Barlow on his ERC Advanced Grant project researching dust destruction in supernova remnants.

View from my office in Tuebingen towards the Institute of Physics.

UCL looking all pretty with a bit of snow.

Work Experience

Between 2012 and 2014, I held two undergraduate research assistant positions at the University of Tübingen.  My first project, under the supervision of Dr Slawomir Suchy of the Astronomy and HEA department, involved adding features and extending the GUI for a data analysis software used in lab exercises.  The second project was supervised by Prof. Nader Haghighipour and focused on simulations of planet migration in GJ 876.

In 2014, I completed an internship at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany.  Supervised by Dr Philipp Girichidis, I created a database for cosmic rays and integrated it into an existing supernovae explosion code.

Since joining UCL, I have marked scripts for various BSc and MSc courses such as quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, astrophysical process, and electrodynamics.

In November 2017, I started designing and teaching evening and weekend computing courses at CityLit.  Course lengths vary from 1 day (Introduction to LaTeX) to 4 weeks (Introduction to Python).  Additionally, I offer one-on-one sessions for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Extra-Professional Engagement

I believe very strongly in the importance of equality, diversity, and accountability in academia as well as the communication of science to the general public.  For more information, please visit my Outreach page and see the occasional blog post.

I am a member of the 500 Women Scientists London PodWomenWhoCode, and since October 2018 I am a peer mentor to a 1st year PhD student.

Social Media Presence

My twitter handle is @AstroFranzi and I have a  Vimeo account to showcase animations of my work.
My public codes are (or rather will be once I’ve cleaned them up^^) hosted over at github while my research codes are stored in private gitlab repositories.


In my free time, I like spending time with my family, friends, and my dog.  I enjoy reading, travelling, going to the cinema, archery (though that’s on hold for money reasons :/), museums, aquariums, video games, photography, and spending way too much money on plants^^

In 2018, one of my photographs was selected as an honourable mention in the Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition! 🙂 Some of my pictures and a couple of pretty simulation visualizations are available in my Gallery.

My personal research assistant. Ready to boldly sniff where no doggo has sniffed before!