Swinburne is a member of an international consortium of universities, research agencies and industry constructing the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory, a kilometre underground at a gold mine in Stawell, Victoria. The lab will house one of only two dark matter detectors in SABRE project - the other is in Italy.
Through a recommendation from Professor Duffy, Grace found herself interning with the SABRE team at Princeton University. For seven weeks, she worked on producing high purity crystals – the defining feature of the SABRE detector. It was life changing in more than one way.
"Being at an Ivy League school as a second year student was a mind blowing experience," Grace says. "The team were incredible. They were so inspired by the work that it really passed down." She came back with a head full of new practical skills and a galvanised passion for the project.
Shortly after her return, Grace and her love of physics caught the eye of Swinburne supporters who generously decided to make a donation which funded a research internship to the Italian lab, the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso.
"Someone came forward and said they wanted to help out. I’m very lucky. It’s very humbling to know that someone thinks you’re worth investing in."
Grace spent two months working with Italy’s SABRE team on the testing, design and installation of this dark matter detector. Thanks to Swinburne donors, Grace had the opportunity to go deep underground into the cavernous laboratories of Gran Sasso, working alongside a dedicated, dynamic and diverse team noting what a real research career could look like. Her work there provided a detailed and hands on view of the project that she brought back to the Australian branch of SABRE.
"It was a fantastic feeling to know that outside of my class work I was contributing to a real current project that is helping to shine the spotlight onto this missing element of our universe", says Grace.
Grace has almost been part of SABRE since day one, from the foundational work to the proof of principle. She knows the system and the software inside out and is now working on the Australian part of the experiment.
While Grace is still to complete her fourth year of studies she is contemplating the next step towards a career in dark matter.