Dr. Andrew Frey’s journey to academia might have been written in the stars.
Some of his earliest memories include gazing at the sky while waiting in a car outside a daycare in North Carolina. He says these moments sparked a lifelong curiosity in and passion for understanding the cosmos.
As a child, Frey also found solace in books. “I always liked fantasy and science fiction a lot – especially whatever I could find at the library,” he says.
Frey’s astronomy career has taken him from the University of California, Santa Barbara to McGill University in Montreal. It eventually led him to Winnipeg in 2011.
His work involves tackling questions related to dark energy, dark matter, inflation and the Big Bang. In this field, “it’s hard to find a job wherever you want, (so) you kind of go to where the job is,” he says. Winnipeg became Frey’s new home.
Even compared to the warmer southern climates in California and North Carolina, he says Winnipeg is “really actually a very livable city.”
Frey has maintained his childhood love for reading. “I still like to read when I get a chance,” he says. “Sometimes that has to wait until vacation or when there’s time off.”
He and his wife also enjoy attending concerts, particularly classical performances. “I think my wife and I do try to get to music concerts when we can. She’s also a PhD physicist, but recently she’s been doing more singing in the arts,” he says.
Frey is passionate about teaching and sharing his knowledge with students. He says he values the importance of diverse perspectives and constant learning.
“Seeing people learning things, that’s really fulfilling,” he says. He also finds great satisfaction in his research, where he endeavours to uncover new insights into the universe’s secrets.
What was your favorite toy growing up?
“It would have been Transformers. The ones from back in the ’80s.”
What was your worst grade in university?
“So I have to confess. I didn’t get anything below an A. I know that’s less fun, but my hardest class would have been Spanish.”
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
“I don’t know if this counts, but teleportation!”
What is something you’ve learned from students?
“I think just remembering to think about things in different ways, because not everybody understands the same thing in the same way.”
Published in Volume 78, Number 03 of The Uniter (September 21, 2023)