2020 Incoming Grad Series: Eve Bodnia

by Chava Nerenberg, Graduate Programming Assistant
Monday, September 28, 2020 9:00 AM

The 2020 Incoming Grad Series continues, featuring backstories and fun facts about 8 students who are part of the entering class at UCSB.

Originally from Russia, Eve Bodnia is coming to UCSB by way of the Bay Area after completing her Bachelor's degree at Berkeley. She is entering the Ph.D. program in Physics, where she will research dark matter. Read on to learn more about her background, why she chose UCSB, how she hopes to combine experimental and theoretical physics, and some surprising fun facts--including how her incredible time management skills allowed her to have a child while completing her undergraduate degree in Physics! 


Eve grew up in Russia and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area after marrying her childhood friend at age eighteen. After investing some time in learning English at a community college, she enrolled in UC Berkeley as a Physics major. She had studied and worked in phenomenology (collider physics) since she was in high school in Russia. However, she tells us that upon arriving at UC Berkeley, she got involved in both neutrino and dark matter detection physics, engaging in both the theoretical and experimental aspects. 

In her junior year, she and her husband made the significant life decision to have a child. Eve told us that she firmly believes that if you want something, you should not await “the perfect moment” because life is inherently unpredictable; instead, you should live in the here and now. She says that people often ask her how she was able to handle being a new parent while also completing her degree. She had a plan: equipped with strong time-management skills and meditation practices, she was able to balance her status as a full-time student while doing research, earning good grades in her classes, and keeping up with family and friends. 


Eve told us she chose UCSB because the Physics department is one of the best in the world and has an optimal balance between experimental and theoretical physics. She was especially excited to work with Professor Hugh Lippincott on the HydroX project. She explains that HydroX is a dark matter detector that allows for sensitivity to lower-scale dark matter for both spin-dependent and spin-independent interactions. Eve says Professor Lippincott is open-minded, innovative, accessible, and treats his students and postdocs like gold. He encourages his students to explore their own interests, provides ample support, and fosters their independence in problem-solving.

Eve loves Santa Barbara and says she has enviable working conditions. She enjoys the ocean view from the school, loves living next to the beach, and enjoys working with a cohesive group that takes her needs into account.



As previously mentioned, Eve has a background in both theoretical and experimental physics. She is also interested in quantum information physics and its connection to cosmology. Eve told us she believes that nowadays theory and experiments are less disparate than they used to be and so for her Ph.D. she decided to work on both. Her dream is to produce dark matter theories which account for experimental limitations.

Currently, Eve is working on the LZ (LUX-ZEPLIN) dark matter direct detection experiment. She told us the project is a perfect fit for students who are interested in the interface between theory and experiments and that she enjoys being able to collaborate on the project with top experts from across the globe.



Eve told us that she actually does physics for fun! Whenever she has spare time, she reads up on new concepts in phenomenology and enjoys the thrill this offers. 

She enjoys hiking, sailing, exercising, playing piano, learning different languages, exploring various cultures, and watching Netflix shows. Eve also enjoys visiting a Buddhist abbey and spending time with the monks there. She admits she also enjoys arguing with her family and friends about science and politics.

She told us she is hopeless when it comes to cooking, but played solo guitar in a high school rock band and is a big fan of Muse and Thom Yorke. Her motto is “see the extraordinary in the ordinary."

Welcome, Eve!

Be sure to subscribe to the GradPost and check back each day until the start of classes for the continuation of our Incoming Grad Series. Up next is Royce Olarte, an incoming Ph.D. student in Education coming to UCSB from Redlands, CA. He tells us about his extensive experience in mathematics education as well as his past life as a traveling musician and singer!