Initially a mathematics student, Mahasen Sooriyabandra came to ANU to study Honours in Physics at the Research School of Physics and Engineering. He still uses his mathematics in his research, which is based around understanding the fine structure of light.
"The reason I decided to study physics was because I wanted something that was mathematical but had a physical basis to it. It is just really interesting-a nice mix of mathematical topology and physics, which I think is rare."
Mahasen, originally from Melbourne, was always interested in further study.
"I wanted to do honours and ANU seemed to have an outstanding research department," said Mahasen.
"There are an extraordinary number of researchers doing an extraordinary number of things, in an extraordinarily diverse range of fields. I think that's what makes ANU great, you have all these combinations of research going on together."
Mahasen's transition to ANU was made possible by winning a Dunbar Honours Scholarship. The Scholarship offers a $25,000 package including accommodation assistance and a mentoring and networking program.
"I don't think I would have had the financial mobility to come to ANU if it hadn't been for this generous scholarship. I would have missed out on so many experiences that have been beneficial to me as a student and as a researcher."
Mahasen now plans on doing a PhD at ANU.
When asked about what it was like living in Canberra, Mahasen said, "I like it here, there are a lot of things I wouldn't have done if I stayed in Melbourne; and where else do you have a mountain, a lake and a river within walking distance?"