Merritt Moore: The quantum physicist ballerina
Updated: May 30, 2019
Dr Merritt Moore @physicsonpointe is a quantum physicist and professional ballet dancer, having danced with Zurich Ballet, Boston Ballet, the English National Ballet, and the Norwegian National Ballet. Whilst growing up in Los Angeles, her parents played a huge role in her outlook and approach to life, with her father raising her and her sister with the belief that girls are tough and her mother filling their house with puzzles and books, despite the glamour of Hollywood being so close by. Merritt only discovered ballet at age 13 and loved how the movement and music helped her express herself with her body as she was not much of a talker. She felt completely energised and lost track of time whilst dancing. However, two years in, people started commenting that she had started too late to ever achieve her dream of being a professional dancer. But it was her father’s encouragement around thinking about what she would like to achieve with her life and what it would mean to others, that helped her regain her focus and realise that there is no “correct” path in life. She realised that the hardest thing she would need to deal with was whether it was going to be possible; but that ultimately, it was completely up to her to put in the time.
Merritt has always loved science, spending hours on 3D puzzles as a child, and has an innate desire to know more about what she does not know. This saw her graduating with Magna Cum Laude Honours in physics from Harvard @harvard & with a PhD in Atomic and Laser Physics from the University of Oxford @oxford_uni. She admits to having tried quitting ballet before but her marks declined and thus she believes pursuing both her passions helps her towards achieving her full potential in both. Currently, Merritt is working on a project integrating physics research and dance at Harvard’s new Artlab, whilst dancing in Norway. Merritt, who is the recipient of numerous awards, was recently also selected as one of 12 candidates, to undergo rigorous astronaut selection on BBC Two's "Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?". Becoming an astronaut is another dream she has on her life bucket list.
We are inspired by Merritt’s passionate pursuit of both dance & physics, disciplines that are generally considered mutually exclusive. By pursuing and excelling at both, she is breaking down stereotypes and giving hope to many others by leading by example. Some of Merrit’s favourite things to do are binging on Youtube, snickers and hot chocolate whilst curled up in her onesie.
Featured artist: Courts Moloney @courts_molony