My daughter Shira, who enjoys crafts of all sorts, sewed this small snowman cushion as a Christmas present for me when she was six years old.
As an astronomer, I travel quite a lot, and I experience living in different realities. It is known that ‘transitional toys’ give young children a sense of stability. These days the travelling laptop plays that role for adults, but I’ve found that having with me Shira’s cushion gives me a far more homely sense. The cushion has travelled with me to Chile, France, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, the US and other places. It will probably see more of the world in coming years.
Ofer Lahav is Perren Professor of Astronomy at University College London.
Ofer studies Dark Matter and Dark Energy. His work involves Artificial Intelligence methods for Big Data.
He was born and raised in Israel, and lived there until moving to the UK in 1985 for his PhD at Cambridge, where he was later a member of staff at the Institute of Astronomy and a Fellow of St Catharine’s College. In 2004 he moved to UCL, where he headed the Astrophysics Group and established the Cosmology research area. He also co-led the science programme of the international Dark Energy Survey.