Caspar Schmitt


What would you have become if you had not become a physicist? 

If I had not become a physicist, I might have become a physician. It seldom gives the excitement of working on fundamentally new ideas, but is invaluable work for society. Otherwise, I might have tried becoming a carpenter. 


What excites you about your work at Belle II? 

We probe the most elementary building blocks and fundamental science of our universe. We aim to give the simplest possible explanations for fundamental processes, upon which everything else in our world is built.


What sparked your interest in particle physics / Belle II? 

The big questions: Where does the universe come from? How did it evolve into its present-day form? Why did the world not evolve differently? What are we made of? Etc.


What are you working on now and what fascinates you about it? 

Even though we have a solid understanding of most elementary phenomena, there are some puzzles that are not solved yet and are challenging our models! E.g. why are there no antimatter worlds, and why do we live in a matter world? We are working on probing these questions at the Belle II experiment.


Have you been to Japan and Belle II? If so, what made the biggest impression? 

I have been to Japan for an internship, but not yet to the Belle II detector due to Covid travel restrictions. Although similar at first sight, the Japanese society is quite different from ours. Traditional values remain important in a high-tech world, which is quite fascinating.


What is your favorite thing to do when you are not busy with Belle II?

Generally, I like to spend time with friends and playing and listening to music. I really enjoy that Munich is so close to the Alps and many lakes and make use of it frequently for hiking, skiing, biking etc. 


What was the funniest experience that  happened to you in your day-to-day work? 

Attending international conferences with colleagues around the world is always fun and eye-opening. You meet many interesting people and get introduced to topics that you did not have contact with before. 


What do you plan to be doing in five years?

I plan to continue working in research, either in academia or for development in industry. 


What has been your biggest hurdle so far as a physicist? 

Getting funding for my PhD research took quite some time and effort. The amount of funded positions is quite limited, especially on promising topics. Working in academia requires changing one’s place of residence often, which is both exciting and troublesome. 


Do you plan to stay in science? 

This is a difficult question! I would love to, but it depends on research and funding prospects and my private situation…


Do you recommend that others pursue careers in science? 

Yes, if you love to explore things that were never done before!  Aside from technical knowledge, one really needs to be able to focus on ideas for long periods of time and tolerate many setbacks…


What is the most amazing/interesting scientific fact for you? 

Everything we experience in our daily lives is made up of only <10 basic building blocks! 


What do you think will be the next (particle) physics discovery? 

Measurements in flavor and neutrino physics that we cannot yet explain seem quite promising at indicating new discoveries. But of course no-one can predict where the next breakthrough will come!


Do you have a role model? If so, who? 

Not really one specific person, rather "role values" and moral principles that I try to live by. 


What would you like to say to yourself 10 years ago? 

Enjoy life more! :) 

Where are you from?