I’m a 1st year DPhil student in Magdalen having joined from the University of Strathclyde in 2019. Funded by the European Research Council, my research is part of a large, international collaborative effort to understand the physical basis for the magnetic sense in night-migratory birds like the European robin. Our work focusses on the blue-light receptor protein, cryptochrome whose photochemistry appears ideally suited for detecting weak magnetic fields. The proteins are expressed in Oldenburg, Germany, and shipped to Oxford where we apply a wide variety of laser spectroscopic and electron paramagnetic resonance techniques. My own instrument is a uniquely sensitive optical-cavity experiment and my project involves instrument and technique development as well as precision measurement. I hope to miniaturise it further in coming months by combining optical cavities with microfluidic techniques.