Hella is a 2nd year PhD candidate at the University of Kent, researching how water shortage impacts the behaviour of female chimpanzees by analysing camera trap footage and long term data. Her previous research projects, conducted at the University of St Andrews, looked at chimpanzee leaf tool use and fabrication, and the facial resemblance of related chimpanzees.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early Bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?


4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Yes – I have three paintings of moths and the respective plants their caterpillars eat, and some very cool origami gorillas

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

I speak fluent Hungarian and English, intermediate German and Italian, and recently started dabbling into Spanish and Swahili

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Teaching at elementary school

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Fashion or textile history

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

After almost a full year of pandemic, I would love to see my family

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Time travel, but only very short range

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

If you’re into weird international movies, I can 100% recommend Liza the Fox Fairy

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Netflix & knitting

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Tea, books, fluffy socks

15 What beverage gives you life?


16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

A bit of a primatologist cliché, but reading Jane Goodall’s In the Shadow of Man was the book where I first learned about fieldwork being a thing

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?


18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Half curiosity, half spite

19 What got you excited in science?

Spending my summers in the Kiskunsági National Park in Hungary, learning all about wetland birds, plants, and amphibians

20 What excites you about science now?

Learning and finding out more about the things that have always interested me, and getting to work with wild primates in the field

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Way too much cheese

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I’m a great knitter

23 What is your favorite game?

I’m really into Animal Crossing at the moment

24 What is the last book you read?

Carmen Maria Machado – Her Body & Other Parties

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Rest is a basic necessity, not a luxury

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

I have too many things on my “would be cool to try list”, the problem isn’t being scared, but deciding on one

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Don’t be so hard on yourself (also, your suspicions are correct, it is ADHD, go and see a psych about it)

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Going for a walk in nature

29 What is the last thing you watched?

The X-files

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

A live and very vocal juvenile bee-eater in a shoebox, on its way to a bird rehab facility

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

Zoe Gilbert – Folk

33 What is your favorite comfort food?


34 What is your favorite day of the year?


35 What is your favorite plant?


36 What is your favorite science fact?

Gorillas have so-called “food songs” when eating certain foods

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Fresh laundry

39 What is your favorite sound?

Heavy rain and thunderstorms

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I am very curious, and can learn things very quick if I’m interested in a topic

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Getting my MSc

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Apple tree

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

The summers are warm enough to grow tomatoes

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

My grandma is a music teacher, but I can’t play any instrument or read sheet music

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Gal Badihi (Twitter @Gal_Badihi)!