I’ve worked for a company that made chemicals to make engines work better and not corrode and fuel burn better in Oxfordshire.
I work for the University.
University of Leeds
Friendly nerd on a bicycle.
I am 25 years old and live in Leeds with my partner. I grew up in London and went to the University of York. I’ve stayed in Yorkshire since (apart from one year in Oxfordshire) and am working towards my PhD, which is a long project on one research topic.
I love to cycle and I worked as a bicycle mechanic before university on the weekend. I’ve also learnt to swim whilst living in Leeds (yes, adult swimming lessons) and I climb sometimes (I’m not very good!). The rest of my time is spent playing board games (not monopoly).
I’m trying to make a new kind of solar panel.
I am nearly at the end of my PhD, which means I have spent nearly 3 years working on one project in a university. I have two supervisors, but most of the time, I work on my own project. I am writing a long report (thesis) on everything I’ve done at the moment.
My work involves the use of “nano-materials” which I use to make things.
The idea for my project is that if a solar panel is really, really, really cheap, then it doesn’t need to be that good! So we want to make panels that are cheap to produce (so I use steel sheet and white paint), with low efficiency. Obviously we would love them to be as good as they can be, so I am working to make them better. This has led to some unexpected results and it might be better to use these panels to do chemical reactions, like breaking apart water or breaking down pollution.
My Typical Day: Lab work making devices, then looking at my results.
I usually cycle to work get changed and have a cup of tea first.
If I am spending the day writing, I look at all my results and try and find things in common in them. I read a lot of other peoples work too to see if they got the same results. To be honest, I don’t much like sitting at a desk all day so I try and break it up with going to my lab.
If I have lab work to do, it usually starts with making tiny versions of the solar panels. This is pretty simple to do, I am trying to keep the processes simple so that if people wanted to make these panels one day, it wouldn’t be expensive.
If I want to improve some aspect of the panel, I change the way I make them to change one thing. Then I measure the electrical characteristics and shine light on them to see if they work as solar panels.
What I'd do with the money
Put some kits together so people can see how solar panels can be made.
I would like to make a solar panel version of something called “Spectroscopy in a Suitcase”. The Spectroscopy in a Suitcase kit can be taken to schools so people can learn how spectroscopy works.
I would like to put a kit together to allow people to make a simple solar panel in their classroom and provide some other panels for comparison.
The kit would be based on something called “Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells” where you can make a simple solar panel using conductive glass (like used on smart phone screens or airplane cockpits), paint and fruit juice.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Nerdy. Friendly. Cyclist.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Helped file patents
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Space Lego – I wanted to be an astronaut when I was very small.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I was pretty quiet at school, but I was also forgetful and disorganized so I’d get in trouble for never having the right stuff for sports or maths. Also for being late and forgetting homework.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Mango or chocolate
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Giant 3G swing!
Tell us a joke.
Two Drums and a cymbal fall off a cliff. Ba-dom Cha!