CUWiP 2018, Oxford, UK

Academic Panel:

  • How to apply for graduate school?
  • How to pick a field of research?
  • Why pursue further education in physics?
  • What options are available outside the UK?
  • What can someone expect from a graduate programme?

Career Panel:

  • What can you do with a physics degree?
  • Do you need a PhD to pursue certain careers?
  • What if your interests lay slightly outside physics?
  • Can you conduct new scientific research outside a university setting?
  • How can you find careers outside academia?
Panels


Careers at National Laboratories panel

Joanne Flanagan

Dr Joanne Flanagan leads the Electron Kinetics Group, set within the Tokamak Science Department at UKAEA, and is responsible for the operation of a number of plasma diagnostic systems on JET, the Joint European Torus. Joanne is also involved in the graduate development scheme and the diversity and inclusion initiative at UKAEA.

Joanne Flanagan

Sam Gibson

Sam is a second year PhD student, working on a joint research project between Durham University and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy as part of the Fusion Centre for Doctoral Training. Her research focuses primarily on experimental plasma diagnostics, in particular Motional Stark Effect (MSE) measurements on MAST-U to determine the structure of the magnetic field, q and current profiles in advanced tokamak scenarios. One of the extensions to this work will be to undertake a placement at Australian National University to determine the feasibility of a 2D MSE diagnostic for MAST-U. Outside of physics, Sam is an avid fan of science fiction, painting and board games.

Sam Gibson

Costanza Maggi

Costanza Maggi is fusion spectroscopist and senior tokamak scientist at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE). She graduated in Physics at the University of Milano, Italy, and obtained her PhD in Physics at Strathclyde University, UK, carrying out her doctoral research in experimental tokamak plasma physics at the Joint European Torus (JET) in Culham. In 1997 she participated in the first JET Deuterium-Tritium experiments investigating the isotope effects in JET density limits. In 2000 she joined the ASDEX Upgrade team at the Max Planck Institut für Plasmaphysik, Garching, Germany, where she worked in the fields of core plasma spectroscopy and H-mode physics and confinement. In 2009 she returned to Culham, as diagnostic responsible officer and leading international teams of scientists in the execution and interpretation of experiments on the JET tokamak. Since 2015 she is leader of the Pedestal Physics topical area for the Tokamak Science programme at CCFE.

Costanza Maggi

Martin O’Brien

Martin O’Brien is UKAEA’s Director of New Research Opportunities and head of the Materials Science & Scientific Computing Department. He is also joint manager of UKAEA’s materials research programme, has responsibility for its new Materials Research Facility (for fission as well as fusion R&D) and is responsible for overall coordination of UKAEA’s links to universities which include many PhD and pre-doctoral training projects. He is a member of UKAEA’s Executive Committee and Athena Swan panel.

Martin O’Brien

Alex Davies

Alex Davies is a Tritium Engineer at the UKAEA. Having completed a BSc in Physics at University of Surrey, she went onto to run a microscopy laboratory. She successfully applied for the UKAEA graduate scheme in 2014, and rotated around different departments, finally settling in a permanent position in the Tritium Engineering and Science Group (TESG) in 2017. Current projects include Responsible Officer for tritium storage and transfer system and being part of a research group studying tritium permeation through fusion relevant metals. Throughout her time at university and work, she has always partaken in science communication.

Alex Davies

Brian Lloyd

Brian graduated in physics from Oxford University (MA, MSc D. Phil.). His D. Phil. studies were carried out on nuclear fusion research, in collaboration with the UKAEA at Culham Science Centre. From 1982 to 1984 he worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), before returning to the UKAEA at Culham, where he has worked on fusion research ever since. From 2001 until 2013 he was responsible for managing the research programme on the UK’s primary fusion facility, the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST). He presently manages the Tokamak Science Department which is home to over 100 physicists working in fusion research.

Brian Lloyd

Debasmita Samaddar

Debasmita Samaddar is leading the efforts in developing algorithms targeting Exascale machines at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE). Debasmita earned her BSc in Physics from the University of Calcutta, India, a MSc from the University of Delaware, US and a PhD in Physics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, US. She worked at the ITER Organization in Cadarache, France as a Monaco Postdoctoral Fellow. Debasmita is enthusiastic about magnetic fusion and novel algorithms to solve equations on supercomputing devices. She is excited to be part of an international effort that can one day solve the world’s energy problems.

Debasmita Samaddar

Anthony Shaw

Anthony Shaw studied for a Master of physics at the University of Warwick, undertaking a summer placement studying the dynamics of solar prominences in the Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics there. After university Anthony moved straight onto the graduate scheme at CCFE, working in various areas as a supernumerary physicist. Following the graduate scheme, Anthony spent 2 years working with the Data and Coding group creating and maintaining data tools and software for research before moving to his current position as a plasma spectroscopist for JET.

Anthony Shaw

Academic Panel

Laura Martinez Maestro

I obtained a Masters degree in Photonics from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in 2010 and defended my PhD thesis, entitled, Quantum dots as luminescent nanothermometers: controlled plasmonic hyperthermia” In March 2015. In September 2015 I joined Herz and Johnston groups at the Condensed Matter Physics Department in the University of Oxford as a postdoctoral research assistant focusing my studies on the micro-luminescence of semiconductor nanowires systems as long as High-Resolution Electron Transmission Microscopy Imaging of Perovskites Solar Cells devices. I became a member of the Spanish Researchers in the UK Society in October 2015 where I am the community manager and press officer of the Oxford Constituency as long as the co-editor of their science dissemination blog.

Laura Martinez Maestro

Jessica Wade

Jess is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Physics and Centre for Plastic Electronics at Imperial College London. Her current research focuses on the characterisation of molecular structure in conjugated polymers and small molecules, and how to generate highly efficient circularly polarised organic light emitting diodes. Jess has been involved in projects to support gender inclusion in science, as well as encouraging more young people to study science and engineering. She won the Institute of Physics (IOP) Early Career Communicator Prize (2015), “I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!” (2015), the IOP Jocelyn Bell Burnell Award (2016), the IOM3's 'Robert Perrin Award' (2017) and the Imperial College Dame Julia Higgins Certificate (2017). She sits on the committees of the IOP’s Women in Physics Group, Communicators Group and London & South East Branch. She is on the council of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) and Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) Young Women’s Board. In 2017 she was the UK representative on a US State Department International Visitor Leadership Program, travelling across America for a month looking at initiatives to recruit and retain women in ‘STEM’. She was the co-lead of the UK Team at the International Conference for Women in Physics.

Jessica Wade

Lindsay Fletcher

Lyndsay Fletcher is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Glasgow, working primarily on solar flares and solar activity. After her undergraduate and PhD degrees at the University of Glasgow she spent 5 years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utrecht and the European Space Agency in the Netherlands, followed by a position as Senior Physicist at the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Lab in Palo Alto, California. She returned to the University of Glasgow in 2000. As well as research and teaching, other main roles are Chair of her School's Equality and Diversity committee, Senior Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society, and Vice-Chair of the Science and Technology Facilities Council Astronomy Grants Panel. She also does a fair bit of outreach.

Lindsay Fletcher

Melissa McHugh

Melissa is a research assistant in a space exploration and analytical science team at the University of Leicester. Her PhD, in collaboration with the European Space Agency, focused on designing a spectroscopy instrument that could be operated over large distances on the surface of Mars in order to obtain information about the geological composition of the surface and to contribute to the search for past or present life.

Nowadays, her research involves working with a number of different international collaborators, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the USA on Raman spectroscopy instruments for future missions to Venus and Europa; the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial in Spain on the ExoMars rover's Raman spectroscopy instrument; and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research in the Netherlands, in which she is helping to deliver a camera system for testing Earth Observation instruments.

At the university, Melissa has contributed to many different teaching activities, including the development of experimental workshops for a Space Systems Masters course, and supporting undergraduate physics laboratory experiments and final year projects.

Melissa McHugh

Amanda Cooper-Sakar

Amanda Cooper-Sarkar did her degrees in Oxford. She then did research in experimental particle physics in several of the world's major international laboratories (CERN in Switzerland, KEK in Japan, RAL in the UK). She is an internationally recognised expert in the deep structure of the proton (Parton Distribution Functions) and a member of the PDF4LHC advisory board for the experiments at the world's highest energy accelerator, the LHC at CERN. She was part of the ZEUS collaboration, finalising the analysis of the data from the HERA electron-proton collider at DESY Hamburg, and is now part of the ATLAS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider, CERN Geneva, where first data led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson and where new data, which should elucidate the nature of Dark Matter, are now rapidly accumulating. In 2015, Professor Cooper-Sarkar was awarded the Chadwick Medal and Prize for her study of deep inelastic scattering of leptons on nuclei which has revealed the internal structure of the proton.

During this time she also had two children, now grown up, so has experience juggling the work/life balance and the two-body problem.

Amanda Cooper-Sakar

Merrit Moore

Merritt Moore is a ballet dancer and quantum physicist. She has danced as a member of the Zurich Ballet, Boston Ballet, English National Ballet and London Contemporary Ballet Theatre while graduating with honours in physics at Harvard, and graduating with a PhD in Quantum Optics at Oxford University. She was one of the 12 selected astronaut candidates to undergo astronaut selection process on BBC Two "Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?".

Merrit Moore

Kristina Small

Kristina is a second year PhD student working at the University of Manchester and in collaboration with The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, after completing an MPhys in Theoretical Physics at the University of York. Her project involves exploring the use of very high-energy electrons in cancer treatment, specifically the way that they damage DNA and so kill cancerous cells.This work is carried out using a combination of computational modelling in Geant4 and plasmid irradiation experiments using the CLARA and CLEAR electron accelerators at Daresbury Laboratory and CERN. Aside from physics, Kristina spends time watching and taking part in athletics, playing the piano and baking.

Kristina Small

Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams is a college lecturer and fellow in physics at Murray Edwards College at the University of Cambridge, having previously worked as a physics lecturer at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on searches for new particles using the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, with a particular focus on searching for particles that could help explain what dark matter is made of.

Sarah Williams

Career Panel

Diana Di Paolo

As a driven and enthusiastic Associate Consultant at Cambridge Healthcare Research (CHR), Diana’s role is to provide strategic decision support and action planning to global leaders in the life-sciences and healthcare spaces. She holds a BSc and an MSc in Physics from the University of Pisa, Italy, and a D.Phil. in Physics from the University of Oxford, during which she adapted a novel technique for internalization and imaging of dye-labelled proteins in live bacteria. Prior to CHR, she held a joint post-doc role between the Department of Biochemistry and Physics in Oxford for one year. During her time in Oxford, she worked as a student consultant for Nominet UK and covered several leading roles in University Societies, including Secretary of the Oxford Women in Physics Society.

Diana Di Paolo

Gemma Wooden

Gemma completed an MPhys in Physics at the University of Oxford and a DPhil in Particle Physics also at the University of Oxford. As part of her DPhil, she spent two years at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s highest energy particle accelerator. She continued the work of her DPhil as a Research Fellow at the University of Michigan, based at CERN, working towards the discovery of the Higgs boson, which was found in July 2012.

After her Research Fellowship, Gemma moved to EIP, an IP law firm, where she qualified as a UK and European patent attorney. Her work now includes the drafting and prosecution of patent applications relating to physics technology. She has particular experience in the fields of display device technology, image processing and artificial intelligence.

Gemma Wooden

Ana Lopez

Ana joined Winton In January 2016 to work as a researcher. Before joining Winton Ana was a lecturer at University College and a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Martin School where she worked on the use of weather and climate forecasts for the management of natural resources and hazards.

Prior to that Ana hold research positions at the London School of Economics, and Oxford University-Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, where she studied the predictability of climate and the use of climate information for decision support.

Ana holds a Licenciatura in Physics from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a Master in Science and PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US. Her research in theoretical condensed matter Physics focused on the development of field theoretical descriptions for systems with applications in fields such as nanophysics and quantum computation.

Ana Lopez

Ellie Davies

Ellie is the lead analyst for surface transport at the Committee on Climate Change, which provides independent advice to government on climate change policy. Managing development of a range of models, she delivers evidence to government and industry about the cost effective way to decarbonise the transport sector.

She completed a Masters in Physics at the University of Bath, including a six month placement in particle physics at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. This placement led to her completing a DPhil in Particle Physics at Oxford University, working on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.

After her PhD, Ellie joined the Government Operational Research Service Fast Stream. Her two roles in the Home Office included a technical role developing bespoke software and a strategic role leading a team in providing analysis for plans to combat drug smuggling, reduce queues at passport control and optimise usage of public money. To gain a wider range of experience, Ellie moved to HMRC to model the tax gap– analysing the difference between the amount of tax due to HMRC and the amount paid. Ellie graduated the fast stream after earning promotion to her current role.

Ellie uses and develops skills from her physics background every day, including number crunching, being able to explain complicated concepts and limitations of the modelling to non-technical audiences and using problem solving to find simple ways to model complex real world situations.

Ellie Davies

Amy Hearst

Since February I have been working as a Production Engineer at vivaMOS, a spin-off from RAL. In my role I support our suppliers in the production of X-ray sensors, and work to improve our quality, yield and overall manufacturing processes.

Prior to this I gained a Masters in Physics from the University of Southampton. Having spent the summer before final year at a SEPnet placement with Leonardo MW, I went on to complete their Graduate scheme from 2014-2016, then took on a role as a Process Engineer in the infrared semiconductor team, where my main project was making sensors for an earth observation satellite.

Outside of my engineering role I have found STEM activities a great way to engage industry with the community.

Amy Hearst

Juliane Behrend

Juliane works as a Design Engineer at ASML in Veldhoven, The Netherlands. After receiving her PhD for her investigation of the impact of small scale inhomogeneities on the overall expansion of the Universe from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, Juliane has held postdoctoral positions at the University of Ulm in Germany, the Saint Francis Xavier University in Canada, and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Then she decided to join ASML in order to contribute to the development of their cutting-edge Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) technology. ASML is currently the world's leading supplier of Lithography systems for the production of integrated circuits, and EUV Lithography is the main candidate for critical layers of the most advanced manufacturing nodes. At the moment Juliane is responsible for simulations to predict the imaging performance of the EUV scanners for several critical features of various customers.

Juliane Behrend

Ilana Wisby

Ilana Wisby is about to begin a new role as CEO of Oxford Quantum circuits, an Oxford University spin-out company founded by Peter Leek, with the aim of making commercial quantum technology. Ilana has a background in both quantum physics and start-ups, completing a PhD in Quantum Devices at the National Physical Laboratory, before working at a number of start-ups, with her latest role as Chief Operating Officer at Snap Out Ltd - a software development start-up company specialising in AI and ML applications.

Ilana Wisby