For my research project, I produce thin metallic films with thicknesses on the nanometer scale for inclusion in thermoelectric devices, which convert waste heat to electricity.
Before starting my PhD, I graduated from Loughborough University with a Joint Honours in Sports Science and Physics. I chose Loughborough University because to me, it is the epitome of hard work. From the department staff and researchers to the students - everyone strives to be the best. It felt inspiring to be part of such a machine making waves throughout the research community.
The flexibility that comes with a PhD has enabled me to find my strengths (and weaknesses) as a researcher. The University provides a plethora of seminars, research talks and personal development short courses to help a PhD student become the very best they can be. From the first week, the PhD teaches you to become more independent and self-reliant than ever before. Long nights in the labs or days in the office crunching data make your work personal and your work becomes a large part of who you are and who you will become.
A typical day for me means I get in to work around 7.30am before the rush of the work day starts, collecting data from equipment I had run overnight. At around 10am, I meet with my supervisor to discuss the plan for the week, before heading back to the office for some data analysis. I spend roughly 90% of my time between the labs and offices, with the rest made up of teaching or attending seminars and workshops run by the Doctoral College. The day ends (later than I care to mention!) setting up experiments to run overnight for collection the next day.
I decided to undertake my PhD in this area as the world today poses numerous questions for the future. Constructing answers to those challenges is the underpinning role of Physics. Science and innovation are needed like never before, and I wanted to be a part of that.
In five years' time, I see myself working my way to the forefront of a Physics department down in London, networking with researchers around the world and sparking collaborations with the finest minds of our age.
For those considering a PhD I would say hold nothing back, whether that’s staying late and working like a maniac for three years, or attending as many conferences as you can. Take the PhD by the horns.