A Levels (Physics, Geography, Chemistry and Maths)
University degree in Geology (rocks are fun!!)
PhD in Physics
I’ve never had a real job – mine is too fun to call it work!!!
After A levels, my degree at Bristol University was in Geology, then I did a PhD, then I stayed and became a professor!
Professor of nuclear materials
I’m a Professor of Materials And Devices (a MAD Professor?!) at the University of Bristol.
I’m interested in protecting our environment, and I do this by working on new energy technologies. I’m building new robots to go where no person can go – inside nuclear reactors!!
My work allows me to use lots of cool equipment such as robots, scanners and drones, like this one below. This is because working with radioactivity can sometimes be dangerous for humans, so it is better to use equipment that doesn’t get tired or scared of radiation!
This is me on one of my fieldtrips to Japan, where we have flown drones over radioactive areas to collect data and understand what materials are there.
Here’s me with one of my good friend Dr Yuki Satou from Japan. We visit each other regularly to work on big scientific problems, share information and find answers together.
Unfortunately, my work doesn’t always involve going to exciting places, but I do get lots of chances to do research in amazing facilities in Bristol. I, along with many other researchers and students, are studying lots of different materials and finding ways to make them last longer, or make them stronger.
What I'd do with the prize money:
I’ve been to several schools to help out in their science clubs, and I’ve noticed that lots of pupils want to learn more about sensors, electronics and programming.
As part of my visits, I’d love to give schools a set of microcontrollers to play with – these are USB devices which can read sensor data and show it live on computer.
Check this out – https://www.arduino.cc/
Does it look fun? Yes?! Well it is!
It’s also the first step to making measurements without humans inside nuclear reactors! These Arduinos are great for taking sensor data and I’d love to teach pupils how to start using them for their own projects.
I’ve used them myself for loads of different things – from measuring the temperature to controlling whole robots!
I’d love to help school-age pupils get using these because I know these kinds of skills will be very useful when they’re scientists like me. I’m talking electronics, programming and problem solving.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
excited, funny, courageous
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes - I always asked lots of questions until the teachers got too tired to answer!!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Looked inside a nuclear reactor - it's a beautiful shade of blue!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
My own nuclear reactor, to be able to fly, and not need to sleep.
Tell us a joke.
What do you call a dinosaur with just one eye? Do-you-think-e-saw-us!