I actually went to over ten different schools throughout my childhood, so far too many to list! I was a sixth former at Rainham School for Girls, and did my undergraduate at the University of Bath.
GCSEs, A-levels, Master of Physics
Greggs, B&Q, English Language Centre
Research fellow of optical fibres. Dabble in a bit of 3D printing, science communication and roller derby, but not yet at the same time.
I am a researcher in Physics at the University of Southampton. I love to skate, play video games and sew. At the moment, especially as the skate parks and ice rinks at closed, I’m really into Animal Crossing: New Horizons (who isn’t?)! When I’m not working, I can be found at the local makers club either 3D printing. Currently we are making personal protective equipment for the NHS and local care homes – we’ve made and delivered over 4,500 so far!
At sixth form, I studied English, Art, Physics and Maths at A-level. When choosing my A-level subjects, I was sure that I wanted to study some kind of English Literature based topic at University… Until I found I really liked Physics! More specifically, I liked being able to describe how things worked using equations.
After sixth form, I did a four year undergraduate course in Physics at the University of Bath. I really enjoyed my time studying Physics with lots of interesting new people! I decided to stay and keep learning.
Recently, I left the University of Bath to go to the University of Southampton. I joined the Airguide Photonics group which works on hollow core fibres. My work involves investigating and splicing hollow core fibres.
When I’m not hiding in a dark lab, I also love rollerskating, gaming or sewing.
I design, modify and test optical fibres. These are thin, long strands of very pure glass, typically about the size of human hair, that guide light across extremely long distances.
I work within a team at the University of Southampton to investigate hollow core fibres and their applications. Usually, optical fibres are made of solid glass, but hollow core fibres are, well… hollow on the inside! This means their structure is almost inside out to a normal optical fibre!
My Typical Day:
Mornings do not come easily to me, so usually I stumble out of bed early like a zombie and seek some coffee. I ride my bike to work, and then discuss plans for the day with some colleagues over more coffee. Optical fibres can take many attempts to get right and so it’s important the team communicates! I take new optical fibre to a dark lab and test how it works using a laser. I join solid fibres onto the ends of the hollow fibre, then take lots of measurements.
There are very different types of day I can have, depending on what type of work I need to do:
- Testing optical fibre
- Modifying optical fibres
Testing the optical fibre involves investigating how it is working. We need it to carry light well, so it needs to lose very little! On these days, I will spend my morning setting up the necessary equipment to do this – it can take time to look for all of the tools that I need, as expensive equipment is often shared!
Once I have the equipment I need, I will launch laser light into the fibre. This can be very fiddly, because the laser light needs to fall on the end of the very thin fibre to get inside. I have to get the most light I can into my fibre in order to test it. I use a detector or a camera to see how well the fibre carries the light.
If I want to modify optical fibres, I will use a “splicer”. Cleaved ends of optical fibre are held, heated and then pushed together to form a “splice” where two parts of separated fibre are now joined together. This is really important to be able to launch into the fibre consistently and reliably, and needs to be done very carefully! Other things I might do on a splicer is to “taper” a fibre. This is when the fibre is heated and stretched. Lots of cool structures can be made with this method, that make optical fibres really powerful devices for all sorts of applications in telecommunications, biomedical fields and sensing.
What I'd do with the prize money:
I would work on building 3D printed tools for hands on science communication! I think science is the most fun when you can do something yourself, with your own hands. Often science equipment is expensive, but 3D printing is introducing loads of new and affordable opportunities for “lab on the cheap”, so that practical science is more accessible for anyone!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Ambitious glass artisan
What did you want to be after you left school?
I originally wanted to be a writer!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes. I often got detention. In year 8, I only had 13% attendance!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Ability to pause time, never get sick, and no more sleep needed ever!
Tell us a joke.
Where does a photon on bad path end up? In a prism.