Magdalen College School (2000-2005); St. Peter’s College, Oxford Univeristy (2005-2009); The Open University (2009-present).
5 A-stars, 4 As and a B at GCSE; As in Physics, Maths and Biology at A-level; a 2:1 Master’s degree in physics known as an MPhys.
I did some experimental work at the Diamond Light Source (Summer, 2007); I ran some computer simulations of electrons emerging from a plasma wakefield accelerator at Oxford University (Summer, 2008).
The Open University.
Favourite thing to do in my job: Hearing the latest news (e.g. cool ideas, big results, etc.); problem-solving with others; telling people about science.
I am trying to build a really fast computer known as a “quantum computer” out of laser beams and a few extremely cold atoms.
My Typical Day
In a typical day, I: scan read the latest issues of scientific journals; work on a computer programme called “Mathematica” to see if I can figure out how the atoms in my lab might behave in different scenarios; meet, arrange to meet or check when I next have a meeting with my supervisor to discuss how our work is progressing.
What I'd do with the prize money
I would give the money to one of the science classrooms listed on http://www.donorschoose.org/about
DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on the site.
When a project reaches its funding goal, the materials are shipped to the school. We’ll get photos of the project taking place, a letter from the teacher, and insight into how every dollar was spent. Due to the amount we are giving, we will also receive hand-written thank-yous from the students.
I’ve been looking at some of the projects. One physics classroom in a poor neighbourhood needs some money for a whiteboard, so I think I would give to that project:
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Intellectual, sensitive, agreeable.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I had an idea that my supervisor and I then used to apply for some research money and we won almost a quarter of a million pounds to experimentally implement the idea.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Popular science books.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
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?
Winning an important football match is an awesome feeling.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
My wishes would be to successfully complete my PhD, do some good in the world (e.g. win the lottery and give lots to charity) and have a happy, healthy family.
Tell us a joke.
I used to file my nails but then I thought, “what’s the point in keeping them?!”