Bridgewater High School, University of Birmingham
Maths, further maths, chemistry and German A Levels, Chemical Engineering masters degree
3 month Summer job at BASF in Germany
Chemical Engineering PhD student
University of Birmingham
PhD student living in Birmingham
I am a researcher - I work in the lab and look at lab results to make a machine use less energy.
Paint is made from many things, including chalk. The pieces of chalk need to be really small so that the paint is smooth.
The size of the chalk particles is decreased in a machine called a mill. A lot of the energy is wasted by the mill getting very hot and being noisy. I do experiments to find out how we can make the mill use less energy. For example:
- How can we change the design to make it use less energy?
- Can we change the amount of chalk we put in the mill?
- Can we add other things to the mill as well as chalk to reduce the amount of energy needed?
This is important because energy is expensive, so using less is good for the environment and reduces costs.
I get to go to conferences to present my work and see what similar work other people are doing – this month I have visited a university near Prague and been on a training course in Germany.
My Typical Day: Working in the lab, making Powerpoints and spreadsheets
I start the day by checking emails and planning what I want to do in the lab.
I do some lab experiments.
I then have lunch with some of the other PhD students.
After lunch, I plot graphs from my lab experiments and do some maths using spreadsheets to work out what the results mean.
I then make a Powerpoint file to show my lab results clearly. I can then present this to my supervisor in our next meeting.
What I'd do with the money
Buy equipment to run activities in schools
I would like to buy equipment to run activities in schools. The activities would be based around what kind of things chemical engineers do and would include things like how to make paint, transporting liquids and crushing rocks.
The main aim would be to show students what chemical engineers might do and the things that they need to think about.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Visiting different countries with work
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My maths teacher suggested it - I liked maths and science but had no idea what I wanted to do!
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wasn't sure, but something involving maths!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Road trip around iceland