I’m a scientist at the UK Atomic Energy Authority studying tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen used in nuclear fusion. I love travelling, playing tennis and listening to music. Whenever I have a minute free at home, I’m usually in the garage building something.
Hi I’m Adam.
I’m a tritium scientist at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and I live in Newbury. I spent a year living in Melbourne, Australia which is actually where I met my girlfriend! We both enjoy travelling, so try to get abroad whenever we can. We are planning to go back to Australia this year, almost 7 years later.
Growing up, I really enjoyed playing tennis, I recently made the decision to start playing again for the first time in a few years and have really enjoyed getting back into it. I try to play competitively when I can and love spending time outdoors being active.
I’ve really got into music over the last couple years and like to relax with my headphones on and listen to albums. There’s not much I don’t listen to, everything from dance to hip hop to classical!
The process of fusing two atoms together produces energy and is called nuclear fusion. If we can make it work at a large scale, then it will be a great clean energy source with an almost unlimited amount of fuel. To produce this energy, we fuse together deuterium and tritium, which are both isotopes of hydrogen. There are lots of problems to solve to make fusion power a reality, but my work at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) deals specifically with tritium. Tritium is a radioactive gas and is tricky to handle so there are lots of challenges to overcome.
We must make sure it can be handled safely, that we can measure it accurately, that we can make it pure, that we know how it will behave under different situations and more! My work might involve building systems to perform experiments on tritium, work out how to measure tritium, work with companies to help them create products which would help us achieve our goals. The job is so varied I couldn’t list everything I do, but everyone at the UKAEA has the same goal – to help make a fusion power plant which can produce clean energy.
My Typical Day:
I wake up and drive into work, have a coffee and work out what I’ll be doing for the day. Every day is different, but I could be designing a tritium experiment, reading research papers, working out how to solve a problem, speaking to experts in other areas to get their thoughts on the best way to do something, or much more! I go to the canteen with my mates from the department and then more science or engineering in the afternoon. I go home half an hour early to miss the traffic and work remotely for a little bit when I get back home. I really enjoy cooking and baking in my spare time, so this is a great way to unwind after a busy day.
What I'd do with the prize money:
I’d like to put the money towards running a science competition for schools as I went to one when I was at school myself and I remember it being one of the first things that sparked a big interest in science for me. I would also want to use this opportunity to get students back to hands-on experiments as I think this is the best part of science and students have missed out on some of this due to the circumstances over the last couple of years.
I went to Broadlands School in Bristol, then St Brendans Sixth Form College. I moved away from home to study chemistry at the University of Sheffield where I spent a year studying abroad at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
When I was in year 11, I did my GCSE’s as well as a BTEC in Business Studies.
At sixth form, I did A-levels in Chemistry, Psychology and Computing. I also did AS-levels in Maths and Graphic Design. I chose to do an extended project in Solving Mazes using Automated Solutions.
I then went to university to get a Masters degree in Chemistry with a year abroad.
Before my current job I worked as a defence contractor where I worked with a lot of different chemists, physicists and engineers to solve problems. I spent 3 years working there and although I enjoyed it day-to-day, I didn’t think it was for me long term so I started looking for a new job and found the one I have now.
Before I finished university, in the summers I used to work in the maintenance team for a hotel in Bristol. We would fix any problems that came up and spend time refurbishing rooms and areas in the hotel. I really enjoyed the work and learned a lot about carpentry and construction, it was great being hands on every day and is the only job where I haven’t had to deal with any paperwork!
I work as a tritium scientist at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen and one of the fuels used for fusion power. Our department deals with solving the problems that come with using tritium for fusion power and is one of the world leaders in this area. We have around 50 scientists and engineers who deal with lots of different problems. We design and operate experiments and systems to work out how to solve these problems so that we can make fusion power work as a future clean energy source.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
happy chilled scientist
What did you want to be after you left school?
A graphic designer - I loved art, especially street art
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Weren't we all?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
At the moment I really like French 79, a small-ish electronic band
What's your favourite food?
Too many to choose, but I do love a sausage roll
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
5 million pounds in my bank, ability to teleport, a healthy life for the people around me
Tell us a joke.
Why was the ocean embarrassed? Because the sea weed.