I’m an astrophysics graduate 🌠 from Hull 🐟, working on fusion energy research ⚛️. Outside of work, I like gaming 🎮🎲, walking the dogs 🐕🐕🏞️, and movie nights 🎥.
I’m from Hull, home of the best fish and chips in the UK! Nowadays I live in Abingdon, a small town near Oxford. I am a computational engineer at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). Basically, this means I use computers to do science.At home, I watch a new movie most evenings, and I love video games too. Every weekend I get together with a regular group to play tabletop RPGs. I also go on lots of walks with my girlfriend and two dogs along the river.
My journey to becoming a scientist was not a straight line. I studied history in Essex but dropped out because I didn’t like it. Then I worked in a supermarket for a few years before returning to Hull to study physics. At first I was training to be a physics teacher, but I switched to an astrophysics course in my second year. I learned about UKAEA and applied to their graduate scheme during my final year, and was very happy to get the job.
My pronouns are:
he/him or they/them
I am a computational engineer working on fusion energy research: a worldwide effort to develop a safe low-carbon energy source for the future. Our team uses supercomputers to develop advanced software for simulating fusion reactors.
I work for the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). We are a government research organisation. We work with other teams around the world to develop a new type of power plant using fusion energy. Our mission is to provide electricity without harming people or the environment.
I work in the Advanced Computing Department. My work mostly includes:
- Software development – (Writing code, often in small teams.)
- Running simulations – (Using supercomputers to test how a reactor and its components will behave under operating conditions.)
- Reporting findings – (Communicating the results of a project to other people, sometimes as a written report, but usually as a powerpoint presentation.)
- Training/Learning – (I go to all the training events I can, it’s important to always keep learning.)
- Outreach – (Communicating science with the public in events like this!)
My Typical Day:
I’m not a morning person; thankfully I work from home and do flexible hours! Every day is different, but I usually work 9 am – 5 pm. I do small tasks in the mornings and focus on my main project in the afternoons, generally this means writing code, running simulations, reviewing data, and writing reports. At lunch, I walk the dogs in some nearby woodland and have a light meal. After work, I cook something nice for tea and relax with some video games and/or a movie before bed.
In the morning (~9am-12pm): I have a mug of coffee and sit down in my home office. I keep a paper diary with a to-do list on my desk, and I tend to spend my mornings ticking off lots of smaller tasks like catching up on emails, checking on colleagues and team members, and going to meetings.
At lunchtime (~12pm-1pm): I go for a walk around the park with my partner and have a light meal (e.g. a banana or sandwich).
In the afternoon (~1pm-5pm): I work on my main task of the day. Usually this means creating digital models, running simulations, and writing up the results.
After work (~5pm+): I enjoy cooking, and tend to have a big meal for tea rather than earlier in the day. After tea, I’ll play some video games, then watch a movie before bed (~10-11pm).
What I'd do with the prize money:
I would love to publish a picture book about the physics of everyday situations. This could be things like the best way to cool down a hot drink, why microwave ovens rotate your food, or why the sky is (usually) blue (and why it’s sometimes not)… that sort of thing!
- Primary – Westcott Primary School, Hull (2000-2004)
- Primary / Secondary – Hymers College, Hull (2004-2011)
- A-Levels – Wyke 6th Form College, Hull (2011-2013)
- University – University of Essex, Colchester (2013-2014, dropped out)
- University – University of Hull, Hull (2016-2020)
- GCSEs (English, Maths, English Literature, Physics, Biology, History, Drama, Graphic Design, Art, and French)
- AS-Levels (English Lang/Lit and Further Maths)
- A-Levels (Maths, History, and Physics)
- Integrated Master’s Degree (MPhys Physics & Astrophysics)
- Shop Assistant – Oxfam, Cottingham
- Process Assistant – Asda, Manchester
- Fresh Foods Assistant – Asda, Beverley
- Summer Research Intern – The History Troupe, Cottingham
- Graduate Software Engineer – UK Atomic Energy Authority, Abingdon
I work for the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). We are a government research organisation. We work with other teams around the world to deliver sustainable fusion energy. Our vision of a net-zero future is one where fusion provides much of the baseline (i.e. always-on) energy instead of fossil fuels, working alongside other renewable energy sources to meet growing energy demands.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
sleepy nuclear physicist
What did you want to be after you left school?
I never had a single thing in mind. I mostly expected to be either a teacher, a graphic designer, or a game developer. None of these ended up being true.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not as often as I should have been...
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Maybe running a board game cafe or something.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I've been getting into the Dungeon Synth genre recently, "The Dungeon Synth Archives" channel on youtube has a lot of good stuff from various artists.
What's your favourite food?
Trust me on this: I've been enjoying honey & marmite on toast for a few years now. It's truly a hidden gem of the breakfast world.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
More hours in the day, a cure for aging, and universal basic income.
Tell us a joke.
A spanish police officer pulls over a photon travelling at 9 million times the speed limit. Policía: "¿Sabía a qué velocidad iba?" Photon: "Lo siento, no hablo español, soy un fotón." Policía: "Do you know what speed you were travelling?" Photon: "Ah, c."