Thanks for all the votes!
Hessle High School and Hessle Sixth Form (1997 – 2003)
University of Bradford (2003 – 2007) University of Bradford Analytical Centre (2008 – current)
When I was 16 I got a part-time job at Sainsburys and I worked there until my third year at University. I then worked for the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) for a year in the Fingerprint Development Programme. I then went back to University and got a part-time job as a Microbiologist. When I graduated I returned to HOSDB.
Higher Scientific Officer – I work in the Explosives and Weapons Detection Programme
The Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB)
Favourite thing to do in my job: My favourite thing to do in science is to learn and help others learn. Science is continuously developing with new advances every day. A scientist should not hide away in a laboratory doing the same thing every day, get out there, get involved, read, learn, talk, discuss, debate but most of all have fun!
I am a research scientist working mainly in the field analytical chemistry but I also have an interest in forensic science.
I guess I should be described an analytical chemist. Analytical chemistry is a branch of chemistry that looks into separating, identifying and measuring quantities of the chemical components of materials. I use my knowledge in this area to help the Police and other government agencies protect the public. I spend some time in the office supporting the team and the rest of my time doing trials or experiments. I am very lucky that my work is not always based in a laboratory. Often I need to go to off-site locations to do my work. One example of a piece of analytical instrumentation I use is an Ion Mobility Spectrometer. This piece of equipment can be used to detect tiny particles of things like explosives, much smaller than the eye can see. For this reason it is often used as a security screening tool in airports. If you have ever had your belongings swabbed when you have been through airport security the chances are you have seen one of the devices I regularly work with. My background is in forensic science and I am very interested in techniques that can be used to develop fingerprints that are left at a scene of crime.
My Typical Day
There really is no such thing, every day is different but most days involve doing something science related, either in the lab, out doing a trial or behind my desk doing paper work.
What I'd do with the prize money
I’m not sure, perhaps I’d give it back to the students in the form of an open day or science activity day or use it to go to a conference or as a prize for a conference presentation! Or maybe all three!
I am heavily involved in promoting science and engineering as a career to school students. I would like to organise and run a chemistry or a forensics interactive day, perhaps teaching you how to find fingerprints like they do on TV programmes such as CSI. I could use the money to make a day like this possible but days like that may cost more than £500. It would also mean taking time off work so perhaps I could donate the money in the form of prizes/awards to emerging analytical scientists in order to encourage them to present and communicate their work. I am on the organising committee of a conference specifically aimed at young scientists. The current economical climate has meant that attendance at this conference has dwindled in recent years. Perhaps a cash prize and an award for the best presentation at this conference would be an incentive for more young scientists to attend.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Dedicated, Energetic, Curious
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
A few years a go I did some work on the use of fingerprint powders. The results of my work and my recommendations were sent to every Police Scene of Crime Department in the country. My advice is helping to catch criminals and put them behind bars. I think science that makes a real world difference is the best kind of science!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Usually for being a know-it-all and disagreeing with my teachers. Oh and there were a few occasions when I made up my own experiments during chemistry lessons!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I’ve been very lucky in that I have travelled lots of places and done lots of fun things. Last year was my first year at Glastonbury Music Festival and that has to be the most fun weekend I have experienced.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1) Live until I am 100 years old (I want to experience as much as I can in my life) 2) For my family and friends to all have long, healthy and successful lives 3) To have unlimited wishes
Tell us a joke.
What do you do when you find a dead chemist? Barium