Photo:

Pete Edwards

So long and thanks for all the fish!

Favourite Thing: Learning something new: whether it’s from the people I work with or from reading a book or an article in a magazine, or perhaps a conversation with a stranger!

My CV

School:

Forest Fields Grammar School from 1971 to 1979

University:

University of Liverpool where I studied physics. Then did a PhD in astroparticle physics at Nottingham University

Work History:

My first proper job was working in a paper shop every morning before school. I’ve also been an office cleaner and a bricklayer’s mate. I qualified as a teacher after finishing my degree and taught science for a few years before returning to university to study for my PhD.

Employer:

Durham University

Current Job:

Science and Society Officer

Me and my work

Exploring the Dark Side of the Universe

I work in the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics which is made up of the Institutes for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP) and Computational Cosmology (ICC). The ICC is home to one of the most powerful supercomputers for academic research in Britain. We use supercomputers to recreate the evolution of the Universe from soon after its very beginnings in the Big Bang, and explore how its dark side will affect its fate. The IPPP undertakes research in particle physics phenomenology, the bridge between theory and experiment in the study of the building blocks of matter in the Universe. Scientists from the IPPP collaborate with many particle physicists who work with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics near Geneva in Switzerland.

I don’t get to do too much actual science these days, but I have lots of friends in the Ogden Centre who do all the work – now I get to do the really fun part: explain what we are doing and what we are finding out about the universe and what it’s made of. I’ll talk to anyone who’ll listen about the science we do.

My Typical Day

Talking, drinking coffee, thinking and drinking coffee…..

This is one of the great things about my job… there is no such thing as a typical day. Some days I will be out in schools talking about science and other days I may be sitting in front of a computer answering emails and dealing with administration. Other days I’ll be teaching undergraduate or postgraduate students. Days when I can talk about science are my favourites (especially when I’m visiting primary schools). One thing’s for certain, every day is guaranteed to contain lots of coffee.

What I'd do with the money

Pay for a fancy website to showcase our science

And buy coffee with what’s left!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

I left this to my wife who said: “Enthusiastic, funny and picky”

Who is your favourite singer or band?

I like all kinds of music but my favourite bands are from the 1960’s and 70’s. If you push me I’d say my favourite singer is Syd Barrett

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Swimming amongst a pod of pilot whales in the Galapagos Islands

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

1. That I was a bit smarter 2. To stand at the South Pole and see the southern lights 3. To be able to draw cartoons

What did you want to be after you left school?

A science teacher

Were you ever in trouble at school?

I never got caught………..

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

I’ve met loads of fascinating people from around the world

Tell us a joke.

Why are pirates called pirates? Because they ARRRRRRGGGHHHH