This is the first in a new series of interviews conducted on members of the YCG. We are going to start with the members of the current committee in the run-up to the BCA Spring Meeting and see how we go from there! If you enjoy these posts, please like and share.
PDRA Newcastle University / YCG Webmaster
What do you currently research?
My work at Newcastle is to develop and uses the extensive facility’s here to do ultra-low temperature and high-pressure single crystal diffraction experiments. Currently I am looking at a range of magnetically interesting compounds at temperatures as low as 3 K, and this will be coupled with low-temperature high-pressure measurements in the new future. I am also finishing up my PhD that was joint between the University of Edinburgh and I19 at the Diamond Light Source. This focused on looking at porous materials at pressure and the development of new techniques to do this. During my PhD I developed a pressure cell that will allow you to perform single crystal X-ray diffraction from 0 to 1400 bar, a pressure range is currently very difficult to investigate with common high-pressure cells.
What is your favourite thing about being a crystallographer?
Probably my favourite aspect is how collaborative it is. I have the good fortune to work with many different scientists that are experts at their niche speciality and their enthusiasm for their work is infectious. Being able to bring your own expertise to the table is also great and providing the key to unlock new problems is something that has always driven me.
Who, or what, inspires you to do science?
Breaking new ground is probably what I find the most inspiring thing about science. Whether it is new experimental set-ups, novel compounds or just new ways to make something work it all adds up and it’s amazing just how many things there are still to do!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone starting out in scientific research?
If you want something done right, do it yourself.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Having been living in Scotland and now in Northumberland, I have the great opportunity to make the most of the outdoors. Walking in the Highlands, the Pennines, or the Alps are great ways to unwind and exploring a new city and region is also fun.