Last updated: August 2017
Research Associate, Institute for Gravitational Research, University of Glasgow, 2017
European Research Council funded postdoctoral research position working on a proof-of-principle experiment to show the improvement in sensitivity in future gravitational wave detectors using a new interferometer topology. Responsibilities included:
- Designing, commissioning and operating low-noise, high sensitivity lab apparatus to test fundamental physics using lasers, suspended optics and optomechanics within an ultra-high vacuum infrastructure and clean-room environment.
- Understanding and controlling the effects of noise on sensitive measurements.
- Devising control strategies for experiments to enhance sensitivity using analogue and digital electronics and high speed real-time computer systems.
- Liasing with group colleagues to discuss measurements, coordinate lab work and manage the use of facilities; and the wider research community to present results and devise future research focus.
SUPA Industrial Research Assistant, Razorbill Instruments Ltd., Edinburgh, 2016-2017
I co-wrote a successful application funded by the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance to work with the start-up company to produce a high-voltage amplifier for sale to the research community. Responsibilities included:
- Managing project to design, prototype and produce a high-voltage power supply and amplifier unit ready for sale in six months.
- Electronic design and rapid prototyping with emphasis on low noise and electromagnetic emission and compatibility with global mains supplies.
- Understanding and meeting international standards for electrical safety and electromagnetic emissions.
- Interfacing analogue electronics with microcontrollers for serial communication.
- Meeting a project budget and desired unit cost.
The developed product, the RP100, is available from Razorbill Instruments.
PhD in Experimental Physics, Institute for Gravitational Research, University of Glasgow, 2012-2016
MSci in Physics, University of Glasgow, 2007-2012
Other topics: Computing Science, Mathematics
Sagnac speed meter experiment, 2014-2017
Working on proof-of-principle experiment to demonstrate a new type of audio-band gravitational wave interferometer funded by the European Research Council (Glasgow, UK)
- Development of interferometer control system using numerical and analytical models.
- Development of high-voltage amplifier and actuator electronics to facilitate high-speed interferometer control.
- Design of analogue and digital signalling strategies and construction of hardware to minimise noise contamination.
- Modelling the behaviour of quantum noise in the presence of loss (academic publication).
- Installation of mechanical and electrical components in a clean-room environment.
Einstein Telescope Working Group, 2013-2016
Collaborating with colleagues from Birmingham and Moscow State universities and Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik modelling controls for the future Einstein Telescope gravitational wave detector
- Implementation of models to simulate low frequency Einstein Telescope interferometer behaviour and sensitivity.
- Creation of conceptual control system to inform future technical design study (academic publication).
AEI 10m prototype experiment, 2013-2014
Visiting scientist working on experiment to surpass the Standard Quantum Limit (Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik, Hanover, Germany)
- Conceptual development of an alignment sensing and control strategy for prototype interferometer.
- Assembly and testing of suspension mechanics in a clean-room environment.
- Investigation of low thermal noise optical coating design.
Glasgow 10m prototype facility, 2012-2017
Helping to develop and test techniques to improve sensitivity in future gravitational wave detectors at the Glasgow 10m prototype facility (Glasgow, UK)
- Experiment to test the invariance of waveguide mirrors to transverse-to-longitudinal phase noise using suspended Fabry-Perot optical cavity (academic publication).
- Creation and implementation of networked, remote control system with web-based interface for the alignment of suspended optics.
- Design and implementation of web-based system for lab notes.
Dynamic demand renewable energy project, 2011-2012
Project student working on smart charger concept for portable electronics to assist integration of renewable energy sources in electricity grids (Glasgow, UK)
- Creation of prototype smart laptop charger electronics and software controller.
- Demonstration of laptop charger responding to changes in demand and supply in the electricity grid (academic publication).
Wave optics simulation tools, 2010-2011
Project student building a Java-based wave optics simulation package for teaching and fundamental research (Glasgow, UK)
- Implementation of wave optics simulator with graphical user interface for rapid prototyping of optical experiments, used in undergraduate laboratories in Glasgow.
- Application of program with study into autostereogram resonators (academic publication).
Teaching and Outreach
Exploring The Cosmos lecture course, University of Glasgow, 2017
- Delivered nine-lecture undergraduate course on mapping techniques for astronomy.
- Updated course material and provided new notes to compliment lectures.
- Provided help and feedback to students on course content throughout the semester.
- Set and graded class tests and exam questions.
Software Carpentry course, SUPA, Glasgow, 2016
- Presented an introductory course on Python programming to graduate students from the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) as part of a two day workshop.
Detection of geomagnetic storms laboratory, University of Glasgow astronomy honours laboratory experiment, 2016
- Assisted undergraduates in the design and assembly of electronics for detecting changes to the Earth's magnetic field.
- Created new hardware monitor and web-based interface for University Observatory's magnetometer to allow comparison of results with student projects.
- Designed circuit board to be populated by students as part of the project.
Other demonstrating, University of Glasgow undergraduate laboratories, 2013-2016
- Astronomy 1: visual astronomy, data analysis (2013-2015)
- Physics 3: radio frequency physics, op-amps, thermal noise (2016)
Writer and Specialist Editor, The Glasgow Insight into Science and Technology Magazine and E-Magazine, 2013-2017
Link to The GIST website
- Presenting technical ideas in form understandable to the general public
- Fact checking, referencing and copy-editing of articles
- Helping to prepare regular web and print based publications
Editor, LIGO Magazine, 2014-Present
Link to LIGO Magazine issue archive
- Soliciting material from LIGO Scientific Collaboration members to present in twice-yearly print magazine
- Conducting interviews
- Editing content, obtaining image credits and licences, assisting layout and proof-reading
Please see this page.
Awards and Grants
- GWIC Thesis Prize (honourable mention), 2017
- Leibniz Research Alumni Network Programme (€500), 2017
- SUPA Industrial Placement (£19,768), 2016
- Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (as member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration), 2016
- Leibniz Research Alumni Network Programme (€500), 2016
- Leibniz Research Alumni Network Programme (€500), 2015
- Sustainability: Ideas Worth Spreading (winner), 2014
- STFC Long Term Attachment grant (£4,567), 2013
- IOP Gravitational Physics Group research student travel fund (£250), 2013
Available upon request.