CV

Last updated: August 2017

Employment

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.

Education

PhD in Experimental Physics, Institute for Gravitational Research, University of Glasgow, 2012-2016

Thesis title: Enhancing the Sensitivity of Future Gravitational Wave Detectors

Advisors: Prof Stefan Hild and Prof Ken Strain

MSci in Physics, University of Glasgow, 2007-2012

Other topics: Computing Science, Mathematics

Research Experience

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

Publications

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

References

Available upon request.