CV

Last updated: December 2017... I should probably update this.

Employment

Postdoc, Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), Hannover, Germany, 2018-Present

Commissioning prototype facility to develop and test future sensitivity upgrades for interferometric gravitational wave detectors.

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 10 m 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 10 m prototype facility, 2012-2017

Helping to develop and test techniques to improve sensitivity in future gravitational wave detectors at the Glasgow 10 m 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).
  • Featured by MIT Technology Review.

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.