Wooooooo! Fantastic! Thanks for voting me the winner, guys! As promised, here's comic #3! Comic 1: http://bit.ly/GTLcGI Comic 2: http://bit.ly/GJkggQ Comic 3: http://bit.ly/GKUAmf
National Physical Laboratory, Diamond Light Source.
Radio Frequency Technician
Diamond Light Source.
I work at a particle accelerator, helping to keep the electron-engine running!
I word at Diamond Light Source, a synchrotron, which is a type of particle accelerator. I have worked there since before it was built and have been involved in designing and building the RF plant – the engine room of the machine – and now work to help keep it running smoothly.
The machine itself has loads of different types of laboratory built around it. Scientists can book time to use the labs for all sorts of work, from x-ray crystallography to protein diffraction, watching how viruses work and helping to design nano-robotics…all sorts! Far more than I can remember, or understand.
My Typical Day
A little bit of everything, from building a new machine, to designing systems, to freezing things in liquid nitrogen.
When I get in to work, I generally spend a while – maybe an hour or so – checking over emails and seeing what the day has in store. I usually drink coffee at the same time, because coffee is my friend.
After that, either I will get on with some of the on-going jobs that I look after; maintaining and building RF devices for the lab, or helping to catalogue data about how the machine runs.
As often as not, however, there will be some new work that needs doing right away and I rarely know what it’s going to be before I get in in the morning! Most things I have to solve present a new chance to learn something – and I do love learning things.
What I'd do with the money
Help people understand that engineering and science isn’t as difficult and scary as it seems and that the world is full amzaing stuff!
I think a lot of people imagine that engineering and science are terribly difficult and boring, that they don’t have much to do with everyday life. I just don’t think that’s true!
All it takes is a little effort to be able to take part in building robots, or investigating time travel, or curing the common cold…using many of the same basic skills that you use to build Lego, play Civilization, or work out how much change you get if you buy three bags of crisps with £5.
Engineering and science aren’t boring or scary – they’re the way the future becomes real and they’re SO important. I can’t think of anything better than helping people get as excited about those things as I am!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Tall, odd and friendly!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
This depends on when you ask me. Sometimes it’s The Flight of the Conchords, sometimes it’s Metallica…sometimes it’s something totally different! For a while it was Hanz Zimmer’s theme for The Dark Knight. It’s probably different every time you ask!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I went rally driving! It was ace! …although I didn’t fit in the car…
What did you want to be after you left school?
Either a scientist, or an actor
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not much, I’m afraid. I was a fairly timid kid.
What's the best thing you've done as an engineer?
I spent a day freezing things with liquid nitrogen and then trying to break them with a hammer…and it counted as a day’s work!
Tell us a joke.
Hmmm – I don’t know many good jokes, so here’s a silly picture instead. https://measurementm12.imanengineer.org.uk/wp-content/Cimy_User_Extra_Fields/61/mattmaddock/knutkin.jpg