St Wolstans Community School, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin
B.A. in Theoretical Physics and MSc in NanoBio Science
University College Dublin
Favourite thing to do in science: Learning something new, which thankfully happens every day!
I fire lasers at nanosized particles to see how they react
I am currently doing a Phd exploring the effects of different environments on many and single quantum dots (semi conductor nanoparticles). I look at how different types of environments, such as conducting vs non conducting or glass vs gold, effect the different optical properties of these particles. Quantum dots can be used in many different fields for a variety of practical uses, for example, in solar cells to replace bulk material to absorb energy from the sun or as dye replacements in biology as they last much longer and are very easy to make in different colours. As they can be used in so many different ways, it is very important to know how they will be affected by their surroundings. Two important factors to consider are intensity and blinking – do the dots get brighter when they are on the gold or do they dim? Do they turn on and off , an effect which we call blinking? These factors and more play an important role in how the quantum dots can be used and when best to use different types of dots!
My Typical Day
Look over papers and journal, have meetings with my group and plan my experiments for the day
Because I work with lasers and light, my lab is in a dark room so no lights allowed! I usually spend my day clumsily trying to assemble everything I forgot when the lights were on and trying not to bang into anything!
What I'd do with the money
A very tough choice to make! For my master project, I worked with a 3d printer and I have never seen so many people interested in the science I was doing, so I would use the money to give students the chance to get some hands on experience with a 3d printer.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Dedicated, enthusiastic, and easy-going
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Zip lining in the jungle
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not really…. I never got caught anyway!
What was your favourite subject at school?
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
For my masters, I had to redesign a regular 3d printer to print hydrogel structures in liquid environments – the day I completed that project was very satisfying!
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
Watching a lot of terrible Sci-Fi!
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. To go to space and walk on the moon 2. To have a conversation with Richard Feynman (the physicist!) 3. To win the Lottery :)
Tell us a joke.
A group of protesters in front of a physics lab: “What do we want?”. “Time travel” “When do we want it?”. “Irrelevant.”