Yes, I did an internship in a nuclear reactor in Grenoble. It was a weapons grade nuclear reactor, staffed by ex-army people who were on hand in case of a meltdown... We fired neutrons at ice to find out about its crystal structure.
Cool. Why did you fire neutrons at ice?
I don’t know. But there’s a lot about ice we don’t know and understanding it better would help with designing winter tyres, for example.
Did the internship have any impact on your decision to join SAMBa?
Seeing what doing research is like made me want to do a PhD.
Have you eaten snails? Frogs legs?
No. Actually maybe once when I was young, but not while I was living in France.
Shaunagh and Will:
Shaunagh, you did an MSc in Bath. How did this compare to SAMBa?
It was good. It prepared me well for SAMBa, since the course is similar to SAMBa first year.
Will, Did you do a placement?
Yes, before my MSc I did a placement at UCLA in Los Angeles. I worked in the Institute of Pure and Applied Maths, researching quantum dots networks.
What’s a quantum dot?
Will: It’s a zero-dimensional… (There were other sciencey words that we didn’t understand.)
Will, did you do a year abroad? Your face is on the adverts for the study abroad scheme.
No. I didn’t do a placement either and my face is used to advertise those too...
Clearly you're a photogenic guy. Have you done any research projects before starting SAMBa?
Yes, I worked with Kirill in the summer of my third year, and that carried on into last summer. I spoke about the project in the Asymptotics, Operators and Functionals seminar yesterday for a whole 2 and a half hours! In fact I’m writing up the work right now. (The work was actually on his computer screen.)
Would you rather be a rhino-sized hamster or a hamster-sized rhino?
Shaunagh: Hamster-sized rhino. It’s cute.
Will: Hamster-sized rhino. It would be really useful to annoy people by charging into their feet. And it’s a good way to get out of blog interviews.