I think the best thing I’ve done is being able to work on my detergent mixtures at a huge research lab called the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and getting to work with some of the world’s best scientists there!
It’s full of large machines called neutron reflectometers (have a look at the work pictures on my profile), these fire neutrons at your chemical sample to find out crucial information about the molecules inside the sample.
The general technique is called “Neutron Scattering” – and it’s led to discoveries like how certain drugs work, and recently found out that our DNA in our body is actually really stretchy!
I feel quite lucky to be able to do my work in the same place that great scientific discoveries have happened!
I’d say that I’m currently in the middle of doing the best part! I’m working with some other scientists from Oxford University to combine my material with their bacteria which can clean water and an electron beam! The work has only just started and will mean lots of trips to Oxford for me to spend time in their labs and then their PhD student coming to do the same in my labs. We’re also building the apparatus to use at the electron beam line (which is actually at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory too!) and the final part will involve cleaning up lots of different water samples and studying whether adding the electron beam helps.
Obviously we don’t have electron beams under our sinks so this would be more for big industrial companies to clean up their waste water so they stop causing the pollution in the first place.
It’s really fun working with other scientists and combining all out work and knowledge! I also enjoy going to use other peoples labs and new machines – it’s always interesting to see what they’re doing.