Nanotechnology: research & possibilities

Lewis Lappin from the Edinburgh University Physics and Astronomy Society invites you to this student-led event.

Join PhysSoc, ChemSoc and ChemEngSoc with the University of Cambridge’s Nanotechnology department for a talk on Nanotechnology and its applications! 

This event will feature a talk from Tommaso Busolo and Taylor Uekert, both PhD students at the University of Cambridge, who will discuss their research experience in nanotechnology and what the future could hold for someone working in this multidisciplinary field.

They will describe the properties and cutting-edge applications of materials specific to the nanoscale, their PhD projects, and what it’s like studying at the Nanoscience & Nanotechnology Doctoral Training Centre at Cambridge.

The breadth and depth of science that may be explored in the field of nanotechnology is limitless, so this is a chance for you to get a feel for the state of the art and see where your interests fit in, as well as to find out more about opportunities for PhD study in this area

When: 16:00-1700, Friday 27th October

Where: Lecture Theatre B, JCMB

More info:


Focus on nuclear: growth & diversity

The Nuclear Institute is the professional body and learned society for the nuclear industry, covering both the civil and defence nuclear sectors. The website has a good introduction to the industry.  This is a growth areas especially in quality and safety roles.


They host the Nuclear Institute Young Generation Network, an ever-expanding group of young nuclear professionals with a platform for networking, education and career development. They also promote Women in Nuclear UK, set up to:

  • Attract more women to choose a career in the nuclear sector
  • Support retention and career progression of women in the industry

This is part of Women in Nuclear Global (WiN Global),  a world-wide non-profit making association of women working professionally in various fields of nuclear energy and radiation applications. Membership includes women and men working professionally in medicine and health care, in regulatory authorities, in industry and as independent researchers.

Physics to financial software

 Physics graduate Owen McBrearty shares what he does in a professional data analytics organisation, how he got there and what it’s like at AquaQ Analytics.

Owen AquaQ cropped AquaQ Analytics will be at day 2 of the Careers Fair on Wed 11th October. Owen will be also joining me at my Physics drop-in on Thursday 12 October, 12 – 1.30pm outside the Magnet Cafe, JCMB.         Drop by for an informal chat!

I work for AquaQ Analytics as a Graduate Financial Software Developer. AquaQ is a new company which offers support and software development for various clients, like hedge funds and investment banks, by providing them with tailor-made programs and code which suit their needs. This is where I, and the other developers like me come in.

The client tells us that they need to do a certain task – perform analysis on data, gather and store information, etc – and it’s up to us to write the code that fits their brief. 9 times out of 10, the best code for the job is written in kdb+, which the employees of AquaQ excel in. And it’s not just the financial sector where kdb+ excels. With the recent announcement that NASA have begun using kdb+ for their projects, you can be certain that the need for kdb+ developers is on the rise.

How did I get here?

I came from an applied physics background – in fact, I’ve just completed a 4-year BSc in National University of Ireland Galway. Through this course I gained many skills that I knew would be useful in a professional setting, but the decision remained as to what to do once I graduated. So, as I came to the end of my degree, I took a step back and asked myself, “What aspects of this course did I like, and what aspects do I want to keep using?” To me, the answer was clearly the analytics aspect of the course – taking a set of data and performing analysis on it to get useful information. I began looking for work in a field that would allow me to develop new skills, while making use of the skills I already had.

Application and interview – preparation and process

After a few days searching, I decided to look for work in Northern Ireland, and quickly found a listing on “STEM Graduates Required for Jobs in Financial IT sector”. After leaving my CV and cover letter on the website I was contacted by a recruiter, and after a few telephone interviews they arranged an interview for me with AquaQ. To prepare for this interview, I began reading up on the basics of financial trading. I taught myself about bonds and other fixed income types, and a bit about foreign exchange and how currencies vary with respect to one another. On the programming side of things, I revised the coding I had done in my time in university – while I wasn’t expected to know kdb+ I could still keep myself fresh on the concepts I had learned.

At the interview, I was quizzed on my final year project,my grades and my knowledge of coding and fixed income trading. The interviews were conducted in a professional, but relaxed environment, and after a two-stage interview process and a kdb+ challenge I was contacted with a job offer.

(AquaQ are currently recruiting on MyCareerHub)

Company culture and progression

A few weeks later I started as a developer, and was blown away by how welcoming and open the staff in AquaQ were. This isn’t one of those businesses where management are on some abstract floor upstairs – instead management are working in the same area as the rest of the employees and everyone is ready to help & bring you up to speed on what it means to be a member of the AquaQ team.

The training you receive is second-to-none, and any skills you’ve developed, either in an academic or extra-curricular setting, are allowed to grow so that your skillset grows while the company expands. After 5 weeks you are ready to be sent out to clients. In fact, I’ve just begun work for an investment bank in the US and hope to be sent to London in a few weeks’ time.

So, if you want a career in a professional data analytics environment, with friendly co-workers, state-of-the-art training and enviable travel options, AquaQ Analytics may just be the perfect environment for you!

Careers in data science event

P & G

Procter & Gamble will hold a presentation & information session on careers in data science at Kings Buildings.

Representatives will talk about how Analytics & Insights drives P & G’s business decisions. The session also gives you the opportunity for questions and valuable insights into career options in this area

Monday 9th October, 1 – 2pm Details and signup on MyCareerHub


Curious about Analytics & Technology?

BlackRock are running an event on Monday for STEM students. It will be on MyCareerHub but it’s short notice so I thought I’d give you a heads-up. Here’s what it’s about:

“In vast oceans of data, we seek the insights that can change outcomes. We dig deep to find the numbers behind the numbers and leverage our technology to provide solutions to our clients. Join us at our Edinburgh office to find out more about the Aladdin Client Service and Technology divisions and the opportunities available in these teams.

Discover Analytics & Technology @ BlackRock
When: Monday 2nd October 2017
Where: Edinburgh (travel expenses reimbursed)
Eligibility: You must be in your first, second, third or final year (SH/MPhys) studying a STEM degree at a Scottish University.
Register: Register and apply for your space at

SpaceX & HypED in Los Angeles

Great blog post from physics students Enrique Cervero and Hamish Geddes – members of the Edinburgh University Hyperloop Team (HypED).

Want to know more about the space sector? Check out the Careers Service resource: Your Future in the Space industry

Hyperloop 1

The team working on the pod at the Innspace in Sanderson Building

“We are just back from our trip to California for the SpaceX Hyperloop competition, it’s been an amazing experience. We would once again like to thank the School of Physics for the support they gave us for our trip.

The Edinburgh University Hyperloop Team (HypED) has been working for over ten months to design and build an Hyperloop prototype, a method of levitating transportation propelled along a vacuum tube. Much of our summer was spent at the mechanical lab in Kings Building drawing sketches, tightening bolts and drilling holes with the ultimate purpose of bringing our Hyperloop Pod, Poddy McPodface, to life.

All this work was to culminate at the end of August in Los Angeles, where HypED was invited to by SpaceX to participate in the finals of one of the most prestigious engineering competitions in the world: The Hyperloop Pod Competition II. A total of 25 teams from all over the world were invited to unveil and race their prototypes at the space company’s headquarters, HypED being the only British team and one of four European teams.

The team arrived to LA about a week before the competition. We brought our prototype to a local workshop in Los Angeles, Urban Workshop, where we spent most of the pre-competition days giving the final touches to our design.

Hyperloop 2

The team working on the hydraulics at the workshop in LA

Our main worry before the competition was that we would not finish our pod in time, that there would be something, some flaw or eventuality, that we had not planned for and that would ultimately prevent us from competing at SpaceX. We all worked hard either way, trying to get everything done perfectly to meet SpaceX’s requirements.

When the pod was done, we drove it to SpaceX in Hawthorne, LA, where it was to be tested for safety, systems and functionality before the competition. Out of the 25 teams that got invited to the competition, only 3 would be allowed to test their pod and race it in the vacuum tube. HypED’s prototype was unfortunately not one of the 3 chosen by SpaceX. However, our team was given clearance to test our pod at a speed of 40m/s (144km/h) in the vacuum track, which would have made it one of the fastest Hyperloop Pods ever tested.

Over the entire year and competition, I have learned that real world applications of engineering are never simple and require a level head and persistence to complete: there must be a lot of thought put into a design, many drafts, scraps and failures need to be done before arriving at the finalised product.

I have also acquired a lot of technical experience, how to use industrial machinery, solve real world mechanical problems and work as a team to bring our ideas to life.

The outcome of the competition was also an imperative learning experience for the team which we will definitely use to our advantage in next year’s competition. We will take from our design flaws and mistakes and remove them in our next design, use the advice and knowledge given to us by Tesla and SpaceX engineers, and improve on our design’s advantages.

Hyperloop 3

The team with our completed pod next to SpaceX’s vacuum Hyperloop test track

From Mathematical Physics to MThree Consulting

Mthree-web  tim woolins

Tim Woolins, Mathematical Physics graduate, University of Edinburgh

I have been working in production support through the Alumni Graduate Programme by MThree Consulting for just over a year, placed on the Deutsche Bank trade floor as a primary contact for front office, specifically the European Rates & Credit desks. My day to day work involves working with traders, developers & business analysts over a wide range of topics from risk/PnL to e-trading. To say it’s a challenging role would be fair, though not for the reasons I initially expected.

I quickly found that some skills I thought would be absolutely necessary to function in such an environment redundant, and things that I already had by virtue of my studies at university were far more valuable than I realised. I can safely say that being presented with a problem, and being able to take logical steps to find a solution on my own is one that I took for granted that I developed during my time at university.

If I could offer my former self one piece of advice, it would be to start earlier.

I knew I was not going into academia any further, and knowing orbital mechanics or quantum field theory is definitely not integral to my job, the value of the degree is in the underlying skills gained during your studies. Perhaps most useful of all is the ability to quickly understand new ideas and abstract concepts. Look over a wide variety of roles, for something you have a genuine interest in, and if you apply yourself you will excel with ease.

Tim Woolins, Production Support Analyst – MThree Alumni


Software engineering job based at Kings Buildings – they want a Physics grad!

Great software engineer position with an SME (small medium-sized enterprise) based up at KB  – Netrologix. It is a really interesting SME to get experience with and there is the possibility of an extension to the contract.

Vacancy on MyCareerHub but closing date is 14th August so apply soon!

PhD Horizons Career Conference

The Careers Service hosts an annual one-day PhD Horizons Career Conference dedicated to showcasing the breadth of career opportunities open to PhD graduates of the University of Edinburgh.

The Conference offers the following opportunities for PhD students, post-docs, and early career researchers:

  • Thirty inspiring speakers from a wide range of occupations
  • Advice for making the most of your doctorate in today’s challenging recruitment market
  • One-to-one drop-in sessions with Careers Consultants

Tuesday 6 June 2017: University of Edinburgh – David Hume Tower

Sessions will cover careers in:

  • Third sector
  • Business and technology
  • Creative industries
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Non-academic science
  • Science communication
  • Policy and non-academic research
  • Professional roles in higher education
  • Academia

More details and sign-up here