Focus on: Cambridge Consultants


Cambridge Consultants are a leading supplier of innovative product development engineering and technology consulting.

  • Facilities: over 100,000 sq ft of fully equipped laboratories and prototyping facilities on their own premises in Cambridge and Boston
  • Scale: more than 500 staff, including scientists, mathematicians, engineers and designers, able to bring multidisciplinary technology insight to client problems
  • Breadth of operation across medical technology and pharmaceuticals, wireless communications, consumer and industrial, energy and transport, and defence and security, enables insights and solution approaches to be transferred efficiently between sectors


Are you keen to apply your mathematical and scientific knowledge to solving creative and technically challenging problems? Join their team of talented mathematicians, physicists and engineers to develop future leading edge information systems.

They are currently recruiting for a graduate physicist or mathematician to work on client assignments and provide key ideas for projects involving the design, implementation and test of a wide range of products and systems. This will involve working with data from sensors or unstructured data and developing algorithms to extract valuable information. Clear presentation of results both internally and to clients is also important.  Full vacancy details here

They also offer summer internships and have some good videos on their site giving a  flavour of their projects


CERN Summer programme now open

CERN are now recruiting for their summer programme.  Details here and advertised on MyCareerHub. Closing date 28 Jan 2018

I noticed they specify in their eligibility: “You have completed, by summer 2018, at least three years of full-time studies at university level.”

Recalling what they said at their recent campus presentation – if you are a direct entry student, you will have to give an explanation of your circumstances. Show you gained direct entry on academic merit so by the end of two years university study you will have the capacity to perform at a similar (if not higher – quick learner!) than someone with three years.

Finance to cancer research: student story

MPhys graduate Michal Tomaszewski  graduated as the top student on Mathematical Physics degree. Here he shares his story of gaining experience from various financial institutions before changing his path to cancer research.


When I was starting the masters year of my degree in Edinburgh, I was not sure what I would like to be doing. The several summer internships in the trading departments of investment banks, definitely helped my soft skills and business awareness, but I did not really feel like this is the work I would like to be doing for the years to come.

The idea of doing a PhD came to me as soon as I started the MPhys project I did with Dr Bartlomiej Waclaw in experimental biophysics. The exploratory nature of the work we did on the growth patterns of 3D bacterial colonies, trying to put together the various experimental and theoretical observations to make a coherent picture really appealed to me and I started looking online for PhD opportunities combining physics and biology.

While one needs to consider multiple factors such as the project formulation, research focus of the group and group leader, location and financial arrangements, the choice of a suitable PhD very much comes down to meeting the people and seeing the lab and the town – after all this is the environment you would be spending the next three to four years of your life in.

I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MPhys in Mathematical Physics in 2014 and went on to a PhD in cancer imaging at Cambridge University. I focus on the development of a new imaging technique to visualise the blood vessels in cancer tumour and measure their condition. The technology we are working with is called optoacoustics, and it relies on generation of ultrasound in the tissue following laser illumination. When the laser light gets absorbed, especially by strong absorbers such as haemoglobin in the blood, a small amount of heat is generated, causing thermal expansion and creation of a pressure wave which can get detected the same way as in traditional ultrasound imaging. During my work in Cambridge, I’ve developed a way to use this technology to gain insight into how well the tumour vasculature works, which gives doctors an indication of the aggressiveness of the disease and can guide the treatment.

Just like my work involves a mixture of physics and cancer biology, my affiliation is joint between the Department of Physics and the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. The latter is where my experiments are, and where I spend most time. Working for Cancer Research UK is a great pleasure, as a generously funded Cambridge Institute greatly supports our research. Especially in the field of imaging, where open access to large and expensive scanners is essential, a well-equipped centre helps the researchers greatly.

I find the work I do incredibly exciting and fulfilling for many reasons:

  • the wide scope of the project, involving working with in vivo tumour models
  • using various imaging modalities and learning to use the equipment as well as
  • being involved on the technical side of signal and image processing
  • writing code…….makes the work very varied and interesting.

Working directly with a cancer research charity, collaborating with clinician scientists provides great motivation as we can feel our advances, although preclinical, could in the future make a real difference in clinical care.

#ExperienceWorks campagn week beg 6 November

Week beginning 6 November is our focus on work experience and the breadth of things that can count.  I’ll be running two sessions via Collaborate on getting work experience – details on MyCareerHub events. I’ve captured a few students’ very different experiences and what they gained as a result. For more details on the #Experience Works campaign, visit the webpage

Michal Tomaszewski graduated as the top student on Mathematical Physics degree and  is currently working on his PhD in cancer research at Cambridge.  Michal did a business internship in the City and gained experience from various financial institutions before he changed his path to cancer research.   Having done a purely theoretical degree he is now at home in a wet lab. It just shows:

  • it’s good to try different things to work out where your preferences lie
  • starting in one area doesn’t mean you have to stay there
  • no matter what you do, you develop personally and professionally from it

Tara Bruendl (astrophysics)

“In the 2 months that I worked at the European Space Agency, I learnt about the professionalism in the agency and how important good communication between colleagues is. I learnt what it’s like to work independently besides one of the best mission analysts in the world and also receive constructive criticism once in a while.

I was afraid that my programming wasn’t up to scratch but luckily I could pick up the most common routines  fairly quickly. With the help of my very patient supervisor I learnt how to make code more elegant and use as little of it as possible. When I wasn’t debugging the Fortran 5000-plus-liner (yes, in the space sector everything gets recycled, including ancient programs from the 70s) tea breaks would take up second priority, as many staff would joke. The canteen was the meeting place of different sections, ages and nationalities.

If you can, I would always recommend gaining some work experience in the summer, since it not only gives you a head start in job applications but also teaches you a lot about if the job is right for you in the first place. That said, I’m considering a career in the space sector more than ever before and could imagine working as a trainee for ESA or in the space industry after graduating.

Sara Rigby (MPhys)

This summer, I was able to carry out two internships that helped me formulate my career plans much more solidly.

 First of all, I spent a month at a secondary school in York doing a physics teaching placement, arranged by the Ogden Trust. While I started out simply observing lessons, by the time I left I was treated like a teaching assistant: not only did I work with individual students and small groups regularly, but I also got the chance to plan and deliver a whole lesson. On top of this, I ran an extracurricular club with the other intern, and of course I also had to put up a few displays. This gave me a well-rounded view of the different elements of a teacher’s job.

Having a strong foundation of physics knowledge helped me to explain things in a way I found intuitive, and sometimes to link different subject areas together to make useful analogies. I would definitely recommend the Ogden Trust’s Teach Physics internship to anyone who is considering a career in teaching, however unsure they are. The month I spent there gave me a realistic view of life as a teacher, allowing me to make a very well-informed decision about my future career. Even though I won’t be pursuing a career in teaching, I’m really glad I got this opportunity. I really enjoyed the time I spent at the school, and I gained a lot of confidence in myself and my ability to communicate effectively.

Shortly after this, I travelled to Bristol, where I spent two weeks doing work experience with BBC Focus Magazine, a science and technology publication. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I got to write while I was there. Most of what I contributed was published on the website, but one very short ‘Eye Opener’ piece – an extended caption to accompany a striking image – made it into the most recent print issue. I wrote a feature on weird and wonderful pain relief; I contributed to the ongoing ‘This Day in Science History’ series; I interviewed a renowned cosmologist from MIT about his new book on artificial intelligence.

One skill that came in useful in particular was the ability to research a topic, quickly understand the basics, and distil it down to the essential and most interesting parts; for once, I was thankful that I’d done the group project the previous year! I loved my time at the magazine: I was fascinated by the day-to-day organisation, especially leading up to their publication day, and I realised how much I love writing about science. This helped me to decide that I want to pursue a career in science communication once I graduate.”

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:

CERN @ KB: grad roles & work experience offers

CERN will be on campus on 4th October – full details and signup will be on MyCareerHub

CERN offers tremendous opportunities for the right students to develop their skills and understanding through some of the most exciting and cutting edge projects in engineering, computing and physics.

Research STFC

Come along to this event to get an insight into engineering at CERN, with a talk from a senior CERN engineer on the experiments, facilities & what their work involves. This will be followed by a Q&A for which he will be joined by a representative of the CERN HR Talent Acquisition team who will introduce all opportunities at CERN.

CERN’s Summer Student Scheme and Technical Studentships are being advertised now on the Science & Technology Facilities Council site. Find out more on the STFC website.

How light and sound give physicists a clearer picture of cancer – UoE alumni success

Michal Tomaszewski, who graduated as the top student on Mathematical Physics degree, is currently working on his PhD in cancer research at Cambridge and you can listen to him explain his ground breaking work in this video clip

Michal followed an interesting path. He did a business internship in the City and gained experience from various financial institutions before he changed his path to cancer research.   Having done a purely theoretical degree he is now at home in a wet lab.

It just shows:

  1. it’s good to try different things to work out where your preferences lie
  2. starting in one area doesn’t mean you have to stay there
  3. no matter what you do, you develop personally and professionally from it

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

Careers Scholarship Summer Programme 2017

It was great to work with some of the students doing project placements as part of this programme.  It’s a competitive programme open to students in later years of their BSc or MPhys.

This year I offered two sessions. The first one was co-delivered with Ross Galloway, the academic in the School whose remits includes this programme. This was to prepare students for their placements (academic & industry), address any questions and concerns and help them move confidently into their project placements.

The second one today was to help students  reflect on what they did, what went well, what went less well, how they coped with the challenges and how it might influence future career plans.

Importantly, it was also about  how to present what they gained from doing the project. There was lots of animated discussion, constructive peer feedback and hopefully everyone felt a lot more confident  about how to talk about their project and what it means they can do.

I also think those in the group today will do a much better job at the end-of-placement presentation event as well as in future applications, interviews and networking events.