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Graduate working at STFC

Research and Development Scientist (Physics/Applied Physics/Natural Sciences) - Year-Long Placement

Background

STFC offers you an opportunity to gain paid practical experience as part of your degree.  Each year STFC recruit up to 45 sandwich students who are able to use and develop the skills they’ve acquired at university in a working environment, providing learning on the job and working on real projects alongside expert scientists and engineers. Learning new skills to help in their further studies. 
 
The Central Laser Facility based at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is a world leading, cutting edge research department containing high power lasers, Vulcan and Astra Gemini, as well as materials sciences and life sciences groups using medium and low power lasers. Researchers from the UK, EU and other countries world-wide come to use our facilities to carry out experiments requiring  high power lasers on a variety of applied and blue skies topics, such as ion source development for medical application, fusion mechanisms for energy, x-ray source development for ultra-fast imaging, laboratory astrophysics, photo-induced nuclear reactions, to name a few.

Placement positions working within the High Power Laser (HPL) Target Area teams alongside our visiting scientists are being offered, with an emphasis on participation in, as well as planning and support of, high power laser-plasma interactions experiments. In addition there will be several short and long term projects based on diagnostic development and implementation.

List of Duties/Responsibilities 

From the outset, you will be tasked with investigating specific research challenges being encountered by our group. In our quickly evolving field, new research opportunities present themselves frequently, and your research is likely to be based on the development of novel and existing diagnostics of laser plasma interactions. These fleeting sub-picosecond interactions are highly nonlinear in nature, and require new methods to probe the interaction dynamics to advance our interpretation of the field; in the past, many high impact discoveries have resulted from novel methods of diagnosing the interactions, and this is a theme we aim to continue.

You will have the opportunity to field their developed diagnostics on state of the art experiments, awarded time from highly competitive access processes within the academic community. You will be responsible for developing analysis algorithms for their diagnostics in Matlab for example, and through the knowledge obtained from detailed analysis of the experimental results, you will have the opportunity to identify your own research interests as the project evolves. We therefore require a motivated candidate, with a strong interest in applying their individual and obtained knowledge to drive the research project forward.

Based on experimental results, you will have access to modest scientific computational resources, allowing you to carry out numerical investigations on interesting observations.

This is an opportunity to become a fully active team member in our research group, and to contribute to a fast growing research field.

Contacts and Communication

The position is in a team environment working directly with researchers and PhD students in the experimental science group, as well as target area teams and external researchers from mostly UK/EU universities.

Personal Skills and Attributes

You must have a good grasp of basic physics concepts (eg optics, electromagnetism), be able to apply their knowledge to new topics and be adept in the lab. An interest and previous experience in programming is useful, but not essential. Good communications skills are essential, the ability to work autonomously and in a team. Drive and an enthusiasm for science are definitely a positive attribute. The ability to manage self and others would be beneficial.

Shortlisting Criteria

Qualifications

Essential:

  • studying for a degree in physics, applied physics, engineering physics, or natural sciences with high physics content, any of which must also contain lab work modules (and have achieved good grades to date overall).

Desirable:

  • programming skills/interest in programming
  • management and people skills from hobbies or previous work experience.

Knowledge/Skills and Experience 

Essential:

  • good understanding of basic physics concepts (optics, electromagnetism)
  • good practical laboratory skills.

Desirable:

  • appreciation /awareness of Health and Safety.

Personal Skills and Qualities 

Essential:

  • good communication skills
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them.

Interview Criteria

Personal Skills and Qualities 

Essential:

  • ability to listen
  • ability to apply knowledge
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • ability to work in a team or on your own
  • drive and enthusiasm.

Knowledge/Skills and Experience 

Essential:

  • good understanding of basic physics concepts (optics, electromagnetism)
  • good practical laboratory skills (this will be tested by a simple exercise).

Desirable:

  • appreciation /awareness of Health and Safety.

Special Requirements

Essential:

  • have the ability and mobility to work in a laboratory environment
  • able to wear PPE (laser goggles, gloves, mask etc).

Remember to mention TARGETjobs when contacting employers!

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