I grew up and still live in Croydon. Day-to-day I’m a climate scientist at Imperial College London. Outside of work I like hiking, mountain biking, Star Wars + some anime on the side, and video games (Halo and Mass Effect are the best. Scientific fact).
I’m very much a sci-fi nerd. I like cool video game / sci-fi concept art. Occasionally, in the real world I enjoy hiking and mountain biking. I’m also a Scout Leader in my spare time, helping run a local Scout troop. Although, I don’t much like camping, so maybe that was a bad idea! But I do enjoy lots of other adventurous activities – e.g. climbing, sailing, kayaking… though I need to get back in the habit of doing some of those, especially since Covid lockdowns…
My research involves using state-of-the-art computer models to understand the impacts of wildfires on the atmosphere and air quality, and predict how wildfires may be changing with global warming.
I do simulations with climate models – these are basically really complex computer programs that simulate the weather, ocean currents, soil and vegetation, etc. and how they are affected by changes in emissions of things like greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. It’s a lot like how the weather forecasts are made, except we are trying to forecast decades rather than days. At the moment I mostly research wildfires – looking at how the smoke from wildfires affects our climate, and also trying to simulate wildfires themselves so that we can predict how the danger from wildfires is changing due to the climate crisis. I do ‘experiments’ with these computer models, e.g. by doing simulations with and without the smoke emissions from wildfires, to see what different it makes to the simulated climate. We can then use this information to make predictions and recommendations about how fire danger might change in the future, or to understand the important role that fire plays in maintaining certain ecosystems.
My Typical Day:
Wake up late (cos I’m mostly working from home recently). Have coffee, probably skip breakfast (I know that’s bad). Respond to emails and maybe have a meeting with colleagues over Teams in the morning. After lunch, focus on research tasks – e.g. checking on any code that’s running, looking at data from recent experiments and making plots, or writing. After dinner, relax with a couple hours of Netflix or Xbox.
My research is all computer-based, running simulations and then crunching the data. So since Covid times, I work from home most days at the moment (~80% of my time). So I usually wake up fairly late ~9:30am, make coffee and maybe have some cereal, then do lighter tasks in the morning like responding to emails, having catch-up meetings with colleagues. If I am going into the office that day, will probably buy coffee on the way and do some of this on the train. Will have lunch maybe 12:30 or 1pm, if I’m in the office then will buy something from one of the cafes on campus and then eat in the office with any colleagues who are around. Afternoon I focus on more ‘science’ tasks; these can vary a lot from week-to-week e.g. setting up some new simulations, working on new code to improve part of our computer models, looking at the data from recent simulations and making new plots and graphs, or writing up recent results in a paper to hopefully be published. I’ll finish ~6:30 or 7pm, watch some TV or Xbox later in the evening after dinner. Unless it’s a Monday night when I help out at a Scout group in the evening.
What I'd do with the prize money:
Wait there’s prize money?
Secondary school – Wilson’s School, Wallington
Universities – University of Oxford (undergrad); Imperial College London (PhD)
A-levels: Physics, Maths, Further Maths, Biology, General Studies
Masters degree: Physics and Philosophy
PhD: Atmospheric Physics
Research Associate in Earth System Modelling
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Geeky climate modeller
What did you want to be after you left school?
I didn't really know what I wanted to do, though I considered being a pilot or an engineer
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Only once or twice :P
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Chocolate ice cream
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1) go to space 2) have more sleep 3) have an AI assistant that can write code for me
Tell us a joke.
A man walks into a bar. Oof.