Role: Fourth Year PhD student, Department of Physics, Imperial College London
Subject area: Atmospheric Physics
I am coming to the end of my PhD in Atmospheric Physics. I am also part of the Grantham Institute at Imperial which means I spend part of my time talking to the public and policy makers about how scientific research can be applied to the problems of climate change.
GCSE (or equivalent): Maths, English Language, English Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Geography, French, Music. I also took the Free-Standing Maths Qualification at secondary school
A-level (or equivalent): Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry
• MSci Physics, Imperial College London
• PhD (ongoing) Atmospheric Physics, Imperial College London
Details about Laura
The aim of my research is to perform experiments to assess the performance of a future European Space Agency satellite called FORUM. The experiments and new instrument that I am helping to develop will be used to test that the FORUM satellite is making accurate measurements once it is launched.
I have always been interested in science, but I decided to study Physics because I had a great Physics teacher at 6th Form who was both inspirational and funny. After my degree I decided to specialise in atmospheric physics because I wanted to use my skills to play a small part in solving the global problem of climate change.
Who is your STEM hero?
Margaret Hamilton is a pioneering software engineer who led the development of the on-board flight software for the Apollo moon missions. She is also one of the people who invented the term software engineering. As well as being a brilliant engineer, she also represents the range of different people who all need to work together to ensure a space mission is a success.
Most significant discovery/invention?
Semi-conductors. The satellite instrument I am testing relies on recent advances in semiconductor technology, but semiconductors are also vital for so much of our modern world—I know I would be lost without my laptop!
Career options after study
- Developing satellite missions for private companies, start-ups
- Working for national space agencies
- Software development
- Data analysis
In my spare time I enjoy singing and exploring London on my bike.