Thomas is a PhD student in the Thermofluids Division

"Research is great if you’re passionate about it and if you like being free to make your own decisions about how to tackle a project and work independently."

Thomas profile image

When did you decide to do a PhD and why? 

I had originally thought that I wouldn’t want to do a PhD. However, whilst writing my Master’s thesis at EDF R&D, Paris, I realised that I really enjoyed doing research. I decided to look for a PhD after completing a year of civil service in Switzerland.

I was originally looking at universities in the USA, UK, and Australia. When I had decided to study in the UK, Imperial College London was my first choice. I definitely wanted to study in a big, exciting city which is ‘moving’- like London - and Imperial is a great institution, so it was a perfect fit.

Can you describe your experiences studying a PhD here?

It’s been cool so far. My first month was spent mostly getting into the academic mind-set again after a year out doing something completely different. 

What is your PhD research about?

My research is focussed on numerical simulations of small particles in flows. I found my project by contacting a number of staff in the research area I was interested in, and starting conversations with them. I was lucky in that a few weeks later I had found a supervisor and agreed an ideal project. So far I’ve been focussing on learning how to use a new piece of software which will be important for my research.

Have you participated in the activities offered by the Graduate School for PhD students? 

Not yet! I have booked into the statistics course which is being held in a couple of months’ time, as I felt that this course would be useful for my project. 

What would you say about the supervision you receive?

The supervision here is great. I see my supervisor every week, and we catch up on progress and how everything is going. It’s nice to have that support even though I haven’t really done any big pieces of work yet.

What has been the best thing so far about your experience?

I’m in London, so everything’s great. It’s a city where you always have something to do. I also make good use of the facilities here – like the Ethos Sports Centre, which is really cheap.

Do you have any thoughts about where you might like to go in the future?

Well, I don’t know yet. At this stage, I’d say I’m intending on working in industry, perhaps in a large firm in Research and Development, or something similar. But who knows – I didn’t think I’d do a PhD and yet here I am.

What advice would you offer to students considering applying for a PhD at Imperial?

Research is great if you’re passionate about it and if you like being free to make your own decisions about how to tackle a project and work independently.