Spotlight On undergraduate success: Siân Phillips

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Siân, 6th from the left, is pictured with the other students on top of Le Moucherotte in the Vercors Massif, a mountain

Siân Phillips, currently in her second year of our undergraduate Astrophysics MPhys programme, recently attended the International Student Summer Programme in X-ray and Neutron Science. This was jointly run by the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) over the period 2-29 September 2018. It took place at the EPN campus in Grenoble, France.

Siân was in a group of only 20 attendees from 12 different countries who were selected from over 150 applicants from across Europe. Having been selected for this school was a great achievement for Siân, given that she had only just completed her first year of study and the Summer Programme was aimed primarily at 3rd year undergraduate students.

In preparation of the School, Siân had received a crash course on Condensed Matter Physics over the summer break from Professor Chris Lucas, Deputy Head of Department and Head of the Condensed Matter Physics cluster. During this time she attended a series of introductory lectures on the principles and applications of X-ray and neutron science and also completed a 4-week experimental project on beamline ID26 at the ESRF involving advanced X-ray spectroscopy methodologies. She also took the opportunity to visit and tour the XMaS beamline (BM28) at the ESRF which is directed by Chris and staffed by 4 scientists from our department.

The Summer School allowed her to gain unique insight into experiencing life as a scientist at the EPN campus and included a range of cultural and outdoor activities. When she came back, she told everyone how fascinating the experience had been and how much it had further boosted her fascintation for science.

Our Spotlight On series celebrates success stories of our undergraduate students. We provide our students with the environment, support and challenges they need to excell in their studies and research. The unique environment they find in our department is well-known and recognised for example by our current 5th position in the national Guardian league table for physics.

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