A huge thank you to everyone who has voted! Can't believe I'm through to the last day!
University of Sheffield from 1991 – 1997. Le Mans University in France 1992 -3
A-levels in Physics, French, Maths and General Studies. Later did AS-level Spanish. BSc Hons in Phsyics. Also a french “licence” in Physics. PhD in Physics
Worked for a Brewery, ran my own business, taught at Loughborough University. Also Waterstones and Gala Bingo – amongst others!
Medical Physicist in Nuclear Medicine
Favourite thing to do in science Get to the root of a problem and work out how to fix it.
I like my job because I get to do geeky science stuff like testing big equipment but also talk to people who are ill and help them with their treatment.
My job is very mixed . I work in a hospital so everything is related to the real world, which I love. One minute I can be trying to find out why our equipment isn’t working, the next minute I am called to the phone because a patient is worried about their treatment.
Nuclear Medicine is so clever – it’s kind of like a backwards X-ray. We give people slightly radioactive injections which will look at a part of the body that they are worried about. They lie under a big camera which can see where the radiation has gone to in their body. The pictures help us to see what is wrong and how we can help them. We have different scans for different diseases all over the body and it’s not always injections, sometimes patients have to eat a radioactive cottage pie or drink a milkshake!
I need to make sure the equipment all works properly and that the patients are safe. We are always looking for ways to reduce the amount of radiation patients receive but still make sure we get good pictures. Sometimes I will give them advice about how they need to act when they go home while we are waiting for the radiation to leave their bodies.
My Typical Day
Aaagh in one sentence! Er equipment problems, laughing with colleagues, reassuring patients, and lots of interruptions!
Drop my little boy at school, get stuck in traffic, dash to work. Switch on computer and check e- mail. Go down to the camera room and check the results from the daily checks the staff have done. Get interrupted to go to the phone to a reassure a patient that their cat will be ok after their radioactive treatment. Go back to camera room to set up a measurement to check they are running safely.
Meet with manufacturers to talk about buying a new gamma camera (nearly half a million pounds!). Have a cup of tea, chat to colleagues in the staff room.
Find a problem with one of the gamma cameras. Battle with call centre to send us an engineer ASAP. Work with staff to rearrange bookings, trying not to delay too many patients.
In the afternoon, run a treatment clinic with Janet – patients coming in to have a special kind of radiation to make their thyroid better. There’s often tears and laughter….people react in different ways to being a bit frightened!
After tea, have a quick chat with our chief technologist about a new research trial that we will be part of. We need to keep a radioactive plate in the same place whilst the patient is having their scan…..so we start messing about with bulldog clips, chairs, retort sands, wire and tape….are we back at school?!
What I'd do with the money
Take Nuclear Medicine to my son’s primary school for a science experience they’ll never forget!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Honest, sparky, kind
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Paul Weller….but I also love the Craig Charles funk and soul show
What's your favourite food?
Garlicky prawns, good steak, sea bass….can’t decide!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Again hard to pick…..maybe flying over a glacier in New Zealand in a helicopter? Or swimming in freezing cold sea off Irish coast? Or winning tickets to see Strictly live in the BBC studios?
What did you want to be after you left school?
I had no idea!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
For talking because I was helping my friend in maths
What was your favourite subject at school?
Maths and French
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Making a difference to patients during their time being treated for cancer
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
My Dad, My A-level Physics teachers and doing other jobs not in science!!
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Worry less, be outside more, live by the sea
Tell us a joke.
What time is it when you have to go to the dentist? Tooth – hurtie
This is a picture of me pretending to inhale radioactive gas. This is what our patients may have to do if they are having a lung scan, which is a picture that can show if someone has a blood clot in their lungs…it is very important to find these quickly so the doctors can give them medicine to save their lives!