Welcome to our new cohort of students

We are delighted to welcome 11 new PhD students to the Cockcroft Institute. Our new cohort joined us last autumn, and they have all been very busy settling into their research.

This is an exciting time for you as you embark on your journey towards a doctoral degree and we wish you both a happy and successful time here at CI!

Several of our new students have taken the opportunity to introduce themselves:

Alex Morris – Hello my name is Alex Morris, I’m a PhD student at the University of Liverpool. My project is looking at Inverse Compton Scattering (using a high energy electron to give energy to a photon) to produce a monochromatic source of gamma rays, which could be used for many purposes such as medical physics or nuclear security. I graduated from the University of Manchester with a Master’s degree in Physics and have since worked at the Dalton Cumbrian Facility where I got my first taste of accelerator physics by using the ion beam accelerator there. I have also worked in nuclear safety so this is where I obtained my interest in the use of Inverse Compton Scattering for nuclear security. In my free time I enjoy non-league football (West Didsbury and Chorlton FC normally) and music, especially going to gigs.

Joseph Bradbury – Hi! I’m Joe and I’m in the first year of my PhD with the Cockroft Institute and the University of Manchester. While doing my undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Bristol, I studied abroad for a year at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen. It was here that I first became interested in the tools and machines used in particle physics experiments. I completed my master’s thesis by conducting practical research into possible adaptations to the SoLid neutrino detector. After a year away from physics, spent teaching, I began my PhD research as part of the THz acceleration group, with members of the team from the Universities of Manchester and Lancaster, as well as STFC staff. We are working on novel accelerator concepts,  using laser-generated terahertz radiation to accelerate and manipulate electron beams. This work could provide great developments in time resolved electron diffraction imaging, and in the production of high beam-quality, compact accelerators. Aside from accelerator physics, I enjoy travelling, playing music, painting, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Catherine Swain – Hi I’m Cath, I’m a PhD student at the University of Liverpool. I work with the Quasar Group researching diagnostics for the AWAKE Run 2. I studied Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Salford, during which I found I really enjoyed the research sections of my course. This made me realise that a PhD would be the best way to continue working in an area I enjoyed, and so I began looking. I’d always had an interest in physics and when I saw the project advertised, I decided that even if it was a long shot, I had to apply. I’m very glad that I did, because now I’m working in a fascinating discipline with a great group of international researchers. Outside of work I’m a bit of a nerd, I enjoy sci-fi (I’m in the middle of rewatching all the Star Wars films, as well as Star Trek Voyager), and I’m currently planning a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

Tom Gallagher – Hi, I’m Tom. I’m from the Wirral and as a Liverpool local, I’ve spent the last 4 years at The University of Liverpool obtaining my master’s degree in physics. I’m excited to continue my physics journey as I return to The University of Liverpool and join forces with The Cockroft Institute to embark upon my PhD. For the coming years I will specialise in the optimisation of multipole magnet designs to best harness their fringe fields to good effect. I hope to create tools for scientists in the area to test their own designs and receive detailed feedback on how to alter their designs to best suit their application. Beyond the scope of the PhD, I am an avid musician and car fanatic. Music and physics comprise the majority of my day where I play in a local band, but I can also be found in the garage tinkering with cars. Embarking on a PhD has long been a goal of mine and I look forward to every moment of the next four years.

Fabio D’Andrea – Hi everyone, I’m Fabio! I am a first-year PhD candidate at the University of Manchester working on the machine design and treatment planning of Very High Energy Electron (VHEE) Radiotherapy. Originally from London, I studied Biomedical Engineering before spending six years slowly crossing the North of England. Starting in Hull, I joined the NHS and indulged my interest in medical physics, then worked at Leeds Teaching Hospitals as a Clinical Scientist specialising in Radiotherapy. I have now crossed over the much-famed border from Yorkshire to Lancashire… and survived! To be safe I order my chips with a “cob-bun-barmcake-bap-breadcake-breadroll”. I’m passionate about the intersection between clinical environments, and new research which can expand the horizons of what’s possible for cancer patients. I’m honoured to have the opportunity to work on a novel accelerator technology, where we will facilitate VHEE and explore its ability to deliver treatments (while pulling together the experience and knowledge of multiple disciplines). I enjoy travelling, gaming, running, and I’m trying to get into my whiskies (suggestions welcome!).

Lily Berman – Hello, my name’s Lily and I’m from London. I did my integrated masters in physics at the University of Edinburgh. Finding that Scotland was a great place to live I’m now undertaking my PhD at the University of Strathclyde in the field of plasma wakefield acceleration (PWFA). My project involves using supercomputers to simulate PWFA with the ‘Trojan Horse’ injection method, which could produce extremely high-brightness beams, and seeing how this could be used to power an x-ray free-electron laser (XFEL). I discovered the existence of XFELs after doing my masters project on extreme conditions created in crystals during experiments. Having decided that XFELs were pretty much the coolest thing ever, some searching on findaPhD.com (guilty) led me to discover the Cockcroft Institute and also the existence of wakefield acceleration – I thought the combination of cutting-edge fields in the project looked incredibly interesting, so here I am! I’m hoping to also spend time at one of CI’s international collaborators, such as SLAC in California. Outside of work I hike with the uni mountaineering club and really enjoy a good pub quiz.

Conor McFarlane – I’m from a small town called Forres in the north of Scotland and I’m studying my PhD with Lancaster University. My research will be on the RF dipole crab cavities being tested at the SPS at CERN. This will aid the high luminosity project for the LHC (HL-LHC). I’ve had an interest in science ever since I was a child and during high school I made the decision that I wanted to achieve a PhD. Since then, I completed BcS Honours in Physics at the University of Aberdeen, started my engineering PhD based at Daresbury Labs in 2021 and will start at CERN early 2022. I enjoy music (particularly metal), playing the guitar, cooking and watching the NFL.

Adam Dixon – Hi, I’m Adam, a first year PhD student at the University of Liverpool and the Cockcroft Institute. I was born and grew up in Leeds and then did my undergrad degree in Physics at the University of Liverpool. I gained an interest in Accelerator science during my final year project where I studied CSR kicks in bunch compressors with one of my current supervisors – Tessa Charles. Currently, I am continuing my research on CSR kicks, as well as looking at micro-bunching instability suppression for improved FEL performance. In my free time I enjoy pushing myself in the gym, hiking and a good games night!

Raiza Babu – Hi, I’m Raiza, a PhD student just starting out at the University of Huddersfield and the Cockcroft Institute.  I am from Kerala, India, where I was born and raised. In 2021, at the University of Huddersfield, I completed my Master’s degree in Engineering Control System and Instrumentation.  My interest in accelerator science began when I read a journal published within the British journal of radiology “accelerator science in medical physics”. Over the past few years, I expanded my research in accelerator science and have since switched my career to accelerator physics. I was provided with an excellent opportunity to join the Cockcroft Institute as a visitor in the Manchester Accelerator Group, supervised by Rob Appleby.  My PhD project will focus on the study of a novel beam collimation system for the high luminosity upgrade of the large hadron collider at CERN. During this study, I will be investigating new forms of collimation and their potential in the LHC and other future accelerators. I am very excited to start my research in accelerator science. Outside work, I enjoy reading, travelling and being outdoors.