It was a project where I was actually working in areas of physics that were truly cutting edge

Ben Kinvig
Ben Kinvig
PhD Student
Quantum Photonics and Nanomaterials MSc(Res)
Studying a masters gave Ben the confidence to pursue a PhD in an area he’s always loved but didn’t think he’d be able to do.

What are you doing now and what made you decide to go down that route?

I have now started a PhD within the department under Professor David Whittaker, which is a bit of a change for me as for my masters and undergraduate I was always more of an experimentalist. I decided to do this after talking with David’s current PhD student and realising that the work he is doing is something I've always loved the idea of studying but before my masters was worried I wouldn't be good enough to actually do.

Studying Quantum Photonics and Nanomaterials set me up as it established a relationship with the staff in the department and also gave me the confidence that I was actually better at theory work than I thought I was, through some very challenging modules.

What did you enjoy most about your masters?

My favourite part of my masters has to be my project, working with Professor Mark Fox on telecom wavelength photonic nanocavities. I loved this, as it was a project where I was actually working in areas of physics that were truly cutting edge. I also loved some of my more quantum-focused modules, as they really challenged me and pushed me into becoming a better physicist.

What kind of skills from your masters are you using now?

For myself, the main skills are focused around the mathematical skills I learnt across the taught modules during my masters, specifically focused around linear algebra. Along with that I also learnt how to better write in a scientific style, which was something I really struggled with.

What are you enjoying most about your PhD now?

The part of my PhD I enjoy most is the day-to-day challenges I face and the fact that every day is generally different, with new problems to solve and work on. I often found that in most jobs I did I would get bored after a little while of working on the same thing, but this PhD allows me to have a few different problems to work on at a time that are constantly changing, and so I'm constantly learning and never feel static or bored.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

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