Gemini Laser Facility Sandwich Student - Placement

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
09 Oct 2018
06 Nov 2018
Start Date
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe's largest research organisations. We're trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we're driving ground-breaking advances in science, technology and Engineering. STFC is one of nine organisations that have been brought together to create UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); a new organisation with a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

Each year we offer opportunities to undergraduate sandwich students to gain practical experience, working alongside technical experts at the forefront of scientific research. We offer an invaluable experience with exposure to world class science and technology, and the opportunity to develop working relationships that continue well after your placement has finished.

Gemini is part of the Central Laser Facility, situated at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Researchers from the UK, EU and around the world come to use our facilities to carry out a wide range of cutting edge experiments in the physical sciences, materials research and life sciences. Gemini is an ultra-high intensity laser interaction facility that can generate extreme conditions of matter, comparable to the centre of a star. This incredible environment allows scientists to carry out fundamental experiments exploring relativistic plasmas, fusion mechanisms for energy production and laboratory astrophysics. Gemini is one of the most powerful lasers in the world, and is under continuous development to maintain its world-class status.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities
  • Successful applicants for these positions will work within our team alongside our visiting scientists. Time within the roles will be shared between development projects and operating the laser or supporting experimental operations. During the placement they will be expected to participate in and support the variety of high power laser-plasma experiments that are performed with Gemini.
  • Requirements change with each experiment, and can vary from sourcing equipment to the design and running of plasma diagnostics, data analysis, or reconfiguring laser hardware.
  • The post holder will directly contribute to the development, testing and integration of new components or diagnostics to enhance Gemini system performance. This may involve designing and constructing hardware, and/or software development. You are encouraged to contribute project ideas corresponding to your skills and interests.Knowledge, Skills and Experience
  • Candidates must have a good grasp of basic physics concepts (e.g. optics, electromagnetism). The ideal applicant would have an interest in this field, and demonstrate knowledge above the expected undergraduate level. Lab experience beyond standard undergraduate labs is also highly desirable. They should be self-motivated and have the ability to work autonomously as well as within a small team.
  • Drive and an enthusiasm for science are definitely a positive attribute, and good communications skills are vital. Previous experience in a customer facing environment and the ability to manage self and others would also be beneficial. The post holder must be computer literate, having at least a working knowledge of MS Office applications. An interest and previous experience in programming is useful, but not essential.

Shortlisting (S) and Interview (I) Criteria

  • at university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course and required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry
  • right to live and work in the UK
  • first two years of degree course in physics, or a closely related subject, with grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher
  • A-level Maths or equivalent
  • A-level Physics or equivalent.

  • A-level Computing or further Maths

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • good understanding of basic physics concepts (optics, electromagnetism, lasers)
  • experimental laboratory course
  • practical laboratory skills (this will be tested by a lab based practical exercise in interview).

  • computer programming experience (e.g.MATLAB, Python, C++)
  • experience working in a research or laboratory environment
  • knowledge of laser/optical/plasma physics theory and modelling techniques/software.

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes

  • effective written and verbal communication skills
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • highly motivated and able to work independently
  • good problem-solving skills
  • responsible approach to health and safety.

This role will involve working in tight spaces where access is restricted and will involve standing for extended periods. Successful candidates will also be required to ware personal protective equipment (PPE) such as goggles, glove and a face mask.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at .

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people - and more broadly to the world.

Interview/Assessment Date: 27th-29th November 2018

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