Would you like to work with me?

Lab Panorama

The Acoustic Thermometry Lab at NPL (Photo by Sam Gibbs: thanks šŸ™‚ )

Friends and colleagues,

  • Do you know anyone who would like to work with me?

In the next few months I expect to be starting some new projects at NPL. And this means that I will not be able to work on my existing projects šŸ˜¦

So NPL have created the opportunity for someone to work with me to help complete those projects.

  • You can read about the job here.
  • It’s also on the NPL web site here where it’s the described as “Research Or Higher Research Scientist – Temperature & Humidity” referenceĀ 65552.

What’s involved?

Good question. And it is one that is still being decided.

But it would involve working mainly in the acoustic thermometry lab .

Lab Panorama with notes

In acoustic thermometry, the temperature of a gas is inferred from measurements of the speed of sound.

On the left-hand side of the picture is an apparatus that uses a spherical resonator to measure the speed of sound. It is the most accurate thermometer on Earth.

On the right-hand side of the picture is a new apparatusĀ that uses a cylindrical resonator to measure the speed of sound and has been designed to operate up 700 Ā°C.

The job would involve learningĀ about these techniques but that wouldn’t be the main activity.

Running around the lab is 50 metres of bright yellow tubing that we refer to as ‘an acoustic waveguide’.

By measuring the transmission of sound along the tube it is possible to turn it into a useful thermometer. I hope.

Finding out whether this can be made to work practicallyĀ would be one part of the job. And testing the same idea is smaller tubes would be another.

Finally, by measuring the speed of sound in air it is possible to measure the temperature of the air and we would like to investigate applications of this technology.

What does the job involve?

Well it will involve learning a lot of new stuff. Typically projects involve:

  • Programming in Labview to control instruments and acquire and analyse data.
  • Writing spreadsheets and reports and PowerPoint presentations.
  • Keep track of stuff in a lab book.
  • Using acoustic and optical transducers
  • Signal processing
  • Electronics
  • Mechanical design and construction.
  • Vacuum and gas handling systems – ‘plumbing’.

And lots more. And the chance that someone with those skills will walk through the door is pretty low.

So prior knowledge is great but the key requirement is the mindset to face all those unknown things without letting the bewilderment become overwhelming.

So we are looking for someone with enthusiasm.


Learning new stuff is painful. Especially when it seems endless.

SoĀ I couldn’t imagine working with someone who wasn’t enthusiastic about the miracle of physics.

And there is one benefit which isn’t mentioned in the advert.

To cope with the inevitable disappointments and to reward ourselves for our minor successes, our research group has freely available Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers.

Anyway, if this person isn’t you,Ā please do pass on the opportunity to anyone you think might be interested.

The closing date for applications is 28th August 2017.


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4 Responses to “Would you like to work with me?”

  1. Samuel Gibbs Says:

    A very enticing proposition… delighted to see the lab in it’s entirety.
    Many thanks for kindly showing me your marvelous machines.

  2. Mary Anne White Says:


    I would circulate your message here, but I could not see anything about citizenship requirements. Is this position restricted to UK citizens?

    Best wishes,

    Mary Anne

    Mary Anne White, O.C., FRSC, PhD, DSc(hc), DU(hc) Harry Shirreff Professor of Chemical Research (Emerita) Department of Chemistry Dalhousie University 6274 Coburg Road P.O. Box 15000 Halifax NS B3H 4R2 Canada Tel: (902) 494-3894 Email: mary.anne.white@dal.ca Research Website: http://mawhite.chem.dal.ca/ See also: http://www.physicalpropertiesofmaterials.com

    Address for Courier: Chemistry Building, Room 212 6274 Coburg Road Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2 Canada


    • protonsforbreakfast Says:

      Mary Anne,

      There are no nationality restrictions. NPL has many non-UK citizens on its staff.

      But you would need a work visa. I don’t know the details of you get one of those.

      All the best


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