Collaborations between universities and facilities, both nationwide and globally, are an integral part scientific research and my project is no exception to this. Earlier in the year, I applied to use the facilities at the Inter University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) based in Delhi, India. This facility has a heavy ion accelerator which can be used, along with many other applications, to irradiate some of the nuclear wasteforms which I’ll produce throughout my project, and test their suitability for this.
The application process involves defending my proposal to a panel of committee members which meant that upon invitation, I had to travel to Delhi, which was one of my first experiences of travelling outside of Europe. I was excited and anxious in equal measure but I was accompanied by Dr. Charu Dube, a postdoctoral researcher here at The University of Sheffield. She had previously spent a lot of time at the IUAC with other projects and was an excellent guide throughout my stay.
I arrived in India at the start of monsoon season, which I was reliably informed by everyone on campus is the worst time to be a tourist here. Humidity often reached 80-90% and with temperatures approaching 40C, staying hydrated and in close proximity to air conditioning was essential. The humidity isn’t just a problem for tourists, the ion accelerator was also out of action due to this, which unfortunately meant we were unable to perform the experiments which Charu had planned for our time in Delhi.
We both stayed onsite at the campus, which is beautifully landscaped and very peaceful, you’d never guess that this facility was in a city with a population of 18 million! Staying here made it much easier to attend the conference of other proposal defense presentations and also have a tour of the campus and facilities available to use here, as well as getting to know some of the students and staff.
After a couple of days watching some of the proposal defence presentations, it was finally my turn to present. I was quite nervous since this was only the second time I’d ever formally presented my work (the first time being the Specialised Skills Training for the NGN assessment). Initial feedback from the panel suggested that nuclear wasteform experiments are an area of research in which the IUAC would like to focus on and I’m hopeful that my proposal will be accepted.
My final day in Delhi was spent being a typical tourist and seeing some of the fantastic sights which the city has to offer such as the Qutub Minar, India Gate and Delhi Haat, an amazing collection of colourful markets. It was a great experience to visit Delhi as well as being good practice in presenting, and providing the acceptance of my proposal, I’ll hopefully be visiting again soon, but maybe not in monsoon season!