Katherine Bailes, Leeds

Originally from Harrogate, I moved to Beverley in East Yorkshire when I was young. It’s a beautiful area full of countryside but by 18 I was ready for a change. I did my undergraduate in (MEng) Chemical Engineering at The University of Manchester.

The first two years were the most stressful I have ever experienced and I considered quitting more than once. Third year brings a large design project which suddenly made sense of all the things I had learned but it made me aware that I really didn’t want a job in chemical engineering design. Then I found something I loved in my fourth year Masters project. I was looking at using Plasma processing for the dissociation of carbon dioxide. It made me realise my love for research and hence I applied for a PhD.

I spent forever finding a funded project which I felt was right for me and eventually found a project entitled, “Polymer solutions for the mobilisation and immobilisation of heavy particles” at the University of Leeds. This basically means that I am using shear thinning fluids to stop nuclear waste settling inside pipes during transport. Working with non-Newtonian fluids is simultaneously the best and worst part of this project. They behave in strange ways which makes certain handling difficult but also very interesting.

So now I’m back in Yorkshire, and I’m enjoying life. I might earn less than my friends who have process engineering jobs but I like what I do and I have more time to do the things I love.

Email: Katherine.Bailes-3@postgrad.Manchester.ac.uk