Sarah O’Sullivan, Sheffield

Hi, I’m Sarah and I was never going to do a PhD.

Originally from Rotherham, I moved a grand sum of ten miles to Sheffield when I had careers in the NHS. I’d finished my A-levels and decided to work for a bit instead, starting in operating theatres and ending as a supervisor for the Blood and Transplant Service. At 21 years old I then decided that a physics degree was the way forward.SOS NGN Blog

Fast forward three years later and I graduated with a decidedly average 2:1 physics BSc, although I did spend a summer working at Sellafield. I took a chance on applying for a PhD position because radiation is cool and ended up here in Sheffield’s Immobilisation Sciences Lab. My project aims are to create and characterise a whole new family of ternary uranium oxynitrides which at the moment involves designing and commissioning my own ammonia gas furnace and making various things to go inside the furnace with the hope of getting an oxynitride out of it. Alongside the project, I’m utilising the budgets made available to me to pursue training as a radiation protection supervisor with the intention of following this type of role once I’ve got my doctorate.

When I’m not trying to bluff my way through what is essentially a chemistry PhD despite being a physicist, I make and eat far too many rum truffles and tiramisu, I attempt to pole dance and I’m borderline obsessive about my cat.