Peter Rhodes

Technology Lead

Peter takes us through what a technology lead does and what it is like being a physicist at Kromek

Where and what did you study at university?

I studied an integrated masters in Physics at the University of Southampton. During that course, I was able to spend a year studying abroad at the University of Adelaide, and spent time on two particularly interesting projects – one attempting to improve the absorption of laser light by a solution of gold nanoparticles by using light trapping, and another simulating the pathological outcomes of cancer patients undergoing proton therapy for cancer.

Peter Rhodes - Physicist - Kromek

What do you specialise in?

At Kromek, I head a project developing novel technologies to improve X-ray baggage scanners and allow them to automatically detect explosives hidden in bags. In terms of physics, my job is to be an all-rounder – my team has extremely capable and highly skilled specialised physicists who know more than anyone about the task in hand. I have to understand the complex concepts they discuss and use my understanding across the project and wider areas to guide our development.

Why did you look at Kromek as a company to work for?

After I graduated with my physics masters, I went abroad for a few months. When I returned, I particularly wanted a small and dynamic company, where I would be given real responsibility from the start, where I might be able to have a variety of roles and wear a few different hats, and where I would be able to directly use my physics training.

What do you do day to day at Kromek?

I manage a team developing technology for our project, but I also get involved with the science and data analysis, and I have one or two other responsibilities in the company, such as managing one of our software products. I write Python scripts, arrange meetings with my team and external partners to coordinate our development efforts. I try to ensure that my team has everything it needs to operate effectively and responsively while making sure to cross-check our conclusions and keep us on the most productive technical route!

Any advice for students looking to get into a physics career?

There are industrial options in physics, you can escape the classroom!
Academia offers a huge amount and can be great for a lot of people, but I know I was keen to spend at least some time out of academia after I finished my degree. Having experienced working life outside a university, I haven’t looked back!

See what opportunities are available

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