Daisy Shearer on researching quantum technology, and neurodiversity in STEM


I’m studying for a PhD at the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI). I’m primarily an experimental physicist working in quantum technology and my research focuses on a compound called indium antimonide.

I use a lot of the amazing equipment we have at ATI, including the Microfabrication Clean Room and the Focused Ion Beam. Apart from that, I’m most likely to be found in the spintronics lab working with our superconducting magnet.

The main reason I came to Surrey in 2014 was that I really liked the sound of the MPhys course. I wanted to experience a research placement and I also had an interest in the research the physics department was doing.

I did a 10-month placement at the Centre for Integrated Photonics, which is now Huawei Research and Development (UK). I was a Research and Development Intern, primarily focusing on telecommunications. I did a variety of activities, such as testing devices, data analysis and developing programmes to quantify the data I measured, then I’d present my findings and design recommendations.

I loved doing experimental research and working with semiconductor devices! I also developed my data analysis and coding skills, and became familiar with how a research team operates in industry.

I was diagnosed with autism in December 2017, which gave me access to the University’s amazing Disability and Neurodiversity (D&N) services, including my specialist mentor. I’ve grown as a person and as a scientist thanks to her help.

In my free time one of my biggest hobbies is science communication. I love exploring science topics in accessible ways on social media and on my blog, Notes From the Physics Lab.

I also run an online project called Neurodivergent in STEM, which aims to amplify the voices of neurodiverse people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

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