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Department of Physics

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Durham students complete a successful three month secondment at Kromek.

(23 April 2018)

Two Durham students, Philip Waite and Thomas Jubb, have recently completed a three month secondment at Kromek, a successful local technology company specialising in radiation detectors. Philip is currently studying for a PhD in the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP) within the Physics department, and Tom has recently graduated from his PhD in the same group. The placements were set up through the new Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science in Durham Physics, which is supported by the Science Technology Facilities Council and Durham University. 

“We had a fantastic time at Kromek working on a data science and machine learning based project to combat terrorism at airports. We undertook a diverse range of work, both in the lab and in the office, developing algorithms and presenting our work to the senior management. Although we were there for only three months, a patent application is currently in progress for our work, and we've written two manuscripts detailing our algorithms which we hope might be published in the future.”

The work was carried out under the guidance of Ben Cantwell, who co-founded the company after a PhD in the same building that Tom and Phil study in. Ben had this to say: “Tom and Phil have exceeded all our expectations and we could not have completed this project without them. Their approach to problem solving and analytical skills were invaluable. They will be missed.”

Such interactions are set to increase at the IPPP and ICC (Institute for Computational Cosmology) through the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) which provides new PhD training in data intensive science, part of which is spent in industry. These placements are an excellent way to develop and transfer skills developed in academic research and to get first-hand industry experience which can be vital to securing a career after a PhD. That experience is now paying dividends for Tom as he has begun a full time job as a data scientist in Oxfordshire.