Back at the tail end of 2020 I had started to look for my next big challenge. I knew that I wanted it to be academically orientated and had, for as long as I could remember, wanted to do a PhD. Previously I had completed an MSc in Advanced Computer Science and over that period had gone from being an Artificial Intelligence (AI) sceptic to somewhat of an AI obsessive! I also had a first degree in Chemistry, so I started to look for PhD opportunities with most of the research based around Computer Science or even in Computational Chemistry.
Working on the Shrivenham site I had become aware of Cranfield University’s Defence and Security School based there and asking around a little I found people talking highly of the University -especially the applied nature of the work that the University was famous for, and the respect that they had for their students. So, I decided to apply for a funded PhD based in the Centre for Defence Chemistry. Being a relatively mature student, and that my Chemistry was a little rusty, I wasn’t confident of my success at interview, but duly did my best!
What a marvellous surprise when I was asked if I would like to be considered for two different PhD topics and found myself leaping at the chance to study for a PhD titled ‘Characterising the microstructure of composite explosives by mining CT-scan datasets’ which is all about making explosives safer. To do this I am examining CT scan data using Artificial Intelligence.
I needn’t have really worried about being a little older as Cranfield is exclusively a Postgraduate University and there really is a diversity of ages here; if anything, I have found that my life experience is particularly useful, and I really appreciate working with a range of students. In fact, although working mostly remotely for the last 6 months, the atmosphere amongst the students that I have met in person and online has been great!