Didcot First

Harry Watts

Electronics Engineering Apprentice at STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory


What are your main responsibilities?

I help maintain and develop ISIS, which is a synchrotron that provides us with a muon and neutron source. It has an injector that puts Hydrogen ions (H -) into a linear accelerator which splits up the ions into groups, using a Radio Frequency Quadrupole.  Once thatís done they then go into the synchrotron where they are further accelerated to 84% the speed of light. They then split and go to our two tungsten targets where they collide with the target, causing an intense neutron beam to come out, in a process called spallation. The neutron beams then go down different beamlines where scientists have put their samples and they use the neutron beam to acquire information about the atomic structure of their samples.

What is a typical day for you?

I work alongside other engineers to assemble test and install different bits of kit to aid in the running of ISIS, this involves designing circuitry and then assembling it and then testing to make sure it works and it fits all engineering regulations.

What science, technology, engineering and or maths (STEM) do you use in your role?

I use all of them in my role. Being an engineering apprentice all of my work revolves around engineering. This can range from designing a multi-layer PCB (printed circuit board) or testing environment controller crates.  This also involves a lot of maths as you have to do engineering equations such as cable sizes, current calculations and wave length calculations and plenty more.

Technology wise we always have to keep developing ISIS. This means that when new technology comes out such as USB3.0 and fibre optic we react to it and try to get all of our equipment using it as this means that data can be transferred between systems faster, so scientists are then able to analyse data a lot quicker.

How did you get into this career?

From my GCSEs I wasnít sure what career I wanted to get involved in so I went and did a year of Sixth Form. I very quickly realised that I had enough of sitting in a class room for five days a week, so I looked at alternatives and I have always been interested in electronics as from a young kid I have been building PCs and fixing gaming consoles so I found out about this and jumped straight into it.

What do you enjoy the most in your role?

The most enjoyable part of my job is the variety of tasks - my jobs vary hugely which is what makes the job interesting every day. Also, the fact as well that, when youíve gone through with a project and you see it being installed you know that the equipment will make a difference and that is a very rewarding feeling.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am 19 years old and my main hobby is football. I spend a lot of my free time playing, watching and practising it. When Iím not playing football, Iím with my friends, socialising and going out. 

  • Linda meeting with Harry
    Linda meeting with Harry
  • Harry and Linda
    Harry and Linda
  • Harry Watts
    Harry Watts
  • Linda meeting with Harry
  • Harry and Linda
  • Harry Watts

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