Kate Wright

Favourite Thing: Writing code and finally getting it to work!



I studied at the University of Nottingham 2008 – 2013 and did a year abroad in Munich


MSc in Physics with German, and A levels in Maths, Physics and German

Work History:

I’m in my first proper job at the moment which I’ve been doing since last year.

Current Job:

Graduate Physicist


Cavendish Nuclear

Me and my work

I work in radiation detection to make sure that dangerous radioactive stuff is dealt with properly.

Some things are radioactive, which means they give off tiny particles or energy which can be bad for people if they get too much of it. My job is to work with a few different kinds of radiation detectors to figure out if something is radioactive or not so that it can be dealt with properly. There are a few different types of radiation and LOADS of things that can emit it so my job is really varied – I work on a lot of different stuff, which keeps it interesting. I’m also working on some simulations, which means getting a computer to work out what our detectors would say if there was something radioactive in different places near them.

My Typical Day

Messing with spreadsheets and writing reports in the office

I do a lot of analysis and making graphs and simulations on a computer and write reports to give to customers telling them if there’s any problems with their detector equipment.

Sometimes I spend the day outdoors making measurements with a gamma detector, which is nice when it’s sunny (not so good in the rain!).

I write code to help with analysing data, which I really enjoy. It’s frustrating when it doesn’t do what you think it should but it’s so satisfying when it finally works!

What I'd do with the money

I’d give it to an organisation that aims to get more girls and women into Science

I think it’s really important to get more girls into science – especially Physics!

I’d like to support an organisation like Science Grrl, who I saw at the Lancashire Science Festival, because I think they’re really helping to make young kids realise that you don’t have to be a boy to be a scientist.

I work in the nuclear industry which is pretty much full of men and I want to see that change!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

smart, honest, nerdy

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Rise Against

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

I’ve recently started rock climbing and that’s really good fun. My year abroad in Germany was also really fun!

What did you want to be after you left school?

Mechanical engineer – I studied engineering for a year before realising it wasn’t for me

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Not really, I was a bit of a teacher’s pet

What was your favourite subject at school?

I really liked English when I was younger and I wanted to be an author, then I like Graphics at GCSE… by 6th form I think Maths was my favourite

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

I think the best thing has been Science outreach which means going into schools and showing kids what scientists are really like

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

I had a great Physics teacher at school but I think I really went with Physics because I enjoyed it and I was good at it… simple as that!

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Probably a translator – I speak German and I love learning new languages.

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Hmmmm… I’d wish to be able to remember anything I wanted to, to be able to learn new things really easily and to meet more people who are interested in the stuff I’m interested in. Also to be able to fly, but I think that goes without saying.

Tell us a joke.

Why can’t you trust atoms? Because they make up everything

Other stuff

Work photos: