Position: Analytical Laboratory Coordinator, Central Analytical Research Facility
Expertise: Chemical Analysis
What are you working on at the moment?
I meet with scientists and students to discuss their project requirements and coordinate laboratory requests. In the lab, we analyse and measure the composition of gas, liquid and solid samples. Most samples need to be crushed, powdered, extracted or diluted into a form that can be analysed by the instrument. Great care needs to be taken to ensure that the sample is not contaminated at any time in the preparation process.
Why is your work important?
Many of our scientists' research focuses on environmental issues and the analysis we carry out in the lab provides them with essential data. For example, we can measure traces of metals in soil, sediments and plants, which can help scientists understand what metals a plant has absorbed and how they have spread through the plant.
What excites or inspires you about your field?
I'm excited that our work helps find answers to the many fascinating mysteries of the natural world. There's so much we still don't understand about our environment.
What are your hopes for the future?
Analysing material samples is a challenging process and I hope we continue to find ways to ensure the accuracy and precision of our measurements. I also hope that one day, tricorders (from Star Trek) will become a reality, as this would make my job a lot easier.
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