My name is Peter, and I live in Cork City with my girlfriend. I spend most of my free time either rock climbing or cooking/eating. Also enjoy music and travelling!
Hey there! My name is Peter. I am from Cork and now live in the city with my girlfriend. My main hobby is rock climbing, I like to go to a climbing gym here in Cork, and also travel around the world to climb on real rock. Some places I have climbed are Spain, America, and most recently Mallorca.
I also really enjoy cooking and generally eating lots of food. (One of the reasons I climb is to stay in shape from all the food I eat!) Other than that, I like to play piano, drums and listen to music.
My background is in electronic engineering, and then I decided I wanted to do a PhD, focusing on semiconductors and lights.
As a PhD student in Tyndall National Institute, I work with LEDs which emit light in the ultraviolet range. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are one of the most common pieces of technology in our lives, we see them everywhere we look. In mobile phones, traffic lights, laptops, ceiling lights, car headlights, I could go on and on. All these LEDs emit light that you can see, but the devices that I research are emitting light that we can’t see: ultraviolet (UV) light.
These LEDs are made by putting layers of very very very thin layers of materials together and then cutting the devices into shapes to use. My research looks at these steps and processes and trying to make a very good UV LED! After making the LED, I will try to put the LED in a small tube which can go into your body! Doctors can use this tube with UV light to look at what’s inside your body and see if everything’s ok.
My Typical Day
I wake up, make some nice breakfast (my favourite meal of the day), then start work. I might have work to do in a lab, or different work to do at my desk, or even some reading or writing I can do at home. After a day of work, I usually head to the climbing gym and then home for dinner.
One of the things I love about research is the many different things you can do in a day’s work. One day could be all spent in a lab working with chemicals or expensive equipment, another could be at home reading, or even both in the same day! You can see the lab I work in in the image below. This type of lab is called a ‘cleanroom’. It has this name because it is really clean! We have to wear blue overalls so that we don’t drop any dirt or dust off of our body or clothes. The devices we work with can be ruined if even the smallest particle of dirt gets onto it.
As a result of Covid, some days I can stay at home to work. But some days I need to go in to the lab to do things which I can’t do at home. In between working in the lab or reading, I have some meetings with other researchers to chat about how we are all doing in the projects we are working on. These are important because we all learn from each other and the projects only work if we all work with each other.
It’s a quick cycle to work for me. Throughout the day, I try not to spend all my time on one thing or else I will get sick of it and lose interest. It’s better to focus on a few different things so that you can get more done and stay fresh.
What I'd do with the prize money
I would put the money towards educational kits that students would be able to play with and learn more about science through experimenting.
Glounthaune NS; Glanmire Community College, University College Cork
Bachelor's Engineering in Electrical and Electronic Engineering
I worked for a bit with a telecommunications company during college placements, but began my PhD after my undergraduate
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
rock-climbing photonics engineer
What did you want to be after you left school?
A formula 1 engineer
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Only a few times
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Rock climbed over water in Mallorca
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Ireland having better weather, free airplane travel, a fully stocked professional kitchen
Tell us a joke.