David Pyle is a Professor of Earth Sciences at Oxford University and uses Diamond to study volcanoes.
1. What are you studying at Diamond?
I am exploring the long-term performance of nuclear waste materials that are destined for disposal in a geological facility, several hundreds of metres below the ground.
2. Why does this research require synchrotron light?
The Long Duration Experiment Facility at Diamond is the only one of its kind in the world. Using this facility, my team are observing very slow changes in nuclear waste materials, at very high resolution, over a two year period. These changes can be very small, so synchrotron light is essential.
3. What do you hope your work will achieve?
This research is extremely important because the UK’s nuclear waste will be radioactive for more than 100,000 years. Our long-duration experiments will enable us to predict the safety of this waste in a geological disposal facility over the long time periods required.
4. What advice would you give to young people who are interested in a career in science?
A great scientist is someone who works hard to understand how or why things work. My teachers told me I wasn’t clever enough to be a scientist, but I couldn’t help being interested and motivated to find out ‘why?’ so I kept trying anyway. My advice is – you can do it!
5. If you hadn’t been a scientist what else would you want to be?
I always wanted (and still want to be) an astronaut! Maybe if we work out a way to safely blast our nuclear waste into space, they might ask me to be involved!