Name: Jamie Nutter
Job title: Electronic Support Section Leader
Company: ISIS Neutron and Muon Source
What do you do?
As the electronics support team leader, we are responsible for maintaining and supporting various control systems at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source. Alongside maintaining the Personal Protection Systems and motion control systems we ensure the experimental sample’s temperature is accurately controlled according to the researchers’ requirements. We’re also working on the automation of experiments, so researchers can do their work remotely.
What does your company do?
The ISIS Neutron and Muon Source is a particle accelerator facility in Oxfordshire, where researchers from around the world use our beamlines to perform advanced experiments on a range of materials. This helps them to understand atomic processes happening within, with some experiments performed under extreme environments – like high and low temperatures, magnetic fields or different atmospheric pressures – which is where my team come in.
How does what you do help tackle climate change or achieve net zero?
By preparing experiments for scientists who are tackling a broad range of subjects, I play an important role in a lot of modern research. For example, new battery materials are tested at this facility, which are being developed to enable higher energy density storage. I form a crucial step in realising future green technologies for applications including electric vehicles and large scale grid storage.
How is engineering helping tackle climate change or achieve net zero?
Crucial innovation from within this sector will unlock the potential of a lot of green technologies. Developing and optimizing all aspects of engineering will contribute to more energy efficient systems and new means of taking energy from renewable, carbon-free sources. I think in the future, investing in all fields of engineering will continue to play a key role in achieving our net zero goals.
Could you describe an average day working in your job?
On an average day I will be helping set up multiple different experiments for researchers coming from all around the world. You never know how each experiment will evolve so every day is a surprise. But if the experiment involves wires, then it’s my responsible to ensure everything works smoothly.
What made you want to do engineering?
My dad is a mechanical engineer specialising in motion control systems, as a child I was fascinated with his work controlling different types of motors and encoders. My interest in electronic engineering was triggered when we built my first computer together. Even now we both enjoy getting into the nitty gritty details of our engineering problems whenever we’re around the dinner table.
What route did you take into engineering and why?
I joined the Science and Technology Council Facility Apprenticeship programme in 2008, and it really gave me the opportunity to learn on the job from some world-leading engineers. Because of the qualifications I achieved here, I went onto study an undergraduate degree, and ever since I’ve been working my way up through the Electronic Support Section here. The ISIS Neutron and Muon Source has always had a clear progression path, and great learning opportunities, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
What personal qualities are important to do your job?
I think that a passion for research and innovation is crucial here. Because I work on different experiments across the facility, I really get an opportunity to see how the facility can be used to uncover all sorts of things from new shape memory alloys to improvements in cosmic radiation hardened electronics.
What do you like most about your job?
The variety. Everyday there is something new, and I can’t wait to find out how my work is helping contribute to a new area or research.
What advice would you give to young people who might be interested in a career like this?
Stay curious. Take every opportunity to find out more on the topics your passionate about, that way when you get into this field, you’ll always have a great story to reference and a desire to learn more!
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I’m a keen footballer, I play in the lunchtime football league here on site as well as the local weekend league. I also play in the sites rounder’s league in the summer.