Photo:

Sian Lawson

Favourite Thing: Can I say conferences? I kind of love the crazy travel – I’ve managed to present science on five different continents and visited places that I never would have thought of visiting. On the other end of the scale I actually love programming. I’m a bit of a hacker and just being left by myself to do hands-on computer modelling is my idea of a great day at work.

My CV

School:

Awali School, Hordle House, St. Swithun’s, Wentworth Milton Mount

University:

1995-96 University College London Maths, 1996-99 Bristol University BSc Anatomical/Equine Science, 1999-2002 Oxford University PhD (DPhil) Biomechanics

Work History:

Oxford University, St George’s Hospital Medical School, Artem Digital, Ecole Nationale Veterinaire d’Alfort, Newcastle University

Employer:

Freelance scientist! Affiliated with one University, lecturing for three others and external examiner (checking the standards) for another.

Current Job:

Movement specialist (Biomechanist) see http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1661108/ for my film work and http://equinemechanics.com/ for horse stuff.

Me and my work

I work out how things move – from visual effects for films, helping hospitals or the police, to studying animal locomotion, mostly horses but there has been the odd polar bear.

I study how things move – either mathematically looking at skeletons and muscles on a computer or by attaching markers to things and tracking how they move.

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My Typical Day

There’s a typical day?

Up until Jan I was a Senior Lecturer at a University so that involved going into an office, giving lectures and running a team of slightly-too-many PhD students. Since then I’ve gone freelance which means that I still lecture and research but now most days I work from home, have time for my kids, and ride horses at the beginning, middle and end of the day. 😉

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What I'd do with the money

I want to make a website for schools, and a series of school workshops.

Go into schools and give (hopefully) fun, inspiring workshops on why skeletons are different in different animals, and talk about being a scientist. They’ll be an accompanying website that school children could use after the talk, or even if they hadn’t been to one.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Small, Smiley and Adventurous.

Would you rather be a scientist or an athlete? And why?

Tough one. Scientist because I can (and do) still compete at the same time, whereas it’d be hard to do it the other way around.

If you could have a body super power, what would it be and why?

Staying super-fit whilst watching TV.

Which Olympic event would you most like to win? And why?

Showjumping (horses) which is a shame, because I mostly compete in dressage.

What did you want to be after you left school?

I had no idea, just kept doing what I found interesting! I knew I wanted to combine numbers and horses, but didn’t know you could.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

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

Oh wow – there’s such a variety. I’ve filmed polar bears, helped kids walk and made Oompa Loompas for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Tell us a joke.

How do you know that there’s an elephant in your fridge? There are footprints in the butter.