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Dr Judy Hart, British Ramsay Fellow 2007-2009

Judy Hart

‘I held my Ramsay Fellowship in the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol. I was studying new inorganic materials, such as carbon nitride and carbon phosphide, using both computational and experimental techniques. Carbon nitride is of interest because it may have a very high hardness (higher than diamond), while carbon phosphide is potentially useful as a semiconductor. This work has led on to studies of other new semiconducting materials. As well as their potential applications, the materials I studied are also interesting purely for academic reasons – we want to see if it is possible to use computational techniques to predict the structure and properties of materials that have never been synthesised, and then use experimental approaches to test these predictions.

‘I completed my PhD at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where I worked on nanostructured titanium dioxide films for use in dye-sensitised solar cells. I then moved to England with my husband, where I worked on materials for hydrogen storage as a post-doc at the University of Bath, before starting my Ramsay Fellowship.

‘I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Ramsay Fellow. There are few opportunities for early-career researchers to undertake an independent research programme. Starting my own research only eighteen months after completing my PhD was very challenging, but has given me confidence and experience that will have a lasting effect on my career. As a researcher trying to solve the academic two-body problem (my husband and I needing to find research jobs close to each other), the Ramsay Fellowship was an enormous help – the freedom of having my own research funding meant that we could both work on exciting research with world-leaders in our fields, and both be working in the same city.’

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