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I grew up on the Wirral, where I attended Calday Grange Grammar School, before moving Down South to study physics at the University of Bristol. My third year (of four) was spent at the ENSPG in Grenoble, France. After finishing my degree at Bristol, I moved further south to study for my D. Phil at the University of Sussex in the group of Professor Ed Hinds. The main result of my thesis work was the creation of a Bose-Einstein Condensate above an atom chip.
At the end of my thesis I stayed on as a postoc, during which the group moved to Imperial College London. Before we took the experiment apart we were able to study the interactions between the trapped atoms at micro-Kelvin temperatures and the room temperature surface of the chip. In September 2003 I left to take up a postdoc in the Quantum Optics group at the Institut d'Optique in Orsay, France. During my three years in Orsay, we used single atoms trapped in a micron-sized "optical tweezer" to perform experiments linked to quantum information processing, including the first experimental demonstration of two-photon interference with single photons from different atoms.
I moved back north to Durham University in November 2006, where I am currently studying the fascinating properties of ultra-cold Rydberg gases, both in my own experiment on strontium atoms, and in collaboration with Professor Charles Adams using rubidium.