Alumni career profile - Ian Holloway

  • PhD Physics
  • Specialist Mathematics Tutor for Northumberland Educational Authority

Duration – 3:11

My name is Ian Holloway. I’m currently Specialist Mathematics Tutor for Northumberland Educational Authority. I did my PhD at Birmingham in Physics within the Applied Nuclear Science Department.

Q1 – How did your time at the University shape and influence you?

A1 – My time at Birmingham University influenced me both professionally and in my own life because I was able to follow a dream, and that was to essentially do physics research. The research I did for my PhD at Birmingham was quite amazing, and I was able to follow this up in subsequent years. My research was in neutron activation analysis. It was the use of neutron physics in the medical physics field, and we developed a method of measuring sequentially, total body calcium, and that was the main thrust of the work while I was at Birmingham.

Q2 – Why do a PhD at Birmingham?

A2 – It was following a childhood dream I think. As a young person, I was excited by the ideas of science and by making discoveries. And as a young person, I didn’t think that I would ever have the opportunity to do that. I thought that was something that only very few people got the opportunity to do. However, when I finished my undergraduate work, I realised that I had the opportunity to do a PhD and my professor at Keele University suggested that I came down to Birmingham and talked with Professor Fremlin, and things just moved very rapidly from then. I joined his group and started to do research with Prof. Fremlin.

Q3 – How has having a PhD helped your career?

A3 – My PhD at Birmingham has enabled me to follow a career which has been incredibly enjoyable and very fulfilling. I don’t think I realised at the time I was at Birmingham, the depth of the study that we were doing, and how we were at the forefront of what we were doing, and subsequently I’ve been able to apply the depth and also the breadth of the knowledge that I gained at Birmingham to have a very fulfilling, exciting, and satisfying career.

Q4 – What would you say to a student who is thinking of doing a PhD?

A4 – My advice to students who might be thinking about doing a PhD is to have a go. It’s not easy; you’ve got to be fairly determined. Join a group, as I did with Professor Fremlin’s group, and simply enjoy every moment. Put as much into it as you can, and get out of it all that will be on offer, particularly if you do a PhD here at Birmingham.

Aston Webb