27 May 2022. Brought to you by Bethany Stansby.

Tara Milne

What is your current job / programme of study?

DPhil in Materials Science 

What A-Levels (or equivalent) did you do? 

Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Physics and AS History  

Why did you choose a career in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)? 

I really enjoyed chemistry, physics and engineering, and wanted to keep doing a bit of all of them. For me it seemed materials took the best bits of these and combined them together in a new way I hadn’t thought of before and that really interested me. 

What did you enjoy most about your MSE course? (If you didn’t do a MSE course which course did you do and what led to you MSE?) 

I enjoyed the practicals most, and in particular we had a 4th year research project where we did real novel research for 9 months. 

What is your research about?  

I explore new phase change materials for use in photonic computing and devices. These materials change phase in response to thermal, electrical or photonic stimuli, and when they do, they have different electrical and optical properties. This can be used to write and store data or modulate signals and waves. 

What is the coolest thing you have done in your career so far?  

Worked on the first (and only) single element phase change material for my masters project, and got to co-author a paper on it. 

What do you see yourself doing in the future? 

I’m not sure, I love science and research, but I also love teaching and outreach and am very passionate about education equality. 

What is your favourite material (and why)?  

I guess my favourite materials are a group called chalcogenides; the materials used most in phase change memory. It’s interesting how vastly their properties change between different states, much more so than other materials, and the mechanism behind the phase change and the reason for the degree of change is still in debate. 

What advice would you give your 16 year old self? 

Don’t worry so much, there is so much ahead of you and you can’t really predict it, so don’t overly plan. Just enjoy life and keep doing what you love, and one day you can make a living from what you love.