Stephen Towe, Mathematics and Physics (2012)

Degree – Mathematics and Physics BSc Hons
Graduated - 2012
Current Employment – Physicist at Elekta Limited, Crawley

What are your main responsibilities in your current job?

I work in a physics team at Elekta, which is a medical devices company, and as such I get involved in a wide variety of tasks from Monte Carlo modelling of both current and future systems to running experiments in Elekta’s onsite test facilities. I also have a role liaising with customers to give information and advice on physics issues.  

Which skills are important for your job?

Working with a complex machine relies on having a sound knowledge of many aspects of physics, ranging from radiation physics to optics. The machines that we produce here at Elekta in Crawley incorporate a linear accelerator which accelerates electrons to produce high energy photons through the process of Bremsstrahlung, so knowledge of radiation physics is important.

As part of my job I also have to construct a number of scientific reports, both within the company and for external purposes. This is a skill I can definitely attribute to my time at Keele and the laboratory reports that I had to write there.

I would say that the most important skill required in my job, which is one I definitely gained from studying physics, is the ability to look at a problem in a logical and thorough manner. Physicists are usual called to meetings where changes to the product are discussed, and it is our role to give our opinion on the proposed changes.

What are the highlights of your job?

I have recently just returned from a three month placement in Stockholm where I got to work with the Elekta Physics team out there. This was a fantastic opportunity for me to work in a completely different environment and learn from a team who have a different specialism to the team here in Crawley.

I also have the satisfaction that the work I do genuinely impacts people’s lives. I have been lucky enough to spend some time working in hospitals whilst at Elekta and to see the machines that we make in use in a clinical setting gives me great satisfaction.

How did you find your current job?

An email passed around by Keele.

Does your employer have a graduate recruitment scheme?

Elekta does have a graduate scheme which provided my route into full time employment here. The scheme allows graduates to work in different areas in the company both in the UK and abroad over a period of two years.