International Fire Investigators and Consultants, Imperial College London, University of Western Ontario
Rushbrook Lecturer in Fire Investigation
The University of Edinburgh
I look at how things burn so we can create a safer environment.
My Typical Day
Emails, lectures, meeting new people, discussing research ideas.
8am Arrive in the office (sometimes I go for a run first). Answer emails.
9am Reading reports, writing reports.
11am Go to the lab to meet people to discuss research
1pm Lunch (if the day isn’t too busy!)
2pm Meeting colleagues (sometimes in person often by Skype)
3pm More reading/writing
4pm Emails, tidying up, planning
5pm Time to go home!
Evenings – socialising, watching TV and sometimes catching up on work!
What I'd do with the money
Build an interactive fire demonstration to use on our open days and to post on our website
I would make a small scale reconstruction of the Empire Palace theatre to recreate the fire that happened in 1911. The fire was very sad as it led to the death of the most famous magician of the time and his lion. This fire was very important in the design of buildings and many of the rules we have today can be traced back to this event.
By making a reconstruction we can use it to demonstrate to the public many concepts that I use in my day to day job!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Inquisitive, anti-boredom crusader!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
David Bowie or jazz
What's your favourite food?
Sunday roast with all the trimmings
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Met Bill Gates!
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Sadly yes. But only ever had one detention.
What's the best thing you've done as an engineer?
Show that we can generate energy from poop.
If you weren't an engineer, what would you be?
Tough one.. probably a musician (but not a very good one!)
A fire tornado! These occur in forest fires
Bill Gates inspecting our toilet.
Me and the team winning 3rd place for our toilet design awarded by Bill Gates.
Some pine needles burning in our lab. We use this kind of experiment to learn about forest fires.
Sometimes things go wrong. Here we had some big flames! The glowing orange colour means temperatures were around 1000C!!
Our state-of-the-art Fire Propagation Apparatus. We use this to burn all sorts of things – plastics, pine needles, wood, carbon fibre – to look at how to make them safer.
An infrared image of some experiments.
Christmas tree burning