Question: What is so attractive in doing PhD or postdoc in Computational Physics in Preston ?
Answer:Well. First of all, if you glance through our publications, you will find that we are working in a very exciting field – Soft Matter, which is on the forefront of modern research. With our expertise, we belong to a very few top groups in Computational Soft Matter in the world. Over the years, working literally all around the globe, I collected a network of scientific collaborations, which makes work in our group very attractive.
Computational Physics is a very unique field, as your physical location becomes absolutely irrelevant in the modern world connected by the Internet. Nowadays, you can “run your job” on the supercomputer on another side of the planet. Actually, most of modern computational research is done by scientists that are geographically far away from the supercomputer location. European supercomputers are located in places like Amsterdam and Barcelona. It is possible to apply for grants to visit them, which makes our work even more attractive.
Though, it is always convenient to have a smaller supercomputer facility in house for small jobs and testing. You will be in a good shape in Preston. We are in a small physical sciences division in a very large university. As the university is large (sixth largest in UK!), it got own supercomputer. As the physics division is small, everyone knows everyone, which creates a warm atmosphere. And while in the old universities like Cambridge with large physics departments dozens of researchers compete with each other for the time at their local supercomputer, in Preston all facilities are basically yours and your can research 24/7 (in Japan they say 25/366 :-)).
Dating back in 1828, when “The Institution for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge” was founded in Preston, the university had most of its growth in the last 10-15 years, so buildings and infrastructure are very modern, including excellent sport facility.
Preston is a small old English town with the university campus precisely in its centre, which is very pleasant as one can simply step out to the city centre during the lunch break. It is also easy to find an affordable accommodation here.
Being capital of Lancashire, Preston is superb from logistics point of view. It is a major station on the line serving the best in UK fast Virgin Trains, which bring you in 2 hrs to London and in 3hrs to Edinburgh. In 20 minutes by car or train you are in Blackpool to the west or Lancaster to the north, in 50 minutes you are in the famous Lake District to the north, or Manchester and Liverpool to the south, and in 1.5 hrs – in Leeds to the east. So, if you like to discover the country you live in, Preston is the most central point in UK to travel from. There are 3 airports in the easy reach with the range of economic (like Ryanair, easyJet and Jet2) and intercontinental lines in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds/Bradford. There is also a small international airport in Blackpool next door.
So, think and apply!