Colin Swift

Favourite Thing: Research! Discovering and finding out new things in science.



Rainford High School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne


BEng, PhD

Work History:

Strathclyde University, NHS Coventry and Warwickshire – Radiotherapy Physics

Current Job:

Clinical Scientist – Radiation Protection



Me and my work

Preventing accidents due to radiation, particularly lasers.

I now work in radiation protection, particularly in laser safety, having worked previously in radiotherapy physics (treating cancer with x-rays).  My work mainly consists of making sure lasers are operated safely and that people are protected from blinding themselves or worse! I also undertake research looking into the medical uses of lasers and the safety aspects associated with their use. Interesting work, and I never knew lasers were used in the NHS for so many things!

My Typical Day

I guess typically I will spend the day evaluating all the safety aspects of laser installations.

Typically spent giving advice to people on how best to protect themselves from the harmful effects of radiation, preventing against unwanted accidents!

What I'd do with the money

Contribute it to an event promoting science to schoolchildren….which I am not yet sure….

Well its not about the money, its about the taking part. Hopefully along the way someone will be inspired to take up a career in science. If I win that’s just a bonus!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

happy inquisitive inteligent

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Melt banana!

What's your favourite food?

Asparagus risotto

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Jump out of an aircraft

What did you want to be after you left school?


Were you ever in trouble in at school?


What was your favourite subject at school?


What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

My PhD! Oh and published work comes a close second.

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

probably TV science programmes seen when I was a child.

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Frustrated! ;o)

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

health happiness security

Tell us a joke.

Q: How many physical chemists does it take to change a light bulb? A: Only one, but he’ll change it three times, plot a straight line through the data, and then extrapolate to zero concentration.

Other stuff

Work photos: