James Mitchell

Amazing Opportunities

After completing his undergraduate BEng degree at Lancaster, James Mitchell was keen to continue working with the Engineering Department at PhD Level. Doing so has now given him the opportunity to work at the world-famous CERN facility in Geneva. “After thoroughly enjoying my undergraduate degree at Lancaster University, I wanted to continue working with the Engineering Department as part of my postgraduate studies,” he says. “For my PhD I am currently based at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.”

State-of-the-Art Research

James is now undertaking research at the leading edge of his subject, and creating equipment that is used at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN itself. “My research is concerned with the design of test structures capable of analysing the operation of several radio-frequency (RF) structures, which are used to ensure efficient operation of resonant 'crab-cavities',” he explains.  “These cavities are essentially areas of empty space which, when excited by radio-frequencies, allow a charged particle beam to be manipulated.  The components I am designing the test structures for will be used for the HiLumi upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).”

James believes that the skills that he gained during his undergraduate degree at Lancaster have proven invaluable for his current PhD studies and day-to-day work. “My favourite topic of study at university was RF Engineering,” he says. “The skills I have learnt from the course at Lancaster are the foundation of my PhD, and have allowed me to become involved in several experiments at various national labs.”

Renowned Facilities

During his undergraduate degree, one of James’s favourite aspects of studying at Lancaster was the quality and range of facilities on offer. “During my degree I was able to use a variety of helpful facilities,” he says. “These included a multitude of facilities in the mechanical engineering workshop, several high performance computers for running detailed simulations, and equipment for electrical and electronic engineering.  The facilities meant that I could put the theory learnt in lectures into practise, allowing me to observe how several concepts work in the real world and as such accelerating my learning.”

Recommending Lancaster

Having enjoyed his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Lancaster and found them hugely beneficial, James is quick to recommend the University to other prospective students. “Doing a PhD at Lancaster University has allowed me to become involved with projects at world renowned facilities,” he says. “It is a fantastic way to become a part of large-scale research projects and experiments.”