Physics alumnus Neil Cameron (1990)
Neil Cameron works as a Senior Engineer at Mitsui Babcock Energy Ltd. Neil graduated with a BSc in Physics from Strathclyde in 1990. After three years teaching physics, he studied for an MSc in Communications, Controls, and Digital Signal Processing in Strathclyde’s EEE Department (1995). After that, he started working for Mitsui Babcock, first as trainee engineer (1996) and subsequently as Project Engineer (1999) and Senior Engineer (2004). He has been project manager for a major European project and he has become the expert in the use of phased-array ultrasonic technology and signal processing within the NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) department at Matsui Babcock.
Physics graduates are very important to our business, which is non-destructive testing aimed at the nuclear industry. Our NDT department has 12 members (out of 40 staff) with physics degrees or strong physics content to their qualifications from various Scottish and UK universities. The most recent graduate in physics was taken on just this year. The NDT department is part of the Technology arm of Mitsui Babcock and is a self-supporting department out with company core business pursuing its own third party inspection contracts. I am involved in development and have worked on projects funded by the HSE, DTI, and the European Commission.
"If there is any advice that I could give a young person who wants to be a scientist or engineer it is this: Do it, we need you!"
A normal day at work would involve a lot of face-to-face communication. I’m in contact with customers on a regular basis providing progress reviews, evaluating project outcomes, and technical responses. I am also involved in a number of collaborative projects with other European and UK companies. As a result, I do a fair bit of travelling within Britain and Europe. In addition, I have attended and presented at conferences and exhibitions in Stavanger, Barcelona, Seattle, and Luxemburg. Of course, international travel can be quite exciting. I once travelled in the winter to Quebec City in Canada for a training course and was given a tour of the countryside in a Ski-Doo Snowmobile. The best part of the job is the variety of demands: no two days are the same. I also enjoy working with people and still being involved with technically demanding projects. To me it is very important to be able to do a high technology job based in the Glasgow area without the need to go to the Home Counties.
Why did I study physics? Mainly because I enjoyed the subject and was curious about how things work fundamentally. Also to some extent because I found it easy. Studying physics at Strathclyde is excellent because it has a very good city-centre location, giving a good mix of campus life and the associated security along with a major city on your doorstep with all the entertainment and communications links that you need. If there is any advice that I could give a young person who wants to be a scientist or engineer it is this: Do it, we need you! In many respects, the future is bright since we are currently low on suitable engineers and scientists. The pay can only get better.
As for myself, I would like to take on further responsibility and gain further promotion within my company. Essentially, over time I will become more involved in management and more commercial in my outlooks to provide valuable sales for the company. I am still very happy to work with a company that is seen as a world leader in its field and provides a high quality service from within Scotland.