Martin Ward

Favourite Thing: I enjoy trying out new things. It is a great feeling to be the first person to have ever seen or noticed something no matter how trivial it may be. I also enjoy figuring out solutions to problems in the lab such as building new experiments or pieces of equipment.



Ross High School 1997-2003, University of Edinburgh 2003-present day (undergraduate and PhD)


PhD, Chemistry

Work History:

University of Edinburgh (current position)

Current Job:

Post-Doctoral research fellow


University of Edinburgh

Me and my work

I am interested in understanding why and how crystals are formed.

My Typical Day

A usual day in the lab would be making up some solutions, checking the lasers in the lab are working properly and then doing some laser based experiments.

What I'd do with the money

organize some public engagement to do with light and lasers

Because I work with lasers of one sort or another most of the time, and that it is the international year of light I would use the money to prepare some public engagement activities to help get people interested in light and the cool things you can do with it.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

sporty, clumsy and thoughtful

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Taking back sunday / guns ‘n roses – just depends on my mood

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

What did you want to be after you left school?

I did want to be a pilot for a while

Were you ever in trouble at school?

I got in to trouble a few times, but not too much.

What was your favourite subject at school?

My favourite subjects were Chemistry, Physics and PE

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

My best achievement was completing my PhD thesis

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

I just found out that I enjoyed research during projects, and the more that I found out the more I enjoyed it

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

I have no idea: probably something outdoors, or involved in sport

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

I wouldnt mind winning the lottery, I would like to go to space and I would like to make a big discovery some day!

Tell us a joke.

Q: What do you call a tooth in a glass of water? A: a one molar solution!

Other stuff

Work photos:


An artistic moment in the lab – the picture is made from 1000’s of tiny crystals


This is what our lab looks like when it is tidy (not always the case, though) 🙁


We can use light to see and move tiny particles – that is what we are doing in this picture


A typical experiment: we form crystals only where a beam of light has passed through the sample


We are also interested in how bubbles form – we can make bubbles using light too! 🙂