CV: Research associate (laboratory astrophysics)



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Candidate Profile
 Date Submitted:08-04-2011
 Last Modified:09-04-2011 (08:32)
Job information
 Current job:Research associate (laboratory astrophysics)
 Employment Term:Either
 Job location:Anywhere
 Date available:within 2 months
 KeywordsPhD in laboratory astrophysics, experimental physics

Current Research Employment


Imperial College London

Research Associate,  Fourier Transform Spectroscopy Laboratory (Space and Atmospheric Physics group)

My current research project involves the recording of  the photoabsorption cross sections of the isotopologues of SO2, involving the 32S, 33S, 34S and 36S isotopes at room temperature using the high spectral resolution of the Imperial College Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS). The measurements are at the behest of modelers of the Earth’s early atmosphere  aiming to establish accurate concentrations for atmospheric species.

Additionally I have  also been involved in  several trips to the SOLEIL synchrotron in France, working on the EUV FTS recording the absorption cross sections of  isotopologues of N2, CO and CO2.


Research Associate  in charge of the FTS laboratory:

As the most senior research associate in the laboratory I was responsible for several areas:

·         Heath and Safety

·         Monitoring and ordering laboratory supplies

·         User access (both visitors and maintenance teams)

·         Point man for any problems associated with the laboratory


Undergraduate Demonstrator:

Demonstrator during first year undergraduate laboratory sessions, involving:

·         Communicating laboratory  techniques

·         Solving unexpected problems

·         Assessing and Marking reports





Imperial College London 

Ph.D. High Resolution Spectroscopy  (Space and Atmospheric Physics group)


Title: Sulphur Dioxide: High resolution UV photoabsorption cross sections at 198K

My  Ph.D. was in the field of laboratory astrophysics,  where I investigated molecular spectra, concentrating on those most urgently required by the astrophysical community. The research built upon previous work done within the group to once again reduce the gulf in resolution between high resolution astrophysical observational data and what has been acquired in the laboratory, therefore allowing a more comprehensive analysis and accurate modeling and interpretation of spectra  from planetary atmospheres.

Measurements focused on SO2  at 198K  with concentration on the 30000 cm-1- 46000 cm-1 range. Photoabsorption cross sections recorded on the IC UV FTS where obtained at resolutions ranging from 0.5 cm-1 - 0.06 cm-1. These parameters correspond to the middle atmosphere of Venus  and the instrumental limits of the SPICAV instrument on board the Venus Express mission which is being used to survey Venus’ atmosphere. The project initially involved the  refit of the Fourier transform spectrometer, including new optics and electronics to make it operational for the measurement campaign.



Imperial College London

MSci Physics  2:1 Degree


MSci Project:                   Design and construction of a wavelength stabilised Ti: Sapphire laser.



Gunnersbury Catholic School for Boys, Brentford, London

A-Levels:                      Chemistry A, Mathematics A, Physics A


GCSE’s:                       7 A*  including Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology  

                                     3 A    including English language and literature


Work Experience


Buckingham Palace, London


Security and Baggage Audio  Supervisor

Summer 2004 -2005

In the security role, I was responsible for a team of fifteen wardens and to oversee and coordinate the searching of the seven thousand visitors visiting the Royal Palace during the summer season, using an airport style security system. Within the baggage audio role, I took charge of the largest zone, responsible for audio guide distribution and collection along with  organizing the  transport of any baggage checked in.

·         Effective communication between the royal protection police and my staff

·         Conflict resolution and problem solving

·         Man management: efficient use of personal available, rotas, timesheets

·         Continuous development  of my teams skills



Security/Garden warden Buckingham Palace summer opening

Summers 2003 and 2002


Awards and Positions of Responsibility held


The Imperial College Hockey Club

Treasurer (2008-2009)

Team captain (2007-2008)

For the past  six years I have been an active member of the Imperial College Hockey Club, notable achievements during my time, have included becoming one for the six team captains, and as treasurer taking charge of the finances of a club with a turnover in excess of £20,000.

I was also involved in two charity trips to Ghana and India  to teach hockey in local schools.



Club Man of the Year Award (2008-2009)

Half Colours by the Imperial College Student Union (2009)

The highlight would be my time as treasurer where I was successful in negotiating  the  clearing of the club’s historic debt for which I was awarded the Club Man of the Year Award by the members of the  Hockey club, and Half Colours by the Imperial College Student Union for services to a student club.



Founding member of the Imperial College Tea Society 2008-2009

Treasurer of the Imperial College Tea Society 2008 -2009

Imperial College Snooker Club Vice President  2003-2004

Imperial College Snooker Club General Secretary 2002-2003


Technical Skills


·         Familiar with both MatLab and IDL data analysis packages

·         Scientific report and paper writing as well as presentations

·         Proficient in MS Office suite  and Origin




High-resolution photoabsorption cross-section measurements of SO2 at 160 K

between 199 and 220 nm

Rufus J., G. Stark, A.P. Thorne, J.C. Pickering, R.J. Blackwell-Whitehead, D. Blackie, and

P.L. Smith.. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2009.


High resolution photoabsorption cross section  measurements of SO2 at 198 K from 213 to 325 nm.

D. Blackie, R. Blackwell-Whitehead, G. Stark, J.C. Pickering, A.P. Thorne, J. Rufus and  P.L. Smith

Journal of Geophysical Research, 2010 (in press).


A Zero-Dispersion Monochromator and Two-beam Output for UV Fourier transform spectrometer.

D.Blackie, J.E.Murray, R.Blackwell-Whitehead, J.C.Pickering and A.P.Thorne

(Submitted Journal of Instrumentation (JINST))


Conferences Attended




European Geophysics Conference, Vienna,  2nd-7th April 2006

Poster: High resolution SOabsorption cross sections for planetary atmosphere studies

R. Blackwell-Whitehead, D. Blackie, G. Stark, J.C. Pickering, A.P. Thorne, J. Rufus & P.L. Smith


Young Astrochemists meeting, UCL,  September 2006

Talk: High Resolution Spectroscopy SO2

D. Blackie, R. Blackwell-Whitehead, G. Stark, J.C. Pickering,


European Geophysics Conference, Vienna,  15th-20th April 2007

Poster: High Resolution Ultraviolet Absorption Cross Sections of Sulphur Dioxide at 200K.

D. Blackie, R. Blackwell-Whitehead, G. Stark, J.C. Pickering, A.P. Thorne, J. Rufus & P.L. Smith


European Conference on Atoms, Molecules and Photons, Crete, 6th-11th 2007

Poster: High Resolution Ultraviolet Absorption Cross Sections of Sulphur Dioxide at 200K.

D. Blackie, R. Blackwell-Whitehead, G. Stark, J.C. Pickering, A.P. Thorne, J. Rufus & P.L. Smith


American Geophysical Union Conference, San Francisco USA, 9th - 17th December 2007

Poster: Sulphur Dioxide:High Resolution Ultra-Violet Photoabsorption Cross Section Measurements at 200K.

D. Blackie,R. Blackwell-Whitehead, G. Stark, J.C. Pickering, J. Rufus, P.L. Smith and A.P.



Optical Society of America, Vancouver, Canada

 April 26-30th 2009

Talk:High Resolution Photoabsorption Cross Sections of SO2 at 198 K Between 213 - 325 nm

D. Blackie,R. Blackwell-Whitehead, G. Stark, J.C. Pickering, J. Rufus, P.L. Smith and A.P.



American Geophysical Union Conference, San Francisco USA 14–18thDecember 2009

Poster: High Resolution Ultra-Violet Spectroscopy of the Isotopologues of SO2

D. Blackie,G. Stark, J.Lyons, J.C. Pickering, P.L. Smith and A.P. Thorne


The Fifth International Symposium on Isotopomers, Amsterdam, June 21-25, 2010

 Talk:High Resolution Photoabsorption Cross-Sections of Isotopologues of SO2

 D. Blackie, G. Stark, J.Lyons, J.C. Pickering, P.L. Smith and A.P. Thorne


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