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Harriet Jones, from Chester, who is in her penultimate year studying for a BSc in Chemistry, carried out a placement as a computational scientist, working for the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in the Scientific Computing Department at Daresbury Laboratory in Warrington.

Harriet investigated the application of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to problems involving airflow in houses and offices. Her preliminary results have feed into the STFC’s Air Quality Network’s (SAQN) project “Sources, behaviour and mitigation strategies influencing indoor air quality: A pilot study”, to help improve indoor air in domestic and business environments. 

Harriet said: “This placement has been an amazing opportunity for me and one that undoubtedly would not have happened without the support of the Chemistry Department at the University of Chester. The experience I gained during my second year Experiential Learning project gave me the edge I needed for my placement application and the support I received during my application process contributed greatly to its success.

“Over the course of my placement, I was able to observe cutting-edge scientific research in action, and I benefited from the provision of STFC’s incredible facilities. These enabled me to gain skills in the use of High Performance Computing to solve mathematical problems that would be very difficult to deal with under any other conditions. Calculations that took an hour on the Scafell Pike supercomputer at STFC Hartree Centre could have taken days if done on a standard laptop! The placement really allowed me to gain an insight into the qualifications required to fulfil a computational scientist’s role, and has both furthered my knowledge of the field and enhanced my future employability.”

Dr Mark Mc Auley, Deputy Head of Physical, Mathematical and Engineering Sciences at the University of Chester, said: “Everyone that has taught Harriet over the years will agree that she has been an absolute pleasure to teach. I am so pleased that the computing skills she acquired during my Bioinformatics module were of use to Harriet during this prestigious and richly deserved placement.

“Harriet is also going to put her computational modelling skills to good use next year when she undertakes her research dissertation in this field. There is no doubt it will be a success for her.”

Dr Stefano Rolfo, Principal Computational Scientist at STFC, said: “It was a pleasure to have Harriet working with us. Harriet has passed a very tough selection process with more than 50 applicants from all UK universities. Her knowledge of air quality had been essential to the success of the project and results will be further disseminated and used to validate CFD modelling for air quality research.”

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