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A day in the life

SCIENCE CAREERS

Ila Sivarajah, Scientific Product Specialist

What is your role and how did you arrive at your current position?
My role as Scientific Product Specialist is to engage with scientists and research groups to learn about their experiments and interface our lasers within their research. After spending years in a lab doing laser cooling and trapping experiments I wanted to apply my knowledge in an industrial setting. M Squared lasers provided me with that opportunity.

What time do you wake up?
The time fluctuates really - sometime between 7, and 8 am.

When do you start?
I’m at my desk by 8.30 am (nice to live less than 10 minutes walk from the office).

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There’s a gratification in knowing our lasers will push the limits of scientific advancement

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at work?
Coffee, correspond to emails and update Salesforce.

What attracted you to your career?
I wanted to be in a role where I can interact with people doing a wide scope of scientific research.

What have been your biggest challenges in this role?
I suppose not getting a response when I want to learn about a particular bit of research.

Describe your workspace.
Comfortable and spacious. I have everything I need to accomplish whatever objectives I set myself for the day. Colleagues I need to consult with or seek advice from are all nearby, which is great.

What kind of tools do you work with?
A Macbook Air. I suppose the phone counts? I read a lot of peer-reviewed journals and use email to contact people, so my laptop is my most used tool.

How often do you get out of the office?
I go home for lunch, and I attend quite a few events and exhibitions.

What do you most look forward to each day?
Talking to and learning about new applications for the lasers. There’s a gratification in knowing our lasers will push the limits of scientific advancement.

What or who inspires you?
I am going with something that’s fresh on my mind. A childhood friend of mine, who is a documentary movie director, worked on his first project the best part of a decade, encountering numerous setbacks and very limited resources. A lot of people told him to give up. But he persisted, and last week his movie got invited to be showcased at the Cannes Film Festival. I am totally inspired by his perseverance and extremely proud!

Describe your best day at work to date.
Meeting Nobel Laureate Professor David Wineland at NIST. A major part of my PhD was related to ion trapping, so meeting Professor Wineland while representing M Squared was pretty neat. I’m Looking forward to meeting other Nobel Laureates who are using our lasers in the future.

How does the working day end?
I usually send out a few reach-out emails. I always make a note of names that come up when I’m doing research, and it’s exciting to turn these into opportunities.

What time do you get home?
I leave work between 5.30 - 5.45pm. I'm home 10 minutes later.

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M Squared Life