Nuala Carson

Cannot beliveve i won?!?!?!? thanks to eveyone who voted! Had a great time taking part in Im a Scientist Get Me Out of Here!!

Favourite Thing: The best thing about science is that you get to discover something new that no one else knows and then describe it to people.



I did my GCSE’s and Alevels at Our lady and St Patricks College Knock in Belfast. I then moved to the University of Liverpool for both my undergrate and postgraduate studies.


AS/Alevel – Maths, Geography ,Chemistry and Economics. BSc (Hons) Climate and Ocean studies with Mathematics.

Work History:

I’ve had a range of part time jobs during school and univeristy before i started my PhD, none of which are to do with science! I worked for a number of years as a bank cashier in a Credit Union, and as a customer assistant in Boots. my longest spanning job was for Tesco where i worked as a cashier, shelf stacker and baker.

Current Job:

Researching sea ice dynamcis, with the hope of getting a PhD


University of Liverpool and the National Oceanography Centre

Me and my work

I work on trying to find out why some sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic moves while other bits stays still.

I study a specific type of sea ice called ‘Landfast sea ice’. Here is a picture of it: myimage2. It is ice which is attached to the coast and doesn’t move. Its really important as it is the type of sea ice which is most widely used by humans. Native inhabitants of the Arctic use it to camp on and fish for whales and other people use it to drill for oil and gas. There is a big gap in our knowledge of how this coastal ice is created each year and how it can remain stationary even through very string winds are trying to make it move.

My job is to work out how the Landfast ice forms and put this knowledge into our computer models. Computer models are essentially just huge calculators. You use calculators when your doing a sum that’s quite hard or would take a long time to do by hand. Scientists use computer models in the same way. We have a lot of really hard sums to do to so we put these all into a computer model and it gives us the answer at the end. At the moment the answers provided by our computer models are guesses of what might happen, and we are constantly working to make that guess closer to the real answer. When i finish my work it will be used to make the computer model better at answering questions about Landfast sea ice.

My Typical Day

I run my sea ice model on a super computer and look at the results it gives me to try and understand why the ice moves or doesnt move

I work from an office with 5 other PhD students who are all pretty cool so its a really nice place to work from. I try and think of some new experiments I can do that will help to solve the problem. I then try and set them up, wonder why they haven’t worked, try and fix them, and then hopefully look at some helpful results.

I get to use a super computer called ‘Mobius’ which is essentially 100’s of normal computers stuck together. This means that i can do in 1 hour on a super computer what would take days or weeks to do on a normal computer.

I use data which scientists have collected from the Arctic and Antarctic by traveling there by ship, as well as data from satellites which orbit the earth. They can take pictures of the sea ice and send it back to earth for us to use. Here is a picture of a research ship in the Antarctic: myimage1

What I'd do with the money

I would love to subsidise schools to come and visit the national oceanopgraphy centre in Liverpool. Its an absolutely amazing institution where kids can learn all about the ocean!

Telling you about something is OK, but actually showing you it, and allowing you to have a go yourself is the best way to teach you about the ocean, why its important, and how we measure changes in it.

I am part of the National Oceanography Center in Liverpool and it has two sites. Across the two sites there is a massive amount of cool technology that could be used to teach you all about sea level rise (would you like to know what parts of the country are going to be under water in 100 years?) to ocean pollution.

There is a fantastic team of scientists working on a range of problems in oceanography and we would love to talk to you about it!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Active, exictable and curious

Who is your favourite singer or band?

I can’t really pick one favourite….but I love Mumford and Sons, Florence and the Machine, 2 many dj’s, Nero, Swedish House Mafia… and quite a few more

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Last year I went to North Africa on holiday. While I was there I got to feed wild monkeys. It was so cool watching them come out of the forest to meet us!

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

1) At some point I will travel the world, 2) Have a job I enjoy.

What did you want to be after you left school?

Something to do with banking but I enjoyed geography too much to give it up.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Just the usual amount.

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

One of the best things I’ve got to do during my PhD is travel to different parts of the world to go to conferences. I went to Austria last year and next year I am planning to go to Hawaii. I get to meet scientists from all over the world, talk about my research and find out about important new findings.

Tell us a joke.

how do you get pikachu on a bus? …………….. pokemon

Other stuff

Work photos: