Mike Lee

Had a good time doing this thing, thanks all

Favourite Thing: Finding a good and interesting distraction, such as imascientist!



Millburn Academy, Inverness, then University of Glasgow, Glasgow.


I’ve got some Highers (Scottish equivalent of A-levels) And a degree in Phyiscs

Work History:

Current Job:

PhD in Physics


University of Glasgow

Me and my work

Running late, but looking great.

My Typical Day

Coffee first, then into the lab, a cheese and ham baguette for lunch, followed by more time in lab. The day ends with some computer games, or board games.

The good thing about being a scientist, or one of the good things, is that there is that a day is quite hard to predict. Typical days don’t happen that often! Sometimes I have a lot of teaching to do, which is good fun as the students always bring something different to the work. But I can go for months without teaching at all. These times I’m I like to be in battle mode against a difficult experiment, trying my upmost to get some delicate result which relies on many factors working perfectly. Getting there takes a lot of time and effort. Whether it’s worth that effort is a question I debate with myself, and sometimes it’s not. An experiment maybe just doesn’t work – you were wrong about it, and you’ve spend months and  found out you’re an idiot! Being able to fail makes a good scientist – it gives you an open mind, filled with doubt, but some solid foundations with which to work. Luckily, a PhD is three and a half years and I’ve managed to get a lot of things wrong.

Sometimes, some glorious times, things do go right! In which case, publishing your results is the reward – but this is also time consuming. It can take months of tedious edits to write 6 pages describing your work. Coffee helps.

Having lunch is also an important ritual for me as it’s a time I get to share with other researchers and find out what they are up to. Researchers tend to be interesting people – today we talked about Numbers Stations, which are creepy shortwave radio stations used to send coded messages to spies.

What I'd do with the money

A balloon popping, laser robot

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

modest, handsome, inaccurate.

Who is your favourite singer or band?

One Direction

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

I once jumped over a man riding a unicycle

What did you want to be after you left school?

I had no idea… I didn’t know that being a scientist was really a job.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Yes, I was in a fight! I didn’t win.

What was your favourite subject at school?

Physics, art, lunch time.

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

I’ve built a 3D multimodal microscope. It was on display during a trade show in San Francisco!

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My teachers, my dad, Richard Feynman

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


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

More muscular, more of a beard, being able to play the violin.

Tell us a joke.

What’s the toughest thing about telling a punchline timing.

Other stuff

Work photos: