CSC Young Professionals Spotlight - Simon Chislett-McDonald

news | Sat, Jun 22nd, 2024


Name: Simon Chislett-McDonald

Position: CSC Young Professionals Co-Chair

What do you do for the IEEE Council of Superconductivity (CSC) YP committee?

I have the pleasure of co-chairing the IEEE CSC YP committee with the fantastic Sukanya Meher. Generally, I work more on the administrative side of things, interfacing with the website team, representing the committee and board meetings, designing the occasional graphic etc. though my main passion is in running the Superconductivity Talks series – a platform for young professionals and researchers to present their work to an audience made up of members all across CSC. CSC is very broad, with members interested in the fundamentals of superconductivity, through materials science, manufacturing and a multitude of technological applications. Sign up, attend, present and form collaborations!

Which aspect of the IEEE CSC do you find most beneficial to your career?

IEEE CSC is as fantastic hub for meeting, getting to know and learning from some of the greatest minds in the superconductivity community. Through sponsoring and organizing conferences, summer schools and other events, IEEE CSC provides a bountiful resource for students and young professionals to advance their research and professional career. There is always greater depth to delve into research wise, and there are always new people to meet and engage with – both to support and challenge ones ideas and prejudices. This is something I am very grateful to have been able to tap into. I also want to specifically highlight the Superconductivity News Forum specifically as an invaluable tool to view and access new papers, reviews, conferences, and workshop presentations all free of charge!

What do you currently work on regarding Superconductivity?

I work for the UK Atomic Energy Authority, the UK’s national organization for the advancement of nuclear fusion. My focus is split mainly across two areas: (1) understanding and quantifying the effects of fusion-relevant radiation on the superconducting properties of REBCO and (2) developing REBCO tape and magnet testing capabilities.     

In your opinion, what role can YP play in making a significant impact on advancing the field of superconductivity?

Young professionals, in my view, are the single strongest driving force pushing superconductivity forward. Speaking of my own sub-field of magnetic confinement fusion – it’s genuinely inspiring to see so many young professionals involved in the senior technical, management or indeed founding roles private fusion enterprise. YPs are objectively making an impact, pushing the boundaries of discovery and engineering forward and long may it continue!

What ignited your interest in the field of superconductivity and your current area of focus?

My interest in superconductivity is a natural extension of my long-held interest in fusion energy. Fusion has world-spanning and world-changing implications if we can get it right and, for me at least, is a very enjoyable balance between highly utility, challenge and enquiry. Superconducting magnets, and perhaps one could argue high temperature superconducting magnets, are the disruptive technology that promises to make net fusion power a reality. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in that! 

What are your favorite hobbies outside work?

I’m not sure if it quite counts as a hobby but I visit Italy at every opportunity! More mundanely I paint miniature wargames figures and play ‘competitive’ Warhammer; enjoy cycling and am attempting to get into lifting.