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Meet Professor Barbara Shollock

Professor Barbara Shollock
Tata Steel Research Chair in Coatings

Professor Barbara Shollock is part of WMG's Steels Processing group and works with our industrial partners on research into the manufacture and application of advanced materials for steels processing with an emphasis on coatings. The research focuses on the physico-chemical aspects relating to iron and steel manufacturing and usage. The group aims for results such as new or improved manufacturing processes which are more sustainable and efficient.She joined WMG in 2014 from Imperial College London where she was a Senior Lecturer. She gained her undergraduate degree from Lehigh University, Pennsylvania and D.Phil from University of Oxford. She has been a TFR Visiting Professor at Technical University of Lulea Sweden and held an industrial fellowship with The Royal Society.

When I started university, I was a biologist, only after my first year did I realise how interesting Engineering was and I changed my course.

My career started with student industrial placements at Bethlehem Steel - hard hat and protective shoes! I then moved to the other end of the spectrum and joined Bell Labs where I worked on device reliability in electronics while completing my Masters degree. After this, I continued working at Bell Labs in conjunction with their Engineering Research Centre developing the Trans-Pacific fibre optic cable network. I then decided to study for a PhD and left the USA for the University of Oxford where I worked on developing the next generation of aluminium alloys for supersonic transport. I was a Rolls-Royce Research Fellow at Oxford then continued my work with them when I joined Imperial College London. I am now back to my student placement steel-focused origins with my Tata Steel Professorship at WMG.

There have been so many highlights in my career both in terms of the exciting projects and amazing people. Overall, I get the most satisfaction from seeing academic research directly contributing to real industrial advances.

Apart from seeing industry taking up the results of academic research, the thing I enjoy most about engineering is the interplay of physics, chemistry and maths in my discipline - for example, understanding why car engine bearings fail starts with the engine design and finishes with how the atoms on the surface of the bearing interact with the oil.

Also, another highlight is having one of my daughters wanting to study engineering when she leaves school!