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From Technician to Fully Fledged Scientist: University Worker Achieves PhD After 16 Years

Dr Richard Morris
Dr Richard Morris
Originally published 29 January 2004

Dr Richard Morris, from Radford in Coventry, who started out at the University of Warwick as a trainee technician 16 years ago with just a few GCSEs, graduated on 28th January 2004 with a PhD in Physics, and is now a full-time Research Fellow at Warwick focusing on cutting-edge mobile phone technology.

Richard started work at the University of Warwick as a trainee technician in the Physics department after leaving Coundon Court School, in Coventry, at 16 years of age. As a technician Richard received training in engineering and electronics, photography, glass blowing, and working in stores.

Being exposed to this new world of electromagnetic waves, fluid dynamics, mass spectrometry was initially daunting. After spending three to four months working in each group area within the department as part of his training, Richard found his niche in the semi-conductor research group.

While working in the Department, Richard, who asserts he was never previously academically interested, decided to follow an academic career and has done so with drive and determination.

In 1998, while working at Warwick, he was awarded his BSc in Applied Physics at Coventry University, gaining distinctions and merits in all his modules. He then progressed to an MSc at the University of Warwick, which was then upgraded to a PhD after one year on account of his excellent performance. All this was undertaken part-time while juggling full-time work responsibilities.

Dr Richard Morris said: “Warwick is a dynamic and vibrant institution, and the training opportunities available have opened doors and enabled me undertake a career in science that I initially never thought possible.

Richard's PhD project aims to assist the semiconductor industry by combining silicon with a substance called germanium. Semiconductors are vital building blocks for today's information infrastructure.

By combining silicon with germanium materials can support both radio frequencies and digital technology. The new process technology being researched at Warwick aims to produce high performance chips for next generation, ultra-modern, high quality mobile products.

Dr Richard Morris continued: “The incorporation of germanium into silicon based technology is set to improve processing and benefit not only mobile phones, but also computers, PDA’s and other high-tech appliances commonly found in modern day living. The new technology being investigated could help reduce costs and facilitate the processing and manufacturing of materials”.

For more information contact:

Dr Richard Morris,
Department of Physics,
University of Warwick,
Tel: 02476 523871,
Mobile: 07761 534548,

For high resolution photos contact:

Jenny Murray,
Communications Office,
University of Warwick,
Tel: 02476 574 255,
Mobile: 07876 21 7740