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Research Staff Profile - Dr Semen Gorfman

sg.jpg  Dr Semen Gorfman
Post doctoral researcher, Physics Department.
Tel: 024761 50802

Semen was based at University of Warwick as a Post doctoral researcher for 3 years between 10/2008 and 10/2011. His current profile can be found here:

Current research

My research work is mostly concerned with the investigation of microscopic origin of physical properties in crystals.

Life before Warwick
Graduated from the Physics Department of Chelyabinsk State University, Russia. PhD Student at the University of Potsdam (later University of Siegen) in Germany. Post doctoral and teaching assistant at the University of Siegen in Germany.

Best things about working at Warwick
In many aspects University of Warwick is an ideal place to work at. I appreciate the lively and international atmosphere on campus, excellent equipment and a great variety of research areas. University of Warwick provides a unique opportunity to learn and develop, and possibility to get / share the experience with other people working here. There are also plenty of opportunities for active life outside the laboratory.

Worst thing about working for Warwick or If you could change one thing at Warwick, what would it be?
It is rather unfortunate that the University of Warwick does not have any traditions, that other British universities, such as Oxford or Cambridge, are so well known for outside Britain. Although there is a huge potential to collaborate and to learn what the other research groups are doing, it is still not fully realized. Events where members of the department exchange their ideas are organized quite rarely and should be done more often.

What would you dream job be?
Working in a similar atmosphere to that of the University of Warwick but with a more pronounced role and research direction. Teaching (reasonable amount, leaving enough space for doing research) is an absolutely necessary element of the work.

Research interest
Physical and X-ray crystallography. I work on the investigation of fine features of atomic structures of novel ferroelectric materials, relating the structure with macroscopic physical properties.

What have been useful training/ development to date
I find the workshops organized by the Learning and Development Centre very useful. It was also a good experience to write my first grant proposal for the EPSRC career acceleration fellowship. Whilst preparing the proposal I was interacting with the Research Support Service team and got some useful advice on how to write my own grant. The knowledge will help me a lot in future.

Other roles (eg. peer review journals)
In the years 2009 and 2010, I was giving two lecture courses on foundations of crystallography for the Midlands Physics Alliance Graduate School (MPAGS). The lectures were given to postgraduate students of the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham and Nottingham. I have also been a referee for beam time proposals at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.

Next bid/grant
My next grant should support my own project, devoted to the time-resolved X-ray diffraction study of ferro and piezoelectric crystals under applied electric field.

Latest academic writing publication (journal/book etc)
Our paper in the Journal of Applied Crystallography has been published in December 2010 and has already been cited three times since then. Another paper has been submitted to the Physical Review Letters and is currently under review.

Looking for?
Improving my skills in writing academic publications and research grant proposals

Major achievement to date
I am proud of a few invited talks I gave at international conferences, and my own compact lecture course on crystallography I have developed for my teaching at Warwick.

Three top tips / learning
• Take every possible opportunity to give an oral presentation about your work.
• Devote enough time to learn what other people at your department are doing.
• Being involved in teaching is the most efficient way to learn something new.

Current information: