Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at the Norwich Research Park and get them to share three songs in a desert island disc-style game: one song that captures their project (expect some very tenuous links), one song that captures their life as a PhD student and a final motivational song because – let’s face it – we all need it.

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Freddie is an undergraduate from Manchester Metropolitan University (a metropolitan?! In THIS lab?!), he came to the JIC to work as an intern for a year to gain some experience and level up. He has tried to do as much as physically possible, joining in with almost every event and documenting it all in his pile of notebooks. He enjoys research, mass spectroscopy and pretending he knows what he’s doing.


The Project Song – Yield by Formidable vegetable sound system 

“Before I started I was just doing the normal, boring, run of the mill biology – but then I was introduced to the wonderful world of plants… and the frustrating world of science. Some things worked, and some things most things made no sense, but I had a great time doing it all. The aptly named group ‘Formidable vegetable sound system’ has a very funky song all about not getting too stressed but getting on with life, specifically with vegetables – I hope that it will resonate with a few of you reading this now. My project was a fantastic chance to try out anything and everything I could but sometimes I just couldn’t obtain a yield.”

The PhD Life Song – Strong Coffee by The Cat Empire

“Even though I’m not a PhD student I think I can say I definitely saw behind the scenes, and if there is something I think a fair number of you have in common, is that you run on a passion to find answers, fear of not hitting your targets, but really… lots and lots of strong coffee.”

The Motivational Song – Down the Road by C2C

“Motivation… well usually I need only a poster of a cat hanging off a tree, or maybe an inspirational boxing quote to get me through the day. Sometimes though, this isn’t enough! I think something that shocked me is that you can end up listening to entire albums multiple times when you’re sitting there in a flow cupboard, stacks of plates looming next to you whispering in your ear “you can’t leave until I’m finished”. When its days like those, just suck it up, pull a fresh pair of gloves over my sticky, sweaty fingers and then down the road I go.

I owe a fair bit to those I admit who helped me through, appreciate it, I do – 10/10 would intern again*.

Ps. As a side note, my project was on soil, so a different project song choice would have to be ‘I like dirt’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers!

*Did you notice the rhyme? I have too much time.”

The PhD playlist is the brainchild of Millie, whose obsession with making playlists is almost as great as her obsession with science. Follow her on twitter: @milliestanton and drop her an email if you’re interested in being featured!

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