Rhys Phillips

is gutted to be evicted :-(

Favourite Thing: I have two favourite things to do in science – the first is research as it is exciting to find out new things and know that what you’ve discovered could change people’s lives in the future. The second is telling people about the science I’m working on as it’s always a good thing to spread the word about how exciting science can be.



Bryntirion Comprehensive School (1998-2005)


Maths & Physics, Cardiff University (2005-2008)

Work History:

Great House Hotel, Laleston (weekends throughout sixth form and University summer holidays)


EADS Innovation Works, Newport

Current Job:

Research Engineer – looking at ways of protecting aircraft against lightning strikes.

Me and my work

At work, I look at how to protect aeroplanes against lightning strikes. In my spare time, I have my own bands and radio shows.

As we are trying to make planes lighter (so that it uses less fuel and is better for the environment), we are using plastic materials instead of metal to make planes. However these materials don’t conduct electricity very well and so lightning causes a lot of damage. My job is working with a team of researchers to develop new ways of protecting aeroplanes against lightning strikes.

myimage2 Outside of work I am a musician and play in a few different musical groups including two of my own bands. I enjoy and play all sorts of music from pop covers to jazz! On a local radio station, I have my own weekly science show and sometimes present the Breakfast Show before coming in to work. I also enjoy listen to and watching comedy, reading, swimming, cooking, eating out and going on holiday (but then agan, who doesn’t enjoy that one?!). 

My Typical Day

A day at work usually involves reading interesting articles to learn new things and running computer simulations.

myimage1 I spend most days at my desk reading articles on lightning, aeroplanes and other interesting topics as well as running computer models to see what would happen in different situations. However I often get to travel to other offices including North Wales where all of the aeroplane wings for Europe are made and Toulouse in the South of France for meetings (France is my favourite office to go to – they serve wine in the staff canteen at lunchtime!). I also spend a lot of time talking about the work my team does to both schools and visitors to the company.

What I'd do with the money

Use it to go and talk about lightning in other parts of the UK and also on training to improve my presentation & radio skills.

If I win this competition I’d like to use the money to travel to other parts of the UK and talk about my work looking at lightning hitting aeroplanes – perhaps I could visit your school! I’d also like to take my talk to small theatres and science festivals. At the moment I am only able to do talks to local schools in South Wales. I’d also like to go on a course to get better at giving these talks and learn how to make better radio shows.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Scientist, Musician & Broadcaster

Who is your favourite singer or band?

It changes but at the moment probably The Blanks – that’s Ted’s band on the TV show Scrubs in case you didn’t know!

What is the most fun thing you've done?

That’s difficult. Most recently, it’s probably going on the Goliath rollercoaster at Walibi World in Holland – definitely the most exciting rollercoaster I’ve experienced – it’s awesome!

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

To have a holiday home in the South of France, to present radio shows on the BBC and of course to win “I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here”!

What did you want to be after you left school?

I had no idea – I just knew I wanted it to be something to do with science.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Yes! For installing a program onto some of the teacher’s computers which made the CD tray open and close constantly and make a rude noise each time it did it whilst they were trying to get work done…

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Started my own science radio show / podcast and engaged with others about exciting areas of scientific research.

Tell us a joke.

How many mathematicians does it take to change a light bulb? Three: one to screw it in, and two to figure out how to get rid of the remainder. (*remainder*, geddit?? well, you didn’t say it had to be a good joke…)