Nina Kinney

BSc (Hons) Chemical Physics 2019

Your Time at the University

When it came to applying for University, the Chemical Physics programme at Edinburgh felt like the natural choice for me. I was particularly interested in the overlap between physics and chemistry and Edinburgh seemed a nice place to move to.

In the first few years of my degree, I found juggling all the core modules a challenge, but as the courses began to specialise I felt more settled. In the summer following my third year, I undertook a short research project supervised by Dr Andrew Alexander in the School of Chemistry which encouraged me to continue with research after fourth year.

I found the Chemical Physics course demanding but I am glad that I stuck with it. It set me up well for further interdisciplinary studies. I found the Chemistry staff at Edinburgh really supportive and enjoyed being part of the Chemical Physics community during my time there.

Nina Kinney

Your Experiences Since Leaving the University

After graduating from Edinburgh, I continued to the University of Glasgow to complete a MSc by research supervised by Professor Klaas Wynne, where I studied laser induced phase separation and nucleation of various solutions. Following the first lockdown, the labs were shut down for some months. During this time, I worked on supplementing my experimental data with an extended critical literature review and submitted my thesis titled ‘Investigating laser control over crystal nucleation’ in September 2020.

After my first few months at Glasgow, I decided that I wanted to continue with research and began looking at possible PhD projects. I was very fortunate to be offered my first choice; a project based at the University of Warwick and working with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to study the heterogenous nucleation of ice by pollen.

I moved to Warwick to begin my PhD in October 2021. I am currently investigating differences in ice-nucleating activity of pollen from various plant species; and working towards better identification of the ice-nucleating macromolecules responsible for this activity. On a typical day, I might be found outdoors collecting pollen from plants, or in the lab freezing small water droplets.

My research is truly interdisciplinary and while my fundamental interests remain in physical chemistry, and understanding nucleation specifically, I have enjoyed working with collaborators from diverse disciplines and learning more about plants. I was recently awarded best short talk at the CENTA conference 2021. I look forward to sharing more of my research soon.

Alumni Wisdom

I would say, take the opportunity to speak to researchers about their work. Most will be very happy to chat about what they are working on and pleased that someone is interested! This is a great way to find areas that interest you (or don’t). As well as helping when it comes to considering options after university, this is always useful for getting to know where the concepts and techniques being taught at undergraduate level are applied.