Joshua Mallinson

'It was a continuous transition from student to researcher...'

  • Josh Mallinson

Certificate in University Preparation

Bachelor of Science in Physics

PhD in Physics


What got you into Physics?

Curiosity. Once I started learning about the natural world I was hooked! I enjoy problem solving and extracting useful information from data.

My specialist areas are Condensed Matter, Nanotechnology, and Neuromorphic Computing. The physics of complex nanoscale materials is rather exotic, so there are always surprising observations to explain.

How do you get your head around those?

In the beginning, physics can seem overwhelming. There are all these concepts and equations and very little intuition of how to use them. But it gets easier the more you try! So my advice would be “don’t be discouraged if you find it hard initially – keep practising and your intuition will grow”.

Any highlights from studying Physics?

I took part in a summer school programme in Tsukuba, Japan at the National Institute of Materials Science in 2018. It was a fantastic experience and I highly recommend it to other students.

I was also awarded an MBIE-funded PhD scholarship through my supervisor Prof. Simon Brown.

So why did you originally decide on UC?

I never really considered anywhere else. My friend was studying at UC when I started, and I stayed because I like the faculty and the research being done here in the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences. I enjoyed developing a network of research partners – it’s always nice to have alternative perspectives on a problem.

And now you’re a researcher yourself with UC!

Absolutely – it was a continuous transition from student to researcher.

I am currently developing a neuromorphic computing architecture based on percolating nanoparticle networks. My work involves fabricating, characterising, and simulating percolating nanoparticle networks, and attempting to demonstrate computational capacity in the context of a physical artificial neural network.

What do you plan to do next?

I plan to stay in academia a while and see what opportunities become available. The alternative track is R&D for a tech company, which is probably where I’ll end up eventually.

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