Scientific Computing Graduate - James Acris
09 Nov 2020
- Rebecca Humble



As one of our new Scientific Computing Graduates, James says his favourite thing about working at STFC is “knowing that that my work has a real-world impact!”

James Acris



​Originally from Doncaster, James passion for science comes from pondering the “big questions about the origin of the universe”, a curiosity which led him on to study MPhys Physics at Durham University. In the summer of 2020, he graduated and started as a Scientific Computing Department Graduate, at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

When asked about his switch from physics to computing, he says “I really enjoyed programming at university, so the Scientific Computing Graduate Scheme was a good choice as there is a great balance between the academic and working worlds. The science that’s going on here every day keeps me in touch with my physics background.” However, it’s not been without it’s challenges along the way, James states, “As a Physics graduate I only had limited experience with computing to help me deal with scientific data and write models, so all the software development tools were completely new to me. However, I’ve found that the team are really helpful and give me the time and support I need to get comfortable with the technologies we use.”

Since starting, James has been working as​ a software developer for DAFNI, the Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure, a powerful computing platform that allows researchers to upload models and datasets of national infrastructure systems such as energy demand models and flood prediction forecasts, with the potential to cover a huge range of research. During his role, he has been writing code to not only maintain DAFNI systems but also improve them. He says, “I find it exciting to be contributing towards a system that could help us better plan for the long term future as a country.”

Screenshot_20201022-115058.jpgWhen asked about what his advice would be to aspiring computer scientists considering the graduate scheme, he says, “STFC is a great blend of academia and the working world, and there’s so much great science that goes on here. I would highly recommend the graduate scheme as you get experience in many areas of the field with four six-month rotations. The people are also really friendly and supportive of your career goals.”

Outside of the world of work, James enjoys doing Olympic weightlifting - after starting about a year ago his goal is to reach 150kg! Alongside this, he loves to walk his two dogs, Pepsi, a little cute but psychotic Patterdale Terrier and Poppy, a Golden Retriever who’s just a big softy. James also likes to spend time with his friends and family while playing his favourite board games Carcassonne and Mysterium.

Contact: Humble, Rebecca (STFC,RAL,SC)