Rosie Grayburn

Rosie Grayburn completed her Nuffield Research Placement in 2005 at the University of Manchester. She is now a conservation scientist at Winterthur Museum and adjunct faculty in the University of Delaware's Department of Art Conservation.

What was your project about?

Atmospheric chemistry: the cleavage of oleic acid with ozone. My chemistry teacher had inspired me to think about how chemistry can be used to solve environmental problems. .

What was the highlight/best bit of your placement?

My first ‘a-ha!’ moment in research: discovering some products of the reaction using FTIR which made sense!

What path did you take after finishing your NRP and how has that led you to where you are today?

Thanks to my NRP supervisor, I ended up studying Chemistry at Imperial College during which time I took an ancillary course on materials science at the V&A Museum. This opened my eyes to the field of conservation science. After graduating, I worked in industry before realising I really wanted to pursue a career in conservation science, so I left to do a PhD. I really think that my positive research experience with Andy made this decision possible.

After my postdoctoral fellowship in California, I got a permanent job in the USA. I am a conservation scientist at Winterthur Museum, as well as adjunct faculty at the University of Delaware’s Department of Art Conservation: I apply analytical techniques to further our understanding of historic materials and works of art, and teach science to student art conservators.

If you could give one piece of advice to Nuffield students about to start a placement what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. No question is too simple – everyone started out in your position!

What would your advice be to young people thinking about a career in STEM?

The topics we research in STEM are so diverse – there is truly something for everyone’s interest. Therefore my advice would be to talk to as many scientists as possible about their work – see what sticks!