Leila Nichol

Favourite Thing: Using the infra-red thermometer to see who’s the hottest!



Edinburgh University 2004-2008, Glasgow University 2008-2010


BSc (Hons) in Physics, MSc in Clinical Physics and DipIPEM from the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine

Work History:

Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford (2011-2013), Edinburgh Cancer Centre (2008-2011), Previous part-time jobs: Edinburgh Festival, Prague Fringe Festival, RockNess festival, Royal Highland Show, various bars, cafes and art galleries

Current Job:

Radiotherapy Physicist


NHS – Royal Surrey County Hospital

Me and my work

I zap deadly cancer cells with radiation

I work in Radiotherapy, which uses very high energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. Each patient is different so every one has their treatment individually planned so they can have the best outcome possible. Radiotherapy Physics is a small relatively unknown field, as we’re in the background most of the time, but we’re the ones who keep the place running really! It’s an extremely rewarding and interesting area to work in.

My Typical Day

I work with Doctors and Radiographers to plan the best possible radiotherapy treatments for each individual patient coming though the cancer centre (that’s over 4000 a year!)

As a medical physicist in Radiotherapy, we are involved in every aspect of the patient treatment, from making sure the machines are delivering the right amount of radiation, to planning which energy to use, to analysing the clinical results, and developing new techniques. It’s a very dynamic environment and no two days are the same!

What I'd do with the money

Raise awareness of Medical Physics as a career in schools and emphasise that girls can do physics too!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Very very cool

Who is your favourite singer or band?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef

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

I wish I could fly, travel to every country in the world, and meet Al Pacino!

What did you want to be after you left school?

A Medical Physicist!! Honestly!

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Moi? Never! ;)

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

I got to go to San Diego and Australia to present some of my work – experiences I’ll never forget!

Tell us a joke.

What did the receiver say to the radio wave? Ouch! That megahertz

Other stuff

Work photos: