Graduate Profile

Nick Balshaw, BSc 1983

Nick Balshaw is currently Vacuum Systems Section Leader, responsible for the 200 cubic metre ultra-high-vacuum vessel at the heart of JET, the Joint European Torus at Culham in Oxfordshire.  Here he leads an interdisciplinary team of 8 people to ensure that the vacuum systems on the torus meet the needs of the world's leading fusion experiment.  The vacuum group is part of the wider team of over 200 people who develop the torus and run experiments which pave the way for efficient and safe generation of electrical power from the fusion of deuterium and tritium nuclei. 

Photo of interior of JET courtesy EFDA -JET.

The left hand section shows details of part of the torus;

the right hand section shows the plasma during operation.

Nick graduated in physics in 1983, and immediately joined Thor Cryogenics, where he was responsible for testing superconducting magnets and cryogenic systems.  He moved to Oxford Instruments in 1985, where he spent several years as a project engineer, developing new ultra-low-temperature refrigerators for customers in the scientific and commercial sector.  During this time he became a Chartered Engineer (MIMechE) on the basis of his physics degree and practical engineering experience.  He later moved to become the technical editor for the company, providing high-quality documentation for customers on a range of Oxford products, and then took on the role of Quality Manager, responsible for all aspects of quality assurance and obtaining early registration to the ISO9000:2000 quality standard.

First posted BDS 5.1.04