Ferran Brosa Planella
I live in Coventry, but I am originally from Barcelona. I am a battery scientist 🔋👨🔬. In my free time, I like to play bagpipes 🎵.
My name is Ferran and I was born in Castellfollit de la Roca, a small town near Barcelona which is on top of a cliff (check it out, it is very pretty). When I was young I wanted to be an inventor, until I found out that this wasn’t actually a job (😅) so I decided that I would be a scientist, which is pretty close.
After high school, I wanted to study engineering, but because I was quite good at maths I decided to do a double degree in Engineering and Maths at Barcelona. Originally I liked engineering more, but as time went by I started preferring maths. Once I finished my degree I decided I wanted to do a PhD in maths abroad. I applied to Oxford and I was very lucky to get an offer so in 2014 I moved to the UK.
Moving to a new country is one of the most exciting things I have ever done! I spent 4 years at Oxford doing my PhD in Mathematics (which is basically like a course that teaches you how to be a researcher). After that, I got my current job at Warwick, where I have been doing research on batteries since 2018.
My pronouns are:
I use maths to design batteries that last for longer 🔋
Even though they sound very unrelated, in my work I use maths to help design better batteries. Mathematics allows us to write “equations” that explain how things work. The coolest thing about the equations is that they can also predict what would happen in a given situation. This is very useful because, for example, we can imagine a new type of battery and predict how it will work before building it (even though building it and testing it in the lab is very important too!).
My Typical Day:
I get up and have breakfast (usually a toastie and a fruit smoothie). Now I work from home (I go to campus once a week only), so I usually get to my desk at 9am. Normally I work on my computer, running simulations of how batteries work in my computer and writing down the results. I often have meetings (now they are virtual) with other researchers with who I collaborate. I finish my day at 5pm.
In fact, it is quite hard to explain what a “typical day” is for me (or at least how it was before Covid). As a researcher, I spent a lot of time working on my own: programming on the computer, writing notes and reports, thinking… But I also spend a lot of time talking to people. After all, research is a collaborative effort!
I have many meetings with people I work with to put together our findings, but also present my work at conferences where researchers from all over the world meet to talk (and listen!) about science. This is very exciting because you can meet new people, and I have met people from all over the world thanks to that. Before Covid, we would meet in person, which gave me the opportunity to travel to many countries but now everything happens virtually. 😔 Hopefully, we can travel again soon and I can meet some of my friends again
What I'd do with the prize money:
I would create some short and cool videos about science and post them on Youtube.
I would team up with an animator to design some cool videos about science (mainly about maths and batteries) and share them on Youtube so kids from all over the world can watch them to learn a bit more about what scientists do.
Primary school: Escola Castellroc (Castellfollit de la Roca) and Escola Volcà Bisaroques (Olot)
High school: IES La Garrotxa (Olot)
Undergraduate: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Barcelona)
PhD: University of Oxford
I studied abroad so things are a bit different than here. In the equivalent of A-levels I got a 10 out of 10. We also need to do an exam that is run across the country before university, where I got 9.5 out of 10. As an undergraduate I did a double degree in Engineering and Mathematics (equivalent to a BSc). Finally, I did my PhD in Mathematics.
I have been a Research Fellow at the University of Warwick since 2018.
WMG (University of Warwick)
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
maths for batteries
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
No (I promise it is true!)
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would be a baker or a brewer
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Start a band with some of my best friends (and record an album)
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
The abilities to: 1. Read very fast 2. Draw well 3. Cook much better
Tell us a joke.
What did the triangle say to the circle? “You’re pointless.” (very bad, sorry!)