Dr Philip Hands

Senior Lecturer in Electronics and Electrical Engineering

I grew up in Worcestershire, England, attending the local comprehensive school, and developed an early interest in science and technology. I could often be found taking things apart, or building things out of LEGO.

I studied for an MSci and PhD in Physics at Durham University. However, I soon realised that my greatest satisfaction came from applying science to solve real-world problems. My research became more applications-focussed, and before realising it, I had become an engineer!

After postdoctoral positions at Durham and Cambridge universities (and a brief involvement co-founding a spin-out company), I moved to Edinburgh in 2012, where I now lecture in electronics and electrical engineering and head my own research group.

My research involves the micro- and nano-scale engineering of electronic and photonic devices from soft materials such as polymers and liquid crystals.

As a young boy on a family holiday to Edinburgh, I remember visiting the Camera Obscura. Their amazing hologram exhibition captured my imagination. I was fascinated by the way I could move my head and peer around the image, as if the object were really there.

Years later, I finally learnt how they worked, and even got to make my own holograms in an undergraduate laboratory. Holograms inspired me to pursue a career in research, and a few years later I was designing and building my own 3D display system. I now lead a research group developing new lasers for medical imaging and holographic display applications.

Dr Philip Hands holding a hologram in a dark room
Dr Philip Hands with a hologram