About CSci

  • C Brian Buckley
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C Brian Buckley
Featured Profile: 
At A Glance
Licensed Body: 
First Degree: 
Works For: 
Pet Hates: 
People who are not prepared to listen…they will never listen
Burning Ambition: 
To enjoy life
For people to recognize the necessary application of research findings to help improve the quality of life.
Big Picture
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
I was interested in social history and how it impacted people’s welfare and development.
Who or what inspired you to become a scientist? 
The inspirational head teacher of the school I went to, Jack Sullivan, judged my abilities at an early age and pushed me into ensuring I met my potential
What do you love about your job and being a “scientist”? 
The opportunity that in some small way my contribution can make a difference. I find it interesting that when water falls free from the skies it can cause such major problems for people and impact their health. The way that water is collected and stored is very important. Water sources have to be protected, but they are also required to be visited by the public and this can cause a conflict.
What would you change? 
You are required to be available 24/7. When incidents happen you immediately investigate and liaise with a wide range of people. The public must be kept fully informed
What qualifications did you take at school? 
I did O’levels and then went straight into a job at a low-level engaged as a sampling officer. Having proved my intent to study, I had to attend evening classes three times a week (physics, chemistry, maths and engineering). One day a week I was paid to go to college from 9 in the morning to 9 at night, including the travel to and fro.
Why did you choose your first degree subject? 
I skipped university and instead did a fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry. I don’t see myself as an academic scientist – I see myself as an operational scientist
How do you describe your job when you meet people at a party? 
Unfortunately my job can’t be explained by saying “I’m a teacher.” I get eyes drooping and a lack of understanding. People understand what a research scientist or professional is but not an operational scientist. I tell people I’m an operational scientist in the water industry with a responsibility for looking a the treatment of waste water to make it fit for drinking purposes, or looking at the treatment of waste water to minimize an adverse impact on the environment. I investigate any risk factors that relate to drinking water or the environmental quality of water and how it affects the public.
Describe briefly how your career has progressed to date. 
My career has taken me into the application and management of operational science in the water industry to facilitate the support of public health and the investigation of problems of water contamination. This involved assessing the subsequent impact on the confidence of the public on how effectively adverse situations were managed. I was formerly Chief Scientist of South West Water, and I’m currently a consultant in water science and risk management.
How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for your field, and how much can this be expected to rise? 
Graduates would be expected to earn £18K/year. The mechanism is there for you to gain experience: going out sampling, collecting from a wide multiplicity of sources, and looking and the biological and botanical sides. It’s important for people to realize the ladder is quite wide at the bottom, and like a pyramid, narrow at top, where people could expect to receive salaries of six figures proportions. The top requires people to be highly motivated and put in a lot of effort.
How do you see your field developing over the next 5-10 years? 
Whenever there’s a major crisis, the question will always be asked “do we have an adequate supply of water that’s suitable for drinking?” and “How is waste water going to affect drinking resources?” These questions are the major building block for public health in all civilized countries….without these things we are lost.
What’s the most unexpected thing about your job? 
My relationship with the public. I have a huge interface with the public and with professional and non-professional organizations. Another unexpected thing is the impact of the work itself. How simple things like collecting sample are of fundamental importance. These are elementary thing but they have huge implications.
Would you say you have a good standard of living/ work-life balance? 
Yes – I work for myself.
What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax? 
Music, Conducting, Adjudicating I was a talented trumpet player and then I decided to move into conducting. I studied to obtain qualifications for Conducting, Performing and Teacher Diplomas. I hold regular appointments at major brass and wind band festivals throughout the UK. So I have two strings to my bow, but 65% of time I’m doing science.
Why did you choose to apply for CSci and what do you value most about being a Chartered Scientist? 
My work involves more than just chemistry. It also involves biology, process engineering, micro-biology…My whole approach has been so much wider than just chemistry. When people ask me what I do a party, it means something to tell them I’m a chartered scientist
What is the value of professional bodies? 
It’s a place where you meet and discuss issues with people. Professional bodies are properly designed for the exchange of information, developing information, and gaining intellectual satisfaction
Advice & Reflection
What words of wisdom would you give someone interested in getting into your field? 
There’s nothing to substitute for motivation, dedication, perseverance. You can’t expect to be given everything. You must work for it.
How important is the mentoring process in your field and to you personally? 
Mentoring is hugely important. It helped me during my early days. I believe strongly in mentoring. I mentor people both in science and music.
How would you define “professionalism”? 
Very simple – you conduct yourself in a manner that allows people to see clearly that whatever you say has serious content. If you do this, people will regard your presence and your contribution as being reliable and being thoroughly thought through.
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