Viv Lyons

Favourite Thing: The great thing about the job I do is that I make a real world difference. I have used my scientific knowledge to solve real world problems. I also like working with others to crack a problem.



Colne High School, Brightlingsea, near Colchester 1980-1987


All solid state physics: Leicester (BSc physics 1988-1991), Essex (MSc 1991-1992), Southamptons (PhD 1993-1999)

Work History:

Melles Griot (nanotechnoolgy), Home Office (lots of things)


Home Office

Current Job:

lots of things to do with physics and crime

Me and my work

I use my physics and general science background to help the police investigate crime.

I am part of the physics and maths group at the Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology. At the moment I am working on Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) which regularly gets used to catch criminals.

My Typical Day

I spend a lot of time working with police officers, sometimes traveling into thier world.

I tend to start the day chatting to colleagues about the previous evening/weekend. I might have meetings with police contacts or other scientists. I do spend a lot of time organising and running projects to improve the way in which things are used. Of course I then spend even more time analysing the data that I get. I spend my evenings watching far too much telly and chatting to boyfriend/friends/family and discovering things using my laptop.

What I'd do with the money

I would plough it straight back into more events like this.

We need more scientists which means we need to convince more young people that science doesn’t have to be thought of as dull and irrelevant.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

friendly, stubborn, silly

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Guns and Roses – I love a good head bang.

What is the most fun thing you've done?

A sky dive – see earlier comment about being silly

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

Being able to sing well, never saying daft things, not having MS

What did you want to be after you left school?

To be honest I didn’t know specifically. It just had to be physics based.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

When I was younger I got told off for talking too much (no surprise to those who know me) but later I became too much of a swat to get told off.

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

Got my PhD despite lots of hassles

Tell us a joke.

What’s yellow and dangerous? ……… shark infested custard (you didn’t say it had to be original)