• Individual Members
  • Early Career Members
  • Student Members
  • Corporate Members
  • SPIE Professional Magazine
  • Visiting Lecturers
  • Women In Optics
  • Women in Optics Events
    Women in Optics Planner
    2018 WiO Planner
    2017 WiO Planner
    2016 WiO Planner
    2015 WiO Planner
    2014 WiO Planner
    2013 WiO Planner
    2012 WiO Planner
    2011 WiO Planner
    2010 WiO Planner
    2009 WiO Planner
    2008 WiO Planner
    2007 WiO Planner
    2006 WiO Planner
    2005 WiO Planner
    Women in Optics Videos
    Women in Optics Survey
    Women in Optics Funding
  • BACUS Technical Group
Print PageEmail Page

Jess Wade

Post-Doctoral Researcher
Imperial College London, UK

Jess Wade

Country of Birth: UK
Country of Residence: UK
Educational Background: MSc in Physics and PhD in Centre for Plastic Electronics, Imperial College London


My mother and my school teachers inspired my work in science. My mum is an academic doctor, writing papers, books and touring the world. Both my physics and chemistry teachers had PhDs, they had experience of the scientific world and they were so supportive, I felt like I could do anything.

Now, I do research at the Centre for Plastic Electronics at Imperial College London, we print ultrathin layers (tens of nanometers thick) onto plastic to make flexible electronic devices. Our organic solar cells can be printed onto huge sheets, which can be rolled out across deserts in the developing world. I am currently working on circularly polarized light emitting diodes; where the shapes of the organic molecules determine the polarization of the emitted light.

I find transitions difficult: from being the biggest fish at school to the smallest plankton at university and from 'mastering' my Masters to being an amateur at the beginning of my PhD. I have always surrounded myself with supportive friends and I have never been embarrassed to ask for help. My best advisor taught me everything I knew during my PhD, mentored me, and still helps me every day.

In science, you're never on your own. Ignore the thoughts inside your head and people outside it who tell you that science is not for you. Science, like all jobs, is about people. Be kind to everyone you meet. Whether it is getting in to a university or joining a new research group, it pays to have friends.

I wish people had told me that nobody in the world is an expert in everything, and approach science slowly whilst you learn. I wish someone had taught me about work/life balance and that it is okay to fail. In life and with experiments, things can go wrong, but as long as you're happy and healthy, you will develop as a person. I wish someone had told me that doing a PhD is one of the biggest privileges in the world, that I shouldn’t waste time moaning about how 'hard' life is, just enjoy!

View more 2018 profiles