Arlene McBroom

Favourite Thing: I enjoy x-ray imaging samples and building 3D videos of these for customers.



Strathclyde University


MChem Forensic and Analytical Chemistry

Work History:


Current Job:

Physical Properties Analyst



Me and my work

I analyse unknown samples to work out what they are and where they may have come from.

My main job is to characterise contaminants found within the production process/ sent via customer complaints and to identify where they may have come from. My area of expertese is within chemical imaging – which is basically fancy photography techniques to see very small things! This can include x-raying samples to look inside them .

My Typical Day

My day is split into three main categories; holding consultations with customers, working in the lab (doing the cool work) and then writing reports/presenting results to customers.

I consult with customers to discuss what their issue is and what the best way to analyse the samples would be. I also have to discuss the priority of the project with them and then prioritise based on other projects i have on at the time to provide them with a realistic deadline.

I then analyse the sample – whether this be using spectroscopic techniques to get a chemical identity or use chemical imaging techniques to look at the sample.

I write up my findings into a scientific report and present this to the customer/ department concerned. This is sometimes the most dificult stage as 90% of my customers have no scientific background.

What I'd do with the money

Invest in a local school.

I would give the money to a local school to buy some science equipment. I ama brownie leader at a local school and all the girls seem to have an interest in science, i would like to spark this interest more by being able to provide them with some pretty cool science kits!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

ambitious, confident, sarcastic

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Twin Atlantic

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Scuba dived in Mexico

What did you want to be after you left school?

Be a zoo-keeper

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Yes, probably a lot more than i should have been….Oops!

What was your favourite subject at school?


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

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My high school chemistry teacher

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

a personal shopper

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

Own a Ferrari, win a nobel prize and travel the world

Tell us a joke.

Two scientists walk into a bar… one asys “I’ll have H2O” the other says “I’ll have H2O too”….he dies.

Other stuff

Work photos: