Lingdale woman ‘humbled and honoured’ to win national award for work at Boulby

A Lingdale woman was delighted after winning a prestigious award at an “out of this world” national awards ceremony.

Emma Meehan, 39, senior science technician at Boulby Underground Laboratory’s research unit, won first prize in the Industry and Labs section at the Institute of Physics (IOP) National Technicians ceremony.

Emma, who joined the lab team in 2009, explained how she began her career at Boulby slightly by chance.

“I qualified as a British Horse Society riding instructor,” she said.

“But a local outbreak of an equine disease hit my business hard. Then I took a call for my mother asking if she would be interested in applying for a forthcoming job at Boulby. She wasn’t, but I was…and here I am.”

Emma collected her award at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London last week.

“It was such a wonderful thing when I opened the email to find out I had won,” she said. “It’s wonderful for technicians to be recognised for the work they do – we are an essential part of the science machine.

“The award ceremony was absolutely out of this world. There were so many amazing people there receiving awards for their incredible work. I felt very humbled and honoured to be included in it.”

Emma Meehan at Boulby

Emma’s manager, Dr Paul Scovell, said: “We are incredibly proud that Emma is getting this national award. It is very well deserved. She does brilliant work here managing our ‘BUGS’ low background material screening facility as well as many other tasks – and she’s liked and respected by all.”

Initially, Emma’s role was to clean, organise and provide support to scientists in the lab which operates 1.1km below ground in the Boulby mine and hosts various science studies from astrophysics (the search for Dark Matter) to studies of geology, the environment, life in extreme environs on Earth and beyond.

Emma’s ability and inquisitiveness soon led to her being given additional responsibilities and, from 2010 to 2012, she played a valued role in operating the ZEPLIN-III dark matter detector, then one of the most important projects of its kind in the world.

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