behind the scenes

Under the spotlight: James Wilkins

This month James Wilkins is under the spotlight. James is a Mechanical Design Engineer in our R+D department and works on a whole range of new designs and custom projects. 

How long have you worked at Linkam?

I’ve been here for nearly two and a half years.

What’s the best part of working at Linkam?

It’s hard to point to just one thing: the day to day variety, the working environment, the people and the fantastic products.

Tell us about your studies and work experience. What were you doing before Linkam?

After a disastrous performance at college, I turned the corner at university and qualified with a 1st Hons Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Sussex University. After spending a few years in the Midlands gaining vital experience at top aerospace companies, I found my way back down South and to Linkam.

Why did you choose a science career?

I nearly ended up an astrophysicist, but it seems that it was always my fate to become an engineer. Be it on a cosmic scale, or something a little more down to earth, I’ve always had a passion for the way things work. At Linkam I get the best of both worlds, creating instruments which help scientists probe the limits of our knowledge and understanding.

What makes you passionate about science?

If you were to show people 100 years ago even just a fraction of the technology we take for granted on a daily basis, let alone what’s on today’s cutting edge, it would blow their minds and still does mine. How is it possible for someone to not be passionate about science and engineering?

What do your parents do?

I’m descended from a long line of engineers ranging from mechanical and civil to electronic and electrical engineers.

How would you describe your average day at Linkam?

One simply does not have an average day at Linkam…

Has the company changed much since you started working here?

From the outside I don’t think that the company appears to have changed too much, but we’ve become much more efficient whilst retaining a decent amount of flexibility. Crucially we’ve retained a friendly working environment which is part of what makes Linkam, Linkam.

What are your hobbies?

Music, cars and motorbikes, generally the classic stuff. I’ve recently just started mountain biking too. I blame Vince for that one along with the scars on my legs. Errr I also bake because who doesn’t like cakes? (I’ve not yet found anyone here yet)

Where do you want to be in ten years?

Will I still be at Linkam? I certainly hope so, I genuinely love my job. Hopefully in 10 years I’ll also have restored my mini but I won’t hold my breath on that one. As for my personal life, family is quite important to me so wife, perhaps a kid, dog and maybe some chickens.

And lastly, where did you go on your last holiday?

My last proper holiday was spent gazing upon the Ionian Sea from the hills on the Isle of Zakynthos: beautiful scenery, amazing food and very friendly locals.

Thanks James. Next month we ask the same questions as we continue to introduce the team to you.

Thanks for reading.

By Caroline Feltham

Under the spotlight: Ricky Patel

Linkam has over 30 staff members who work in the labs, offices and the workshop. Over the next year or so we are going to introduce you to some of them. First up under the spotlight is Ricky Patel, a name you may be familiar with if you have made any enquires about installation or repairs, and of course you may have met him at a show...

Ricky Patel – Technical Support Executive

How long have you worked at Linkam?

Coming up to 2½ years. Time really does fly.

What’s the best part of working at Linkam?

For a world-renowned company, it has never lost the family business feel about it. Staff and customers are very much appreciated here.

Tell us about your studies and work experience. What were doing before Linkam?

I have a MChem In Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Surrey. Work experience was at Quotient BioResearch in Cambridgeshire.

Why did you choose a science career?

Growing up, my parents used to own a small newsagent and I have always had a passion for science. The scientific sales sector just seemed to have the perfect combination of both of those worlds for me.

What makes you passionate about science?

I enjoy seeing the innovation in all aspects of science, whether it is a new drug to prevent an illness, or a new probe sent into space, it is always interesting to learn about the advancements we are making.

What do your parents do?

My father is a foreign exchange branch manager, my mother works in retail. They both work at Gatwick Airport, so feel free to say hello if you are ever passing through!

How would you describe your average day at Linkam?

I’d describe it as like a good book – there is a lot of action, some comedy and a tiny bit of horror involved in everyday.

Has the company changed much since you started working here?

A lot. The company is evolving every day and it’s a fantastic feeling to be a part of it.

What are your hobbies?

Sport, sport and sport. I enjoy watching or playing almost any sport. Football, cricket, NFL to name a few – though, being a Liverpool fan, times are tough right now.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

Living in a mansion on South Beach, Miami with a super-model wife. One can only dream…

And lastly, where did you go on your last holiday?

Cancun, Mexico… Late nights, bleary eyes, and great memories.

Sounds great, my kind of holiday... Next month it will be another staff member under the spotlight but for now, thanks for reading

By Caroline Feltham

 

Wheel of Fortune

 A memorable invite for a memorable partyLinkam celebrated its 30th anniversary last weekend with a night in The Savoy Hotel and The Hippodrome Casino in London.

The Harrods routemaster bus waiting to take us on an adventureWe were picked up from Linkam by the green Harrods routemaster bus. It was a cosy, slightly bumpy ride, although the minor discomfort was more than made up for by the excited atmosphere within and without. Inside, the partygoers were boisterous and loud, and outside the distinctive bus caused many heads to turn as we wound our way through morning traffic towards the store.

The front visage of Harrods, the luxury department storeInside Harrods we spent a lazy hour picking up a few well-deserved presents. All of us were given a gift card from Linkam to spend as we liked in the various departments. Each department seemed bigger than the last with too many things to see; you'd need a day, or two, to see the whole of the store. I spent some time in one of my favourite parts, the tea and chocolate section, where everything looked delicious; with difficulty I confined myself to one box of chocolates (this time).  

    Yum! How do you choose when everything looks so good? The hour spent here was especially poignant as this was the late Louise Kamp’s favourite store and we were glad to be able to pay tribute to a lady who was both a founder of Linkam Scientific Instruments and an instrumental part of the companies early and continued success

The iconic signAfter Harrods we had lunch at The Savoy, instantly recognisable with its iconic art deco sign. The name conjures up images of old-style Hollywood glamour and it didn’t disappoint. It is one of London’s grandest hotels and stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra and whole host of VIPs have stayed within its impressive confines. As you entered, you couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation, wondering just who might have walked through the doors and who you might meet. A celebrity? Royalty?

The bright welcoming sign to the American Bar, the place to be for a good cocktail.We were ushered into The River Room, an elegant and modern location, famous for being where in 1946 the then Princess Elizabeth was seen in public for the first time with her soon to be husband, Prince Philip of Greece.  After a light lunch of sandwiches and cakes we checked into our rooms which were either decked out in the clean lines of Edwardian elegance, or the inviting and distinctive Art Deco style. There was little time to bask in the luxury (I managed to slip down to the American Bar and try one of their amazing cocktails – the Savoy Daisy) as it was time to get ready for the next part of our adventure.  

The Hippodrome casino - where the wheel of fortune spins 24hrsThat evening we had our party at The Hippodrome. The 112-year-old Grade-II listed building on the corner of Leicester Square and Charing Cross Road has been reborn as London’s first and largest 93,000 sq ft casino. After a multi-million pound renovation the building now features three floors of gambling, five bars, a dedicated poker floor, an intimate cabaret theatre and the high energy Heliot restaurant and lounge. The building is steeped in the rich history of London: it was here you could have seen acrobats and live animals perform at the turn of the century or been in the front row of the premier of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in 1910. From 1958 to the present day the Hippodrome has hosted some of the most iconic artists of the 20th century, including Diana Ross, Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and more, not to mention the rich and royalty who have sauntered through those doors.

Judy Kuhn singing to us. On Saturday night we listened to Broadway cabaret artist Judy Kuhn, the voice of 'Pocahontas' and star of 'Les Miserables'.  Accompanied by a glass of champagne we heard her rich and emotive songs and it was a great start to a night of celebration. With the soft croon of her voice still filling our minds we sat down at the green felt tables for a lesson in roulette and blackjack.

All eyes were on the spinning ball - where will it land? Hands came and went, and the wheel of fortune spun as hopes rose and descended, tables emptying until only a few stayed on to win big. At the end of the evening at the casino some were winners, some were losers.

But in the light of day it could be said we were all winners; we have had the amazing luck to end up at Linkam and now have memories of a great night that will last a lifetime. In these uncertain times I'd call that a big win. I would like to offer a big thanks to everyone who made the night what it was – Vince, Arnold, Craig – and all the Linkam staff.

By Caroline Feltham

Back to '82

Happy 30th birthday, Linkam.

Back in 1982, the world looked a little different: Linkam was founded in the same year as the first ever CD player prototype was demonstrated in Japan, the first commercial product of genetic engineering (bacteria grown insulin) became available to the public, and the first computer generated effects movie, Tron, came out.

While the rest of the world was going crazy for shoulder pads, pac-man and big hair, Arnold Kamp was quietly designing instruments in a shed at the bottom of his garden.

Arnold with Vince busy building hotstages.

From these modest beginings we have grown into a company with 30 employees in two countries.

Much has changed since the days when Arnold built the equipment, his wife Louise kept the books and their children Vincent and Jacqueline cleaned the machines. To read more about the story of Linkam please click here.

Today, we require 60 kg of silver and over a 1,000 platinum sensors each year to make our unique stages, and to keep up with demand. The iconic THMS600 was first designed in the 1980’s, the versatile LTS350 stage in the 1990’s and we continue to be at the forefront of design in 2012 with a new pressure and tensile stage. 

With these products, and dozens of custom-made creations, we have demonstrated our knowledge of the physical sciences. We have affirmed our place as the number one manufacturer in the world of heating stages

We have a specialist design lab in Holland and all manufacturing, sales and customer service takes place in the UK. Linkam staff have a mixture of skills and experiences: our longest staff member Peter Grocutt, Research and Design manager, started in 1984 and our newest recruit Bernie Garman, Sales Administrator, started in February this year.

As a versatile and family-run company we work hard and play hard with numerous outside activities from dinners to sporting events. Earlier this year our weekend warrior cyclists stormed nearby Box Hill, and not so long ago our wannabe F1 drivers were an active menace on the go-kart track. This weekend we are celebrating our 30th anniversary at The Savoy in London.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers for their support over the years.

We look forward to many more years of innovation.

By Caroline Feltham  

Making Light Work: the European Microscopy Congress 2012


Ian Pearce, Linkam's International Sales Manager at the Linkam Scientific booth at EMC2012
Last week we exhibited our instruments at the 15th European Microscopy Congress, and what a successful show it was.  Excited delegate comments of 'It's been non-stop buzz' and 'The best microscopy show I've attended in at least the last 10 years' were not uncommon.

The conference featured some fascinating talks which ran alongside Europe's largest exhibition dedicated to microscopy.

Together these created a festival atmosphere and a truly memorable event.

The conference was set in Manchester Central, a magnificent refurbished train station in the heart of one of the UK’s most exciting cities. With its vaulted arches and iconic clock, the building has been a much-loved feature and an integral part of Manchester for nearly 130 years.

Over 1,600 delegates attended over the course of the week, in addition to several hundred day visitors. Nearly 1,000 exhibitors, on over 100 stands, brought a wide range of exciting and new equipment to view and test. Within eight parallel sessions, there were 450 oral presentations, 84 speakers, and an impressive 750 poster presentations.  Altogether it was quite a crowd.

A very crowded conference hall.Dr Debbie Stokes, Chair of the Congress, and Dr Paul Midgley, EMS President, welcomed all delegates and exhibitors on the first day. Together they introduced the plenary Lecturers: Professor Tony Wilson and Professor Peter Dobson. Professor Wilson gave an entertaining and informative talk on 'Making light work' and Professor Dobson provided a thought provoking look at the potential of nanotechnology in the future.

As promised, Linkam had a very special surprise for our first 150 visitors. We hope you enjoyed them.

Tasty cupcakes were given away free on the Linkam stand in celebration of our company's 30th year anniversary. We would like to extend a big thank you to all the organisers for such a fantastic event. We would also like to thank all our visitors who took the time to come and talk to us. We enjoyed meeting you face to face and hearing your stories, questions, thoughts and concerns and look forward to working with you in the future - and maybe delivering a new surprise or two along the way.

Thanks again.


By Caroline Feltham

Packed up and ready to go - EMC 2012

On the 16th to the 21st September the European Microscopy Congress - the largest exhibition in the world dedicated to microscopy, analysis and imaging - will open its doors to thousands of exhibitors, speakers and visitors.

With a huge 6000m² exhibition hall, technical workshops, poster village and learning zone it is sure to be an exciting and informative event.

Linkam Scientific Instruments is very excited to be among the exhibitors attending this great event in Manchester. We can be found at booth 911, where we will be waiting to show you our brand new cryobiology stage and several of our other unique and exciting hot stages including the THMS600PS, TST350, TS1500EV, THMS600 and LTS420.  

There will be the opportunity to handle all the equipment and see a live demonstration of the TST350.

I will be there all week, and Ian Pearce and Ricky Patel will be stopping by, so if you do come have a look, please do say hello. 

From left to right Ricky Patel, Caroline Feltham and Ian Pearce.Additionally we will also be presenting an exciting poster on Wednesday morning detailing the use of our brilliant new hot stage the TS1400XY for geological studies.

And the fun doesn’t stop there – this year Linkam is celebrating its 30th anniversary and for the first guests who come see us on Monday 17th there will be a special tasty surprise.

 

Hope to see you there 

By Caroline Feltham

 

ILCC 2012 - Crystals, Cruises and Castles

 

From left to right: Taylor Wand, Linkam's Ian Pearce, Michael Wand

This year’s International Liquid Crystal Conference was hosted in the historic city of Mainz at the Rhengoldhalle Conference Centre nicely situated on the great Rhine itself.

More than 900 delegates attended this very well organised conference and exhibition where the latest research advances were illustrated with an extensive poster show and a busy schedule of seminars.

Linkam attended in partnership with LC vision again (http://www.lc-vision.com/) and we were so pleased to meet with many existing customers, exchanging new ideas for instrumental requirements, and hopefully introducing ourselves to the next generation.

Linkam’s heating stages with the LC Vision LCAS3 provide the perfect combination to measure a whole range of electrical and elastic constants of the LC material whilst recording behavioural changes with temperature.

The highlight of our free time was a cruise along the Rhine to the castles and vineyards region, and being Germany, beer was featured as strongly on this trip.

 The view of the Rhine from our cruise ship Everything ran so smoothly, many thanks to all involved.

By Ian Pearce

ICR 2012 – Sun, Sand and Shear Forces

Linkam Booth at ICR 2012

Last week, the who’s who of the Rheological world descended upon the historic city of Lisbon for the 26th International Congress of Rheology, which is held every 4 years.

This year’s venue was the stunning Belem cultural centre, a modern arts and conference centre on the banks of the majestic river Tagus. ICR 2012 enabled the world’s leading Rheologists to gather from across the globe to present the latest advancements and developing trends in the field. Delegates took the opportunity to discuss their ideas and studies with their peers in the pristine Iberian sunshine.

 

Just one of the glorious views from the Belem Centre

However, it most definitely was not a case of all work and no play for the attendees of the conference, as there was a fantastic social programme in place designed to entertain and educate: a tour around the capital city of Portugal gave an insight into its unique blend of unusual character and charm, created by 800 years of contrasting cultural influences; a banquet fit for royalty gave as much pleasure to the eyes as it did to the taste buds, and finally, a beach party which allowed delegates to show off their personal flow characteristics on the dance floor!

On a personal note, it was great to see so many delegates at the conference visiting the booth to tell me that they are more than happy with the Linkam equipment they have in their labs. Equally it was good to gauge the opinions of those delegates on the CSS450 and the TST350 who were seeing the equipment for the first time.

All in all, I’m sure I can speak for the majority when I say that ICR2012 was a week that I will not be forgetting in a hurry. I would like to thank Professor Joao Maia and his team for organising such a superb event: “Obrigado Joao…Obrigado Portugal!”

By Ricky Patel

From blogger to belly dancer

Caroline in one of her many costumes, ready to hit the stage

Linkam chief blogger Caroline Feltham has a passion outside of hot stages... belly dancing.

Last weekend she took part in an annual dance show called 'The Magic of Bellydance' staged in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, to an audience of over 500 people. Dancing as part of a group called the 'Habibis', alongside 200 amateurs and professionals from across the South East of England, the show was a huge success.

The event was picked up in the national press with The Express newspaper reporting that one of the stars of the show has sold the story of belly dancing in the UK to Hollywood. Dubbed the new 'Calendar Girls', after the film starring Judi Dench, the movie will tell the story of how ten years ago one woman defied the sniggers and whispers and brought belly dancing to a quiet English village. Read the full story here.

Congratulations Caroline on a fantastic weekend. We look forward to bellydancing: the movie, and the red carpet premiere.

 

By Caroline Kamp