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Culture, history and society

Honorary Fellows: Rachael Buckley

For her outstanding technical contributions to the development of operational particle accelerators and accelerator test facilities, and her role in the recruitment and training of a growing cohort of apprentices


Rachael Buckley

Rachael Buckley has made an outstanding contribution supporting accelerator physics research within the Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (ASTeC), the UK’s centre of excellence in particle accelerator research and development at Daresbury Laboratory. 

She has had an impressive influence across many of the major accelerator projects within Daresbury Laboratory over a career already spanning three decades. She has been a trailblazing, passionate and gritty technician who has overcome personal challenges to make a vital contribution, enabling the accelerator physics developments and providing support to the academic and industrial accelerator research.

Buckley has balanced her career with the support for her family, which at points has required an extraordinary commitment and demonstrated her universally recognised stoic determination to provide a top-level output.  

Her improvements of the cooling water control and environmental temperature stabilisation have been vital in achieving the exceptional beam stability demanded. This contribution was crucial to recent successful research from physicist and biologist, for example into the radiobiological effects of e-beam cancer therapy and innovative physics techniques to miniaturise accelerators. 

Her ‘tackle anything’ attitude has seen her play a fundamental role in the installation of services to a UK company, to very demanding timescales, enabling the commercial development of disruptive proton therapy solutions and she has had a central role in the delivery of helium liquefaction for the testing of European Spallation Source accelerator components, supporting a ~£60m UK  contribution.    

Having started her career as an apprentice, she has always loved a challenge and is a passionate problem solver. With her willingness to learn and get involved supporting the highly technical and varied systems of a large national facility, she built up the impressive knowhow around the general plant and cryogenics and became the go to technician in a crisis or failure. 

She now effectively runs a team of technical staff, managing all operational developments, and business as usual, with full responsibility for health and safety for the complex hazardous accelerator environment across the laboratory. 

She takes a proactive lead role in the recruitment and training of a growing cohort of ASTeC apprentices and has a passion to communicate and inspire her passion for a technical career through her involvement in public engagement activities, school visits and lab tours.

Buckley is the strength at the helm of accelerator operations at Daresbury and is a key asset to the support of ASTeC’s internationally renowned research delivery.