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From Pure Physics to NDT Applications in Industry

Tue, 13 April, 2021

I am Fauziah Binti Sulaiman, a senior lecturer from University Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

I found my interest in physics when I was at high school, thinking about real, daily life situations like why rainbows have seven colors and similar things. I knew that in physics I could experience things tangibly while, in comparison, concepts were not that tangible in chemistry or biology, so I never was that interested in those subjects.

I graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) with a bachelor degree in pure physics in 2002 and, during my masters and PhD, I became specialised in educational physics. I have been working in the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Faculty of Science and Natural Resources as a lecturer and researcher for 15 years. I teach all the fundamental courses such as fundamental physics, mechanical physics, electromagnetic physics and statistical physics for the bachelor level students.

In academia, it is mandatory for us to teach the fundamental theories to students. I can imagine that students are eager to land a job as soon as they graduate, which is why they can be more interested in a lecturer who has industrial experience and can share some hands-on tips with them. As a lecturer, I like to be able to share my personal experience in applications as well. However, since I have always been a researcher, I don’t have industrial exposure and therefore that sort of knowledge to share. That’s why I am pushing my boundaries to get into the industrial field. This is like the beginning of another step in my life. I would like to try to explore the industry and, as an initial step, I have taken the NDT training courses at TWI.

I have been attending the NDT programme at TWI Malaysia for 5 weeks. I have completed the training on UT thickness measurement, magnetic particles testing (MT) and penetrant testing (PT). So far, I can see the difference in the practical element of the course. In university, we lack the equipment which is available at TWI, and that is the major difference. At university we cannot do much in terms of practical training, but here we can learn and practice working with UT as well as MT and PT equipment.

It happens quite often that the research done at universities is not on topics that are industry relevant. This can result in wasted resources where the time and funds could be allocated to topics that are in demand in industry and solving problems that can have an impact on real world applications. I believe that industry and university need to merge together and we need to work more closely.

At the moment, we do not have an NDT department at UMS University. I am determined to contribute to the industrial sector of Sabah state by developing an NDT training department where not only university students can participate in the training, but also it can be open to school leavers and technicians who wish to get upskilled in this field.

I had the opportunity to attend these training courses with sponsorship from the Ministry of Higher Education and I am very grateful for this as I found the training very beneficial to my career development and as an inspiration to take a leap forward in my life.

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