07 February 2020

My UEA Story: Dr Kayn Forbes

My name is Kayn Forbes and I am a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow researching at UEA in the school of Chemistry.



Research Interests:

I undertake fundamental theoretical research on the interactions between light and matter. Using quantum theory, I look at how photons can be used to mechanically move particles such as molecules, or how light with a vortex structure (like a tornado) can alter well-known optical interactions such as absorption and scattering.

Although I am interested in all aspects of fundamental theory, I am mainly motivated by using theory to search for new light-matter interactions which have the capacity to advance current methods in experimental and applied optics. 

What appealed to you about your Fellowship?

During my time as both an undergraduate and PhD student, my supervisor Professor David L. Andrews always encouraged my naturally independent approach to research, and enabled it to flourish under his mentorship. Given this autonomy as a student I was determined to secure a Fellowship, and the academic freedom it allows, as soon as I possibly could in order to seek answers to the questions I wanted to know. 

The Leverhulme Trust are seemingly unique in modern times as they genuinely aim to fund scholarly and fundamental approaches to research. Their strong support of Fellows, alongside their philosophy and heritage, make them the ideal partner for early career scientists attempting to take their first step on the ladder of independence. 

How is the Fellowship going so far?

In a word, fulfilling.  


What’s living in Norwich / life at UEA like?

I was born and raised in Norwich, and to my mind there is no better place in the world than glorious Norfolk. Whilst there are advantages to pursuing a nomadic career in academia, I find profound refuge in being able to pursue my ideas at Home.  

UEA itself is an excellent research university, and I have received exemplary counsel from fellow academics in my department as well as fantastic opportunities to collaborate and build my teaching and lecturing experience. It is a particularly exciting time as the recently established department of physics housed in the School of Chemistry begins to develop significantly. Numerous aspects of my research straddle the interface of chemistry and physics, whilst others are pure physics, and so I could not think of a more stimulating and academically diverse place to find myself positioned at this stage of my career. 

Any advice for people thinking of coming to UEA to do a Fellowship?

Most important is to make sure your ideas are decidedly original, no matter how much the thought of actually having to carry them out scares you. 



  • Masters Degree in Chemistry MChem (First-class honours) University of East Anglia (2014)
  • PhD in Physics and Chemical Sciences, University of East Anglia, (2018)
  • Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of East Anglia, (2019)


School of Chemistry

Research Fellowships