Nathan Thomas, Engineering Team Lead, Noise and Vibration, Dyson

Why did you choose to work in acoustics?

I was doing music recording and live sound as a teenager. I found it really engaging, and wanted to understand more, so studied acoustics (at Salford).

What did you study to get into acoustics?

Electroacoustics degree at Salford.

What makes acoustics interesting to you?

I’ve always been interested in how things sound, and how sounds can be moulded. What I find really fascinating in acoustics is that it’s a mix between hard concrete understandable physical phenomenon, and human sensory perception, which is much more nebulous.

What do you do on a typical workday?

Our objective is to ensure that Dyson products sound and feel awesome. My team work to understand how people respond to sound and vibration of a product, and identify what features of the sound could be improved, and how it can be made quieter. We then work on identifying the sources of noise, understand the product as a whole, and invent ways to make it better.

What do you love about your job?

Working to push the envelope of what’s possible in challenging design spaces is incredibly rewarding. Working to get the best out of all the motivated and curious engineers around me. Lots of interaction with differently skilled people including designers, subject matter experts, commercial, intellectual property.

What are the most important skills to have in your job?

Communication, enthusiasm, trying things, perseverance. Good engineering fundamentals are useful, often equally as useful as the acoustic understanding.

What’s one of the most exciting projects you’ve ever done?

The quiet airblade V was my first Dyson project, so a highlight. Many of my most exciting products are yet to be released J

What else might a student need to know about a career in acoustics?

It’s not all mixing desks and bassy speakers. You’ll need to roll up your sleeves and immerse yourself in the physics and engineering fundamentals to have the most rewarding and pioneering careers.

Tell us a fun acoustic fact!

Unlike energy, sound can be both created and destroyed… (you may consider this more fun, than fact…)


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