1 June 2022

Employee Spotlight: Namisha Chabbra, Laser Engineer and Physicist

Namisha is an up-and-coming laser engineer and physicist working in the Directed Energy (DE) Laser team.

Her day-to-day work – which has the overarching goal of ensuring the quality of EOS’ laser-based products – involves technical as well as practical elements, and can include everything from crafting systems documentation to assembling laser systems to testing optical components so as to verify, as Namisha puts it, that they “do what we want them to do”.

Namisha, who grew up in Canberra, is the only member of her family with an engineering bent: her parents are both longtime public servants, while her sister works in law.As a child, she remembers with a chuckle, she was “never your ‘Barbie-girl’ type”; instead, she always preferred being outside, experimenting, building things and figuring out how they fit together and functioned. Her earliest engineering projects included smashing bricks in the family backyard, digging uncommonly large holes at the beach and using dubious methods to try to fix faulty home appliances – with occasionally disastrous results.

It’s fair to say her engineering abilities have advanced dramatically since those days. “Growing up, maths and physics were my strongest subjects – and I always wanted to do something practical with them,” Namisha says. On finishing high school, she strongly considered a combined Science/ Commerce degree, which seemed to offer the clearest path to her goal of helping to create new technologies that would be useful to the world in general.

People around her, though, kept insisting she’d make a great engineer. Namisha took note and enrolled in an undergraduate Engineering degree at ANU before completing her Honours in Physics and honing her speciality in optical and laser systems. Namisha is currently completing a PhD in tandem with her part-time Laser Engineer and Physicist role at EOS. She says her work and studies are complementing each other extremely well, and that her job allows her to put theory into practice. “At uni, we experiment with lasers, but here, you really get to see how they can be commercialised and how someone might use them in the field.” She notes that defence and space are two industries that are “always at the forefront of what’s new”, and that the technologies they create tend to trickle down to the rest of society over time.

Namisha is making the most of her opportunity to work on the cutting edge of laser engineering and learn from senior colleagues who rank among the most experienced practitioners in her field. Outside of work, she enjoys bouldering, rock-climbing and kickboxing – the latter of which can be cathartic, she laughs, after a long day of grappling with complex engineering problems. If Namisha could give her younger, brick-breaking self any advice, it would be to “follow your gut” – and to remember that “it’ll all work out okay”.