From an early age I've been enthused by spaceflight, perhaps it was just the era I grew up in, an interest flamed by watching Star Wars at an ideal age o led to my interest in Science at school, that and mainlining all manner of Open University programmes on Saturday mornings, amongst Sesame Street, and the Saturday Superstore.
Mesmorised by the rockets of Apollo I wanted to study rocket engines, but the UK wasn't the place for that, I switched to Physics with Space Science and Technology; rockets were involved but so were many other things. A project on Deep space VLBI satellites, and then my final year project being on how the solar wind tangles with the Earth's magnetic fields, and what would happen if you pointed a radar at this, Pc-5 Geomagnetic micropulations in the Earth's Ionosphere it would seem.
After rockets, and space comes lasers; you have seen Star Wars. I went North of the border, although I never got to wear a kilt. Lasers were another fascination of mine, in fact I wanted to know more about light, and there was plenty of that with lasers. The plan was that my dissertation would be on Holographic Optical Elements, imagine a picture of a lens which worked, of course this wasn't just for any old laser, but the rather huge Vulcan high power laser at the Rutherford Appleton laboratory. The HOE was to split light off to see the quality of the laser beam. It was all rather amazing, but pla and I designed a project to test circular polarisers for high power CO₂ lasers; allowing plate steel to be cut nicely.
Once I had gotten over my need to study Physics out of my system, and with a course in C, and another in C++ from Microtech I embarked on a career in software development. Starting in an embedded software company, then moving on to Lloyds Register of Shipping working on software to model the strengths and weaknesses in large ships as the ploughed through wild seas. Searchspace saw me working on checking for financial fraud, and then on to Reuters and their main data distribution network for finance information to the whole world, I worked as part of a team that tried to maanage the bulging pipeline of price updates, this was capped by working on an internal system to replace a mainframe, I needed to write something that could automate the mainframe and present it on a website, I learnt a lot about Finite State Machines from that.
A global recession later saw me with GlobalData, or Progressive Media as it was then. They had set up a webteam to convert print journals to websites, some were funded by adverts, others with more valuable knowledge were paid for, the first one we worked on on was Construction Intelligence Centre. Quite useful to find out what was going on with all the building sites that were dotted around London.