Category: Uncategorized

24th July 2014

Several sigmas from the mean

Filed under: Uncategorized - 24 Jul 2014

I was asked by the ‘development’ (ie fundraising) staff at my old college to write something about my unusual career for their alumni blog. I’m guessing the request was made because I’m such an outlier from the bulk of their …

8th April 2014

Le Mans

Filed under: Uncategorized - 08 Apr 2014

I don’t know why I love this film so much. It’s essentially a documentary
– but without any more information than can be gleaned from the
advertising hoardings flashing past at 225 mph (kph hadn’t even been
invented then). Dunlop, Ferodo, Castrol, Firestone, …

9th November 2013

Creativity in research

Filed under: Uncategorized - 09 Nov 2013

This is a note sent to several UK research funding bodies in connection with my concerns that we are now just going through the motions , rather than driving really breathtaking research. I’ve seen this described recently as the difference …

6th October 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized - 06 Oct 2012

I was brought up in a  culture where individuals felt honour-bound to point out other people’s errors, character flaws and factual shortcomings. Diplomacy was considered sinful; a form of deception. This brutal honesty has never made my life straightforward, nor …

29th July 2012

Desire engineering

Filed under: Uncategorized - 29 Jul 2012

Design is about making the Future fit better -for everyone.

I particularly love it because Design offers a real-world superpower: to make products and processes which really work (both aesthetically and functionally) so that they become desired, not just utilitarian.

As a …

3rd July 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized - 03 Jul 2012

Lorna was the least selfish person I ever met. She was hardworking and stoic.  Although she certainly deserved much better treatment, Mum’s approach was to ‘make the best of a bad job’.

She could be stubborn and strict but she was …

Development and alumni

Filed under: Uncategorized - 03 Jul 2012

Governments of every political persuasion in the UK (ie both sides of the class war) are cutting back on funding for institutions such as Schools and Universities. These organisations are now looking across the Atlantic for an example of how …

8th November 2011

STEM selling

Filed under: Uncategorized - 08 Nov 2011

Many important people call for things in the press. I’d like now to call for our young people to take part in science, engineering, technology, maths and design for the good of the national economy and to help solve our …

15th February 2011

HMP Slade

Filed under: Uncategorized - 15 Feb 2011

The transit stops on a Northern moor
A frown in a peaked-cap slams the door

‘Scrote’,  ‘Screw’, ‘Snout’ and ‘Stretch’
He’ll show you the ropes, will our Fletch

Horseblanket uniforms, soupy grey
Crossing off sentences, day upon day.

In the …

26th January 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized - 26 Jan 2011

(With apologies to Len Deighton, this is my attempt at a humorous, poetic tribute to Harry Palmer, cold war hero of The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin)

Insubordinate Sergeant Palmer ,…

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