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Career


This is pretty brief. I will expand it sometime and add some more links and photos.

I did my PhD at University College London, under Alec Boksenberg. Alec, John Fordham and I formed the nucleus of Boksenberg's 'Flying circus', which took the Alec's Image Photon Counting System (the IPCS) around the world. This was a wonderful time, as we travelled the world counting photons, talking the IPCS to the Palomar 200", the Kitt Peak 4m, the AAT, the ESO 3.6m at La Silla, and the RGO's INT when it was still at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex.

In 1982 I tired of the British climate and went to work at Caltech. Here my brief was basically to write useful software for Palomar, and what I wrote was the Figaro data reduction system.

In 1984 I was offered a job at the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO), and have, amazingly, been there ever since. I was involved in writing control software for most of the AAO's instruments, and Tony Farrell and Jeremy Bailey and I developed the DRAMA data acquisition environment.

I've worked in both data acquisition and data reduction software, and have taken an increasing interest in the way software is developed, and in communication in the astronomical software field. I wrote the article on Software in Astronomy for the Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and this led to a number of other publications on what can be termed 'astrosociology'. Recently, I was involved in the replacement of the AAT's telescope control system (TCS), and as a result have become interested in the issue of hardware simulation for software development.