EducationDalton County JS [1972-76]. Almondbury HS [1976-81]. Huddersfield New College [1981-83]. Sheffield Hallam University [1983-87]
Qualifications8 O levels, 3 A levels, B.SC [Hons] Applied Chemsitry
Work HistoryOxford Organic Chemicals, Mitchell-Cotts Chemicals, Ascot Chemicals, Dow chemical UK Lts, Dr Reddy EU Ltd,
Current JobManufacturing Chemist Technology Advancement Team
Dr Reddys EU ltd
Favourite thing to do in my job: I work with chemicals in bulk as part of my job making key intermediates for drugs that are used in a wide ranger of therapies, from treating eye disease to pain relief. When I am not at work I enjoy observing the Sun [safely!] and the constellations of the night sky
About Me: Been there, seen and photographed it – sometimes bought a T-shirt
I enjoy working with chemicals to manufacture the starting materials for very complex drugs. Not only does this involve me handling chemicals but I drive a fork lift truck and I am a St John First Aider.
I began in stargazing some 20+ years ago and this has taken me on some wonderful holidays all over the world to see 3 total solar eclipses [so far with one more in the pipeline], The Aurora Borealis – from Iceland and the UK twice, The transit of Venus [twice] and of Mercury [once].
I enjoy going to places where I can stargaze free from light pollution but also countries and places in the UK that have interesting natural beauty, special animals and/or the Wonders of the World – natural, technological and man-made; such as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Mauna Kea
My Work: Manufacturing advanced intermediates for specialist drugs
I have worked on the same site for 25 years with 4 different employers.
My work involves the handling of challenging chemicals in bulk and ensuring that they are mixed in the right quantities and in the right way to get the desired product.
I sometimes work shifts and I work with a wide range of other functions on the site where I work.
In 2008 I had an article about the Chinese 2008 Total Solar Eclipse published in the work’s magazine and this led to an invite to Hyderabad in India to meet a group of amateur astronomers. This led me to do a very special vacation to visit the Taj Mahal and much more.
My Typical Day: Interesting, challenging, varied, teamwork
My day starts with checking out any emails from my boss about the tasks for the day. This is followed by a Team briefing to plan what needs to be done, in what order and if there are any special activities that need to be planned in on behalf of other people.
Then its in the manufacturing areas to order materials and check the availabilities of supplies and consumables.
We are then given an operating manual that details the steps to be taken to do the work for the day. Each step of the manual needs to be read through so we know what the manufacturing activity is and where we have to get do during my shift.
Then its on with the process which involves charging and discharging materials, taking readings, taking samples for testing, monitoring progress to make sure that we stick to the operating parameters that are defined in the operating manual – otherwise that could compromise our safety and adversely affect the quality of the product.
What I'd do with the prize money: I will use the money to buy some new props for my work with Schools
I have been a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry since I joined while at University – in 1988.
Since then I have held various categories of membership – currently I am a MRSC.
Over the past 20+ years of membership I have attended quite a few presentations organised by the RSC [nothing to do with Shakespeare!] which were given by high-raking University of Professors.
My favourite was Fun and Games with Liquid Air – just Google it!
I started doing events with Schools many years ago when I signed up for a Mentoring activity – organised by my local Education Authority. This involved me linking up with a schoolchild who needed some guidance about how to get on in school and find a summer job. I did this for 3 years.
From this I was ‘head-hunted’ by a School in Wakefield to do an evening class with the School-kids – as part of a National Science and Engineering Week activity.
I joined up with a NSEW scheme along similar lines and I visited more than 6 schools across Yorkshire – to give talks about stargazing and ‘The Universe’, including demonstrating how telescopes work and doing some ‘pop-bottle rockets’.
I did get an invite back to one school three times and when the science teacher moved schools they invited me to the new school too [twice].
I have also done more than 20 events with Schools including activities organised by and through my local amateur Astronomy Society – of which I am President. In total I have probably some over 100 evenings – in more than 10 years – with locals schools visiting the Observatory that I help to run as a volunteer.
I would use the money to buy some more meteorites to show school kids what they are really like and also some pop-bottle rocket launching kits to give to the schools as well as Planispheres to help them navigate the night sky.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Quiet, Thoughtful, Adventurous
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Sir John Harvey Jones
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes – once – when I faced up to a bully
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Carl Maria von Webber [18th Century Classical composer!]
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Shotover River Jet Boat – also include most scary!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Build my own Observatory in a Dark Skies Location, See an active Volcano at fairly close quarters, Help to cure Cancer
Tell us a joke.
How many Hippos does it take to change a 13-amp plug. None – they are not trained to do that job