Good Luck James V, James P and Nuala ... gonna be a close call. I'm sorry to go but i've had a great time. Thanks to all involved in "I'm a Scientist"
Favourite Thing: My favourite thing to do in science is communicating new things to people, whether they’re school kids, school teachers, people in the the media or the general public.
I attended Lynburn Primary School from 1970 – 1976 before attending Woodmill High School in Dunfermline from 1976 – 1980.
8 O’levels (Maths, Arithmetic, English, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Economics and French) gained at High School. Gained an HNC in Engineering at Lauder Technical College whilst I was an apprentice at Rosyth Dockyard. I then joined the British Geological Survey where I got my BSc (in Physics, Geology and Maths) through studying with the Open University.
I started work as an apprentice mechanical engineer in HM Dockyard in Rosyth straight from school. I did a 5 year apprenticeship and a further 2 years as a qualified engineer. I left that career behind to pursue something a bit different and ended up getting a 3 month contract with the seismology department of the British Geological Survey. That was in September 1987 and I’m still here (so it’s been a long 3 months).
British Geological Survey
Me and my work
The analysis of earthquake data which has been captured by the many seismometers that we operate around the country.
Updating and maintaining the UK seismic database by determining earthquake parameters through the analysis of seismograms and to react promptly on the occurrence of any significant UK or world earthquake and relay this information to all interested parties. Assist in the running of the School Seismology Project (SSP). I also have a very busy phone line dealing with the many earthquake related enquiries we receive from the public, the media and other professional bodies.
My Typical Day
What I'd do with the money
I would use it to buy equipment to donate to my local school, to help them learn more about earthquakes.
I’m part of the School Seismology Project (SSP) where we have donated over 50 seismometers to schools in Scotland (many more throughout the UK). I’ve also trained 100’s of teachers, mainly from the Physics and Geography Departments, how to use the seismometers to detect earthquakes, both in the UK and worldwide, and how to analyse the results from the events they detect. Unfortunately these seismometers cost around £500 each and funding isn’t easy to get at the moment, so if I was to get the money from “i’m a scientist” i’d buy one for my local school and set up an earthquake club. I know there a lots of kids at the school who are interested in joining an earthquake club as they often tell me in the playground when I drop my own son off at school, and especially since I recently gave a talk on earthquakes to the school.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Organised, fun and easy-going and sporty. (I know that’s more than 3 but couinting was never one of my strong points)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
too many to mention and it changes often … at the moment i’m listening to The Stone Roses quite often in readiness for me going to see them at T in the Park. I’ve got a 7 year old who loves music so I’ve sometimes got no choice but to listen to LMFAO or Labyrinth (all day).
What is the most fun thing you've done?
too many to mention … playing with my 8yr old son is always fun … altho he beats me at most games/things now
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
to be a fantastic guitarist and footie player … to see my family and friends all happy … and I’d ban war and have everyone respect each other regardless
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to be play football but was told i was better at rugby for which i got 2 Scotland caps (at schoolboy level) … at the moment though anyone who can catch a ball could play for the current Scotland team.
Were you ever in trouble in at school?
Oh Yeah … often. (nothing too serious though … usually for too much chatting)
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
I worked in Montserrat for a few months back in 1996 when I was part of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory Seismic Team on the Island.
Tell us a joke.
What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh