A Somewhat Brief Autobiography
I was born in the United Kingdom and became a U.S. citizen in 2018. As a teenager I worked delivering newspapers, cleaning rooms at a retirement home, and helping my father's company install data networks. After spending many years in my school's cadet force, I joined the British Territorial Army at the age of 16. I qualified as a private infantry soldier specializing in close target reconnaissance (quietly crawling through mud in the dark). I completed several Army Officer selection programs and was offered regimental sponsorship to attend the military academy at Sandhurst (I understand guns). However, despite being profoundly proud of my military grandfathers and great grandfathers, I decided to postpone officer training and attend university.
I selected my astronomy major based on a career survey given at my school and attended The University of Hertfordshire 30 miles north of central London. I had always been deeply interested in astronomy and having the army as a clear post-graduation career path meant I had nothing to lose by indulging that interest. As part of my degree I spent a year as a telescope operator in the Canary Islands, which solidified my passion for the subject and gave me a deep connection with the beauty and fragility of our home planet and our place in this universe.
The university learning environment suited me very well, and I completed my undergraduate degree with a near perfect grade point average. Two weeks before committing to officer training, I was offered a Ph.D. position in astrophysics and realized I could have a career path finding out how this universe works.
Like many people, I like to build things. Sometimes I rebuild things after purposefully taking them apart, and I've been doing that since a kid with Lego, model trains and 'planes, Space Marines, and cars. I like finding out how things work. Experience is how I prefer to learn. I am always drawn to technical things, I really like to plan carefully, and science fiction is my favorite genre.
Moving to the U.S.
In 2004, there were many more career opportunities for me in the U.S. than in the U.K., and I followed my Ph.D. advisor to upstate New York, where he to led the Physics Department at Rochester Institute of Technology. I spent six years in Rochester, where I won several opportunities to use the Hubble Space Telescope, played quite a bit of rugby, made life-long friends, and met my wife.
My wife and I moved to the Sunshine State in 2010 for a faculty position at Florida Institute of Technology. Capitalizing on the benefits of the Space Coast, I've been able to take my research in directions I never thought possible. Through a bit of good fortune some of that research was launched by SpaceX to the International Space Station.
Florida is always exciting—the space activities, the weather, the politics. I'm professionally keyed into the space activities, my family and I are prepared as best we can for the weather, and the politics are something I hope I can help with.
At the end of the day I think I can sit down and respectfully chat with anyone. I will listen, learn, and ask questions when necessary. I think we all share common ground. We can all agree children need special protection and attention, that everyone deserves a chance at happiness, and that we shouldn't make our planet uninhabitable.