Hello, this is my home page and my chance to show off to the millions of cyber surfers drawn to this B road cul-de-sac off the information super highway.
I live in Lisburn, a small town about 8 miles south of Belfast, Northern Ireland, which people keep trying to blow up to prove it belongs to them. I moved here from London in March 1996 and thoroughly enjoy it, the people are very friendly and it is slightly old fashioned which I like, especially compared to London, which people keep trying to blow up to prove it doesn't belong to them. Anyway enough of the politics, I am a mountain climbing, theoretical physicist who breeds pedigree hamsters, so read on (if you're really bored)..........
I am a licensed radio amateur, which means I can be boring to people all over the world, even using the medium of television if I and the rest of the world like. I hold the UK callsign GI0NQC and the US callsign AC6LJ, so if you hear me on the bands give me a shout or drop me a QSL card via the bureau or direct. I am a member of the Radio Society of Great Britain, I enjoy radio teletype (remember that) and Morse code when I get really desperate, as well as just talking to people. I have designed a set of graphical band plans, which fellow amateur radio operators might find useful.
Rock climbing and mountaineering
I enjoy rock climbing, and my most favourite climbs have been :-
|Me (or at least my bottom) on "Wrinkle", V
Diff, Carreg Wastad, Llanberis Pass, North Wales.
A warm(ish) summers evening, distant sounds drifting up from the valley in the still air. Rock climbing in the British tradition. The rock left as found. Then a pint (or two) with more than friends in the Vaynol Arms.
Hope this is not too pretentious, climbing is just brilliant.
I also enjoy mountaineering (at least when I've finished) and my most favourite routes are (so far):-
|Me on the "Cosmique Arete", PD+, Aguille du
Midi, Mont Blanc Massif.
It's 6.00am, the early mountain sun warms the rocks, the race is on to finish the snow pitches before they turn to unstable slush. Then the rock, granite, old and sound. The nervous edge of crampons on rock. Deep joy. (The constipated frog look is optional.)
Thanks to Sam Harris for the photo and critique of my climbing stance.
I am currently a member of the Queen's University Mountaineering Club
My climbing ambitions include "The Brenva Spur", Mont Blanc and on the rock climbing side anything chossy with large boulders that come off, anyone need a partner?
My latest mountaineering trip was to the French Alps. See what I got up to.
Thanks to all the people who have climbed with me, especially Sam "night vision" Harris.
Hamster breeding and showing
I breed and show pedigree hamsters (yes really) and with
my partner, Rachel Cooper, I run Radio
We are also the secretaries of South Of England Hamster Club One of my fascinations with hamsters is their genetics.
I also enjoy :-
What I do now
I am a research fellow at The Queen's University of Belfast and I am researching into the link between chaos theory and fractals, (hence the background to my photo looking like someone has been rather ill behind me). This is a bit of a tricky one as chaos theory is a bit of a misnomer. First it's not chaotic, at least in the normal use of the word, as chaotic systems have beautiful structures in them. Second it isn't a theory as although it is easy to recognise a chaotic system, if you plot the right graph, no one has yet defined chaos mathematically. The problem I am looking at is that whenever you have a chaotic system there is always some aspect of it which produces a fractal object. A fractal object is one which has a non-integer dimension, i.e. a line is 1 dimensional, a square 2 dimensional and a cube 3 dimensional. The Mandelbrot set is a fractal object and is approximately 1.7 dimensional. The problem is that there is no mathematical or physical link between chaos and fractals, except that when you have the one you get the other. I am investigating electrolysis cells, where a solution containing metal ions, like copper sulphate solution, has an electric current passed through it. This is done using two wires (electrodes) dipped into the solution. The metal ions are attracted to the negative electrode (the cathode), and are deposited on it. They produce patterns of metal which sometimes are fractal. If you measure the voltage across the cell you sometimes find it goes chaotic. Hence I am using this system to investigate the link between chaos and fractals. I am also using a theoretical system, the Logistic equation, which is chaotic if you plot a graph of it, and this graph is also fractal. Watch this space to see if I find anything interesting.
What I used to do
I used to work at The Royal Institution of Great Britain where I was researching into the strange (possibly chaotic, bit controversial that) behaviour of small numbers of atoms in little clumps with nothing else around, or as it can be expressed (to make me sound clever) mechanisms in mesoscopic atomic systems in vacuo. Cutting to the chase, it is a possibility that if you have a small number of atoms (between about 6 and 500) in a small clump and you heat it up, you get a new phase of matter, which is part liquid, part solid with a little flavour of gas added in for good measure. In this phase the atoms can swirl out from a liquid drop like little pearl necklaces and not escape in pairs or trios of atoms as is normally the case. This new phase doesn't have a name yet, I call it the loopy phase, so any name suggestions would be gratefully received, especially if accompanied by a large research grant to continue the study. One slight word of caution, as I mentioned before I am a theoretical physicist and all the work mentioned was done with pretend atoms, so more work needs to be done to make sure I was pretending right. There is some evidence that these loops do occur and that is that theoreticians, when they use pretend atoms that can't do loops get the boiling point of magnesium oxide to be a much higher temperature than it is really. The temperature that loops start happening with my pretend atoms is (surprise surprise) the same as the experimentally measured boiling point. Therefore perhaps the experimentalists are actually measuring the looping point, rather than the boiling point. This is quite possible as loops sometimes break off from the liquid, just like what happens when something boils. It is difficult to tell as real atoms are much harder to see than pretend atoms, especially when you get a nice Silicon Graphics computer to show them on. So any experimentalists out there, if you fancy looking at boiling mechanisms in ionic materials with a stoicheometric ratio of 1 you may find something strange. I love the Internet, you can say whatever you like without having it refereed. I think what I have said is correct but I probably haven't got enough evidence to get it all published, unfortunately the money ran out. If you are really keen you can read the book, well paper anyway :-
"Novel vaporisation mechanisms for NaF and CaF2
nano-crystallites in vacuo."
Dornford-Smith, A. and Grimes, R. W., Philosophical Magazine B., 1995, VOL. 72, No. 6 PP. 563-576.
If you want to contact me, hurl abuse etc., then please feel free to do so at the addresses and 'phone numbers below. You can email me at email@example.com .
4 Rusheyhill Road
Telephone (+44) 2892 648133
The Department of Pure and Applied Physics
Telephone (+44) 1232 273506
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