Archive for July 1, 2012

Five Years On

Posted in Biographical with tags , , , , on July 1, 2012 by telescoper

So here we are then. July 1st 2012. Five years to the day since I started my job here in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University. Cardiff students reading this will probably be surprised that I haven’t been here for longer than that, because it no doubt seems to younger folks that the staff must have been here since the Boer War. In fact, though, I’ve only been here long enough to see one generation of MPhys students through from induction to graduation; the second such group will graduate in a couple of weeks.

There’s a wikipedia page listing all the important events of July 1st 2007 but owing to some form of administrative error my move to Cardiff isn’t listed there. I notice that July 1st 2007 was also a Sunday, incidentally.

Thinking back to 2007 all I can remember was that my departure from Nottingham appeared to precipitate a collapse in the world’s financial system, ushering in the Credit Crunch just when I put my house in Beeston on the market, with the result that it took me the best part of a year to sell it and buy one here in lovely Pontcanna. In the meantime I had to rent a flat in Cardiff in which I lived during the week and travel back and forth to and from Nottingham at weekends. Actually, the weather in the summer of 2007 wasn’t too different from that of 2012; heavy rain in June and July that year led to the Severn flooding, causing considerable problems for my weekly commute.

Coincident with being the fifth anniversary of my arrival here from Nottingham, today is also the day that I’m officially promoted to Deputy Head of School and Director of Learning and Teaching. Or is it Director of Teaching and Learning? Anyway, five years isn’t exactly a meteoric rise through the ranks but I’m still shocked to have been placed in a position of such responsibility. I fear that the Peter Principle may be doubly appropriate.

The reason I got landed in it was given this opportunity for career progression was the departure of Derek Ward-Thompson to a position of Director of the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute at the University of Central Lancashire (in the Midlands); there was a farewell party for Derek at the Poet’s Corner on Friday which I attended briefly before heading off to the concert I wrote about yesterday. After fourteen years in Cardiff, Derek will be missed around here and I wish him well in his new job.

Meanwhile, life goes on. The last five years have certainly had their ups and downs, both personal and professional, but I’ve definitely got no regrets about moving here. I wouldn’t have predicted in 2007 that I’d be able to gather such a wonderful group of PhD students (Jo, Geraint and Ian), for example, nor that I’d find Cardiff undergraduates such fun to teach, especially as project students.

Here’s to the next five years!

PS. I am tempted to joke that Derek’s move from Cardiff to UCLAN improves the quality of astronomical research at both institutions. But of course I wouldn’t dream of saying anything like that…