Certainty @BucksburnAcad (tech to lect)
(A presentation to parents & S1-S3 pupils reviewing STEM opportunities)
“One of the benefits with getting older is certainty about being right. I remember dithering on doing Math at Uni (not a practical person) for a long while at school. And yet it was just 6 years later towards the end of my PhD, partially on LB Films shown above, that I got sent to speak to a big man (Cyril Hilsum). As I walked looking down the stairs I decided (literally out of the blue) I wanted to be an integrated circuit designer in Silicon Valley California, ending up at Xerox PARC.
Here is a Dick Lyon’s famous Optical mouse chip showing red crossing green is a transistor (this is Digital).
After a few years I came back to the UK & THORN EMI, the Samsung of its day, as a manager, which suited my style to convince short term people that such was the future. Let me give an outline of a three problems, to do with certainty and pioneering Technology:
YOU CAN BE CERTAIN BUT (the hardware isn’t)
I had had a part helping sort out why, when transferred from Research to Manufacturing the above chip did not work. And
There is loads of technology in lighting. Electronic ballasts for high & low pressure discharge lights; the former problematic sometimes. You can know where you are going but sometimes the physics can thwart you (cf Samsung & batteries).
YOU CAN BE CERTAIN BUT (the management isn’t)
After some time the wheels came off THORN Lighting & I moved up to Abdn University researching & lecturing. I decided a change of focus and investigated sign language & gesture recognition: I was too early, some folks had a go ten years later & they could not make a success of it either.
YOU CAN BE CERTAIN BUT (the customer isn’t)
Anyway left the University for an Internet startup (Aberdeen’s first ISP reseller) but no one understood what the internet was so I moved onto teaching at the IT Centre of Aberdeen College for 15 years … many promotions, much reward; fiscally not so.
(I topped and tailed the presentation with quotes from Jack Canfield — unsure if they struck a chord though)