I work as a mathematics teacher in a small vocational college
in the United Kingdom. I did a bit of astrophysics as part of my
Physics degree, and I did a course in basic orbital mechanics,
and a course in numerical analysis.
Needing to earn a living, I forgot all about things celestial
(apart from the odd New Scientist article) until the recent
interest in the comet Hale-Bopp. I found an ephemeris for Hale
Bopp on the 'net (at the British Astronomical Association page),
which listed the right acension and declination of this
particular dirty snowball for each day. The BAA use B1950
coordinates as this fits in with their magnitude reference star
I then dug out my old copy of Practical astronomy with your
pocket calculator and worked out the altitude and azimuth
of the comet, and went out and bought a pair of 7 by 35
binoculars. I got up at 05:00 one February morning and found the
little smudge with the aid of a magnetic compass. I really must
learn the constellatons.
I am old enough to
- remember Lost in Space the first time round,
- have watched the first episode of Dr Who,
- remember thinking that the Jodrall Bank Mk1 Dish was pretty
- have typed BASIC line by line into a teletypewriter and waited a
few seconds for the mainframe 10 miles away to respond,
- seen modems in 19" racks with phone dials on the front panel,
- seen a microcomputer called the Altair on the front
cover of Practical Electronics, and thought 'that will never
- have used someone else's Apple II with 16K of RAM and a 5.25" disc drive, and
thought the £2,000 price was reasonable,
- have used the TeX mathematical typesetting system on a
timeshare minicomputer network
- know how to do algebra and mental arithmetic,
- have fellen asleep when a Man took a small Step (Dad stayed up to
see, Grandad thought it was wonderful, Mum thought it cost a lot),
- written programs in Fortran IV with a card punch,
- have used Lynx before there was anything else.
However, I have (somehow) managed to avoid becoming a multi-
millionaire at the head of a large software company.
These are a few other Web pages in the space given by my Internet
- My home page
- Mainly about Maths teaching
- My 7 by 35 page
- What can you see in the sky using 7 by 35 binoculars?
Just starting this one.
- A page
about the evening class I run
- I do an evening class on 'writing pages for the World Wide
Web' and this page provides some course details. The page is
Last Modified 4th May email@example.com