How long have you worked at the Uni? What does your role involve?
I started in January 2019. I've been here 13 going on 14 months. I work 0.7 fraction, so I'm here three long days in a week. The bulk of my work for MASH is providing statistical advice for researchers, final year projects, masters’ dissertations, PhDs, and some staff. I also give statistical advice at the lunchtime drop in for maths and statistics help every day during semesters, which is not restricted to researchers but also for people who want advice on statistics in their courses or coursework. We have appointments available for researchers who need a bit more than a few minutes at a drop-in.
What would you most like to achieve while at the University?
Well I really enjoy helping researchers and I'm happy when they're happy.
In the medium term it would be nice if there was an improved appreciation and understanding of statistics across all the subjects. That's a bit of a tall order. It might be pushing on into curriculum transformation territory, but I'd be happy to play a small part in that.
Name one thing that makes you feel proud to work at the University of Bath?
I think the University has an excellent reputation. It's nice to see that our research is influential and making changes in the world. I've seen the incredible breadth of all the research projects that are being done, and I really like helping with them. I'm proud that the research we're doing is practical and useful.
What piece of advice would you like to give to a student?
When I was a student I wasn't very good at taking my own advice. I got lazy in my second year. I think this generation of students in the 21st century are much more focused. Partly because of economic issues, university is now seen as part of your career development, whereas in my time it was seen as expanding your brain, so there was a completely different focus when I was a student.
I would advise students to expand their brain. I miss that attitude. You will not have another chance to learn lots of stuff outside your subject area. You will not have the opportunity to be in a big learning community again, so you need to expand, expand, expand.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A vet. I loved nature and animals and I was curious about how everything worked. I wanted to go to Africa. I still love pets and creatures. I'm fascinated by things like ‘how on earth do caterpillars become butterflies?’. The world has so much to perplex and intrigue us.
If you could start your own dream business, what would it be?
My wife and I joke about opening a nightclub called ‘Oldie Mouldies’. Nobody under 40 will be allowed in, and we would play retro music. It would probably lose money but we'd have great fun!
Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
Well I lived in Barbados for 15 years, so I know that's probably the best value in a holiday from a British point of view.
But we love camping in nature, and it's too hot in Barbados for that, so my favourite holiday destination would be when we were camping up near Whitby in Yorkshire. We were in the middle of a farmer's field with a tap and chemical toilet over in the corner, and that was brilliant.
What’s your favourite book or album and why?
I enjoy all sorts of books, and it's the same with music. We were just discussing ska music in the office, and Bob Marley. I love dance and disco too. Anything!
When are you happiest?
When Swindon win the football! I grew up in Swindon so it's a tribal thing. As a teenager you go to the football, and from then on it's in your blood.
Although I would say I was the happiest at family dinners. Everybody around the table; we’ve got three children and two grandsons. That is a really relaxing and happy time for me.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and why?
Einstein. He didn't have it easy. He spent many years as he got older trying to improve on his special relativity to become general relativity. He was also very wide ranging in his interests and likes.
Tell us your favourite joke
Oh, I'm useless at telling jokes. I have a typical British crude sense of humour, so the jokes I do know are not fit for the page. I prefer the Billy Connolly style of ‘real life is funnier than any joke’, and I can normally see the humour just in what's happening.