TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine is constantly gathering the greatest scientific minds from around the world to interview so that all our student readers can learn from them. We are very happy to present Professor David Britton from the University of Glasgow, Scotland to readership. In case that you weren’t aware of the fact, our publisher’s father, and eight generations before him, were born in that fair city.
David, we are very proud to have you interview with us. Please tell our readers about your early education and how it prepared you for your future.
DB- My father was a physicist (PhD from Oxford and then worked with Marconi) who became a teacher after he was badly injured in a car crash and spent a long time rehabilitating. Neither of my siblings showed inclinations to follow in his footsteps but it must have been a good part of the reason why I took physics at university. During the last year of my undergrad degree, I was vaguely wondering what to do next when I saw a poster for the University of Victoria in British Columbia. It was a spectacular aerial view with the university in the foreground, surrounded by forest, and then the eye was led across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the snowcapped Olympic Mountains in the background. On the spur-of-the-moment I applied and, to my astonishment, I was offered a funded place in graduate school there. I was hooked! At UVic I did an MSc in Nuclear Physics (a measurement of pionic atoms) and then a PhD in particle physics (looking at rare decays of the pion) at the TRIUMF facility located in Vancouver. However, there was one other key part of my early education that has had a big influence: I loved writing, though my spelling and handwriting were so awful that the teachers did not always reciprocate my enthusiasm! These days, I tell my students that their ideas are only as good as their ability to present them, and that writing and presentation skills are essential. I know it has been one of the things that has helped my career. (more…)