I am a communicator. I can explain complex ideas
effectively to audiences ranging from school-children to university
professors. I enjoy creating and presenting talks and seminars. I am also
at ease in more formal situations such as courtrooms and live interviews
which demand a considered yet immediate response as a professional scientist.
I am a problem solver. I work well in a team, contributing
insights and developing new ideas. I also enjoy the challenge of setting my
own goals, and I possess the self-motivation to reach those goals.
I am a scientist. I have professional experience in
mathematics, astronomy, computing
and genomics. I take a delight in learning about new developments in all
areas of science and technology. I bring the rigour and discipline of the
scientific method to all aspects of my work.
1974-1981: Upholland Grammar School (now known as Winstanley
1981-1984: University College London, B.Sc. (Honours)
Mathematics and Astronomy
1984-1987: University of Liverpool, Ph.D. in applied
mathematics, for research on satellite dynamics
2003-2006: The Open University, Postgraduate Diploma
in Computing for Commerce and Industry
1999-present: The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge
1996-1998: H.M. Nautical Almanac Office, Royal Greenwich Observatory
- Initiating and leading the development
of more robust and effective methods for managing large sets of genome
- Communicating new ideas to colleagues through seminars
and training courses.
- Solving data-management problems for members of the
- Installing and managing a set of
database servers for the assembly data management project.
- Analysing and improving the performance
of genome assembly software.
- Creating new software tools to visualise the progress
of pathogen genome assemblies.
1990-1996: Lecturer in the School of Mathematical Sciences,
Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London
- Communicating astronomical information to the general
public, government agencies, commercial organisations, specialists and
- Designing and creating graphical
representations of astronomical information, including a set of 160 star
charts for the publisher Dorling-Kindersley.
- Initiating and implementing projects
to improve the accessibility of the NAO's astronomical information and the
efficiency with which it is delivered.
- Innovating new computing strategies to make use of the
World Wide Web as a publishing medium.
- Researching and developing new
mathematical techniques to ensure the accuracy of the information which NAO
- Collaborating with colleagues from institutions in the
U.K. and the U.S. to maintain the standard and relevance of the NAO's
1987-1990: Computer Algebra Support Project, University of Liverpool
- Teaching mathematics, computing and astronomy.
- Innovating improved methods for teaching and assessment
of computing courses, moving away from the old-fashioned
"lectures and written exams" model.
- Successfully persuading two dozen academic
colleagues to write, check and mark graduate examination papers each year
during the summer vacation, a time when most of them would rather be doing
something more interesting.
- Organising training courses and conferences.
- Analysing and evaluating large sets of
data to determine satellite orbital parameters in support of NASA's
Cassini mission to Saturn.
- Innovating and improving strategies
to obtain new high-precision measurements of satellite positions.
- Evaluating and comparing software
- Advising clients on the choice of the best software for
- Developing new modules for existing software packages.
- Solving programming problems for clients across the U.K.
- Training colleagues and clients in the use of software.
- Communicating and reporting information
via seminars, newsletters, user guides and books.
I have thirty publications, including
two books and eighteen papers in leading peer-reviewed journals.
- Genealogy (I can trace my family through ten generations to Suffolk,
Northampton and the Yorkshire Dales in the late 17th century)
- Listening to classical music
- America and its history
- Keeping my cats amused with ping-pong balls and old shoelaces
- Islay malt whisky, especially Lagavulin, Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain
- Good food
- The history of the calendar
[David Harper: Technical Profile]
Copyright 1995-2008 by David Harper and Lynne Marie Stockman
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Last modified on 22 September 2008