I embarked on an experimental based PhD. in Chemical Physics in 1996, the full title of the work being: Quantum beat Spectroscopy of Transient Diatomics.
The fundamental properties of excited states of diatomic (two-atom) molecules was studied using a gaseous jet in a vacuum, a homogenous and stable magnetic field, and a high-powered laser. The gas jet and laser beam intersected perpendicular to each other, and the resulting fluorescence was detected using a photomultiplier and processed by computer.
Quantum beats are produced by the coherent interference of the wavefunctions between two split energy levels, where the splitting is less than the Heisenburg energy uncertainty of the laser. This is observed as an intensity oscillation in the fluorescence decay.
The molecules chosen for my work were those where energy levels were affected by magnetic fields and produced Zeeman beats. As the magnetic field is varied, the energy level separations change and the frequency of the beats changes accordingly and it is possible to determine various fundamental properties of the diatomic molecule studied.
Additional work was carried out to determine the effect of quenching on the quantum beats. This is the reduction of the lifetime of the excited state by the introduction of another gas into the vacuum chamber.
For approximately 15 years I have been interested in TV and radio – not just the shows, but the stories and histories behind them, and found an ideal opportunity to develop my skills as a researcher whilst doing something I enjoyed when I started at University in 1993. The web was a new phenomenon at the time, but provided additional resources the conventional books and journals available in a select few libraries.
By 1996 I had established a website covering radio comedy that included programme logs, potted biographies, and reviews of commercial releases. It was all basic stuff, but from the beginning it achieved a fairly wide audience and put me in touch with many other enthusiasts and collectors.
In the intervening years the site has gone from strength-to-strength and has lead to involvement in a number of projects including the digital restoration of comedy series, background research for a number of comedy related books, the national press, TV (Heroes of Comedy: Channel 4, Legends: Carlton, Comedy Connections: BBC) and Radio (Double Trouble: Radio 4 and numerous local radio spots).
In addition to this I have accumulated a large collection of TV and radio shows and related books, along with a nearly complete set of post-war Radio Times and a large collection of TV Times, and spend endless hours either watching, listening, or reading about TV and radio programmes.
I am currently working on a digitised set of Radio Times to aid my own research and continue to research TV and radio comedy and drama shows for inclusion on my website.