UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory
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Principal Analogue Electronics Engineer and Senior Lecturer

Name: Phil Thomas

Job title: Principal Analogue Electronics Engineer and Senior Lecturer

What education and qualifications do you have?

A-levels: Physics (A + merit in special paper), Pure Maths (A), Applied Maths (A), Further Maths (D). B.Sc. Honours 2.1 in Electronic Engineering, Southampton University 1970-73, C.Eng. (Chartered Engineer), M.I.E.E. (Member of Institution of Electrical Engineers)

Give an outline of your career so far

Having studied Physics and three mathematics subjects at A-level, in 1970 I was accepted onto the Electronics Engineering honours degree course at Southampton University.

After university I took a gap period, working with a Christian volunteer organization, where one of my responsibilities was to record and produce audiovisual materials. I then moved into industry, designing electronics for medical and defence systems. In 1981 I was recruited by Hewlett Packard (HP) in the UK (now Agilent), as technical sales consultant for HP test and measurement products to a wide range of clients in the consumer, avionics, defence and telecommunications business sectors. This exciting role introduced me to a vast range of electronics applications in engineering and science, and associated measurement techniques and problems.

Wishing to move into a training role, in 1988 I accepted a lectureship at Central Sussex College. This led to an opening into my present job at UCL when in 1989 I started as a specialist designer of detector systems suitable for satellite imaging and spectroscopy. I am now principal analogue design engineer in the department of Space and Climate Physics, and have teaching responsibilities related to satellite systems and technology.

Why did you choose this career path?

As a teenager I had a general interest in electronics, music and I was fascinated by most things relating to science and technology. Electronic engineering therefore seemed to be an interesting career path. I also considered studying for a medical degree.

What does your current work involve?

I provide an electronics engineering consultancy to principal investigators of scientific satellite missions and spacecraft prime contractors. I am responsible for the analysis of requirements, specification, design, procurement, manufacturing, testing, and commissioning of analogue electronic circuits and systems for scientific instrumentation on satellite missions in which UCL-MSSL has an interest in the exploitation of scientific data. I also provide consultancy across the department on all aspects of spacecraft technology and applications, plus the management of external contracts for the procurement of satellite system components.

In my teaching capacity I am responsible for the management, team leadership and teaching of designated courses within the Departments of Space & Climate Physics and Physics & Astronomy, and the supervision of undergraduate, MSc and PhD students, and performing teaching-related administrative activities.

Hobbies and interests outside work

Sailing - dinghies and yachting; music - guitar and leading a Christian worship band; mission and aid work in UK and overseas.

Phil testing the Solar-B camera electronics

Mullard Space Science Laboratory - Holmbury St. Mary - Dorking - Surrey - RH5 6NT - Telephone: +44 (0)1483 204100 - Copyright © 1999-2005 UCL

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