About me

Ben smiling at tool library cropped 500 px highI’m a vision scientist by training but now make my living teaching Product Design Engineering at Glasgow School of Art, and gentle maths and stats for the Open University. I also do freelance work in informal science communication, and arrange efficient networking events.

I love designing and making things and also enjoy writing computer programs. I like to use these skills to make things that give insights into science or exploit the aesthetic potential of science and maths. Some of the things that I’ve made have been exhibited as artworks.

I work as a volunteer for the wonderful Edinburgh Tool Library.

A brief synopsis of my education and employment so far: I did a degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, doing physics for a couple of years but ending up studying psychology, particularly perception. I then did a PhD in vision science, and worked as an academic at Keele and Stirling universities. Tiring of this, I handed in my notice and in 1998/99 did an MSc in Energy Systems and the Environment at Strathclyde.

I was then sidetracked by the opportunity of working on the original exhibition development team at Glasgow Science Centre. When we opened, I was part of the team of staff scientists that ran the interactive galleries and that developed and ran science activities for the visitors. Finally I was Senior Science Adviser, still involved in development, and also responsible for the scientific accuracy of all the material in the science centre. After nearly 5 years, I was made redundant. Since then I have worked freelance in informal science communication, alongside the teaching jobs that I mentioned at the top.

Here are some of the things that I’ve done as a freelancer:

  • Science exhibition research and development
  • Science demonstration development such as this lilac chaser and other building projects
  • Exhibition text writing (and writing in general)
  • Science talks: I have a demo-rich talk on the science of colour vision, originally funded by the Colour Group (GB). I can adapt this talk for anyone from low secondary to adults.
  • Science workshops for schools
  • Arranging efficient networking events based on variants of Kirkman’s Schoolgirl Problem

Clients have included Glasgow Science Centre, @-Bristol, Hüttinger Exhibition Engineering, Phaeno Science Centre (Germany), Northern Light (Netherlands), Science Festivals at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Grantham, and Dumfries and Galloway, Camera Obscura (Edinburgh), The Royal Institution, British Interactive Group, Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, The Colour Group, Campbell and Co., Historic Scotland, Stirling University, Science Made Simple, the Open University, SETPOINT Scotland, Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, RSNO, National Museums of Scotland, Glasgow City Council.

I served for a few years on the committee of BIG (formerly the British Interactive Group).

I live in Edinburgh, UK.