- Why and when did you stop doing science?
I had always wanted to be an astronomer; but in the summer of 1988, between my second and third years at Cambridge, I was on the summer course for aspiring astronomy students at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, which was still just about in Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex. I spent some time attending lectures; I spent some time with the telescopes; and I spent a lot of time in the library, reading the history of astronomy. And I realised that when it came down to it I was more interested in people than in stars; so I went and did a masters and then a doctorate in history of science. (At that point politics was a hobby rather than a career.)
- What under-rated book would you recommend to me?
Ali and Nino by Kurban Said, the great romantic novel of the South Caucasus during the first world war. (It's also quite short so not such an investment of time.)
- What's your greatest fear on an everyday basis? Not huge fears, like death or financial insecurities, but small ones, like deadlines.
Yeah, deadlines - you got it! I hate being late for anything, and yet often seem to be struggling against the clock/calendar, or waiting around in frustration for other people to get ready.
- Which historical period do you think you belong to or would you love to live in?
The 12th century. My Master's thesis turned out, by great good fortune, to deal with it. But I was already interested - this was when the Normans invaded Ireland, thus locking the Anglo-Irish relationship into one of military domination for centuries; when we have the fascinating Eleanor of Aquitaine, quite my favourite historical character; when the Crusaders lose Jerusalem; when the Glastonbury monks "discover" the tomb of King Arthur, and Thomas à Becket is murdered in Canterbury; and looking further east, this is the century that starts with Omar Khayyám and ends with Genghis Khan. What more could you ask for?
- What's one thing that you wish you were better at?
Keeping to deadlinesGetting exercise.
- First and foremost: How did you find this entry? ;)
I followed a link from deannawol , I think!
- Have you ever worked in Foreign Affairs, and if so, when?
If you mean the Irish, or indeed any, foreign ministry, no I haven't. I am an activist, not an official. slovobooks ' description of me as an "international diplomat" was not completely accurate - though understandable as I do work in international diplomacy!
- Pick a number. ;)
Oooh, so difficult - there are so many of them! But despite the attractions of 31 (which is both 1+5+25 and 1+2+4+8+16) I admit to a sneaking affection for 37.
- Whose posts do you comment most on on LJ?
My own! But looking at my recent comments page, slovobooks is in second place counting the last few days only.
- Are you in any fandoms?
Doctor Who I reject this exclusivist approach to enjoying the genreDoctor Who.