After graduating with a PhD in physics from Sydney University in 1965, I took up a three-year post doctoral fellowship in Radio Astronomy at Cornell University. However, a nocturnal lifestyle was not to my liking, and I accepted a research fellowship in Plasma Physics with the UK Atomic Energy Authority. Its Culham laboratory was engaged in exploiting the fusion processes that power our sun as a future source of electricity generation. This was part of a global effort to provide long term energy security for the world’s burgeoning population, and it founded my lifetime career. Ten years later I was offered the position of senior fellow at the Australian National University Plasma Research Laboratory, where I continued my research into fusion from 1978 until retirement in 2002.
Over the past decade, there has been heated debate over global warming and the need for sustainable energy. What a wild ride this has been. I remember an important seminar warning of the global energy shortage, at which the Australian minister for energy and primary resources assured everyone, that there was no need for fusion or other exotic processes, as Australia could just throw another lump of coal on the fire! So, from my perspective as a research physicist in fusion energy, I will jot down in this blog some personal observations on global warming and the reality of providing sustainable energy.
A second lifelong passion was gymnastics, and although mediocre as a gymnast I enjoyed the physical training. Over the years, I co-founded the Sydney University, and Abingdon Old Jail Gymnastic Clubs (UK) and on my return to Australia the Canberra City Gymnastic Club which has produced many national medallists and two world championship competitors. In 1983, I founded the Australian National Club Championships which has become the largest gymnastic competition in Australia and in 1996 was awarded Australian coach of the year for the women’s national stream. For these contributions, I was presented with the Order of Australia Medal in 2009 for coaching and administration services to the sport of gymnastics.
The third passion was fine art photography of both gymnastics and travel. Cornell was my first trip abroad, and I travelled with my wife via Asia to visit as many places as possible. In Calcutta, we queued as standby passengers for the newly introduced Kathmandu flight. On the 3rd day, three seats became available for my wife and I and a ten year old Nepalese boy. There was no seat for the father who was told to try again in two days time. As we walked across the tarmac and onto to the waiting DC3, we were surprised to find the plane empty. “No, there are no other passengers”, the air hostess assured me, “this is a direct flight to Kathmandu, and you are the only ones”.
The father standing at the departure gate could also count to three. He became highly agitated running onto the tarmac, shouting to attract the pilot’s attention. He banged on the plane’s door and then ran to the front gesticulating wildly to the pilot and a phalanx of stunned armed Indian guards.
But to no avail, the pilot started the engines and taxied down the runway with the father running behind all the while banging the tailplane with his umbrella.
“What a strange world we live in” I thought to myself as the plane became airborne.
It was the beginning of a 50 year adventure that would take us to many strange and fascinating places.
During the early years the journey was as important as the destination, but over the decades travel became a chore. So nowadays to achieve the same level of wonderment requires an informed choice of destination and the know how to be at the right spot at the right time.
It is from this perspective that I have established this website, providing information and digital images on my favourite 100 destinations gathered from my own personal experience. These are special places and events that have produced amazing experiences and have what it takes to produce stunning photographic images.
I have been an avid sports and travel photographer since age 15 but have had no formal training except for some scattered private tuition, and a number of short courses dealing with specific topics. Many of my sport images have been published in local newspapers and in the British and Australian gymnastic magazines.I covered the Goodwill Games in Brisbane for the International Gymnast magazine, and was the photographer at seven world championships for the Australian and Russian Gymnastic Federations.
On the other hand I have published few of my travel images reserving the top 250 photographs for a travel pictorial coffee table book proto-titled MOMENTS, which is now complete in manuscript form, and for which I am seeking an agent.
This book provides the visual imagery and short descriptions of how it feels to be there, while the website provides readers with the factual background and illustrated travel information on the 100 top destinations.