I studied at Bristol University and came out with a BSc in Physics (2.1) and an MSc in Computer Science (Distinction), and am now working as a trainee technologist for BBC R&D.

How I got there

I’ve always been fascinated by science and maths and particularly the areas where physics and philosophy overlap (quantum mechanics, general relativity etc.). I began studying a joint honours Physics and Philosophy degree but when I realised this meant I was studying the core modules of both rather than the interesting cross-subject electives such as quantum information and philosophy of physics, I decided to switch to straight physics so I could study these extra modules.

Before university my experience with computers was limited to a bit of word processing and waiting for little web games to load over our painfully slow internet connection. Perhaps fittingly, my interest was sparked out of anger and frustration with my university laptop. It kept doing crazy things for no apparent reason so I decided I would master it once and for all. After eventually discovering the hard drive was faulty, I fitted a new one and the problem was solved.

I felt smug and powerful.

I then began to delve into the world of web development, which pleased me as it combines design and technical skills. This lead to my undertaking a final year physics project which involved creating a front and backend web application to access data collected in the Fornax Galaxy Cluster Spectroscopic Survey, for which I muddled my way through JavaScript, PHP, MySQL and other webby technologies.

Somewhat masochistically I decided it would be fun to learn more about this programming stuff and enrolled on a one year MSc in Computer Science. Although I regularly felt out of my depth being plunged into learning C from scratch alongside a load of chaps who had been coding since they were knee-high to a grass hopper, I sponged everything up and finished feeling pretty skilful.

After taking an accidental gap year in which I did some work experience and went on a lot of holidays which I like to convince myself counts as ‘going travelling’, I started work at BBC R&D in September 2011 on the ‘trainee technologist’ graduate scheme. The scheme consists of three eight month projects with the aim of spanning the whole broadcast chain, before being permanently placed.

My first project involved developing a web application to allow users to search and browse for programmes by mood, and view the audio and video features of the programme as graphs. This was good as although I had done some web stuff before I learnt all sorts about servers, networks, proxies, web standards, and jQuery which I have fallen in love with. The application is now available to all BBC staff and so for those of you with BBC Redux accounts (only BBC staff I’m afraid) it can be accessed at mood.bbcredux.com. I have recently embarked on my second project which involves researching adaptive bit rate streaming and developing better-performing algorithms. I’ll let you know how it goes! Please have a look at the posts I’ve written on the BBC R&D blog for more info.

About the blog

The aim of this blog is to share my thoughts on techy subjects (although I reserve the right to post something slightly off piste every now and again) and maybe help convince people that being a tech geek and being a socially-functional, well-rounded individual are not mutually exclusive. Or so I hope, otherwise I could be massively deluded… and I would really like to play a part in getting more women involved with science, engineering and technology!

I will always try to link to my sources, or at least make it clear when I don’t have any. I welcome constructive criticism, but I’m new to this so please don’t be too harsh!

What else?

In other news, I am a keen dancer; I’ve been dancing salsa for years but my most recent infatuations are swing and tango. Tango is deliciously dramatic and swing is incredibly good fun – not least because I get to dress up all 50s and dance to rockabilly! I also have a penchant for classic rock of the 60s and 70s, and have recently discovered psychobilly – punk crossed with rockabilly – what’s not to love?! Oh and I have a bit of a weird thing for Celtic folk music. I also enjoy all the typically geeky things such as science fiction, Douglas Adams and xkcd. I have synesthesia which I’m pretty sure is a good thing, I have no idea how people remember dates if they’re not in colours.


If you would like to know anything else please get in contact at info@rosie-campbell.co.uk

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