Alan Richmond

Alan Richmond’s CV

Word version.

Computing & Science Educator with emphasis on Python 3, Linux & Open Source Software, web development with WordPress, & Computer Science. Formerly group leader @ NASA & ESRF, & scientific systems programmer @ Hubble Space Telescope, NASA, ESA, ESO, ESRF, JET, using Perl, C/C++, Fortran etc. Positions held include:

  • Founder & CTO of Curious Minds Science Shop (online retail)
  • Teacher of GCE Science & A-level Computer Science (London)
  • Head of Data Acquisition @ ESRF (X-ray synchrotron in Grenoble)
  • Founder & Managing Editor of WDVL, sold to (Charlottesville VA)
  • Senior Software Engineer for Hubble Space Telescope (Munich & Baltimore MD)
  • Software Engineer @ JET (fusion tokamak in Culham, UK) & Max Planck IPP (Munich)
  • Principal Systems Engineer @ NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Washington DC)

Qualifications: Bachelors degrees in Physics & Mathematics (London & Open University) and a Science PGCE from Goldsmith’s College London. Member of the British Computer Society. Languages: French & German. Programming languages: Fortran, Basic, C/C++, Perl, Python. Some PHP, JavaScript. Operating Systems: Unix, Linux, Windows, etc. Author of (WordPress), & several papers/book chapters on software (OOP, OOD) & web development (SQL, XML, HTML, CSS). Technical Editor of 2 books (web development & databases). Lectured on software & web development at conferences. Founded 4 companies, sold 2.


Open University Goldsmith’s College, London King’s College, London
Dec 1975 – Dec 1978

BA  Maths & Physics   2.1  Hons

Sep 1973 – Jul 1974

PGCE  Science  

Oct 1969 – Jun 1972

BSc  Physics & Maths 3rd Hons


Employment History

Role: Founder and Technical Manager of Curious Minds
Employer Self Location Herefordshire, UK Dates 8.2004 – 5.2013
Description Created Curious Minds. Located suppliers. Developed and maintained website using osCommerce and OpenCart. Selected, priced, and added new products to website. Created graphics, took product photos as necessary. Advertising and promotion, esp. Google AdWords, design & create magazine ads. Developed new products, e.g. Rainbow Spectrum Kit. Technical support for customers. Built & maintained PCs (Ubuntu/Mint Linuxes). Warehouse operations.

Role: Managing Editor of EncycloZine
Employer Self Location Charlottesville, VA Dates 3.1999 – 9.2010
Description Editor and webmaster. Development of EncycloZine – a concise illustrated encyclopedia comprising 3 subsites: Artzia (arts, history, and humanities), Eluzions (games, illusions, and puzzles), and Kosmoi (then science, nature, & technology, now photograph album). Wrote and commissioned articles on educational topics. Developed maintenance utilities, style sheets, and other web support. Integrated XML feeds.

Role: Managing Editor of Web Developer’s Virtual Library
Employer Location Charlottesville, VA Dates 3.1998 – 3.1999
Description Operated – one of the web’s most popular web developer sites; articles and links ( Wrote and commissioned articles on web development. Coordinated remote staff and authors from home office. Liaised with head office in Westport, CT. Grew site’s monthly page views from 1 to 3 million, resulting in much-increased advertising revenue.

Role: Web Consultant, Editor and Webmaster
Employer Self Location Lanham, Washington DC Dates 2.1995 – 2.1998
Description Designed and built web sites for clients. Founded Web Developer’s Virtual Library ( Wrote and commissioned articles on web development. Developed content, maintenance utilities, style sheets, and other web support. Presented advanced HTML & CGI tutorials at many conferences, including two tutorials in theInternational World Wide Web Conferences series. Sold WDVL to Mecklermedia (now

Role: Principal Systems Engineer at HEASARC
Employer Hughes/STX (Raytheon) Location NASA/GSFC, Washington DC Dates 3.1993 – 8.1995
Description Research and development of heterogeneous analysis and data base environments to provide generic software tools for astronomers, esp. an interactive web site to query astronomical satellite data and deliver products (e.g. images). Group leader for 6 programmers. Monitored the technical performance of staff in the group; reviewed deliverables & enforced applicable standards & procedures; provided presentation of the group’s activity in the monthly review meetings; performed annual reviews & recommended salary actions.

Role: Head of Data Acquisition Group
Employer European Synchrotron Radiation Facility Location Grenoble, France Dates 11.1990 – 3.1993
Description Allocated and monitored tasks of 4 programmers. Developed GUIs for beamline experiments, attenuator, & slit control. Implemented software & documentation standards; developed documentation utilities & a standard ESRF style. Founded Software Practices Group & led the development of General Programming Standards. Wrote Software Development Manual. Introduced SPR (Software Problem Reporting) system. Developed an application framework to support GUI development.

Role: Senior Software Systems Engineer
Employer Space Telescope Science Institute Location Baltimore, USA Dates 8.1988 – 5.1990
Description Developed user interfaces for HST scientific operations. Enhanced the Proposal Entry Processor software, e.g. addition of Solar System Target List. This system is the astronomer’s primary interface for specifying proposed observations & ensuring that the proposals are syntactically correct & apparently feasible. Wrote HST Resource Usage Tool. Attended US National Conference on Software Reusability. Liaised with European colleagues.

Role: Senior Software Systems Engineer
Employer Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility Location Garching-bei-München, Germany Dates 7.1985 – 7.1988
Description Developed user interfaces for HST scientific operations. Designed and developed STARCAT to allow astronomers to browse the HST Archive and to request images stored on optical disks. Developed a user interface toolkit, Proteus, to support STARCAT & other applications worldwide. Led ESO working group on software standards, & the European Space Information System (ESIS) working group on User Interface Requirements. 1 yr overlap with below.

Role: JET Software Consultant
Employer Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics Location Garching-bei-München, Germany Dates 2.1983 – 7.1986
Description JET was the world’s largest magnetic confinement fusion experiment which aimed at confirming the scientific theory of fusion and the scientific feasibility of nuclear fusion for power generation. Designed and developed user interfaces and control and data acquisition software for plasma diagnostics; installed and commissioned at JET. 1 yr overlap with above.

Role: Software Consultant
Employer: Tractebel Location Brussels, Belgium, and JET, Culham, UK Dates 4.1979 – 5.1983
Description Extended display management, database, & monitoring systems for Doel 3 nuclear power stations [FORTRAN on Gould SEL with RTM OS]. Transferred to JET, Culham, where I designed and developed real-time and interactive components of the control and data acquisition database system (CODAS).

Role: Demonstrator & Research Assistant
Employer Loughborough University Location Loughborough, UK Dates 3.1978 – 3.1979
Description Assist students and staff in the Department of Engineering Mathematics. Prepare a research topic.

Role: Scientific Analyst
Employer Wimpey Laboratories Location Hayes, MX, UK Dates 9.1975 – 2.1978
Description Supported users, specified requirements, designed, documented & programmed civil engineering applications. Constructed scientific laboratory database systems, e.g. off-line storage of test results for graphics plot. [FORTRAN on PDP 11’s with RSX/11M OS, & on ICL 1900’s with GEORGE 3 OS].

Role: Science Teacher
Employer London Borough of Merton Location Rutlish High School, Wimbledon, UK Dates 9.1974 – 8.1975
Description Taught GCE Physics and Chemistry and A-level Computer Science (CS). I was wholly responsible for the CS, a new course at the school (back in the days of punched cards and paper tape!)