Graduate Profile

Richard Moseley, PhD Physics, 1994

Richard is currently Director of the Electronic Systems Group at BAE Systems Detica in Guildford, Surrey.

A degree in Physics seemed a natural choice for me as I have always been interested in how things work and was blessed with good Maths grades. I was the stereotype boy who took things apart and then couldn’t get them back together again, that is when I wasn’t spending time writing programmes for my state-of-the-art BBC Model B computer with its generous 32Kbytes of RAM. Initially, I studied for my BSc in Physics at Strathclyde University in Glasgow before making the move to St Andrews for a PhD under the supervision of Prof Malcolm Dunn and Dr Bruce Sinclair.

My PhD concerned the interaction of atoms in a vapour with laser light tuned to be resonant with energy level transitions. A number of non-linear optical effects such as sum-frequency mixing and electromagnetically-induced transparency can be observed in such systems. My work was a great mix of hands-on experimentation in the lab, theoretical analysis and computational modelling all combining to understand better the physics of the situation.

My first job was with Sharp Laboratories of Europe in Oxford in their Imaging Technology Group researching and designing autostereoscopic (glasses free) 3D LCD displays. For industry this offered a remarkably academic-like research environment except for the fact that we wrote up patents to capture our research rather publishing academic papers. My work led me to have to design and build demonstration systems that required me to specify optical systems, write control and display software, build accurate motion control systems and draw up mechanics to hold it all together. A bonus of my time at Sharp was the time I spent in Japan both on business trips and a short secondment with a Japanese development team.

After around 3 years I moved to Racal, now Thales, in Crawley as a software engineer working on digital signal processors for airborne radars. In this role I developed a stronger understanding of how large scale high technology developments are run. My Physics background was useful as I could act as a bridge between the developers and the scientists who specified the processing algorithms. During my time here I started to run teams and was then asked to manage a small customer project. I found working with the client and all the various aspects of the wider company enjoyable and was able to bring a technical appreciation of the whole system to managing the work.

After 7 years I moved, by now as an experienced technical project manager, to Detica. Here the projects were smaller in scale but much more rapid and we work much more closely with our customers. In my time here I have progressed from running a portfolio of projects to a business area and latterly the whole department, which has now grown to employ 250 very bright engineers. In this role I have the pleasure of seeing, and hopefully helping to facilitate, others designing and building a range of technologies for our clients. A broad technical appreciation is still critical for me to understand the work of the Group and talk to clients to help specify and sell solutions that will really help them. It’s a pleasure to be still involved with building new things and seeing the pride that comes from all the hard work that is needed to develop a novel solution to a difficult problem.

Like many of my fellow alumni, I have very fond memories of my time at St Andrews even if I did spend a fair amount of time in a blacked-out basement laser lab. St Andrews offered the chance to work in a world-class research team in place with a really strong student community and gain a qualification that has supported me well in my subsequent career.


First published BDS 9.12