Portsmouth Physicists Class of '81 Reunite
Portsmouth Physicists BSc (Hons) Applied Physics 1977-1981
Since 1981, we have nearly all kept in contact, but only met up on a very irregular basis. We managed a “10 years on” event in Portsmouth 1991, a 1997 meet-up meal in Brighton, and several smaller groups have had get-togethers over the years. We worked in many different areas and with increasing family commitments, these reunions became rarer. We tended to adopt electronic communication early on (no luddites here!), but even with this, organising a full reunion for 2016 took ages, and umpteen emails, and we still didn’t get everyone. It’s definitely been worthwhile though; some of us hadn’t met-up since 1981.
During the reunion weekend, we managed to meet up in Southsea and walk through to the University. On the way, we could spot many changes to the area. In the late 1970s, some of the buildings near the Guildhall were really run down and rather seedy, but not now. The University itself is so much bigger and the new buildings looked very impressive.
We eventually found Burnaby building and were greeted by a number of very helpful current staff, including Vicky Hodson, Danny Atkins and Janet Woodford. They had also arranged for some of the former Polytechnic Physics staff to be there. Doctor Tony Pointon and John Tomsen, the Physics Laboratory Manager, helped remind us of the old days, and there were displays featuring some of the equipment that we must have used all those years ago.
We had a very informative tour by Dr Edith Rogers who is now in charge of the Physics Research laboratories, and we were all impressed with the newer techniques and technologies available, but it was still nice to go back into Park Building. We even posed on the steps to re-create the team photo from 1981.
There was a lot to talk about and so we all had a great time in the evening including a huge meal in Southsea; and then on the Sunday morning, we behaved just like tourists – the harbour boat tour and then up the Spinnaker Tower - but this was a great way to see even more of the changes to the harbour area.
Overall, we all had a very pleasant experience, and everyone was grateful for the efforts of the University staff members who helped to put things together.
Richard Sparks - Now retired from working in Portsmouth (and nearby) with the Admiralty and meeting with Royalty.
Tom Solberg - Now working with the International Centre for Hydropower, in many interesting and hilly parts of the world.
David Rogers - Now retired from full-time school-teaching (having previously worked in seismic oil exploration), and using a camper-van to visit lots of interesting places.
Roger Melton - Now retired from forensic police, and leading healthful walks around Dorset and Hampshire.
Sotos Mandalos - Now working for Epson (having previously helped Samsung and Hewlett-Packard), and meeting many famous people.
Vince Keehan - Now retired from working far too many hours in IT, and instead concentrating on gardens and open-top sports cars.
Howard Honey - Now semi-retired, having worked on test engineering, thick film integrated circuits, autopilots for the marine industry and teaching in Cairo.
Patrick Foley - Now established as a Tai Chi and Qigong teacher in Wiltshire, having previously worked in areas such as retail and IT.
Don Cowan - Now working as an airline pilot with KLM and travelling over many exotic locations, having worked in seismic oil exploration.
Stacey Archbell - Attended via a video link, but works jolly hard as a Financial Advisor in Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch in California.
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