As a boy, Mark was fascinated by solenoids, chromatograms, meteorites and aerofoils. He read physics at the University of Oxford and then earnt a PhD in theoretical physics from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA. As his thesis topic, he modelled the atomic structure of metallic alloys known as quasicrystals.
After postdoctoral appointments at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen then (back) at Oxford, he worked for fourteen years at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington --mainly in areas supporting atomic frequency standards. Along the way, he learnt how to fix and make improvements to many different experimental gadgets including ultrasound spectrometers, cryogenic scanning-tunnelling electron microscopes, and high-finesse optical cavities for generating gamma rays (via Compton back-scattering) from high-energy particles.
Now at Imperial, Mark is engaged in the development of extremely low-noise microwave amplifiers based on organic paramagnetic materials for applications in space communication and medical diagnostics.
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