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Peter Excell (BSc Engineering Science 1970)


36 years at Bradford University, rising from Experimental Officer to full Professor and Associate Dean, then moved to Glyndwr University (Wrexham) for eight years, rising to Deputy Vice Chancellor. On the teaching side I have a passion for extending the appeal of technology and making difficult stuff digestible. In research most of my work was in electromagnetic fields, with a special interesting focus on the effect of mobile phones on the human head, and on safety issues on North Sea oil rigs.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

Recommendation of several school colleagues.

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

Accessibility of London; surrounding countryside; nearby research institutes.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Make the most of the intellectual ferment that should be the focus of universities. Learn from people who are very different from yourself.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

Deputy Vice Chancellor at a new university in North Wales, but now intending to retire, at age 67.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

Recognise that higher education is now a major industry sector in its own right, but in it you have a duty to explore new ideas and think very deeply about possible scenarios for the future.

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

Open my eyes to the excitement of research and the flexibility that work in higher education provides.

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Read widely and think widely about the future, especially future scenarios for technology. Respect the past and learn from it, but don't expect the future to be like it.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

The University to me is the place that massively broadened my intellectual perspective, compared to my home upbringing (even though that was in London). My favourite memory is of research work in the "T.O.B."s ("Temporary Office Buildings" built in WW2 and still there I think): a wonderful community of people and grass outside every window.

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