Thursday, 8 October 2009

Summer Glau

I showed Şencan this link on the BBC website. I thought that it may be of interest to her; a radio-nuclear power source that may be small enough to be used to power MEMS and NEMS devices. We are both fairly fascinated by MEMS (Şencan as she works in RFIC (*) design, myself because I'm fascinated by cool tech), so I thought that this would be of interest.

Her reaction:
"That's it! Terminator! Yummm, Summer Glau."

Sometimes my wife scares me. No, scratch that. She frequently scares me.

(*) Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuits. Basically analogue silicon chips that are used for various radio functionality. RFIC chips will be in virtually anything modern that needs to use radio signals in digital chips; radios, TV tuners, mobile phones, sat-nav's etc. When I went to QMW 18 years ago, I used to hang around the VLSI design lab marvelling at the brains of the people who designed digital chips. Frankly, to design a digital chip you need a brain the size of a planet. Then I met a few analogue chip designers. If digital chip designers do braniac-boffin stuff, then analogue chip designers are high priests and priestesses (***) who invoke weird black magic (**) - and sometimes the magic black smoke.

(**) Seriously. Digital, in theory, is simple. Imagine a switch; it can go on and off. Put in a few logic gates, OR, AND, NAND, NOT, etc, and you can design a circuit. There are complexities, but you could easily teach an interested ten-year old the basics. Analogue is different. Analogue varies, interferes and generally screws with your mind. Which is good, because a screwed-up mind is perhaps the main reason why Şencan asked me to marry her.

(***) We were lucky enough to have some of the top RFIC designers in the country at our wedding. For a horrid moment, whilst the photographs were being taken, I was worried that they were scheming out some new chip. Fortunately they were just trying to calculate the draught of the ship. If HMS Warrior had sunk that night, then radio design in this country old never have been the same again.

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