Graduated from Churchill College, Cambridge 1991. I wasn't very inspired by my degree, didn't get a good result, and so couldn't get any funding to do post-graduate research. As a result I had to get a job.
Employed as a transport planner for London Transport, 1992-1997. Employed as a housing researcher for National Housing Federation 1998-1999. It was an interesting experience doing research for social and government policy and to see at first hand the data gathering and model building that lay behind the decisions on how to spend billions of dollars of money.
Masters degree at Birkbeck College, London, 1993-1995. Nuclear and Particle Physics. PhD at Birkbeck College, London, 1996-2002. Theoretical physics. This was done part-time, funded by the jobs I did. When I applied to do the MSc, it was soon after announced that this would be the last MSc course offered by the physics department. One year into the PhD, it was announced the physics department would be shut down as it wasn't making a profit.
During my PhD I was surprised to realise that the transport demand modelling I had done for London Transport was more relevant to the areas of statistical mechanics I was studying than the thermodynamics I learned at university.
Post-doc in High Energy Physics at Bristol University. 2002-2004. Post-doc in High Energy Physics at Imperial College London, 2004-2005. Working on the Grid computing project for the LHC experiment. Seeing a big science project like the LHC from the inside made an interesting contrast to the experinces I had seen of funding for areas such as foundations of physics.