Nick Russell

About Me

Thanks for visiting my site. The name is a reference to the fact that it is hosted on my home PC, which I have set up and configured as an Apache/Fedora server. If I turn my computer off, it goes down. If the ISP reassigns the ip address, it goes down. Fortunately, this is not as common as I thought it would be and the ip remains stable on the timescale of months. If a static ip is required for work, my isp has that option; I just don't pay the premium at the moment.

I am physics PhD student at the University of Bristol, due to hand in my thesis (and thus finish the PhD programme) at the end of March. Much as I have enjoyed my time at university, both undergraduate and postgraduate, I feel like it's time for me to branch out from academia.

Coding has been a running theme through my degree—I often reach for a computational solution to problems and enjoy analysis, visualisation and presentation of data.

As well as my work and academic interests, I am a keen athlete. My sporting foundation was years of competitive swimming when I was younger, but more recently that has been taken over by climbing. I am now an experienced climber, enjoying all disciplines and taking trips across the UK, Europe and the US.

My Coding

Through the course of my university education I have always been attracted to the computational components of physics. Most of my coding has been in C++ and Python, but I have also used a wide range of other languages and tools including Java, Lisp and CUDA. This has given me an excellent foundation in not just procedural but object-orientated, functional and parallel programming paradigms.

Other important and transferable aspects of scientific computing that I have learnt include source control and collaboration with Git and SVN, markup in LaTeX and data analysis and visualisation. I am very comfortable working remotely via a terminal SSH connection and use Linux (Ubuntu or Fedora) as my primary operating system.

I already knew the basics of HTML, CSS and javascript when I took positions as Web Officer in the Cambridge University Swimming and Water Polo Club and the Avon Mountaineering Club. These positions gave me experience working with PHP and SQL on database-driven websites, as well as server administration. I have since set up my home PC as a web server to host this site. This process of configuring a server and writing a website from scratch, although at times frustrating, has been incredibly rewarding and I feel I've gained a deeper understanding of web development through that than through working on established sites.

My Climbing

Climbing became a large part of my life when I joined the Harvard Mountaineering Club in 2010. Thanks to the enthusiastic members and supportive environment of the club, I gained a lot of experience over the course of my first year, with trad, sport, bouldering and winter climbing days all over the US.

Since moving back to the UK, I have continued to develop my skills, and have now climbed up to E4 trad, f7c sport, V6 bouldering and grade V winter on home turf. I have enjoyed climbing trips to Lundy, Frankenjura and El Chorro, as well as returning to Rumney, NH last autumn, where 4 years previously I completed my first lead.

I feel like I am still developing as a climber, but also obtaining a wider range of mountaineering skills. Winter climbing in Scotland is a part of that, and I am also a competent skier, both downhill and touring.

As well as being a personal thing for me, I like to contribute to the climbing and mountaineering community. I have served on the committee of the Avon Mountaineering Club and organised trips for members. I run weekly coaching sessions for climbers in the University of Bristol Expeditions Society, and am always happy to provide advice to newer members.