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Dr Brian Napper

I have been in the Department of Computer Science since 1960, as Research Student, Research Assistant, Lecturer, Honorary Lecturer and Honorary Fellow. I was semi-retired for 5 years, and then in October 1997 eventually retired from all teaching/administration duties, in particular the major role I had played since 1972 in organisation/administration/marking of 3rd Year Projects (900 reports read over the years!).

However I planned to retain a small presence in the Department by coming in two or three mornings a week to help out my wife, Professor Hilary J. Kahn, in the organisation of the 50th Anniversary celebrations, in particular looking after the Web Pages, including those on the Mark 1 created by Joanne Allison, and the Virtual Museum pages created by Kulwinder Gill. Joanne and Kulwinder had both now left the department.

In practice I substantially revised and extended the Mark 1 pages and the sections of the Virtual Museum relating to the Mark 1, and combined them. And the work involved a lot of research into the history of the Mark 1 and early computer history in general. In addition I made a significant contribution to the CD-ROM, and spent time vetting a lot of the words written by other people about the history. I also wrote a paper to replace Tom Kilburn's scheduled talk at the Paderborn conference on the History of Computing in August 1998.

In the end I reckon I worked half-time (unpaid) in 1998, building up to full time the 2 months before the Celebrations.

Never mind. In 1999 I indeed cut down my attendance to about 2 mornings a week, and in fact now that I am well set up with facilities at home I rarely come in to the department. However, I am still actively maintaining the computer50 website, occasionally adding to it, and being involved in other activities related to preserving and explaining the early history of the department.

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