Neil Papworth sent the first ever text message in 1991 when working as a technician. The message red “Merry Christmas”.
There are similarities between the roles of technicians across all fields from the arts and theatre to engineering and science. So, it should be possible to create one definition to cover all technicians. This piece is the hunt for that definition – it is also still a work in progress.
Gladys Owens was just 19 years of age when she arrived to work in the town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It was 1945 and she was to spend 8 months working there as a technician on the Manhattan Project. Gladys would become one of the “Calutron Girls” whose role, though none of them knew it at the time, was key to the building of the first atomic bomb.
Fanny Hesse (1850-1934) was a lab technician and technical illustrator who introduced agar to the study of bacteria revolutionising microbiology.
Otto Baumbach (1882-1966) was a glass blower whose work in Manchester was vital to Nobel Laureate Ernest Rutherford.
Hans Crol (?-1591) was a German goldsmith and instrument maker who worked for Tycho Brahe between c.1584 and 1591.
Joanna Chorley (1925-2019) worked at the code cracking centre Bletchley Park during WW2 on the worlds first electronic computer – Colossus.
Science and art have always been a team effort; however, it is going to take a change in our perception of technical skill before everyone gets fully acknowledged for their contribution to that team.
A group of technicians met together to share their knowledge and skills about extractions and digests but also to discuss how to deal with laboratory users questions.
Andy Connelly searches for technicians in fiction and finds a technician-shaped hole.