Someone asked me earlier this month what sort of things I work on as a semi-independent science and technology consultant. It's a bit complicated to explain, so instead I thought I would give a list of the projects and tasks I have been involved in in one randomly selected week. So here it goes:

Monday – I started off the day with some imaging work for a client of Lonrach R&T, in which I had to design/modify an algorithm to generate a 3D model of a prototype using multiple 2D photos. There is software on the market for this, but the size and quantity of images exceeded the limits of most commercial products so I had to modify a program I wrote several years ago. Then in the evening I received a request for tutoring for a third year classical mechanics course, so I spent the evening working with a couple of students.

Tuesday – I finished up the imaging software modifications and sent that off to the client. Then another technology consultant that I sometimes work with needed some guidance and assistance with a complicated mathematical transformation, known as the Radon transformation, and which I studied a little as a graduate student. (It is something usually only taught to mathematics grad students and a few physicists, but I was bored one weekend so I learned it in an online course). In the evening I had a couple of appointments for mathematical tutoring (via e-learning software) for senior undergrads in eastern Canada.

Wednesday – My friends and co-workers at Lonrach forwarded a job to me to write some physics algorithms and graphical processor routines for a small start-up company that is designing console based video games. It is tedious programming for the most part, but I enjoyed it anyway. If the company's plans are successful, the game I worked on should be released in the fall – I will give details at the time.

Thursday – I was dealing with other things most of the day, so there wasn't too much work related. But in the evening I was sent a request by some friends at Victus Robotics to design and program a WiFi interface for a prototype robot they are designing (robotic design isn't my specialty normally, but I had designed a similar interface for my own hobby robot last year so they thought it would be more efficient for me to port it to their new systems).

Friday – Another light work day for me. I did some web programming and site upgrades for Lonrach R&T (since I had coded the original site, and it is quicker for me to rewrite it than for the other programmers to decipher my code and modify it) and gave them some input on features that could be added in the future. In the evening I did some e-tutoring for some second year physics students from the U.S on electronics and general physics.

That pretty much covers my entire work week. It is a bit scattered right now, but I am hoping to get more challenging projects in the next few months. (Of course what I really would like to do at this stage of my life is to move into medical physics where I can really help people, but in this economy I am not sure that any of the hospitals are hiring. So for now I just read the research articles and prepare for the day when there is an opening locally.)

I would have preferred to continue in academics where I could focus on the physics research that I love so much, but as longtime readers of my blog know my parents and a few hospital staffers put a quick and painful end to that dream! Fortunately as a theoretical physicist I can still work on projects on my own and publish on my own, so I will never entirely leave that world and that dream behind ;)

So with tutoring, programming, physics consulting, and electronics engineering all in the same week, how can I possible summarize my job?