Dr Ariadne Tampion CEng MIET
Photo: Steve Jones

Welcome to my web page. Here I present brief autobiographical notes. If you wish to contact me for any reason, please feel free to do so using the details at the end.

*** Please Note *** The address of this page is http://www.ariadnetampion.info.

Present situation: My primary non-domestic role is Chair of East Midlands Branch of Railfuture. I find I have a well-tuned skillset for a leadership role in the independent national pro-rail campaigning organisation: my professional engineering background enables me to understand railway operations and infrastructure; my experience as a breastfeeding counsellor enables me to support and encourage people who are doing something they know to be right but which is still seen as slightly counterculture. At home, alongside routine household duties, I have been working towards a downsizing house move since the younger of my two daughters started university, a process considerably slowed by the coronavirus pandemic. Success will eventually allow me to take on greater non-domestic responsibilities; I shall be looking for roles in which I have the power to make things happen rather than merely campaign to persuade others. In the meantime, I am prepared to make myself additionally available for one-off chairing and speaking engagements. I will not necessarily require payment, but will give higher priority to invitations for which it is offered.

Artificial intelligence (AI): I have acquired considerable knowledge of this discipline both out of personal interest and as a potential post-family career direction. Having been a science fiction fan in my teens, and following a reduction in the demands on me made by my daughters, I wrote the novella Automatic Lover in 2005. Associated research into contemporary real-life AI resulted in me developing a character for Rollo Carpenter's chatbot Joan, which won the Loebner Prize in 2006. I subsequently read many books on the subject and attended many conferences. Some of the latter I helped organise during my term on the committee of the British Computer Society's Specialist Group on Artificial Intelligence between 2010 and 2013. I also became, and have remained, a member of the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB). I wrote a novel-length sequel to Automatic Lover, Automatic Lover – Ten Years On, and a novel on the same topic for children, Metal Molly, which is illustrated by Laura Buckland.

Breastfeeding support and education: I joined the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers in 1994, set up a local support group, and qualified as a Breastfeeding Counsellor. The support group folded after a few years, but I continued to take calls on the Breastfeeding Helpline until 2009. For my final five years I additionally served in the ABM Training Team as their specialist on Breast and Nipple Problems. The importance of breastfeeding and the obstacles it faces in global society continue to concern me; although I have left the ABM behind, I remain a member of Baby Milk Action.

Politics: I joined and became active in the Labour Party in 1992. I remained a member until 2004, serving on Charnwood Borough Council between 1995 and 1999. Although the political ambitions I harboured in the 1990s did not survive long after the birth of my younger daughter, politics remains something I may yet return to in later life.

Transport campaigning: My membership of Railfuture is longstanding, although has not been active throughout. I also have a track record in campaigning for cycling. I have been active in the Loughborough and District Cycle Users' Campaign since its launch in 1992; prior to that, I played a key role in the relaunch of the Southampton Cycling Campaign in 1988.

Energy/early career: My PhD work at the University of Southampton (thesis title Double-frequency Stator Core Vibration in Large Two-pole Turbogenerators) was co-funded by what was then the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB). I subsequently worked as a Development Engineer for manufacturer Brush Electrical Machines for three years (1990-1993). I have ever since kept in mind the possibility of an eventual return to the energy industry.

Education: I have a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southampton (final year project title Development of a Digital Servo Drive). My secondary education was at Highdown School in Emmer Green; prior to that I attended Caversham Primary School.

Family: I have been married to John Catt since 1991. Our daughters, Sophie and Isobel, were born in 1993 and 1999 respectively.

Humanism: I became active in the British Humanist Association (now Humanists UK) after marrying John in a Humanist ceremony. I was active in the (now defunct) Humanist Family Network when my daughters were young. I am also a member of Leicester Secular Society.

Cycling: For me, cycling has always been more than the most sensible way to move human beings and premium freight over distances of up to five miles; it is one of my life's greatest joys! It is a joy which I have found to be equally good whether savoured alone or in company; I rode regularly with Cyclists' Touring Club (now Cycling UK) groups from my teens until starting my family, after which leisure cycling became primarily a family activity.

Writing: I suspect it may be storytelling that makes us human. I have loved writing ever since I learnt how to do it as a child. I aim to uphold the same standards of vocabulary, style and narrative in everything I write, emails and blurbs as well as reports, articles for newsletters, magazines and websites, and the works of fiction and poetry more usually considered to be 'creative'. It is a great sadness to me that I continue to draft such works in my head which have little or no chance of seeing a printed page due to my life's other pressures and commitments.

Astronomy: I find focusing on the stars, both literally and as a topic of study, to be an excellent antidote to earthly problems and frustrations. With some valued help from Nottingham Astronomical Society.

Football allegiance: Having grown up in Caversham, I support Reading Football Club.

Other: I have, or have had, activities, affiliations and achievements additional to those detailed above. However, I had to make a judgement call regarding what to include and what to leave out, in order to keep these notes manageable. If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please feel free to contact me with your questions.

Contact details

Email: (1) for personal business, ariadne at the last two parts of the website address as specified at the top of this page (i.e. not the server address which your web browser might show); (2) for Railfuture business, as given on the Railfuture website. Twitter: @AriadneTampion. Postal: 32 Bramcote Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 2SA. Landline telephone: +44 (0) 1509 211468. My mobile telephone number can be made available on application.

Last updated April 2021

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