I’ve been working on a variety of projects…

The Polyanno Project

What started out as a part-time job over semester actually evolved into a wonderful project of open sourced, crowd sourcing, historical, technical, mostly Javascript-based madness in which I got to build multiple packages that not only people might use but also at least one website going live that is part of several great technology communities (~shout out to the IIIF crowd and all those web annotation folk~).

A Complete Beginner’s Guide To Hacking

As someone who has had the good fortune to attend a lot of hackathons over 2015 (see below) but also as someone who doesn’t study Computer Science full time I knw how difficult it can be for complete beginners to approach hacking – so much jargon and supporting knowledge needed in addition to just the basic languages. So I wrote this series of posts for others to get an idea of where to start and hopefully help them identify what it is they need to know and how and where to learn it.

Designing and Building Micro Wind Turbine

As part of the Sustainable Energy Group Design Project 3 course at the University of Edinburgh, I was part of a fantastic team designing and building a small scale wind turbine to produce 100W to charge 12V leisure lead acid batteries for camping trips. I have written up some of the work that I completed whilst responsible for the electrical and electronics of the project.

Hackathon Projects

So I have worked/am working on various projects whilst attending various hackathons:

A Very Brief Guide To Design Movements

Fed up by the lack of comprehensive resources on design movements I created lists of all the key points about each movement accompanied by pictures illustrating the common aesthetic and philosophical features as a recommended visual case study of a couple of key designers.


I was co-project managing Edinsolar as Lead Engineer for the new team at the University of Edinburgh working to build a solar powered passenger car that can enter the World Solar Challenge 2017 Cruiser Class race… For more details and updates about how far we got on this project please visit the Edinsolar website – http://www.edinsolar.org and check out the talk I gave at the Entrepreneurship Club (E-Club) at the ECCI in Edinburgh here:

As part of sharing my research for Edinsolar I also wrote a Brief Guide To Brakes to help others looking for a basic introduction to the different types available and how they work.

It never happened, I’m so sorry. I tried, I made many mistakes, and I learned a lot of lessons along the way but it was worth it. Here’s to its legacy, for all the students it helped while it lasted….

UK School STEM Competition Directory

Way back when I was my school’s first (and particularly awful) STEM Prefect I collected loads of the competitions for secondary school (11 – 18yrs old) students in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). I published them on here so others can get involved with as many of them as I have! If people think I’m missing some then just let me know and I’ll be happy to update it. Ultimately it would be nice if someone was to actually the whole thing into a dedicated website as I discuss in my post here.

Ahhhh, the good old days of being a STEM Prefect… || Erin Nolan 2017 || pigeonsblue.com

An Awesome Guide To Particle Accelerators

Having been working in the Vacuum Science group of the STFC’s ASTeC (Accelerator Science Technology Centre) group in Daresbury for nearly a year (see YinI page) I can tell you that particle accelerators are pretty cool things. Thanks to publicity around CERN and the Higgs Boson, loads of people are getting a basic understanding and introduction to particle physics. But no one has been introduced to how the accelerators themselves actually work.


I know that to understand it properly there is a lot of complicated mathematics (I have sat through a course of lectures on linear beam dynamics and learnt about the delightful world of Hamiltonian mechanics and all that goes with it so I know that there is complicated maths involved) BUT there is so much that can still be explained qualitatively or at least approximated. There are enough particle physics fans out there already, it is time the accelerator scientists get some limelight. And because everyone else is sort of too busy doing actual work or too clever to appreciate that other people can’t understand it already, I have set myself the gigantic task of writing this guide.

And it will be awesome (when I eventually write it).


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