home page: http://www.davidappell.com
BACKGROUND: Writer and
journalist with broad technical and scientific knowledge. Experience as an
engineer, computer programmer, and scientist. Writing ability to communicate
technical topics to experts and nonexperts alike. Education in physics,
mathematics, and a little creative writing.
March 1998 to present
Freelance writer and journalist
write news and feature articles on science, technology, and other topics
for a variety of periodicals. I’ve written for Scientific American, the
Washington Post, Physics World, Slate, Audubon, New Scientist, The
Oregonian, Discovery Channel Online, Science, Popular Science, The
Industrial Physicist, the Boston Globe, Gale Research science
and technology encylopedias, and many other publications. See my list of
- I was
the Internet’s first climate science blogger. I started blogging on
December 29, 2001; my first page is archived here,
from January 14, 2002. In March 2003 I transitioned
to my own domain, and the Wayback Machine contains other
posts that appeared there. Since May 2006 I've been at davidappell.blogspot.com.
gone on several week-long fellowships for journalists before it was the
thing to list them on your resume -- the University of Maine in 2005,
Oregon State University in 2008, Woods Hole in 2012 and NCAR in 2014, at
least. At Woods Hole it seems I asked too many questions, because the
other reporters eventually complained about it. Yes, reporters complained about
asking too many questions.
PENNWELL PUBLISHING CO., Nashua, NH
Assistant Editor, Technology, Laser Focus World
news articles and feature length articles to deadline for laser and
electro-optics trade magazine and its associated newsletter, Laser
Report. Specialization in lasers, space science, and fiber optics.
and edited feature-length articles for the magazine.
conferences and survey journals and papers to keep industry audience
abreast of technology and scientific developments and trends.
technologies to be listed in New Products section.
- I was
fired several weeks after my beloved boss was
murdered by her husband, which naturally threw everyone for a
loop. I didn’t like it much there anyways, especially living in a small
cubicle under fluorescent light. Pennwell was the worst company I ever
worked for. And I had spent the years 1994-1996 hiking about 1,800 miles
on various parts of the Appalachian Trail, and after that a cubicle looked
and felt like a death trap meant to capture spirited wolves. So I went to
Freelance writer and journalist
story ideas, queried editors, wrote news and feature articles to deadline,
and worked with editors on revisions.
in The Industrial Physicist, The Appalachian Trailway News, Poets &
Writers, Backpacker, Internet World, The Phoenix Gazette, The Arizona
Republic and other magazines, newspapers and literary journals. See
list of publications
for weekly town newspaper, The Williston Whistle, Williston, VT.
That was fun – in retrospect.
Editor, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.
My best work there was an interview with T. Coraghessan Boyle, conducted
pool side at a Ritz Carlton somewhere in Phoenix.
Academic and Administrative Documents, Arizona State University, Tempe,
- I did
a lot of long-distance backpacking during this time with my girlfriend
Sharon, first (in the summer of 1994) 350 miles on the Appalachian Trail
from Delaware Water Gap, NJ to Manchester, VT, then, in March 1996 we
began hiking at the AT’s beginning in Georgia. But despite a marvelous,
unforgettable Tolkien-like adventure, we only made it 2/3rds of the way
(1,500 miles) to Great Bennington, VT, tired and fell out. I partially
tore two ligaments in my left foot at about 550 miles in – I can still
point to the exact spot in Virginia where the tear happened -- and then
walked almost another 1,000 miles on that. But eventually the pain got the
best of me, and my foot became so swollen I couldn’t lace up my boot any
longer. Stopping was and is still the biggest disappointment of my life –
so big that I may have to go back to Georgia again someday and try anew. Won’t
happen because my ankle is too fucked up. But I dream about it.
locates desire in the past,” wrote Robert Haas, “where it suffers no
active conflict and can be yearned toward pleasantly.” Wow is that ever
true – but you have to learn it the hard way.
MCI COMMUNICATIONS CORP., Colorado Springs, CO
systems engineering and coordinated systems development for Advantage 800,
MCI's North American 800 service developed in alliance with Bell Canada.
design of service architecture, obtained development commitments, and
planned coordination of network enhancements.
too much in just nine months – from Colorado Springs to Montreal, Ottawa
(lowest temperature I’ve ever experienced, at -30°C), Toronto, Chicago,
Dallas, and back and forth all over. I decided to quit the third
consecutive Friday night I found myself waiting for my luggage to come by
on the carousel in the airport at Colorado Springs at midnight. I mean, really, that put me over the
GOLD SYSTEMS, INC., Boulder, CO
in all aspects of a start-up telecommunications software company,
including business development, product development and project
Manager and Lead Developer for a PC-based Voice Mail system. Designed
service architecture, wrote software, and planned and executed system
installation at Fayetteville Hospital, Fayetteville, Arkansas. Yes, I
wrote a voice mail system. But installing it was a very different ball of
company folded in 2014, after 16 years in operation, all due almost
entirely to the heroic efforts of my good friend Terry Gold, who I met at
AT&T when I was a project manager for fraud control on virtual private
networks and he was my trustworthy programmer. The Gold Systems stock
didn’t cash in as I (and he) hoped, but such it was a time.
AT&T BELL LABS
Project Manager, Business Communications Services, Bedminster, NJ
AT&T's Software Defined Network (SDN) Network Remote Access (NRA)
service, a $200M revenue/yr. calling card service.
large teams (5-40 people) of systems engineers, system managers, software
developers, product managers and field technicians to develop new
services, feature enhancements, and fraud control systems.
fraud losses by about one million dollars a month while service grew by
retrospect this was a great time where I felt important and right in the
middle of things. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t left, and taken advantage of
the opportunities that opened up there like a lotus flower. But the
pressure was high and I got very sick after several months just because of
the stress. I lived in a remodeled barn in quiet Califon, NJ
that had been converted into the landlord’s painting gallery, while Bell
Labs paid all my $1000/mth rent because I was on a job rotation. I was
young and free, but stressed out – as my landlord said, they demanded
their pound of flesh.
Systems Engineer, Bell Labs, Holmdel, NJ
engineering of support systems, processes and operations for AT&T's
Software Defined Network (SDN) provisioning and maintenance. Pretty
service plans to improve performance of AT&T work centers. Frankly, I
had very little impact in this job, and was better suited to be the
project manager I was to be in a few years. Meantime I played and umpired
a lot of softball.
State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY
Research and Teaching Assistant, Department of Physics
research in cosmology and elementary particle physics while completing a
Ph.D. in physics. Research was highly analytical and involved mathematical
analysis followed by extensive numerical analysis and scientific
programming (in UNIX/FORTRAN) of detailed calculations in quark-gluon
interactions via quantum chromodynamics.
years teaching undergraduate physics courses.
many people from all around the world, especially after I fell into the
social circle of a big group of mathematicians. I remember it as a great
time, a letting loose socially while absorbing a huge amount
intellectually. Wish I could go through that again knowing what I know
in Physics, State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook. Thesis
research consisted of computational analysis of high-energy subnuclear
structure. (Graduate advisor: George
in Physics, State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook.
double major in physics and mathematics, University of New Mexico.
Program in Creative Writing (15 hours completed), Arizona State
Sciences Journalism Fellowship, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute,
Science Journalism Fellowship, National Center for Atmospheric Research,
others I didn’t keep track of!