This page badly needs updating; you probably want the page on my personal website instead: www.planet4589.org
Eponymous minor planet: (4589) McDowell
My first astronomy job came when I left high school and worked for six months at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, at that time located in Sussex. After a math degree at Churchill College, Cambridge and a summer job at Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, I began a Ph.D. at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge (the real Cambridge, I mean). This turned out to be a work of fiction about stars that never existed and predicted a submillimeter background radiation that was later discovered and shortly thereafter retracted. I decided it was time to work on things one could really observe, and went to do a postdoc at Jodrell Bank. After a brief flirtation with the microwave background I got interested in the physics of quasars and have been stuck trying to figure them out ever since. I came to CfA in 1988 as a postdoc, escaped to Huntsville, Alabama in 1991 but the lure of Harvard Square was too strong and I've been back here since 1992.
For fun, take a look at The Observatory Pinafore