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Interview

Peter Cochrane OBE

Born: 1946. Job: IT guru

Attended: People's College 1962-1967

Studied: Telecommunications, City Guilds, A-levels in pure maths, applied maths, O-level English

Peter Cochrane headed British Telecom Research from 1993 to 1999, when he was appointed chief technologist. In 2000 he started ConceptLabs with a group out of Apple Computers. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. He was awarded an OBE in 1999 for contributions to international communications.

I remember my teachers' patience, professionalism and sheer perseverance in helping under-educated teenagers who had been largely abandoned by education. These teachers worked in industry all day and gave up their evenings to help those who struggled with education. One I shall remember forever was Mr Martin, a retired employee from the Nottingham High School for Boys. He got me through the conceptual hurdle of complex algebra, built my foundation of understanding calculus and expanded my thinking. He also got me through a couple of maths A-levels and I achieved the highest maths marks at HNC in Nottinghamshire. All of which opened the door to me gaining a series of degrees. He was a wonderful man who chain-smoked, was very kind and had the ability to stand in the students' shoes. As soon as I left my secondary in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, I found teachers, lecturers and professors who helped me at every step. Without all these professional educators, I would have achieved nothing. College changed me and I began to see a new world, an infinity of possibilities.

Peter Cochrane was talking to Shekhar Bhatia

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