Judi Suni Hall. PhD. and Donald S. Hall, PhD.
Judi and Don have shared life’s adventures and their careers since marrying as undergraduates.
Judi has a PhD. in theoretical nuclear physics, the kind of modeling used to do stellar interiors. She expected to spend her life doing this, but it was the 1980s and there was the need to be employed. Judi followed Don to AECL, Canada’s nuclear research lab taking a job designing safety systems for Candu reactors. She shifted to industrial risk analysis, ending up Technical Manager of AECL’s RARE (Risk and Reliability Evaluation) Consultancy. In that capacity she worked with a number of industries, including the Canadian Space Agency at the time when the Canadian involvement in International Space Station was first being defined. That lead to the permanent love of the idea of humanity spreading into space.
Don has a PhD. in theoretical physics modeling liquids. He was asked to continue work done as a post-doc at AECL. That lead to employment in Instrumentation and Control, first doing research in the design of self-powered neutron detectors, then tomography, and finally Artificial Intelligence. In that role he had the opportunity to work with some of Canada’s leading experts in Artificial Intelligence.
En-route to represent Canada at a NASA conference Judi encountered the “black swan” * that changed both of their lives. She caught a severe and mysterious virus that almost killed her. When she surprised everyone by surviving, the brain damage left her reading at a grade 3 level and not knowing what a number was. She was physically incapable of taking care of the basics in her life. As with the rest of their lives, she shared. Don ended up totally disabled as well, although his mental damage was less severe. The next 10 years were a write off.
Don rebuilt himself to the extent that he runs a successful small software house, Apps&More that has recently expanded into psychiatric testing on the iPad and iPhone in collaboration with a Johns Hopkins trained psychiatrist. He also takes care of Judi, but with residual ME he has to be careful to not over extend. Judi has come a long way mentally, but spends almost half of her time in bed unable to even read a book (the other days are rather iffy). Both ME and chemical hypersensitivity are limits for her.
It was those long hours that led to the idea of creating this series. It gave them something interesting to talk about, to create, and ultimately to share with others who might be going through similar problems and be looking for a distraction -a series to get lost in that is not excessively violent. It is also great for those just killing time doing something like waiting for a plane. Judi is the ideas person and writes the first draft with pencil and paper. Don is the technical consultant and the man who does the work to turn ideas into what you see.
Since this series has evolved for over a decade, it has been interesting to see when guesses have been correct on future directions, and when they have been way off base and it has been necessary to rethink aspects of the series. The guesses were fairly accurate on computing and the tendency for miniaturization of hardware allowing devices increasing in everyday use. Sadly they were wrong about space exploration. Judi and Don both expected to see a continual expansion and effort to get “out there”. Hopefully the current cutting back will be reversed. And of course no one could anticipate the other “black swan” *, the reactor accident in Japan that has made this series more timely and topical than ever expected.
In addition to collaborating on sci-fi, Judi and Don collaborate on haiga (haiku poems combined with a related image). Their poetry is published internationally in Daily Haiga, Haiga on Line, HaikuPix, Sketchbook, and Simply Haiku.
Don is a photographer with a growing international reputation. Judi is a generative artist whose work can be found in private collections in Canada, the US, Europe, and the Orient. Her art has been featured in the international e-journal Sketchbook. They have taken advantage of the digital printing revolution to design both textiles and a wide range of surface applications (anything from iPhone cases to binders). These are available in 19 countries under the name Gingezel™ Inc. Again Judi has plenty of time to think of designs when she is unable to move around. Don is the facilitator that keeps Gingezel™ Inc. going.
* The phrase “black swan” was coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book “The Black Swan” (Random House). It means a rare event that could not be anticipated and has profound consequences.