Hans Braul
B.Sc. (Honours) 1977, M.Sc. 1979

As the completion of my Master's was nearing, I was in a dilemma over what to do next. I was married, though still without children. I was doing OK, but I knew I was no Einstein. I had been accepted to the PhD program at the University of Waterloo. I found research exciting, and was really enjoying the company of fellow scientists. Yet money was tight. The PhD program would be tough sledding. Would there be a job at the end? Then I happened upon a job ad from Ontario Hydro, in the Nuclear Generation business. Hmmmm... Three Mile Island was recent history. But I set up an interview and was hired on the spot. So much for academic aspirations.... Turns out the decision was a good one. My career at Hydro has certainly not been boring - full of challenges, and I have been able to more or less write my own job description.

After completing the Junior Engineer in Training program at Deep River, I started at Douglas Point, where I was a systems engineer for about two and a half years. I spent brief periods as Technical Supervisor in Reactor Safety and Quality Assurance. When Douglas Point was shut down in 1984, I moved to Bruce B where I still work. I spent the first 5 years as systems engineer, in charge of computer control software programs, and related hardware systems. I joined the Shift Supervisor in training program in 1989 and became a licenced Shift Supervisor in 1992 - a title I still hold. After spending three years on shift, I moved to Outage Management, where I am currently responsible for the planning and execution of maintenance shutdowns. Each of the four units at is shut down for maintenance every two years, so that means we have to do two outages a year, plus deal with any forced outages as they occur.

It's a very demanding job, and I think my training at Brock has stood me in good stead. I quickly realized after joining Hydro that the chances of actually having to directly apply physics I learned at Brock were near nil. I have yet to solve a second order differential equation in anger. But the need for rigour in thought processes did not diminish after university. Clear thinking and a questioning attitude are what I learned at Brock, and I believe these have served me well.

What I especially liked about Brock was the genuine curiosity that the faculty showed for their work. They were always asking the next question - a habit that can become addictive. Some students have fallen into the trap of thinking, "If I can just pass these exams, I will get a good job, and then everything will be fine". I heard a Physics professor lament on CBC radio recently, "The trouble with too many students is they are more interested in the answer than they are in the question". What Brock did for me was to help me become interested in the questions.

Enough philosophy. I now live in Kincardine with my wife Kathryn and my three children, Peter (14), Renate (12) and Eric (7). As a family, we enjoy downhill and cross country skiing, sailing, camping and laying around on our sandy beach (a definite benefit of living in Kincardine during summer).

Kathy and I are very involved in running Chamber Music Kincardine, a concert presenting organization. I am also Chamber Music Director of the Kincardine Summer Music Festival, a two week performing and teaching festival each August. For anyone interested, see our web page under Chamber Music, http://www.ksmf.ca/programs/chamber.htm

Hans Braul, 15-October-1996

Outage Superintendent
Bruce B Generating Station
Tiverton, ON