ABOUT ME A brief biography of the owner of the website This and That

My name is Wayne Schmidt. I'm 63 years old, bald, and wear glasses. In short, I'm a senior-citizen nerd. But hey, so what? The fact is that as a nerd I represent the dominant life form on the planet. The handsome, well-built Adonises that seem to be everywhere, thanks to Hollywood, only make up 1/10,000 of the population. If the nerds ever went to war against the Sean Connerys and Mel Gibsons of the world the fight wouldn't last long. By shear weight of numbers we'd roll right over them. But back to me...

I was born an engineer. From my earliest childhood I was building things and blowing half the house's circuit breakers in the process. Eventually, I got Bachelor and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering and a second Masters in Plasma Physics. I spent the best part of my career at the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base in California where I designed, built, and tested advanced rocket engines, specifically, magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters. These use magnetic and electric fields to generate thrust and are probably the same as the impulse engines on the starship Enterprise of Star Trek fame.

I retired at the ripe old age of 41 to devote more time to my hobbies, most of which are represented by the pages on this website.

I live in Southern California's high desert region with my wife, Gail (my high-school sweetheart), of 41 years. We have two children, both of whom are happily married. Jeffery is our oldest and is a psychologist. He married a beautiful girl (I'll never understand how he managed it) named Jessica. My daughter Jennifer is a second grade teacher and married to a fine gentleman named Tom. Collectively, those prolific brats have made me a grandfather six times over.

I consider THIS AND THAT to be the great work of my life. It provides millions of people answers to questions they can't find anywhere else. I may not be as fast as I was half a century ago but I'm just as active and look forward to expanding the site for many years to come.

(For those of you wishing to inflict visual abuse on yourselves, you can see a picture of me with my favorite telescope on the Telescope Making page.)


(Click on main site to browse 70 other topics ranging from exotic kaleidoscope designs to the strange world of lucid dreaming.)