Oral history of British science
King-Hele, Desmond (Part 18 of 21). An Oral History of British Science.
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King-Hele, Desmond, 1927- (speaker, male)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
Part 18: Comments on influence of RT on writings on ED; RT’s view of DKH’s poetry; own valuing of clarity in poetry, including reading of ‘Right for us’ from AAR. Further comments on RT’s appraisal of DKH’s poetry. Mentions unpublished poems written in past ten years; current work on two books on ED. [4:22] Description of research involved in preparation of Collected Letters of Erasmus Darwin (2006). [9:55] Stories of research concerning people appearing in ED’s letters, including assistance of Hugh Torrens, Keele University. [12:23] Discussion of view of ED by historians of Charles Darwin, including motivation for current work on book on Erasmus Darwin and the theory of evolution. [14:14] Comments on various treatments of ED in papers given for 2002 celebrations of 200th anniversary of death of ED. [19:04] Comments on admiration for ED’s achievements, character and poetry (especially ‘Temple of Nature’). [23:22] Comments on reading of ‘New Scientist’; view of current theories in astronomy; disagreements with Martin Rees over assumptions made, including fixed speed of light, linear nature of time; nature and extent of interest in current climate change debates, including own view of importance of volcanic activity and questioning of greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide released near ground level. Story of expressing view on climate change to Martin Rees. [28:52] Comments on own gradual conversion to a vegetarian diet. [29:36] Mentions own status in RS; tendency for RS not to appoint Fellows over 75 years of age to committees. Comments on effect of hearing difficulties on chairmanship of committees. [32:10] Detailed comments on view of inadequacy of climate prediction ‘models’. DKH reads ‘Eclipse at Southsea, 11 August 1999: a partial poem’ from AAR (though interviewer refers to ‘Welcome to global warming, July 1999’).
Life story interview with physicist Dr Desmond King-Hele