Oral history of British science
Lovelock, James (1 of 2). The Common Cold Unit Recordings
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Interviewee's home, St Giles on the Heath, Launceston, UK.
Lovelock, James (speaker, male)
Tyrrell, David, 1925-2005 (speaker, male)
Part 1: James Lovelock was born in a working class family, as a child he always had an interest in science and his father used to take him to the countryside to study nature while his mother encouraged him to read books on science from the local (London) library. One day he was given a box of electrical parts and he made his own radio set out of it. After school his family couldn’t afford to send him to university so he was apprenticed in an analytical laboratory; his talent was recognised and he was helped to take a degree at Birkbeck College in chemistry and a Ph.D at Manchester under Alex Todd (later Noble Prize Winner). He was thought to have cheated because his analytical results were so accurate! After his studies he went to the National Institute of Medical Research and worked on wartime projects and on the air force inspections. After the war he was sent to the Common Cold Unit (as the Air Hygiene Unit in 1948) with Doctor Owen Lidwell.
Doctor and virologist at the Common Cold Unit with Dr. Owen Lidwell, when the Air Hygiene Unit moved down to Salisbury in 1948.