Oral history of British science

Tootill, Geoff (Part 12 of 12). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Computer Hardware; Electronics

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Wokingham

  • Interviewees

    Tootill, Geoff, 1922- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 12: Remarks on his view of packet switching in the 1970s and expecting its applications would replace telegrams, not anticipated home internet connections. Remarks on French minicomputers used in system. [03:42] Remarks on NPL staff, including Donald Davies, Christopher Evans, DB. Comments on retirement at 60, pensions. [08:16] Remarks on death of wife shortly before retirement, remarriage to Joyce Tootill, move to Wokingham, forming computer group of Wokingham U3A, recent meeting of U3A group. [11:03] Remarks on getting an Amstrad home computer in early 1980s. [12:20] Comments on Manchester Baby computer rebuild: CB contacting TK and himself, and sourcing of vintage equipment, initial scepticism, providing assistance from a distance. [16:33] Remarks on being surprised at growing interest in computer history. Remarks on highpoints of career: Manchester baby, support of ESRO's first satellites, permanent civil service job at Shrivenham. [19:18] Comments changing career in the scientific civil service, post-war reconstruction, move to ESRO and becoming more of manager and expanding his language skills, importance of a civil service pension. [23:11] Advice for people starting out today and qualities required for a career in science, particularly adaptability and being able to face something new. Remarks on expecting increased emphasis of low pollution in the future. [26.37] Comments on recently hosted U3A talk on Manchester Baby and the importance of its memory. [30:57] Comments on being astonished and gratified at the way that the work he did at Manchester in the 1940s is now seen. Remarks on feeling surprised at taking part in British Library oral history project and on finding interview process congenial, anecdote on the reaction a friend.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Geoff Tootill, computer engineer who was part of the team that built Baby, the world's first stored program computer.

  • Related transcripts

    Geoff Tootill interviewed by Tom Lean: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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