Oral history of British science

Brooker, Tony (Part 11 of 14). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Computer Software

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Thorpe-le-Soken

  • Interviewees

    Brooker, Ralph Anthony, 1925- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 11: Remarks on social life at Cambridge, sometimes being taken for lunch to colleges by DW and MVW, discussing can machines think with radio astronomer Fred Hoyle, social groupings over lunch. [06:19] Remarks on differences between Cambridge and Manchester computing, experience running the Cambridge differential analyser. [09:22] Comments on consultancy job for ICI while at Manchester, working with Jeremy Bray, later an MP, on industrial process control. [15:12] Remarks on inviting Jeremy Bray and Lord [Vivian] Bowden down to Essex for guest lectures. Remarks on working with Ferranti at Manchester, further remarks on Lord Bowden. [18:33] Comments on move from Manchester to Essex: cultural shock, little experience of teaching undergraduates and running a department, challenge of second university to offer computer science course, too many students, recruited by IP and GB. Remarks on ICL1900 computer in the Essex computer service. [23:20] Comments on student placements with Barclays Bank. Description of organisation of Essex University into schools and student course subject choices. [27:15] Story about presenting computer course unit to prospective students and being overwhelmed by number of students who wanted to take it. Comments about arrangements for student computer time, set up with help of Brian O'Mahoney. [33:37] Remarks on Barclay's placements; student course options and numbers; difficulties recruiting staff; colleagues KB, Ian MacCallum, Charles Broyden; difficulties arranging vacation placements for students. [38:40] Remarks on separation from computing service under Brian O'Mahoney. Comments on cultural shock of student unrest at Essex: David Triesman, now Lord Triesman, being one of of the principle troublemakers. Comments on recruiting staff, such as David [Bill] Hart, John Oliver, Mike Jones, and David Lyons, from contacts and advertising. [43:04] Remarks on organising MSc course, organising department budgets, introduction of hardware element to course, support of professors Barnard and Proudman. Remarks on being approached by Proudman to run department, being overwhelmed at Essex at first, preferring research to administration, never having to apply for funding himself at Manchester.

  • Description

    Life story interview with computer scientist Tony Brooker

  • Related transcripts

    Tony Brooker 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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