Oral history of British science

Lovelock, James (part 3 of 13). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Climate Change Science

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Interviewee’s home, Cornwall

  • Interviewees

    Lovelock, James, 1919 - (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 3: Story of failing in pure and applied mathematics Higher School Certificate; preparing for London University Intermediate Examination; seeking and rejecting laboratory technician job in London. Comments on perceived need to support mother and father. Story of former Chemistry master recommending JL for job at Murray, Bull and Spencer Ltd. [MBS] (consultants to photographic industry), Fulham Road, London. [04:04] Comments on scientific work at MBS; linked degree course at Birkbeck. Story of use of spot tests in checking photographic gelatine. Description of spot tests. Story of causing explosion. [10:00] Story of visit to gelatine factory. [12:10] Comments on owners’ links with Imperial College, leading to use at MBS of up-to-date instruments: electronic PH meters, spectrometers (colorimeter). Detailed description of use of colorimeter; output; interpretation of output; calibration. [17:24] Description of use of electrode PH meter. [19:22] Comments on value of apprenticeship. Story of Murray’s insistence on accuracy, contrasted to attitude in university courses; sniffing chemicals; usefulness later of recognising chemicals by smell. [21:52] Comments on teaching of chemistry at grammar school.

  • Description

    Life story interview with James Lovelock, independent scientist, environmentalist, author and researcher.

  • Related transcripts

    James Lovelock interviewed by Paul Merchant: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

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

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