Oral history of British science

Lovelock, James (part 9 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 9: Comments on not signing official secrets act [OSA] during WW2; signing act later. Story of scrub typhus virus unprotected in refrigerators of NIMR during WW2. Comments on influence of American paranoia on post war British confidence concerning security. [01:41] Story of involvement with CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) concerning the tracing/detecting of people using ECD. Comments on CIA suspicion of effectiveness of ECD. Story of Lord Rothschild [LR], Coordinator of Research, Shell putting JL in contact with Ministry of Defence [MOD]; MOD representatives’ visit to Bowerchalke to discuss use of ECD for tracking/tracing; lecture to MI5/MI6 audience at MI6’s Century House; visit to MI5 headquarters Leconfield House, Curzon Street, London. [06:58] Story of demonstration of ECD in New Forest. Mentions use of ECD by National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], United States to label air masses in 1970s. [10:27] Description of ‘real-time’ sampling method in field. [12:12] Comments on use of ECD to track KGB agents in London. [13:46] Story of helping to establish MOD laboratory, Holton Heath, Dorset in late 1960s, early 1970s (now Porton Down). Mentions work as consultant there, continuing now. [16:32] Comments on work for security services regarding Northern Irish terrorism. [18:15] Comments on breadth of scientific work on counter terrorism, contrasted with specialism in university science. [21:05] Story of concern for wellbeing of KGB agents expressed by MOD representatives. Mentions not being involved in operations. Positive comments on character of operatives. Story of benign intentions of Shell regarding lubricants. [25:48] Comments on calculations concerning potential use of ECD to find Vietcong. [27:17] Mentions meeting with CIA. Comments on hyperbolic US sales culture.

  • 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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