Oral history of British science

Thomson, Janet (Part 8 of 8). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee’s home, North Yorkshire

  • Interviewees

    Thomson, Janet, 1942- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 8: Comments on changes in role of women at BAS, 1977-2002. [03:29] Comments on low status of JF’s atmospheric measurement project, until ozone hole results, mid-1980s. Description of JF. Comments on increasing administrative culture in BAS from late1980s, involving health and safety regulations, risk assessments, influence of DD, influence of NERC (National Environmental Research Council); influence of greater involvement of university (non BAS) scientists. [10:28] Comments on links between increasing role of women in BAS and more general change in organisational culture, discussed above. [11:08] Comments on influence on BAS of increasing popular interest in climate change, including media training for certain scientists, effect on NERC funding. Story of media interest in mapping of change in Antarctic coast using remote sensing. [16:36] Story of setting up of MAGIC (Mapping and Geographic Information Centre), 1989 by Phil Marsh [PM] and JT, at request of DD, including staff appointed, roles, JT’s appointment of head of MAGIC. Comments on work for Antarctic Digital Database [ADD], funded by BP (British Petroleum), run by World Conservation Monitoring Centre [WCMC], Cambridge. Mentions appointment as UK representative on SCAR Working Group [WG] on Geodesy and Geographic Information; involvement of this WG in ADD; CS’s involvement in satellite image interpretation; final CD (compact disc); management of database by MAGIC and WCMC; updates; internet access; effect of ADD on status of MAGIC in BAS. [25:35] Comments on needing to encourage science groups with BAS to use new digital maps; ‘dial a map’ service for AP. Mentions new MAGIC staff; including aerial photographer; international projects. [30:11] Description of process of incorporating existing maps, of different scales and national origins, into ADD, including hand digitising of maps and CS’s line overlays of satellite images. Story checking maps through lens on stand over light table; returning maps with marked corrections. Comments on issues of accuracy and interpretation, explained to users of ADD in its manual. [34:48] Detailed comments on use of Antarctic coastline, rather than exposed rock, as indicator of climate change. Story of involvement in USGS project on satellite images of coastal change, including significant changes in ice shelves recorded from 2000. Mentions USGS ‘Glaciological and Coastal Change Maps of Antarctica’. [43:22] Comments on BAS ‘open days’, from first in 1976. Story of open day on Bransfield research ship, 1986, including tent, visits of brother and sister. Detailed comments on attempts to display interesting examples of geological work and mapping for public view, with focus on Alexander Island. [49:45] Story of appearance in film ‘The White Laboratory’, mid 1990s. Comments on disliking public comment on scientific work. Mentions BAS scientists who tended to be interviewed. [54:04] Story of move from Boxworth to Thornton Rust, North Yorkshire, after retirement, 2003, including description of house, early participation in village life. Comments on involvement in Village Country Show, Entertainments Committee, Village Institute. Story of restoration of an outlier chapel of Aysgarth Parish Church. Comments on involvement in managing nature reserve. Description of volunteer work in Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes. Mention MT’s voluntary restoration of local water mill; work as treasurer of Upper Wensleydale Community Newsletter; gardening; house maintenance. [1:02:45] Description of personal ‘archive’ of slides, diaries. Mentions BAS archive; SCAR Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica; intention to pass diaries to family. Comments on process of being interviewed for NLS (National Life Stories). Stories of features in Antarctica named after JT.

  • Description

    Life story interview with geologist Janet Thomson

  • Related transcripts

    Janet Thomson 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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