Oral history of British science
Vine, Fred (Part 5 of 12). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewees home, Norwich
Vine, Frederick, 1939- (speaker, male)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
Part 5: Story of ‘10th Inter-University Geological Congress’ on ‘The Evolution of the North Atlantic’ [ENA] , GS, UOC, January 1962, including lecture by Harry Hess [HH] ‘Impermanence of the Ocean Floor’ [IOF]. Comments on HH’s published paper; RS (Bob) Dietz’s [BD] paper on ‘sea-floor spreading’ [SFS], inspired by HH’s pre-print. Comments on OT Jones’s lecture supporting CD. Mentions EB Bailey’s similar observations; other lectures at Congress; Congress program. [5:49] Comments on HH’s main field of mineralogy and petrology; link between status of speculation in geology and HH’s publication of SFS work as ‘geopoetry’; HH’s pre-war/wartime work in geophysics. [10:26] Story of Tuzo Wilson’s [TW] tendency (unlike contemporary geologists) to publish ‘speculative’ work; TW’s co-authored book in geology; effect on TW’s reputation of ‘transform faults’ [TF] work. Comments on geologists’ tendency not to speculate/generalise. [13:45] Comments on UOC geology lecturers; BH’s interest in geophysics, palaeomagnetism; contemporary view of palaeomagnetic evidence, including dismissal by HJ in ‘The Earth’. Description of palaeomagnetic evidence, including limitations. Mentions notes on ENA Congress. [17:23] Comments on data/images in HH’s IOF lecture, not magnetic data. [19:49] Mentions probably first seeing Ronald Mason [RM] and Arthur Raff’s [AR]maps of ‘magnetic anomalies’ across north-eastern Pacific (‘zebra pattern’) in TB’s geophysics lectures, Part 2, NST. [21:33] Story of Patrick (Pat) Blackett’s [PB] lecture summarising palaeomagnetic data, UOC Natural Sciences Club, March 1962; BH’s theory of worldwide glaciation. [24:56] Description of PB. Comments on PB’s move from nuclear physics to geophysics (Earth’s magnetic field). [FV adds correction to story of TB’s view of geologists, Track 4]
Interview with geologist Professor Fred Vine.