Oral history of British science
Vine, Fred (Part 7 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 7: Story of third year UOC undergraduate expedition, Spitsbergen, including sea-sickness on outward journey, work of particular parties, gravity and magnetic work of own geophysics party. [6:06] Comments on exclusion of women (including wife) from Spitsbergen expedition and British oceanographic cruises in early 1960s; difference between US and British oceanographic cruises, including attitudes to women and alcohol. Mentions negative effect of alcohol. Story of wife’s geological fieldwork in Iceland with friend at time of Spitsbergen expedition. [8:45] Comments on BH’s role in UOC Spitsbergen expeditions/arctic project; BH’s lectures favouring CD. Story of half day of shoreline geology on 1960 Arran field course, including BH’s demonstration of sun compass for taking aligned samples, in relation to geomagnetism. [12:56] Story of IO cruise on Royal Research Ship Discovery, 1963, beginning at Aden. Comments on RAF/British Navy presence, Aden. Mentions anti-colonial activity. Brief description route, scientific aims, particular surveys, including detailed survey of ‘Fred’s sea mount’ for PhD research. Mentions track chart. [17:44] Comments on port calls: Mombasa and Seychelles. Mentions ‘double coconut’ found in Seychelles; other scientists including Anthony Laughton [AL]. [18:58] Story of return journey though Suez canal. [19:47] Description of ‘colonial British’ atmosphere of Aden. Story of organising two children in RAF school as operators of base station magnetometer. [22:31] Comments on timing of Mombasa port calls in relation to Kenyan independence; orderly appearance of Empire; colonial white dress. Positive comments on effect of colonial rule in relation to experience of visiting Cyprus. [27:57] Comments on lack of contact with scientists in countries bordering IO. Story of 1980s conference in Egypt as anniversary of Mahabis Indian Ocean cruise [1933-34]. Comments on relatively low participation in IIOE of Australia; aims of 1970 lecture on marine geophysics to Australia’s Academy of Sciences, as part of round the world lecture tour. [32:11] Comments on role of colonial logistics in supporting Discovery cruise. Story of repairing equipment through correspondence with MR through Mombasa; visit to Tsavo National Park [TNP], viewing wildlife with guide. Mentions photo taken in TNP. [35:25] Comments on mode of dress on port calls. Story of calm seas during changeover Monsoon period. [38:12] Comments on formality of hierarchical relations onboard Discovery. Mentions Royal Fleet Auxiliary officers/crew. Story of Captain asking FV to change as Discovery had passed through Suez Canal, as parallel to Navy practice of exchanging colonial whites for more formal dress. Story of contrasting informality of US research ship. [41:01] Discussion of mode of dress of scientists abroad. [42:10] Story of visit to Crater City, Aden, considered ‘reckless’ in retrospect. Brief description of bus journey, Aden.
Interview with geologist Professor Fred Vine.