Oral history of British science
Vine, Fred (Part 8 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 8: Comments on notable events, 1964 including marriage, PhD work, running of scout troop. Mentions wife’s post as research assistant, MR; correspondence with wife during Discovery cruise; lack of response to MAOOR paper. Comments on Continental Drift Symposium [CDS], Royal Society, March 1964, including single, negative reference to MOOAR/SFS by Vic Vacquier [VV], Scripps Institution of Oceanography [SIO]. Description of errors in VV’s negative test of SFS. Comments on limits to VV’s geological training, instrument design expertise. Mentions VV’s memoir, 1951. [6:03] Description of 1964 PhD work, involving computer interpretation of particular magnetic surveys. Detailed comments on extent to which SFS could be argued qualitatively without computer interpretation. [9:15] Description of own ideas, late 1964, concerning faults between ridges (now known as ridge-ridge ‘transform faults’). Story of confirmation of SFS, November 1966 by Lynn Sykes’ [LS] ‘seismic focal mechanism solutions’ and identification of ‘Jaramillo event’ [JE] in Cox, Doell and Dalrymple’s (Menlo Park, California, US) magnetic reversal timescale. Mentions DM’s acceptance of SFS at this time. [12:07] Mentions discussing idea of own faults between ridges with Jo Cann, 1964. Mentions similar ideas of Alan Coode’s [AC], University of Newcastle [UON]. [13:20] Long story of 1965 sabbatical visits to MR of HH and Tuzo Wilson [TW], including memory of talking to TW about own idea of faults between ridges, TW’s subsequent lecture on ‘fracture zones’ at UON attended by AC, AC’s impression that TW was mistaken, rejection of AC’s paper by ‘Nature’ and acceptance by ‘Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences’ (1965), TW’s realisation that AC was correct, TW’s extension of AC’s idea to define ‘plate’ boundaries, recognition of symmetry of north-east Pacific magnetic anomalies in RM/AR’s 1961 map through discussion of Juan de Fuca Ridge with TW and HH, 1965 paper published with TW, delay in writing paper caused by apparent misfit with magnetic reversal timescale. Mentions Colston Research Society symposium, Bristol, 1965. [26:33] Story of completion of PhD, typed by wife; appointment as ‘instructor’, Princeton University [PU], New Jersey, US, September 1965. [27:32] Comments on reason for clarity of north-east Pacific magnetic anomalies; role of colour in own coloured version of RM/AR’s map. [30:09] Comments on personal relations with HH, TW, including stories of HH. [34:17] Positive comments on relations with HH and his wife while working at PU. Comments on personal relations with TW. [37:11] Story of 1965 Geological Society of America [GSA] meeting, including Brent Dalrymple showing FV unpublished details of JE, allowing interpretation of north-east Pacific anomalies with constant spreading rate. Mentions other confirmatory evidence. [41:50] Story of 1965 visit to Lamont Geological Observatory [LGO], New York, US, including discussion with Neil Opdyke [NO] of his record of magnetic reversal timescale in marine sediment cores, discussion of Walt Pitman’s recently plotted ‘Eltanin’ magnetic/bathymetric profiles across Pacific-Antarctic Ridge. [46:27] Description of the JE (additional normally reversed period in magnetic reversal timescale). [48:53] Comments on wife’s own ambitions in science; wife’s role as ‘homemaker’; birth of daughter October 1966; birth of son 1968 while FV in Mexico City. Mentions wife’s drafting work for FV while at PU; future walking holiday, Mexico City.
Interview with geologist Professor Fred Vine.