Oral history of British science
Vine, Fred (Part 12 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 12: Story of development of research through 1970s and 1980s, at SES, UEA, including involvement in International drilling project on TM. Comments on service as Dean of SES (1977-1980). Mentions work with RK. Comments on reasons for not wishing to continue to focus on oceanic magnetic anomalies; tendency to seek new fields. Description of work with physicist Russell Ross, UEA on electrical conductivity of crustal rocks; work with Alan Smith [AS] and research student on relations between palaeomagnetic data and AS’s continental fit reconstructions. Mentions project on Red Sea stratigraphy with Jill Harwood, UEA. [11:11] Story of second appointment as Dean of SES, UEA (1993-1998). Comments on trend for early retirement in 1990s; reasons for own early retirement, 1998, including anticipation of historical interest in PT. Mentions published articles on PT and ophiolites, obituaries, DNB (Dictionary of National Biography) entries; recent participation in four projects: NLS interview, proposed Korean television broadcast, Hank Frankel’s unpublished history of CD (for Cambridge University Press) and Geological Society’s ‘Bullard Video’. [16:57] Comments on post-retirement walking holidays with wife. [17:55] Comments on geological content of these holidays. [19:13] Comments on ways in which story of development of PT is told in different books, including Bill Glen’s ‘The Road to Jaramillo’ (1982), J Oliver’s ‘Shock and Rocks: seismology and the Plate Tectonics revolution’ (1996) and CUP published book [HE Le Grand 1998 Drifting Continents and Shifting Theories], Bill Menard’s ‘The Ocean of Truth’, Naomi Oreskes’ [NOR] ‘Plate Tectonics’. [23:00] Comments on differences between British and US versions of PT story, including possible neglect of Australian contributions. [23:54] Comments on lack of own autobiographical writing, beyond chapter in NOR’s ‘Plate Tectonics’. [24:59] Positive comments on thoroughness of Hank Frankel’s unpublished account. [27:42] Comments on development of interest in history and biology in retirement, in relation to perceived gaps in childhood education. [32:19] Comments on engagement with science in retirement. Story of writing of third edition of undergraduate textbook ‘Global Tectonics’. [35:50] Comments on remaining questions/mysteries in understanding of crust and mantle. [37:31] Comments on intentions concerning own archive of papers.
Interview with geologist Professor Fred Vine.