Oral history of British science
Laughton, Anthony (Part 7 of 12). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee's home, Surrey
Laughton, Anthony, 1927- (speaker, male)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
Part 7: Comments on advantages of D over D2. Mentions port-calls of 1964 IIOE cruise, D: Aden, Seychelles, Mombasa. Comments on seismic refraction line, Kenya to Seychelles. [4:17] Mentions lack of contact with foreign scientists on IIOE; establishment of Indian National Institute of Oceanography, Goa. [5:57] Story of experience of Aden, 1964, including restricted movement due to unrest, meeting with likely Cold War spy. [9:48] Comments on own role on 1964 IIOE cruise. [10:23] Description of leisure onboard D. Story of visits to islands in Seychelles archipelago, including finding of double coconuts (coco-de-mer). [13:12] Comments on lack of relations with local people in countries bordering IO. Story of visit to Governor of the Seychelles and Tsavo National Park, Kenya. Mentions D’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary officers/Plymouth crew. Comments on dress for tropical conditions. [15:24] Story of involvement on editorial committee for post-IIOE ‘Geological-Geophysical Atlas of the Indian Ocean’ [GGAIO], led by Russian chief editor Gleb Udintsev, printed by the USSR Main Administration of Geodesy and Geophysics. Comments on contents of GGAIO. [17:48] Description of data produced on 1964 IIOE cruise, including digital formats. Mentions IBM 1800 computer; samples collected, including cores. [20:35] Description of process of reduction/interpretation of this data, including involvement of NIO ‘computer section’/Marine Information Advisory Service’/’British Oceanographic Data Service’, meetings to discuss interpretations, presentation of papers. [23:00] Story of involvement in International Geological Congress, New Delhi, 1964. [27:55] Comments on NIO cruises in Atlantic, 1960s. Story of NIO geologists’ use of short range, side-scan sonar based on Navy technology for ‘submarine hunting’. Story of development of long-range, deep-sea, side-scan sonar called GLORIA (Geological Long Range Inclined ASDIC). Description of GLORIA. Mentions first use of GLORIA, 1965. Story of allowing Russian visitors to view GLORIA freely. Comments on extent of British Navy interest in GLORIA/GLORIA’s published representations of deep sea floor. Description of GLORIA’s view of sea floor, involving ‘shadows’ of features; use of GLORIA in marine geology. Story of FAMOUS (French American Mid Ocean Undersea Survey), involving submersibles, previously classified US bathymetric data, NIO GLORIA survey. [38:17] Comments on size of GLORIA. Mentions Duke of Edinburgh visit to see GLORIA Mark II [GM2]. Description of improvements over GLORIA of GM2. [42:30] Mentions designers of GLORIA and GM2. [43:30] Comments on use of echo-sounding to find depth of features surveyed by GM2. Story of NIO contract to survey US’s Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] (declared by Ronald Reagan at time of UN Law of the Sea [LOTS] conference) using GM2, 1984-1994. Comments on US interest in cobalt in crust on seamounts; effect of US EEZ survey on NIO income/own Knighthood. Mentions Queens Award for Technical Innovation for GLORIA/GM2; publication of US EEZ survey. [54:13] Comments on Marconi’s development of GM2; own attempt to arrange GM2 Indian contract; use of GM2 for scientific work; indirect contribution of GM2 to GEBCO charts. Story of influence on SIO’s development of Deep Tow sonar [DT] and NIO’s TOBI (Towed Ocean Bottom Instrument) of own published ideas on gap in scales of existing survey methods; NIO development of Autosub (Autonomous Submarine) in 1970s, 1980s. Comments on use of AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) by oil industry and Antarctic scientists. Mentions AUV losses. Mentions independence given to scientists by GD. [1:02:58] Comments on development of underwater photography/television; development of technologies commercially by former NIO employees. Detailed comments on reliance of oil companies on NIO work, especially predictions of North Sea wave climate by Applied Waves Division. [1:09:35] Comments on low levels of radio and television interest in British oceanography, 1970s and 1980s. Mentions aspects of oceanography most likely to attract popular attention: North Sea roughness, visually interesting features/creatures such as ‘black smokers’ (vents in sea floor) and associated creatures.
Interview with Oceanographer Sir Anthony Laughton.