Oral history of British science
Laughton, Anthony (Part 10 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 10: Detailed comments on role of female scientists at NIO from mid 1950s, including reasons for exclusion of women from oceanographic cruises until 1960s. Mentions Betty Kirtley [BK] (marine biologist) and Carol Williams among first female scientists on cruises; increased percentage of NIO female scientists at time of own Directorship (1978-1988). [5:00] Brief comments on BK’s experience of cruise on D; belief that male scientists were not opposed to involvement in cruises of female scientists. [6:31] Comments on role of female computer operators in theoretical wave research at NIO; use of computers of UOC, Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, Hampshire and Admiralty Research Laboratory, Teddington, London. [9:25] Detailed comments on lack of correspondence between the theoretical models of meteorologists and oceanographers. Mentions World Climate Research Programme , integrating study of oceans, atmosphere [and ice]. Comments on work of oceanographers on relations between El Niño and global atmospheric circulation. Mentions North Atlantic Oscillation. Comments on role of global observation in attempts to model cause and effect in related ocean and atmosphere systems. [16:28] Comments on sea level observation programme based at Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, formerly Institute of Coastal Oceanography and Tides, Liverpool; timing of climate change concerns; development of satellite observations; use of short-lived SEASAT satellite  to observe sea surface as part of Joint Air Sea Interaction Programme [JASIN]. [21:33] Story of development of relations between NIO and NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) [formed in1965], including formation of IOS, own unwillingness to apply for post as NERC Director of Marine Sciences [DMS], relations with the appointed NERC DMS (John Woods), changes to funding arrangements, especially increase in contract/commissioned research. Comments on success of GLORIA, including Queens Award for Technical Achievement. [30:24] Detailed comments on contract work for North Sea oil industry/Department of Energy/Department of Environment of Applied Waves Group, NIO/IOS, involving Tom Tucker, Laurence Draper and David Carter. [35:34] Story of attempt after retirement from NIO [in 1988] to persuade Indian government to commission GLORIA survey of continental margins. [38:12] Story of work on Educational Trust of Glaisdale School, Sutton, London [1960-1994] and as Royal Society governor (taking over from GD) of Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey [1981-2000], including upgrading of science department, Chairmanship [1995-2000]. [47:17] Mentions involvement in House of Lords Science and Technology Committee investigation of British oceanography. Story of oceanographic work undertaken since retirement, including consultancy work for Coordinating Committee for Marine Science and Technology, continuing involvement in GEBCO, Chairmanship of Science Committee of Autosub programme, involvement in Royal Geographical Society’s Shoals of Capricorn Programme, examination of PhDs, assessment of research proposals.
Interview with Oceanographer Sir Anthony Laughton.