Oral history of British science
King, Julia (Part 8 of 9). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee's office, Aston University, Birmingham
King, Julia, 1954- (speaker, female)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 8: Remarks on: moving to manage Rolls-Royce marine technology; scope of Rolls-Royce marine technology business. [02:20] Remarks on integrating new businesses into Rolls-Royce: enjoying challenge; Swedish Kamewa and Norwegian Ulstein companies; local nature of Scandinavian companies clashing with Rolls-Royce culture at first. [05:00] Comments on differences between marine and aircraft propulsion: comparative size of markets and scale of customers; ease of estimating potential sales of aircraft engines compared to marine business; differences in JK's role, more strategic and technical than financial. [09:19] Description of technical challenges on podded propulsors for ships and process of solving problems: design review; difficulties moving Scandinavian engineers between sites, compared to UK; colleague at SKF still working on issues. [14:43] Comments on: Rolls-Royce university technical centre at university in Stockholm; contributions of university to Rolls-Royce, facilities, staff, long term developments; senior academics challenging Rolls-Royce's ways of thinking, example of work on nickel alloys from when JK ran Cambridge university technology centre; [20:40] Colin Smith taking over from Mike Howse as main board engineering director meaning JK would be unlikely to become engineering director; JK considering other options; JK and London based husband having to commute; JK offered post as head of Institute of Physics [IOP]; career Rolls-Royce personnel's reluctance to seek opportunities outside; anecdote about JK becoming more established at Rolls-Royce. [25:31] Remarks on: reasons for joining IOP, better salary and chance to influence science policy; frustrations with IOP job, more entertaining than doing; activities of IOP, professional body for physicists, large publisher; publishing profits allowing IOP to write A-level syllabuses, promote physics and aid government programs to train physics teachers; [30:39] JK plan for IOP to become more influential in science policy; limitations of UK government approach to science and engineering, over emphasis on economists leading to lack of balance in policy circles. [33:35] Remarks on: previous involvement in committees at Rolls-Royce; increased role of IOP in debates about role of science; small size of physics communities; relationship between physics and engineering; JK head-hunted to run engineering faculty at Imperial College.
Interview with materials scientist Professor Dame Julia King