Oral history of British science

Smith, Norman (Part 4 of 6). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Surrey

  • Interviewees

    Smith, Norman, 1924- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 4: Comments on marriage to Jeverly Lightfoot [JL], 1948; JL’s work at NIO in1960s; nature and extent of wife’s interest in/assistance with oceanographic work. [3:45] Comments on shared interest in walking. [4:55] Comments on nature of own interest in politics/voting choices. Comments on/discussion of time spent with son (b.1953)/daughter [Diana] (b.1955), including details of car ownership. Story of setting son mathematical problem concerning mowing; son’s work with DC at NIO; son’s academic achievements/career in UK Meteorological Office [MO]. [12:14] Story of daughter’s academic achievements/career/marriage. [13:40] Comments on making of toys for children; nature/extent of children’s interest in oceanographic work, including story of daughter’s letter received on a scientific cruise. Mentions work related visits to United States of America [US]/Germany. Comments on communication with family during scientific cruises. [17:42] Further detailed comments on work with FC on AC of seawater, including designation of a ‘standard seawater’. [21:00] Comments on good relations between GW/NIO scientists. Discussion of communication between scientists and technicians in oceanographic research. [25:00] Story of move of NIO to Wormley, Surrey [1953], including own role in supervising construction/outfitting of laboratories. [28:00] Description of layout/interior of NIO building, Wormley, including own workspace. Comments on female scientific assistant, Pam Edwards, including her role on Royal Research Ship Discovery [D]. [33:10] Comments on use of experimental tanks at NPL and Admiralty Experiment Works [AEW], Haslar, Gosport, Hampshire; long towing tank at NIO, Wormley. [34:44] Comments on/description of Computer Section [CS], NIO; use of the CS. Description of use of CF to reproduce wave records for FWA. [38:50] Further comments on own role/scientists’ roles on 1955 D2 cruise. [40:10] Brief description of operation of the Shipborne Wave Recorder [SBWR]. Brief discussion of same. [42:13] Comments on own role in studies of ship motion on oil tankers using PRBs/CLBs; value of this work. Story of conversation with Shell oil tanker Captain. Brief story of particular oil tanker study. [45:45] Story of study of ship motion on oil tanker travelling from Grangemouth, Falkirk, Scotland to Montreal, Canada, commissioned by British Ship Research Organisation [BSRO]. Comments on working relations with mathematician/oceanographer Michael Longuet-Higgins [MLH]. [49:59] Comments on involvement in development of the Geological Long Range Inclined ASDIC [GLORIA], including design of valves, adaption of wire wave recorders for measurement of water level, adaption of PRB for measurement of movement. Mentions Stuart Rusby. [53:51] Story of assisting John Swallow [JS] with operation of his Swallow Floats [SFs] on a scientific cruise. Description of process of locating deployed SFs. [58:57] Comments on crew including assistance of Netman (Dick Burt) and Bosun (Harry Moreton). [1:00:35] Description of/operation of a SF. [1:02:17] Story of involvement in 1963 International Indian Ocean Expedition [IIOE] on D, ending at Aden due to illness. [1:04:06] Brief comments on Betty Kirtley, member of IIOE. [1:05:28] Story of development of Airborne Sea and Swell Recorder [ASSR] at ARE, Malvern, early 1960s, including role of [?] Clegg in designing slot antenna for radar; own use of ASSR attached to R4D aircraft in US, including additional use of bathythermograph in tight circle of R4D; testing of ASSR at RAE using large boards; use of ASSR with JD in flight on Lancaster Mk. 1 from Fleetwood, Blackpool to near Dublin. Description of ASSR. Discussion of own role in developing ASSR, including further details of testing at RAE. [1:15:40] Further description of testing of ASSR in flights from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution [WHOI], Massachusetts to Miami, US, including description of installation of ASSR in R4D. Comments on use of pen recorder, recording phase difference between outgoing and incoming radio signal. Mentions collaboration with Imperial College, University of London in measurement of waves/fetch at Loch Neagh, Scotland. Story of meeting Henry Charnock HC at LN. [1:21:06] Comments on own role in inducting/training new members of staff, NIO. Further description of work on AC, 1970s. Mentions photograph of AC equipment.

  • Description

    Interview with electronics engineer and oceanographic technician Norman Smith

  • Related transcripts

    Norman Smith interviewed by Paul Merchant: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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