Oral history of British science

Forrest, Michael (Part 3 of 14). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Abingdon

  • Interviewees

    Forrest, Michael, 1934- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 3: Description of West Mon Grammar School: boys' boarding school; mix of teachers; headmaster trying to push bright pupils into arts not sciences; rugby school, with classes with Pontypool rugby captains; MF taking up swimming after an injury; MF enjoying, Biology and English due to good teachers; variable quality of maths and science teachers; geography, woodwork, chemistry, art. [06:40] Remarks on school: English master being best teacher; teaching of sciences; anecdote about bad French teacher; reasons why MF was attracted to science; typical science classes, experiments; [11:45] biology, chemistry, most attracted to physic due to tangible qualities; limited thoughts on future whilst at school; no awareness of atomic issues whilst at school; school results, B's more than A's; A-levels, deciding he wanted into engineering. [15:08] Remarks on start at School of Mines in Pontypridd: strong engineering background; interview; sandwich course with six months in industry; transferring to physics courses; interest in photograph being good for knowledge of optics; placements with Rolls Royce and Electricity Authority, anecdote about measuring efficiency of new power station boiler. [20:30] Remarks on: thermocouples used to test temperature; clarification of college progress; anecdote about measuring smoke released by boiler for Electrical Authority; value of placements in giving MF experience of hand on experiments and learning to work with others. [23:15] Remarks on content of initial mechanical engineering course: mechanics, electrics, technical drawing, City and Guilds workshop practice; MF not wanting to be a colliery engineer so transferring to physics. [25:43] Remarks on placement at Rolls Royce: short apprenticeship course, where he had to make a set of bevel gears; anecdote about apprenticeship examination; measuring hot spots in jet engine combustion chamber on Conway bypass engine; 100 hour reliability tests on engines. [31:20] Anecdote about meeting Frank Whittle and Rolls Royce chairman Lord Hives whilst running 100 hour test, chatting to Hives and Whittle later, Hives interest in sandwich course. [35:45] Remarks on: sandwich course experience; university funding.

  • Description

    Life story interview with physicist Dr Michael Forrest.

  • Related transcripts

    Dr Michael Forrest interviewed by Thomas Lean: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

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

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