Oral history of British science
Moreton, Roger (Part 3 of 8). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee's home, Fleet
Moreton, Roger, 1935- (speaker, male)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 3: Roger Moreton [RM] ,remarks on Cambridge University: RM attending Selwyn college; impressions of Selwyn, seemed old fashioned when RM went to interview; living arrangements; life in college, akin to boarding school, religious aspect; small college size meaning they were disadvantaged at sports; anecdote about rowing team getting extra food. [05:20] Remarks on student pastimes: many society invitations, but RM not joining many; playing rugby, tennis, squash, cricket; more recent interests in boating. [07:50] Remarks on: friends at university, mainly from grammar schools; differences between former grammar and public school pupils; former army friend Keith Kent, at Downing College. [12:10] Remarks on university course: similarity of first year work to school work; anecdote about working hard out of lectures; feeling tested maths; practical classes; crystallography; enjoying physics, chemistry metallurgy; supervisions with Tony Kelly; advantages of tutorial system. [17:45] Remarks on: working arrangements; revising with previous exam papers; mainly working individually; talking with other students. [20:20] Remarks on friends: Roger Harrison, Exhibitioner Scholarship who read Latin at dinner; Bill Easterbrook, eventually worked for IBM, then became financier on Wall Street, met at recent college reunion, played squash and golf with RM; [25:50] later meeting Roger Harrison on work visits to University of Bath; staying in touch with John Hughes. [27:50] Remarks on: reasons for deciding to specialise on metallurgy, attraction of Alan Cottrell and Tony Kelly, gradually losing interest in physics; putting off thoughts on post university career; job offers from English Electric and Steel Company when he graduated, but choosing worst paid job at RAE; applying for jobs whilst at university; interested most in RAE or EE jobs as there was a wide range of topics to work on; [32:55] anecdote about godfather's opinion on his career choice; parent's opinions on his occupation; not knowing much about RAE before he started work; social environment at RAE; interviews and visits to RAE; similarity of high temperature materials department to university metallurgy work; head of department's desire to continue working on pure science; work on thermal efficiency coefficients, useful in space and rocket work; [39:15] previous work at Farnborough on Carbon for high temperature applications, such as rocket nozzles and nuclear reactors. [41:22] Remarks on RM first job at RAE: coating molybdenum with silicon carbide coats; possible application of work to silencers for Fairey Rotodyne aircraft; RM visits to Fairey test rig at White Waltham. [45:55] Remarks on starting at RAE Farnborough in 1959: knowing what he was going to be working on before he started; starting rank of scientific officer; salary, career prospects; possible problems on working with coatings, such as flaws and interactions with refractory metals. [50:50] Remarks on Carbon Fibre: whisker deposits occasionally forming during his coating work; work elsewhere in department looking for replacements for glass fibre; description of a whisker, a single crystal; possible use of Asbestos in glass fibre as a glass replacement; search for a fibre stiffer than glass; possibilities for carbon coatings; description of pyrolytic graphite crystal structure, as used in rocket nozzles; Bill Watt and possibilities for a useful material; [58:05] earlier work of Roger Bacon in USA making graphite whiskers with good properties; existing methods for making poor property Carbon Fibre from textiles; William Watt transferring RM from coating work to look at ways of making whiskers; not knowing about Roger Bacon's work at Union Carbide until later;
Life story interview with materials scientist Roger Moreton.