Oral history of British science

Moreton, Roger (Part 8 of 8). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Materials Science

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Fleet

  • Interviewees

    Moreton, Roger, 1935- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 8: Roger Moreton [RM]: clarification of later career dates. Remarks on approaching retirement: hip problem; move of RAE away from research, later sale of electron microscopes, cutbacks; changes at RAE, need to reduce number of sites of RAE and RARDE; [06:20] early successes of RAE linked to freedom of individuals' research, compared to later lack of originality; royalties from UK Carbon Fibre making firms, until US patent infringements. [08:55] Remarks on changes in the RAE: fatigue tests on Concorde; general reduction in work; move of flying to Boscombe; improvements in facilities and health and safety over course of career. [13:30] Remarks on: having no moral problems with working for MoD; RM change in RM mindset in recent years, but approved of Falklands War and unseating of Saddam Hussain, dislike of politics and dubious weapons of mass destruction claims in Iraq; nature of scientific civil servants; RM later boss Chris Peel's work on accident investigations; Queen's award for work on Aluminium and Lithium; RM disagreements with war in Afghanistan, RM frustrations that improvised explosive devices haven't been technically nullified; [20:15] RM political position, disagreement with 1970s unions; identity of scientific-civil servant, anecdote about Bill Watt's opinion; [23:00] happiest parts of career, loss of enthusiasm later in career; hop problems; feelings on retirement, membership of University of Third Age where RM ran canoeing group; RAE sailing club and annual trips; [27:20] consultancy contracts post retirement, developing lists of contacts, hollow Carbon Fibre; [31:10] RM not missing work much; anecdote about finding it easier to get out of bed in the morning post retirement; RM collection of archive paperwork; visits of politicians like Wedgewood-Benn and Stonehouse; RM considering archive paperwork deposit; RM PhD thesis. [38:05] Remarks on: uses of Carbon Fibre today in aircraft and racing cars; RM surprise at Carbon Fibre use in fishing rods; public perceptions of material scientists; radio programme 'Material World'; RM surprise at some applications of Carbon Fibre, such as horse medicine; material scientist’s view on the world. [43:40] Comments on interview process: confusion about purpose of interview, phone call from old boss Dr Glennie; desire to put view of original Carbon Fibre team on record; surprise at level of detail; limited preparation; early Carbon Fibre work stronger in his mind than later work.

  • Description

    Life story interview with materials scientist Roger Moreton.

  • Related links

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

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