Oral history of British science

Cartwright, David (Part 7 of 9). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Hampshire

  • Interviewees

    Cartwright, David, 1926- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 7: Mentions lecture at Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Canada, 1965. Comments on NIO, in contrast to SIO; development of RM for tide/SS prediction, NIO, from 1965; paper on RM prediction of SS, using meteorological data; relative success in predicting SSs of RM/dynamical models of ULTI. [5:02] Mentions practical development of RM SS work by UTLI student. [6:03] Story of development at NIO of sea bed pressure recorders [SBPR], including role of TT, increase in depth of deployment of SBPR, geographical range of deployed SBPRs. [10:15] Comments on method of recovering SBPRs. Mentions role of Robert Spencer [RS]; reason for passing wave research to JE. [12:48] Story of work with Klaus Hasselman [KH] on Joint North Sea Wave Project [JONSWAP]. Mentions visits to Saint Helena, south Atlantic Ocean, in relation to TOS work. Comments on transfer of wave research from self to JE. [16:44] Comments on work in calculating dissipation of tidal energy, using SBPR measurements/current measurements around UK. Story of discovery of diurnal ‘trapped wave’ affecting daily tide, Outer Hebrides continental shelf. [22:34] Mentions paper on tides in north-east Atlantic Ocean, 1980. [23:10] Comments on appointment as Assistant Director [AD] of Institute of Oceanographic Sciences (Bidston) [IOSB], 1974. Comments on formation of Institute of Oceanographic Sciences [IOS], combining Institute of Coastal Oceanography and Tides, NIO and Unit of Coastal Sedimentation [UCS], Taunton, Somerset. Mentions TT’s appointment, Assistant Director, UCS; relations between research/administration. Comments on reasons for applying post of AD, IOSB. [27:48] Comments on effect on oceanography of economic recession, mid1970s. Mentions involvement (from 1979) in discussions on satellite altimetry [SA], ESA (European Space Agency), NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), funded by SCOR; relations with Desmond King-Hele [DKH]. Comments on developments in accuracy of SA; applications of SA in oceanography/meteorology; SA measurements of tides. Mentions spatial geodesy; treatment of tides as ‘noise’ in SA of El Nino. [38:30] Comments on avoidance of sun synchronism in SA of solar tides; meetings concerning satellite orbits, from mid 1980s. [41:13] Mentions retirement, 1986; US Academy of Sciences Resident Research Associate post, Goddard Space Flight Centre [GSFC], Maryland, US, 1986-1988; SA consultancy work after 1988; scientific administrator Michel Lefebvre, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales; publications. [44:29] Comments on regret at limited involvement in JONSWAP; assistance of Hermann Bondi [HB] in keeping IOSB open; closure of UCS; HB’s advice on limits to SBPR work. Mentions deployment of SBPR from British Antarctic Survey [BAS] ships. Discussion of reason for limits to/end to WM’s plan for global network of SBPR (TOS), including success of SA. Mentions WM’s interest in Earth’s rotation, connected to tidal energy. [53:10] Detailed comments on WM’s work on acoustic thermometry [AT]. [56:51] Comments on common view of tides as a known quantity, due to familiarity with tide tables, produced by HM. [1:00:30] Further detailed comments on reasons for move from research on waves to tides, including difficulties in digitisation of wave records. [1:04:26] Description/discussion of work at NIO from 1965 on development of computer program for hourly forecasting of tides/SS, North Sea coast, including role of assistant in copying meteorological data from weather reports, use of IBM computer, Newman Street, London directly and later with data link. Mentions use of IOSB’s own computer, from 1974. [1:11:48] Mentions time taken for calculations on IBM computer, London. Comments on NIO establishment of computer on research ship Discovery. [1:14:25] Brief description/discussion of procedures for use of IBM computer, London. Mentions printed output. [1:16:01] Comments on relations between NIO and IOCT (IOSB), before 1974. Story of difficulties in relations with employee following appointment as AD, IOSB. Comments on own decision to allow IOSB staff to continue making tide predictions using traditional HM; training of certain junior staff in use of RM. [1:24:40] Comments on move of family to Wirral, Merseyside, 1974. [1:28:36] Comments on nature/level of interest of children in own work. Mentions period of work at IOS Wormley, following AD post IOSB, before retirement, IOS. Brief stories of children’s living arrangements/careers. [1:33:20] Comments on children’s impression of own work. [1:34:30] Comments on computer assistants concerned with production of tide tables using HM, IOSB. [1:37:29] Mentions manager of computing, IOSB; use of computer at Daresbury [Laboratory], Warrington, UK. [1:39:54] Comments on involvement in deployment of SBPRs. Mentions deployment Rockall; role of instrument engineer, RS. Brief description of own role on cruises to deploy SBPRs. Description of deployment/retrieval of SBPRs. Comments on ships used. Comments on/discussion of relations with ships’ Captains in organising deployment of SBPRs. [1:52:40] Comments on occasional problems of equipment malfunction. [1:54:51] Comments on relations with WM concerning TOS/SBRP work. [1:56:47] Story of 1974 international calibration exercise [ICE] for TOS, involving France, Canada, US, UK, including Russian interest in/interference with SBRPs, loss of all French SBPRs. Comments on/discussion of awareness of submarines during efforts to locate SBPRs during ICE; other incidences of SBPRs being collected by commercial ships. [2:07:02] Description of SBPR, in relation to pages 251/131, OSSAS. Comments on record of SBPR, page 180, OSSAS. [2:13:26] Brief story of seeing Sputnik 1 [S1] soon after its launch, from roof of NIO, 1957. Comments on progress in use of satellites in oceanography, including developments in satellite altimetry [SA], linked to space geodesy. [2:17:10] Description of S1, as seen from NIO roof. Comments on visual observing of S1, organised by DKH. Comments on discussion at NIO prompted by S1; popular response to S1. Mentions subsequent NASA satellites; NASA moon landing, 1969. Brief comments on developments in satellite instruments. [2:22:33] Story of visit to Southampton by Russian oceanographers, concerning salvaged oceanographic equipment, early 1970s. Mentions difficulties experienced by Russian scientists in attending international conferences; Russian publications; invitations for NIO staff to join Russian cruises, recording currents. [2:29:10] Mentions membership of committee concerned with sea level change, connected to IOSB. Comments on difficulties of measuring sea level change; assessments of sea level change using tide gauge data and records of eustatic change. Mentions retirement contemporaneous with increase in climate change [CC] work in oceanography. Comments on interest in CC modelling. Mention’s WM’s AT work; oceanographic studies of changes in currents, in relation to CC. [2:36:30] Detailed comments on role of SA in assessment of global mean sea level change, including effect of limited satellite life spans. [2:40:20] Comments on funding for oceanography, including effects of reduced budgets in 1970s and 1980s; negative perception of Margaret Thatcher’s support for oceanography/science. Mentions current recession.

  • Description

    Life story interview with oceanographer Dr David Cartwright.

  • Related transcripts

    Dr David Cartwright interviewed by Dr 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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