Oral history of British science

Cartwright, David (Part 9 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 9: Comments on effect on career of becoming Fellow of the Royal Society [FRS], [1984]. Mentions use of Royal Society [RS] library/other libraries in writing of book ‘Tides: A Scientific History’ [2000] [TASH]. [5:18] Comments on own personal reaction to election, FRS; award of DSc, 1969, through submission of published papers, with related story. Mentions election as Fellow of American Geophysical Union [AGU]. [11:14] Story of origin of post as Resident Research Associate [RRA], US Academy of Sciences, GSFC, [1986-1988], through relations with Jim Marsh [JM], GSFC. [15:07] Comments on focus of JM’s group, GSFC, on determining geoid shape from SA [NASA Geosat]. [16:06] Detailed comments on own work (with assistant), GSFC, in identifying tides from SA [NASA Geosat]. Mentions comparison of tide measurements of SA and SBPRs. Comments on French/US global tide modelling. [24:17] Comments on orbital tracks of Geosat; methods of determining tides from Geosat SA data. Discussion of these methods. Mentions comparison of SBPR/SA measurements of sea surface height; techniques of space geodesy for locating satellite. [29:47] Comments on role of assistant, GSFC; living arrangements in Greenbelt, Maryland, US. Mentions visits to scientific meetings, including AGU; private travel in US with wife. [36:35] Comments on working environment, GSFC. Mentions meetings on SA; satellite geodesy; polar oceanography group; plans for future satellite, TOPEX[/Poseidon] [TP]. Comments on selection of orbital characteristics for satellites, including repetition rate. Mentions own co-written paper on satellite orbits. Comments on tendency for ESA to favour sun synchronous satellite orbits. [45:26] Comments on decision making in choice of satellite orbits; tendency for ESA satellites to be placed in higher altitude orbits than NASA satellites, due to research interests of Scandinavian oceanographers; development of SA allowing tracking of El Nino. [56:58] Comments on access to SA data through assistant, GSFC; study of internal tide using TP SA data. [1:00:50] Comments on contribution to AT work, US. Story of objections to AT of international biological organisation. [1:10:04] Comments on scale of WM’s oceanographic research programmes, compared to those of GD, including mention of WM’s character. [1:16:58] Comments on consultancy work in retirement, concerning tides/SA. [1:21:14] Comments on writing of TASH [2000]; subsequent books of others on history of scientific work on tides. [1:24:22] Story of reduction in scientific activity since mid 1990s. [1:25:48] Comments on participation in hikes of South Downs Society following retirement; limits to physical exercise recently. Mentions loss of interest in piano playing; encouragement of granddaughter’s piano playing; attendance of music festivals; reading/listening to music; perceived end to own scientific career; WM’s continuing work in oceanography. [1:29:28] Mentions reading of literature. Story of/detailed comments on own interest in archaeoastronomy, including visits to megalithic sites. Mentions brief membership of society for history of astronomy; favoured authors in archaeoastronomy, Alexander Thom/[Douglas] Heggie. [1:39:20] Further comments on reading of literature/poetry/plays. Brief story of recent performance of Henrik Ibsen play. [1:42:59] Comments on reasons for/nature of own interest in archaeoastronomy. [1:46:34] Comments on perception of own archive; autobiographical notes written for RS. Mentions own writing of others’ RS Biographical Memoirs.

  • 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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