Oral history of British science

Evans, Stan (Part 1 of 12). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Geophysics; Physics

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    The British Library

  • Interviewees

    Evans, Stanley, 1929- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Stanley Evans [SE] born Bredbury, Cheshire, [11th November], 1929. Comments on life of father, including military service World War [WW1]; reaction to WW2, including tendency to work long hours as railway accountant, lack of family holidays, growing of vegetables. Comments on father’s death, attributed by family to over-work. [3:40] Comments on lack of knowledge of father’s early life/parents. [4:24] Comments on family holidays, 1930s, including climbing of Ben Nevis; memories of father gardening; Christmas present from father, 1942: Lancelot Hogben’s ‘Science for the Citizen’. [7:20] Discussion of lack of knowledge of father. [8:23] Comments on mother, including large family living close-by; maternal grandparents. [10:00] Mentions move to Romiley, Stockport, aged 5. Comments on childhood play in local landscapes. [11:33] Description of family home. Romiley. [13:23] Detailed story of older brother’s career in forestry. [21:22] Story of cycling tour in Scotland with brother/friend, during WW2. [23:10] Comments on sights/sounds ofWW2, linked to memories of preparatory school [PS] for Manchester Grammar School [MGS]. [25:33] Comments on teaching and learning, PS, including details of physics teaching. [28:12] Comments on MGS, including performance in School Certificate [SC], leading to promotion to form aiming for University of Oxford [UOO]/University of Cambridge [UOC]; physics teaching of Roger Stone [RS], Sixth Form, including details of practical work. [32:03] Mentions lack of geography teaching, MGS. Comments on art teaching, MGS, including drawing stuffed birds in ‘Art Hall’ [AH] with teacher/artist Charles Tunnicliffe [CT]. Mentions ‘Museum’ and library, MGS. Description of AH, MGS. [38:04] Comments on English literature classes, MGS, including roles in plays. Comments on reaction to first female teachers, MGS. [40:59] Comments on mother’s regular/father’s rare church attendance; lack of own church attendance. Comments on school assemblies. [43:18] Detailed comments level/extent/nature of own religious beliefs. [46:54] Comments on parents’ valuing of education, including story of father’s interest in MGS report cards. [48:57] Comments on own lack of rebellious behaviour. [49:40] Comments on parents’ political views, including father’s opposition to strikes. Story of conversation with father concerning politicians. [52:12] Story of contacting/meeting former teacher, RS; application to Trinity College, UOC. Mentions state scholarship to University of Manchester [UOM]. [57:20] Comments on streamed teaching of sciences, Sixth Form, MGS; teaching of chemistry. [59:24] Mentions not studying biological sciences at any stage. [1:00:57] Comments on application to UOM. Comments on teaching of physics, UOM [1948-1951], including mathematics teaching of James Lighthill [JL]; proximity of Physics Department, Engineering Department, Dental Laboratory; Austyn Mair’s [AM] wind tunnel fluid mechanics experiments. [1:06:01] Mentions John Maddox’s [JM] tutorials. Positive comments on lectures on Jodrell Bank [JB] of John Clegg [JC]. Story of seeing photograph of record of radio echo of meteor trail entering atmosphere. Comments on JB research described by JC. [1:10:20] Story of establishment/development of JB, involving Bernard Lovell [BL], Patrick Blackett [PB]. [77:54] Mentions own work, JB, 1950 as vacation student [VS]. Continued story of development of research, JB including disuse of transmitters, 1950s. Comments on own work as VS on meteor heights, 1950. [1:20:50] Description of interaction of particles (of known velocity) with material of upper atmosphere. [1:22:55] Story of seeking from PB grant for postgraduate work, JB [1951-1954]. [1:23:45] Comments on JC’s involvement in development of/research at JB; JC’s character. Mentions BL and JC’s ‘Radio Astronomy’ [1952]; JC’s move from JB to PB’s rock geomagnetism group. [87:20] Story of visiting JC at PB’s laboratory of Imperial College, University of London at Virginia Water [VW] on own return from Halley Bay [HB], Antarctica, 1957. Comments on research at VW; UOM lecturers in geophysics including Keith Runcorn [KR]; geomagnetism research, including that of Ted Irving [TI] at JB. Story of development of theory of sea-floor spreading. [1:35:04] Story of offering to collect rock samples for JC. Mentions recent conversation about BL with Hermann Bondi. Comments on differences between BL/JC. Mentions PhD supervisor, Tom Kaiser [TK]. [1:41:02] Comments on relative rurality/remoteness of JB. [1:43:33] Further comments on AM’s wind tunnels. Description of JM’s tutorials. Mentions Barbara Maddox’s books. Comments on own Manchester Guardian newspaper articles on experience of HB, 1956-1957. [1:53:51] Comments on JL’s character/appearance; styles of lecturing. Mentions PB’s lectures on cosmic rays.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Physicist Dr Stan Evans.

  • Related transcripts

    Dr Stan Evans 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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