Oral history of British science

Evans, Stan (Part 2 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 2: Comments on clubs/societies at MGS/UOM. Story of starting photographic society, UOM; receiving brother’s camera. [5:04] Description of JB, 1950, including ex-army trailers called Park Royals, prefabricated buildings with wooden floors, Main Lab, heavy workshop, Polarisation Hut [PH], central field clear for aerials. Mentions working in PH with JC and Malik Das Gupta. Continued description of JB, including gaps between huts, Noise Hut [NH], receiver and transmitter rooms in each hut. Description of transmitters. Mentions diesel generators at distance from huts. Comments on role of NH. Continued description of JB, including Radiant Hut, Moon Hut. Comments on role of RH and MH. [12:45] Description of work involved in summer vacation employment, JB, 1950; JC’s design of antennas for this work. Comments on results. [15:24] Comments on own role in attending to aerials. [16:05] Comments on Roger Jennison [RJ]; ‘easy’ atmosphere of work. Mentions Mary Almond [MA], only female employee/research student; Hanbury Brown’s [HB] development of ‘sky surveys’. [18:56] Description of/comments on canteen hut/dormitory. Mentions vans used to carry staff/students; overnight work. [23:37] Comments on benign attitudes to presence of MA; single female undergraduate physicist in SE’s year at UOM; change in proportion of engineering undergraduates, University of Cambridge [UOC], from mid-1970s to present; perceived masculinity of work at JB. [29:32] Comments on and discussion of attitudes of JB staff/students to radio astronomy, including lack of pressure to demonstrate its usefulness. [32:01] Comments on BL’s style of management/leadership; freedom to pursue own lines of research; relations between research students and technician, Bill O’Reilly; rivalry with UOC radio astronomy, especially during orbit of Sputnik 1 [S1]. Mentions different characters of BL and Martin Ryle. [35:02] Mentions father’s death, 1949. Comments on mother’s view of/interest in SE’s postgraduate research. Mentions beginning of postgraduate research, JB, [1951-1954]. Detailed description of instruments used to measure heights in atmosphere of meteors. Mentions first PhD supervisor, JC. Comments on replacement PhD supervisor, TK. Comments on TK’s background/career, including his communism/TK’s own stories of events in his recent past. Story of TK using out-of-date passport. [43:07] Comments on Frederick Lindemann (Lord Cherwell) [FL], including FL’s research with Gordon Dobson [GD]; nature of GD’s interest in ozone. Story of expulsion from UOO of TK by FL; PB’s influence on BL’s appointment of TK at JB. Positive comments on TK. [45:17] Comments on organisation of ‘duty officers’ [DO] to maintain JB equipment evenings/weekends. Description of duties of DOs. Story of receiving a telegram for TK concerning trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, United States of America [US], including BL’s reaction. Mentions BL’s decision not to renew TK’s contract. Story of reading in TK’s obituary [Times 20 July 1998] reference to a Government secret agent at JB, reporting on TK; discovering identity of secret agent. Story of relations between UOC historian Christopher Andrew [CA] and Vasili Mitrokhin. Comments on CA’s ‘The Mitrokhin Archive’. [58:50] Story of TK’s group of JB research students learning Russian; later attending Russian classes in Cambridge. Further comments on TK’s Russian lessons. [1:01:56] Comments on storage efficiency of photographic film. Story of post-war selling of ex-Army electronic equipment by weight; JB’s use of this equipment, including cathode ray tubes [CRT]. Comments on use of searchlight mounts in production of steerable aerials. [1:05:10] Description of photographic recording of CRT radar echoes. [1:09:00] Comments on transition from meteor research to radio astronomy at JB; main findings of JB meteor research. Mentions image in BL/JC’s ‘Radio Astronomy’ [1952], referred to in Part 1.

  • 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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