Oral history of British science
Evans, Stan (Part 3 of 12). An Oral History of British Science.
The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
Legal and ethical usage »
The British Library
Evans, Stanley, 1929- (speaker, male)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
Part 3: Comments on influence on self of JB. [0:53] Story of visits to JB of amateur visual observer of meteors, Manning Prentice [MP] [of British Astronomical Association], including description of MP’s method of observing position of meteor trails relative to stars. [7:44] Detailed description of methods of photographic recording of radio-echoes as displayed on CRTs. Mentions Nicolai Herlofson, JB, in relation to theory of ionization of upper atmosphere caused by meteors. Comments on correlation between radio-echoes and visual observation of meteors. [14:52] Comments on own work on determining height at which meteors burn up in atmosphere/deducing density of atmosphere; debates over origin of sporadic meteors. [18:20] Brief comments on Ted Irving’s work on geomagnetism, JB. Comments on influence of PB on credibility among physicists of theory of continental drift [CD]. [20:40] Comments on enjoyment of assembling instruments from piles of war-surplus equipment at JB; childhood construction of radio equipment using war-surplus components. [23:40] Comments on limits to influence of WW2/military service on atmosphere/organisation of work at JB; WW2 service of JB employees; HB’s involvement in development of Chain Home Low air defence radar array, late 1930s. Mentions PB’s lack of interest, when recruiting, in formal qualifications; research student Sandy Murray’s [SM] status as Naval officer; RJ’s former service as Royal Air Force officer. Comments on military service of other JB staff/students; use of military terminology/equipment, JB. [31:18] Story of beginnings of National Service as Scientific Officer in Royal Naval Scientific Service, at Royal Naval Torpedo Experimental Establishment [RNTEE], Gourock, Inverclyde, 1954-55. Comments on details of work in acoustic steering/detection of torpedoes, including effect on velocity of sound waves of variations in water temperature, performance of electric torpedoes, trials; enjoyment of opportunities for sailing. Story of acquiring a shared holiday cottage, Loch Ailort, west coast of Scotland [WCS], 1955. Comments on regard for landscape of WCS. [42:35] Description of own work at RNTEE in developing acoustic simulator. Mentions work of own research student at NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) research establishment, Italy. [46:41] Comments on role of observers in PhD examinations. Story of origin of invitation to be interviewed for inclusion in IGY (International Geophysical Year). Comments on senior scientists involved in Royal Society committees planning British contribution to IGY: Jack Ratcliffe [JR], David Martin [DM] (Executive Secretary, RS), Lord Adrian (President RS), James Wordie [JW] (Chair of RS/IGY Antarctic Subcommittee). Story of JW’s involvement in Ernest Shackleton’s [ES] Trans Antarctic Expedition [1914-1917] on ‘Endurance’; JW’s expeditions to east Greenland. [55:03] Story of role of DM/JW in securing own release from RNREE to join RS Antarctic Expedition [RSAE] (‘Advance Party’) to Vahsel Bay, Antarctica [1955-1957]; interview involving conversation with JW’s wife, Lady Wordie. Comments on aims of RSAE, including building of hut; members of RSAE; own responsibility for operating All Sky Auroral Camera [ASAC] and Dobson Spectrophotometer [DS]. [1:00:05] Comments on GD’s interest in measuring ozone; distribution of DSs in northern hemisphere; RSAE’s aim to measure ozone in Antarctica, ≥75 degrees latitude south.
Life story interview with Physicist Dr Stan Evans.