Oral history of British science

Evans, Stan (Part 6 of 12). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Geophysics; Physics

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Suffolk

  • Interviewees

    Evans, Stanley, 1929- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 6: Comments on assistant to SPRI librarian HK: Ann Savours [AS]; own first research student, Michael Walford [MW]. Mentions building first RES equipment with MW. Brief description of valve technology in first RES receiver. Comments on reasons for use of valves in RES transmitter until early 1970s. [4:20] Comments on casing for RES equipment; recording on Teledeltos paper; testing of RES equipment in Antarctica, 1963. Mentions aerial used. [7:14] Story of plotting out RES records by hand, at different scales, on SPRI museum floor, including recognition of ‘overlapping hyperbolas’ [OH]. Description of OH, including significance. Comments on advantage of later continuous recording method. [10:57] Mentions RES testing, GIS, 1963. Comments on range of sounding methods in use, GIS, 1963. [12:11] Brief story of RES testing, GIS, 1964, including confirmation of improved penetration in colder ice. [13:09] Comments on TA, SPRI. Story of meeting future wife, Margaret Elbo [MEL]; MEL’s academic background, WW2 work in OSS (Office of Strategic Services), post-war career as librarian in Department of Geography, UOC. [17:19] Comments on research interests/SPRI employment of MEL’s first husband, John Elbo [JE]. Mentions JE’s death, 1954; MEL/JE’s daughter Clare. [19:57] Comments on MEL’s employment in OSS, WW2, with related story. [22:11] Comments on different roles of self and GR in success of SPRI RES. Story of unsuccessful attempt to persuade Ministry of Defence (Air) to provide aircraft for RES testing, early 1960s; origin of collaboration in airborne RES with Canadian Defence Research Board [CDRB], including role of Geoffrey Hattersley Smith [GHS]. Comments on Canadian ‘Arctic Shelf’ research project, focused on Northwest Territories [NWT]. [29:25] Comments on relations with pilots of light aircraft, hired by CDRB. Description of aerials attached to single engine de Havilland Otter [DHO] aircraft. [31:52] Mentions trial flights, Canada, 1965. Story of airborne RES work, 1966, Ellesmere Island, Canada, including research student Julian Paren’s [JP] separateness on Axel Heiberg Island, own use of step attenuator to keep echo strength within recordable range, experience of seeing echo alter in relation to flight down Gilman Glacier. [37:04] Story of developing films of RES records/writing draft of ‘Glacier Depth Sounding from the Air’ [GDSFTA] at Alert [correction: Eureka] weather station, Canada. Mentions GR’s input to paper GDSFTA; submission to /publication of paper by journal ‘Nature’. [40:15] Comments on effect of GDSFTA ‘Nature’ paper in origins of collaboration with US National Science Foundation [NSF]. Mentions role of Larry Gould [LG], NSF. [41:00] Comments DCRB’s interest in establishing a presence in the NWT, with related story; development of RES by ASC; pursuit of RES by Charles Bentley, Geophysical and Polar Research Center [GPRC], University of Wisconsin [UW], Madison, Wisconsin, US; longstanding role of TR in development of RES, SPRI. [47:25] Comments on reaction to/reception of RES by glaciologists. [51:06] Comments on US logistics, GIS, 1964. Description of Camp Century [CC], GIS, 1964. Comments on problems of tunnel integrity; view of US operations of Borge Fristrup [BF], Danish geographer at CC. Mentions development of RES by BF/Preben Gudmandsen [PG], Technical University of Denmark [TUD]. Comments on assistance of PG in development of SPRI RES equipment; decision to build RES equipment in SPRI/TUD collaboration. [58:30] Story of PG securing NSF logistics for TUD RES in Arctic. Comments on beginnings of climate change interest in GIS; ice cores as record of past climates; use of RES in directing drilling for ice cores. [1:01:35] Description of technical improvements to SPRI RES equipment made through relations with TUD. [1:03:37] Comments on development of RES equipment by BAS, 1970s, including ‘coherent receiver’ [CR]. Description of operation of CR. Mentions development of related equipment by JN/MW. [1:08:50] Mentions RES meeting Copenhagen. Comments on approach of Soviet Union [SU] to RES; use by SU of US RES equipment, made by Hughes company. Detailed comments on book on RES [Bogorodsky VV, Bentley CR and Gudmandsen PE 1985 Radioglaciology Dordrecht, Reidel], with related stories concerning working/private relations with PG. Comments on RES, SU. [1:17:08] Story of writing review of RES for Institute of Physics [Dowdeswell JA and Evans S 2004 Investigations of the form and flow of ice sheets and glaciers using radio-echo sounding Reports on Progress in Physics 67 1821-1861]. Mentions lack of comment from PG on this review. [1:22:00] Mentions use by GPRC, UW and Japanese Antarctic researchers of SPRI RES equipment, built by TR; TR’s commercial success in producing central heating controllers. [1:23:26] Mentions Jack Rinker, US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. Brief comments on technical sophistication of current US RES; reasons for NSF support for SPRI (not GPRC) RES. [1:25:43] Brief comments on military use of ‘radar’. Mentions Swiss interest in RES, related to hydrological/hydroelectric projects.

  • 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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