Oral history of British science
Hoare, Tony (Part 9 of 15). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee’s home, Cambridge
Hoare, Charles Antony Richard, 1934- (speaker, male)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 9: Remarks on Queens University Belfast: heavy workload as TH was also head of computer service; anecdote about keeping work diary; story about disagreement with computer service manager Jim Brooks and chair of university computer committee, leading to split off of computing service and departure of computer service manager and committee chair; TH surprise at having to quickly prepare a course for following year. [04:45] Remarks on computing staff: lecturers Mike Pengelly and Roy Nelson; programmers, Jim Welsh, Ron Warn, Fred McBride; Jim Brookes later becoming secretary of BCS; Mike Pengelly and Roy Nelson's move to Open University and Jim Welsh's departure. [07:00] Remarks on The Troubles: moving to Belfast just before first demonstrations; anecdote about finding 'Belfast Telegraph' incomprehensible; not expecting trouble before they moved to Belfast; Prime Minister Brian Faulkner, Reverend Ian Paisley and wife's concerns over moving to Belfast. [10:15] Remarks on: nice university house in Mount Pleasant; enjoying nearby countryside; recreational activities, walking, social life; friends Don Fey and Mike McKay; Christmas cards; balance of work between Professor of Computer Science and Head of Computing Service;. [13:20] Remarks on computing service: purchase of new British ICL computer; rationing of computer time between departments, anecdote about worrying about chairman of computing committee; users, scientists, mathematicians, chemists; computing committee, application for computer time; University Grants Committee’s buy British policy leading to purchase of ICL computer; activities, mainly reading and writing. [18:48] Comments on setting up undergraduate degree in computer science: wild-card subject options, course options, benefits of being part of a larger school; anecdote about Science Faculty resource allocation favouring departments with high student loads, leading to computer science expansion. [23:40] Remarks on: science degree number of years; arguments that Catholic secondary schools were less capable of producing university standard pupils; limited amount of sectarianism in university life; TH repeating lecture after one day strike by Catholic students; Ulster Council Strike, anecdote about student's exam results benefiting from strikes; students' reactions to troubles, keen to study, taking jobs close to family in Northern Ireland, student union's neutrality; anecdote about TH calling himself an atheist; [30:00] attitudes to him being English in Northern Ireland, generally glad he has chosen to stay, anecdote about Taxi driver tipping him, only once experiencing prejudice. [31:45] Remarks on undergraduate teaching course: first software and hardware courses, programming; course on program verification; anecdote about students appreciating value of theory after industry placements; value of industry placements for students and university; student numbers; anecdote about positive response to a student from local industry; student activities on industry placements. [38:40] Remarks on replacing departed staff: recruiting people who were not previously academics, such as Don Fey from Ford; recruitment from other departments.
Interview with computer scientist Sir Tony Hoare.