Oral history of British science

Wintle, Ann (Part 9 of 11). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Cambridgeshire

  • Interviewees

    Wintle, Ann, 1948- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 9: Further comments on feelings at end of UOC funding, in context of recent development of optically stimulated luminescence dating [OSLD]. Comments on European Community [EC] funding for collaborative work in Quaternary studies/luminescence dating, including funding of own successor, UOC; application for Royal Society funded lectureship, awarded to geographer Phil Gibbard. [4:25] Comments on interview for post in Museum of National Antiquities, Edinburgh, Scotland. Story of decision to move to Isle of Arran, Scotland, to work in private luminescence dating laboratory of friend. Mentions organisation of TLD conference, [1987]. [6:22] Comments on character/background of friend with private TLD laboratory, Hugh McKerrell; husband’s view of proposed move to Isle of Arran. [9:44] Story of attending Christmas fancy dress party, GL, 1986 dressed as loess section; attending Quaternary Research Association [QRA] meeting, London in same fancy dress; invitation from David Bowen at QRA meeting to apply for geography lectureship at Royal Holloway [RH] college. [13:07] Comments on reactions of other delegates to own fancy dress at QRA meeting; GL Christmas parties; ‘egalitarian’ culture of GL. [15:34] Brief comments on funding for science in 1980s; perception of own unusual career path. [16:50] Comments on decision to move to Isle of Arran, including sense of self as not ambitious, lack of interest in administration/undergraduate teaching. [18:54] Story of preparation for undergraduate teaching on climate change, RH; establishment of TLD/OSLD dating laboratory, RH. Comments on limited nature of social life, RH/living in Windsor, London. Story of 1988 invitation to transfer to Department of Geography [DG], University of Aberystwyth [UOA]. [24:09] Story of move to Aberystwyth. Positive comments on living in Aberystwyth. [27:36] Comments on effect of relative inaccessibility of Aberystwyth; advantages of relative smallness of UOA, in relation to UOC, RH. [29:24] Description of home, Aberystwyth. [31:33] Description of time spent with husband, including walks, holidays in conjunction with scientific conferences/fieldwork. [33:30] Comments on husband JJ’s teaching in geophysics at RH, UOA; husband’s personal and technical (proofreading) support. [35:19] Story of establishing TLD/OSLD laboratory in Department of Geology, UOA, including RR. Mentions studentship; application for research grants. [38:59] Brief description of wet preparation room. Mentions inclusion of five RRs by retirement. Comments on organisation of graduate student research. [42:04] Description of RR. Mentions personal computer [PC] control of RR. [47:21] Discussion of control of RR by PC. [48:13] Description of process of interacting with RR using commands typed into PC. Comments on latter tendency not to make own measurements, but to direct graduate students in their use of PC/RR. [50:19] Description of output data from RR. Comments on computer programs for analysis of output data, including development of this software by graduate student, Geoff Duller [GD]. [53:15] Comments on method of funding laboratory technician. Story of employment of research assistant. Comments on funding of graduate students. [57:51] Description of own role as supervisor of graduate students. Comments on lack of own, individual research at UA; tendency to become second author on papers; reasons for not using RR used by graduate students. [1:01:45] Comments on methods of labelling/keeping track of samples using PC controlled RR. Description of interaction between self and graduate students, including insistence on discussion of graphs of raw data. [1:07:07] Comments on unnamed laboratories where final date, rather than appearance of raw data, appeared to have undue status. Description of steps on analysis/reduction of raw data, including decisions made about which parts of luminescence signal to consider/exclude. Detailed comments on own encouragement of calculation of ratios to identify changes in behaviour of sample; encouragement of interpretation of calculated date in relation to situation of sample in the field. [1:16:30] Mentions present number of TLD/OSLD laboratories in UK/world. Comments on perception of luminescence dating by those not involved. [1:21:03] Story of establishment of undergraduate courses on scientific techniques in observation of climate change, lake sediments, Quaternary dating techniques. Mentions nickname ‘Kate Aide’; shared third year course on atmospheric changes. Comments on finding tutorial teaching difficult. [1:25:45] Comments on challenge of teaching undergraduate geographers with limited educational background in science. [1:30:05] Comments on position as only female member of academic staff, DG, UOA. [1:31:41] Detailed comments on relations with parents during academic career. [1:36:07] Comments on work of individual graduate students: Geoff Duller, Li Shenghua, Fiona Musson, Stephen Edwards, Michele Clarke, Ian Fuller [IF], Kate Richardson, including details of OSLD of feldspar grains. [1:42:47] Story of conflict between IF’s dating of sediments at over 100,000 years old and his fundamental Christian belief in a 5500 year old Earth.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Physicist Professor Ann Wintle.

  • Related transcripts

    Professor Ann Wintle 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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