Oral history of British science

Lindgren, John. An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Cambridgeshire

  • Interviewees

    Lindgren, John, 1930- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: John Lindgren [JL] born San Francisco, US (United States of America), 22nd August 1930. Mentions separation of parents early in own childhood; single parenthood of mother. Story of life of father. [1:42] Comments on mother’s postgraduate studies in psychology, anthropology, Chinese, UOC. [2:40] Comments on teaching of science at Stowe School [SS], Buckingham, UK (United Kingdom), 1944 to 1949. [4:15] Comments on teaching of geography including minimal fieldwork, SS; use of physical geography textbook of Philip Lake. [6:11] Mentions lack of interest in/aptitude for physics at SS. [7:23] Comments on reasons for reading geography at University of Cambridge [UOC]. Mentions choice between geography and history, SS. [8:52] Mentions beginning at Trinity College [TC], UOC, 1949. Comments on status of geography in TC and UOC. Mentions higher status of geography in St Catherine’s College, UOC; classification of geography as a science. [11:47] Brief description of structure of geography undergraduate course: Historical Geography (led by Jean Mitchell, Economic Geography (led by Gus Caesar), Physical Geography (led by Vaughan Lewis [VL]), Survey. [12:52] Brief description of experience of fieldwork in undergraduate geography, UOC. Mentions geographer Ronald Peel. [15:27] Mentions Girton and Newnham female colleges, UOC. Comments on ratio of male/female undergraduates reading geography, 1944 to 1949; relations between male and female geography undergraduates in context of perception of Department of Geography as ‘sociable’. Mentions marriage to former geography undergraduate, UOC. [18:31] Mentions lack of female undergraduates on Survey course in own fourth year, UOC; relatively high proportion of female undergraduates in Historical Geography component. [20:08] Story of invitation from VL (as Tutor and Director of Studies, TC) to take part in fieldwork on Vesl-Skautbreen [glacier] [VS], near Spiterstulen, Jotunheim, Norway, 1951 [16.6.51 to 9.7.51]. Mentions awareness that fieldwork would assist research student John McCall [JM]. [22:31] Story of journey from UK to Jotunheim, Norway. Mentions provisions. [24:41] Comments on staggered arrival of other participants. Mentions memory of a single week’s work; own travel companions: Ivor Evans, Roy Wood, both of TC; arrival of other TC undergraduate, Roy Wood; shift work in digging of tunnel through VS. [25:44] Mentions task of continuing existing tunnel. Description of work of tunnelling through VS. Comments on lack of interest (at the time) in glaciological research on VS; JM’s organisation of fieldwork. [28:22] Description of physical sensation of using pick axe on ice. Mentions small size of digging shifts. [30:25] Comments on time spent when not digging. Story of last day; journey home. [32:38] Comments on lack of female geography undergraduates involved. [33:14] Mentions lack of memory of presence of/visits from academics. Comments on JM. Mentions games played at home of VL. Description of one such game. [35:40] Comments on limited relations with local people during fieldwork, Norway. Brief story of visit to field site of Norwegian girls. Mentions photograph of this visit. [37:30] Description of camp next to VS, including two large central tents. Comments on evening singing; lack of physical discomfort. [41:15] Description of tunnel. [42:19] Brief comments on Demonstrators in Department of Geography, UOC, Jean Clark and Dick Grove. [44:01] Comments on relations with VL. Mentions UOC geographer Alfred Steers [AS]. Comments on geographer Frank Debenham. Brief story of third year coastal fieldwork, north Norfolk, UK led by AS. [47:26] Story of Survey fieldwork near Southwold, Suffolk, UK. Comments on relations between Survey course and careers in Colonial Survey, with related story of own career in Africa.

  • Description

    Interview with geographer John Lindgren.

  • Related transcripts

    John Lindgren 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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