Oral history of British science
Lindgren, John. An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee's home, Cambridgeshire
Lindgren, John, 1930- (speaker, male)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
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.
Interview with geographer John Lindgren.