Oral history of British science

Woods, John (Part 3 of 7). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Geophysics; Oceanography

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee’s home Genova, Italia

  • Interviewees

    Woods, John, 1939- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 3: Comments on development of numerical weather forecasting, including contribution of LR. Brief story of development/practice of numerical weather forecasting, MO, including pre-lunchtime evaluations. Mentions contemporary Director of Research [DOR], John Sawyer [JS]. Comments on spatial limits of MO numerical weather forecast in 1960s; expansion to global scale, 1970s. Mentions Global Atmospheric Research Programme [GARP]. [6:31] Story of role of inmates of Broadmoor prison in punching cards for MO numerical weather forecasting. Mentions development of ten level weather forecasting model by Fred Bushby. Story of JS’s appointment to MO. Positive comments on JS’s influence as MO DOR, with related story of inspiration to look for weather fronts in the ocean (ocean fronts [OF]). Comments on freedom to discuss Admiralty work in MO. [14:24] Story of development of own investigations of ocean ‘weather’ [OW]. Description of MO aircraft, with related story of former use in Royal Air Force [RAF]; operation of smoke flares. Story of detection of OFs in Ionian Sea by sea surface temperature changes detected by MO airborne infrared sensor, marked with smoke flares. [21:24] Story of use of squadron of rescue ships to take measurements of OF, Malta, including role of Nic Flemming [NF]. [25:53] Story of development of theory of OW; writing of paper on OW for JS; escalation of military interest in OW, leading to NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] research; exclusion from further developments. [33:03] Story of continuing, as Professor of Physical Oceanography [PPO], University of Southampton [UOS], pursuit of submarine sonar/OW research through research of officers of RN Meteorological and Oceanographic Service; effect of this research in neutralising weapon of Russian Navy. [39:25] Description of form/behaviour of OFs, in relation to ocean temperature profile data, with related story of discarded data.

  • Description

    Interview with physicist and oceanographer Professor John Woods

  • Related transcripts

    Professor John Woods 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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