Oral history of British science

Williams, Carol (Part 5 of 9). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Recording locations

    The British Library, London

  • Interviewees

    Williams, Carol, 1939- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 5: Comments on relations with parents, late 1960s; funding of PhD; reasons for focus on MA in NEA/BOB. Brief story of work on GA, with colleague Geoff Day, involving identification of extension of Cornish granites. [5:44] Story of participation in RS geographical/geophysical survey of Aldabra Atoll [AA], IO. Description of magnetometer and gravimeter used, AA. Comments on relations with local porters, AA. Story of return from AA to UK. [24:57] Comments on analysis of AA data. Description of use of ‘Punch and Judy Machine’ to rescale maps. Mentions publications, 1971, including paper with DM on ‘Evolution of the North East Atlantic’ [ENA]. Comments on presentation of own PhD research at 1971 RS meeting on PT; paper by DM/John Sclater on evolution of IO. [30:42] mentions own BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) broadcasts. Story of involvement in BBC programme on PT written by Nigel Calder [NC] ‘Restless Earth’ [RE], including assistance of colleague Alan Smith [AS], use of model globe with moveable continents. [33:05] Comments on nature/extent of involvement in Mediterranean DGG cruises. Story of fundraising for/commissioning of portrait of TB by Ruskin Spear. Mentions submission of thesis, 1971. [37:14] Comments of identification of fossil triple junction, BOB, including related ‘Nature’ publication. [38:02] Comments on supervision of DDM/DM during PhD; development of DDM’s interest in seismic reflection/refraction. [40:42] Comments on roles of self and DM in ENA paper; role of research assistants in related work. [43:15] Story of origin of involvement in BBC World Service broadcasts. Story/description of participation in RE programme. Mentions David Attenborough; John Lynch. Comments on assistance of AS. [48:26] Description of filming of model globe with moveable continents. Comments on character/motivations of Nigel Calder. [53:05] Comments on 1971 RS meeting. [Closed between 53:16 - 55:12] [55:12] Story of origin of postdoctoral work, University of Toronto [UOT], 1973, involving production of educational film scripts for Canadian television. Comments on character/achievements of Tuzo Wilson. Brief description of film scripts. [1:01:43] Story of accepting post at LDEO as ‘Scientific Coordinator of JOIDES (Joint Oceanographic Institutions Deep Earth Sampling)’, the scientific committee of the Deep Sea Drilling Project [DSDP]. Comments on previous Project Mohole. Description of role in JOIDES, including writing of ‘JOIDES Journal’ and scientific work on drilling ship Glomar Challenger [GC]. Mentions final publication on BOB; other publications. [1:07:22] Story of employment options following JOIDES position. Mentions boyfriend; period of work DGG; work as Open University [OU] tutor; own study for MBA (Master of Business Administration), 1980s; work as tour guide for Cambridge Tours. Story of accepting research post, OU, 1977. [1:12:16] Comments on DM’s research, late 1970s, including work on formation of sedimentary basins. Mentions published paper on OU research. [1:13:15] Comments on/discussion of reasons for resuming position as RA to DDM, 1978. Mentions end to relationship with boyfriend. [1:16:67] Description of GC; operation of drilling; examination/storage of ocean cores [OC]. Mentions own measurements of acoustic velocity [AV] of OC. Comments on own measurements of anisotropy of OC/relations between AV and ‘reflection profile’; need for rapid measurements on drying OC. Description of OC. [1:23:11] Comments on scientists examining different aspects of OC. Mentions international team of scientists; food on GC. [1:24:13] Comments on positive effect on Russian scientists of participation in DSDP. Comments on senior Russian scientist Vladimir Belousov [VB]. Story of relations with Russian scientists on DSDP. [1:27:55] Comments on effect on DGG of retirement of TB; responsibilities as RA, DGG, from 1978. [1:30:00] Comments on end to DGG pendulum gravity [PG] measurements, coincident with death of BB, related to development of satellite remote sensing. Story of donation of DGG PG instrument and two sets of pendulums to Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge. [1:35:29] Comments on leisure activities 1970s, including rowing/sailing. Mentions marriage, 1978; purchase of house. Comments on/discussion of DDM’s disapproval of rowing hobby. Story of meeting husband, through mixed rowing; development of husband’s interest in sailing. [1:44:01] Comments on TB’s illness; farewell party for TB, 1980. [1:45:44] Story of participation in 1981 on geophysical cruise, led by geophysicists from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, including formality onboard, comments on Dutch marine geophysics. Comments on role in RS meeting on sedimentary basins, including editing of publication. [1:50:56] Story of lecture to International Ocean Institute concerning marine geophysics in relation to United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS]. Comments on contemporary economic interest in deep sea manganese nodules. Mentions AL’s underwater camera. [Closed between 1:55:28 – 1:56:13] [1:56:19] Mentions possibility of end to DGG position, 1982. Discussion of reasons for not accepting new post on DSDP. Comments on husband’s view of own career in geophysics. [1:58:36] Comments on Balzan Prize for DM/FV, 1982. Comments on own work, early 1980s; effect on DGG of amalgamation within Department of Earth Sciences [DES], UOC. Mentions own publications. Story of European Geotraverse, funded by European Science Foundation. [2:02:56] Mentions purchase of boat. Comments on relations between work in geophysics and interest in sailing. [2:04:34] Mentions illness of father. Story of service as Principal Scientist on Charles Darwin cruise. [2:11:08] Comments on presentation of paper at European scientific conference; scientific cruise in Bermuda Triangle. Comments on death of father; suicide of mother. Story of participation in scientific cruise to Lau Basin [LB], southwest Pacific, 1988, including opportunity to compare Magsat and GPS satellite navigation systems. Description Magsat system. Comments on analysis of LB cruise data. [2:18:39] Comments on establishment of British Institutions Refraction Profiling Syndicate by DDM, using geophysical data collected by petroleum companies. [2:21:46] Story of origin of own work on history of DGG/MR. Mentions visits to Halifax, Nova Scotia [HNS], Canada. Mentions published paper, 1990. [2:23:51] Mentions continuing work, HNS/Malta. Comments on DDM’s illness/early retirement; use of DDG annual reports in own published history of DGG [‘Madingley Rise and Early Geophysics at Cambridge’ 2009]. Further comments on writing of history of DGG, with related story. [2:28:07] Comments on DDM’s enthusiasm for a history of DGG; relations between DDM and AL; own view of abilities/achievements of AL/DDM. [2:31:00] Detailed comments on published paper on magnetic secular variation, with related stories. Story of end to employment, DGG; temporary job for Department of Trade and Industry; applications for scientific jobs; successful application/interview for post as Scientific Secretary [SS], Polar Board, European Science Foundation [ESF], Strasbourg, France. Comments on Strasbourg; limited previous experience in polar science. Brief description of role of ESF. Description of role as SS, with related stories. Mentions retirement, 2000.

  • Description

    Interview with geophysicist Dr Carol Williams

  • Related transcripts

    Dr Carol Williams 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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