Oral history of British science

Gilchrist, Andrew (Part 2 of 7). An Oral History of British Science

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  • Recording locations

    The British Library, London

  • Interviewees

    Gilchrist, Andrew, 1929- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 2: Comments on relations with/academic performance in relation to fellow undergraduates, UOG. [2:40] Comments on use of leisure time, involving BB, walking, camping. Mentions older brother’s demobilisation, 1947. Story of older brother’s military service/career after demobilisation. [6:00] Comments on extent of interest in weather before reading of QJRMS, UOG, including use of ‘cloud manuals’. [8:00] Comments on study of English literature/Political Economy, UOG; own political views in mid 1940s; development of father’s political views. [12:06] Mentions graduation, 1949. Story of RAF training/service, 1949-1951. [15:00] Story of successful application to join MO; training at MO Training College [Stanmore, Middlesex], including brief description of content of course, involving plotting/drawing/forecasting from charts, plotting of tephigrams, study of ‘Sutcliffe theory’ of atmospheric dynamics, postings. Comments on first posting to MO Upper Air Climatology Branch [UACB], Harrow, London, led by Elaine Austin [EA] (former secretary to MO Director William Napier Shaw), including description of contemporary research of UACB. Mentions own work with John Bannon on relations between troposphere and stratosphere. [21:40] Comments on second posting as forecaster to Prestwick Airport [PA], Glasgow. Mentions other shorter postings. [23:15] Comments on background of fellow MO trainees (all male/all mathematicians or physicists). [25:30] Description of practice of plotting a weather chart; adding isobars to plotted chart; forecasting using sequence of charts. [31:17] Description of use of tephigram to plot temperature/pressure values recorded by radiosonde balloons; identification of stability and instability in atmosphere using tephigrams. [33:14] Detailed comments on contemporary theories of formation of depressions, involving creation of vorticity in conditions of sloping isotherms. [35:17] Comments on staff of MO Training College, including Kenneth Smith, Pat Meade. [37:03] Comments on military atmosphere of MO. [39:18] Brief description of UACB, Harrow. Comments on contemporary MO research in ‘climatology’; character of EA; own work during posting, UACB. [44:55] Comments on female members of staff, UACB, including EA, statistician Nellie Carruthers [NC]. Description of workroom, UACB. Further comments on content/aims of own work, UACB. [49:59] Comments on relations with fellow MO trainees. [51:20] Comments on role of MO at PA. Description of forecasting shift, PA; forecasting room, PA. [56:19] Comments on posting to MO Headquarters [MOHQ], Dunstable, Bedfordshire after training, 1953, including awareness of work on Numerical Weather Prediction [NWP] at MOHQ. Comments on posting to Long Range Forecasting Branch [LRFB], MOHQ; focus on LRFB on statistical climatology. [59:15] Comments on lack of discussion of NWP in MO training. Brief story of early work on NWP in Short Range Forescasting Branch [SRFB], MOHQ by Fred Bushby [FB], assisted by Mavis Hinds, including use of computers at J Lyons and Company [LEO 1] and University of Manchester [UOM].

  • Description

    Interview with climate modeller and research meteorologist Andrew Gilchrist

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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