Oral history of British science
Crease, James (Part 9 of 9) An Oral History of British Science
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Interviewee's home, Chjpping Norton, Oxfordshire
Crease, James, 1928- (speaker, male)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
Part 9: [1:29:43] Comments on own children’s education, careers. [3:30] Comments on periods of time spent ‘out of touch’ with family during oceanographic cruises. [6:13] Comments on tendency to buy relatively expensive, large houses. [7:21] Story of 1978 cruise on Discovery in southern Atlantic, involving deployment and attempted retrieval of current meter moorings. Mentions visit to GD shortly before GD’s death. [12:40] Comments on NIO group structure developed from 1966, including own leadership of NIO Data Processing and Computer Group. Story of formation [in 1973] of IOS through merger with Institute of Coastal Oceanography and Tides [ICOT], Bidston, near Liverpool and the Unit of Coastal Sedimentation [ICS], Taunton, Somerset. Comments on own ‘desk work’ as leader of Marine Physics Group, from early 1970s; Indian Ocean cruise 1974. [21:17] Comments on meetings of Steering Group of WOCE; abilities/character of oceanographer Carl Wunsch; system of World Data Centres; own role in WOCE ‘Central Data Group’; division of labour between institutions involved in WOCE. [26:41] Story of development (by 1983) of internet site for sharing of oceanographic data called ‘Ocean Information Centre’ [OIC]. Mentions web browser ‘Mosaic’. [31:15] Comments on contemporary attitude of oceanographers to existence of IOC. [34:40] Comments on inadequacies of Moscow World Data Centre; status/Cold War context of Russian oceanography. Story of visit to seismology laboratory in disused mine, Russia, 1980s. [39:52] Story of international oceanography conference, Moscow, early 1970s; relations between HC and Russian oceanographer. [43:55] Story of underwater archaeologist/oceanographer Nic Flemming’s involvement in visit to Russian laboratory in mine, 1980s. [45:28] Comments on experience of surveillance in Russia. Story of international oceanography conference in Moscow, involving hotel with inaccessible floor; journey to meeting venue on outskirts of Moscow. [48:31] Brief description of World Data Centre, Moscow. [50:33] Brief comments on role of wife in catering at own home for members of WOCE Steering Group. [51:48] Comments on retirement from IOS, 1988, aged 60; sabbatical involving work for WOCE Data Information Unit, UOD, 1986. Mentions move of IOS to NOCS, [1990s]. [54:05] Description of marine sciences department of UOD, Lewes, Delaware, US. Mentions UOD colleague Ferris Webster; origin of involvement in ICSU’s CODATA. Description of role of CODATA, including international agreement on physical ‘fundamental constants’, discussions relating to human genome. Mentions appointment as CODATA Treasurer. Description of sculpture presented to self at end to service on CODATA, involving flashing diodes. [1:07:50] Comments on work of CODATA; longstanding tendency for oceanographers to work together internationally. [1:12:40] Comments on effect of climate change concerns on oceanography. Mentions World Climate Research Programme. Comments on development of sophistication of representation of ocean in computer climate models, including role of autonomous [Argo] floats. [1:17:06] Comments on life in retirement since 2005, living in centre of Chipping Norton [CN], Oxfordshire; role in/effect of introduction of internet to CN; extent of relations with oceanographers/NOCS; own view of NOCS. Story of disposal of Discovery bosun Harry Morton’s ashes at sea by Arthur Fisher. Comments on changes to Discovery, including shortening, lengthening. [1:24:17] Comments on own engagement with science in retirement, through journal subscription, internet links. Story of development of interest, in retirement, in mathematical question relating to own work in 1950s involving measurement of area using planimeter. Comments on reasons for not continuing scientific work in retirement, in contrast to former colleagues/friends: Steve Thorpe, Walter Munk, Michael Longuet-Higgins; perception of positive effect of work on mental activity/health.
Interview with Oceanographer, James Crease