Oral history of British science

Ash, Eric (Part 13 of 13)

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  • Type

    sound

  • Duration

    00:32:52

  • Shelf mark

    C1379/92

  • Subjects

    Electronics

  • Recording date

    2013-05-30

  • Recording locations

    British Library, London

  • Interviewees

    Ash, Eric, 1928- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Track 13 [32:52] Comments on interest in climate change: EA early interest in topic, early presentations to public at Royal Institution [RI]; EA interest in climate change whilst at RS, through production of 'Nuclear Energy - The Future Climate' work on and carbon dioxide emissions; EA agreeing with Government Chief Scientific Advisor David King's concern over threat of climate change; EA concerns over religion; EA chairing RS committee that produced report 'Economic Instruments For Carbon Dioxide Reduction'; Lord Stern's estimate of the relatively low costs of eliminating climate change; [06:00] split in American congress politics over climate issues, hope in American President Obama changing situation, progressive measures by individual American states; EA recent meeting with OFFGEN; concerns over Europe's ability to change; climate change scepticism, scientists' opinions over climate change issues; anecdote comparing opinions on climate change, Max Planck's view on the acceptance of quantum theory, and recent outbreak of measles in Wales caused by vaccination concerns; [10:25] reception of climate change report; Government economic measures to restrict carbon dioxide emissions; EU carbon dioxide permits; [13:05] opinions within RS over climate change, RS Council passing EA reports on climate change; controversy over RS website stance on climate change, Cyril Hilsum and others applying scientific rigour to document intended for general public interest; [16:18] EA talk to Harveian Society; difficulties convincing public and figures such as Nigel Lawson of climate change; EA upcoming talk in South Africa; highly complex nature of climate change compared to other subjects, such as economic and cellular biology; risks of independent views on highly complex scientific subjects. [20:53] Remarks on EA current activities: retirement from industrial consultancies to Tata and Keppel companies; public talks; RS activities, such as on Research Merit Award committee; EA trustee of Wolfson Foundation, charity to give money to science and medicine, education and special needs, EA visiting schools awarded by Wolfson; EA retirement from doing science. [25:00] Remarks on daughters and grandchildren: Julian, marketing director of Co-op group; architect Candide, recently married; BBC journalist Lucy, expert on Russia; twins, management consultant Emily and film director Jenny; EA new grandson; daughters living nearby; none scientists, but connections to engineering. [29:03] Remarks on interview process: found more interesting than he expected; enjoying own voice; EA not considering himself important; difficulties producing unique contribution in science; role of individual in science, enjoying encouraging PhD students and being part of a wider movement; EA irritation about dying before big questions have been answered; wife reactions to interview.

  • Description

    Interview with electrical engineer, Eric Ash

  • Related links

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

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