Oral history of British science

Gibson, Roy (Part 10 of 10). An Oral History of British Science

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  • Subjects

    Science management; Space Science and Engineering

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Montpellier, France

  • Interviewees

    Gibson, Roy, 1924-, (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 10: Comments on future of space exploration: lack of money will thwart plans in immediate future; attractions of space exploration to some, but not including RG; sceptical views on extra-terrestrial life; costs and political considerations of human spaceflight. Comments on future of space science: support for learning about universe and international cooperation; commercial considerations; using space science as a tool for other needs not for its own ends; developing technology. [08:00] Comments on: importance of defence applications of space in coming years; legal framework for conduct of space activities; internationalism. Discussion of career: pending retirement, after 12 previous attempts; not thinking of any particular highpoint; comparison with anecdote of father's about leaving things improved; enjoying establishing things rather than running them, with example of recent GEO forest work; having time to enjoy interests, such as Ancient Greek. [16:20] Comments on: enjoying helping students, with example of Space University, to ensure renewal; Space career prospects, need to disenchant people; anecdote about HB giving a lecture on space; space activities including many non-space activities. [22:00] Remarks on: regretting not spending more time with wife and family, anecdote about his wife comparing their marriage to an ESA package deal; travel making RG a flexible worker; parents, with remarks on mother's activities; influence of HB, Jack Leeming and Werner Klein on RG; [27:15] experiences of working with scientists and engineers, anecdote about their views of him; RG not changing much; email and internet changing patterns of work; [short pause - phone] linking work groups over distance. Remarks on coordinating organisation the size of ESA, politics and administration, with anecdote about NASA's problems with politics. [34:25] Comments on wartime career: using TypeX cryptography machines in wartime; code security and Japanese efforts to learn from codes; story about fears Japanese had captured code-breaking equipment; RG meeting captured Japanese signal officer. [41:00] Comments on this interview: not wanting to take part in such activities before, apart from an ESA interview; mentioning interview to companion, children and bridge partners. Comments on companion Christina Klunk: met when she worked for Austrian space agency and UN in Vienna; supportive over difficult recent years. [45:40] Remarks on: ties with Austria; thoughts on interview.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Roy Gibson, Scientific manager, Director General of the European Space Agency (1975 - 1980).

  • Related transcripts

    Roy Gibson interviewed by Tom Lean: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

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

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