John Nye: handing over offprints on a park bench

John Nye tells story of sharing offprints with Refusnik in Moscow, 1980s.

This clip is an extract of an in-depth interview taken from the Oral History of British Science programme.

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I also discovered that there was a Geophysics Seminar on similar lands in Moscow, and I was invited to, er, address them. I went out there, and we sat round a table and talked about geophysics. And one of the chaps there said please could he have reprints. And I said, ‘Of course, certainly I can, but I’ve left them, I’ve got them all in the hotel.’ ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘I’ll pick them up tomorrow morning.’ I was staying in the big hotel where all the foreigners stayed at that time, near the Kremlin. And I said, 'well, I’ll give them to you at my hotel'. ‘No, I can’t come into your hotel,’ he said, ‘we’ll meet outside.’ So we met outside. And he had this carrier bag that all Russians carry around with them in case there’s a bargain going in the shops, so something just come in. And he said, ‘We will walk,’ and we walked, and we walked, and we walked to a park. And traditionally we sat down [laughs] on the park bench. And I took the reprints out of my briefcase and he put them into his carrier bag, just like [laughs] they do in the movies. [Laughs] And I’m sure we were not being observed, but that was his concern. And I went back to my hotel and he went back to his lab.

  • Interviewee John Nye
  • Duration 00:01:38
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Paul Merchant
  • Date of interview 03/08/2010
  • Shelfmark C1379/22

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