Teamwork

Michael Parsons (front, centre left) and Severn Bridge construction team, 1965. Photo Bristol Evening Post
Michael Parsons (front, centre left) and Severn Bridge construction team, 1965. Photo Bristol Evening Post

Teamwork was central to the successful completion of most projects in science and engineering. Engineers mainly worked in teams that brought together different types of expertise and team leaders had to balance these in developing optimal solutions to the technical problems they faced. Scientists worked closely with each other, bringing complementary expertise and offering fresh perspectives on the problems they faced. Even those whose research was mainly a solitary enterprise benefited from friendships and support for each other as well as the fellowship provided by conferences. Scientists also relied on technicians and other support staff who frequently provided invaluable expertise in practical problem solving and instrument design and construction. Technicians shared their practical skills with scientists whose university training had left them unprepared for some of the new and differentchallenges they faced in the workshop. Both scientists and technicians drew on networks of contacts within and outside their organisations to solve problems and procure specialist components. Scientists, particularly those working in the field, also enrolled outsiders into their teams, relying on them to carry out observations and gather support from local communities for projects in their midst.