Eric Wolff: how the Falklands War helped his career

Eric Wolff comments on the role of luck in his career, including the effect of the Falklands War on the funding of the British Antarctic Survey in the early 1980s.

Listen to the full interview track and all other tracks from this interview on British Library Sounds

You’ve now got to a particular point in your life and career, and when you think about where you’ve got to, what do you think about being the sort of, the cause of where you’ve got to? …

Well I’m pleased with where I’ve got to, that’s the first thing to say. And I would never have expected to get to being FRS level which among scientists, you know, is a big deal [laughs]. Er, there’s a huge element of luck in – well in specific sense that I could easily have gone into industry when I left university and I would clearly be doing something very different then. I mean I might have been at a high level in industry and you might still have been fascinated to talk to me about that [laughs], but nonetheless that – yeah, that could easily have happened rather than me being in academia. And when I left BAS to go to the Water Research Centre in 1983 and then came back in 1984, or am I a year out? Anyway, whatever year it was, I mean if it hadn’t been to be honest for the Falklands War BAS wouldn’t have had the money to employ me because BAS got a boost in funding after the Falklands War that led to a new – to the second half of the building being built and to some recruitment, and the post I came back to simply wouldn’t have existed if it hadn’t been for that. So now this sounds terrible ‘cause I sound as though I’m saying that the Falklands War was lucky but I mean it’s a – a series of incidents that one of the outcomes of which was that I’m still working on ice cores, I would quite certainly not be working on ice cores if General Galtieri had not been the Argentinean President [laughs].

  • Interviewee Eric Wolff
  • Duration 00:01:47
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Paul Merchant
  • Date of interview 6/28/2012
  • Shelfmark C1379/70

Related Audio Clips

The following clips are short extracts from an in-depth interview.
To listen to the full interview visit

Related Video Clips

Related disciplines