James Lovelock: neighbour as scientific assistant

James Lovelock tells story of role of neighbour in running an atmospheric chemistry monitoring station in the Lovelock family's holiday cottage in Adrigole, Ireland, from the mid 1960s.

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In 1965 or ’66, we bought a holiday cottage on the shores of Bantry Bay in Adrigole. It was quite a modest inexpensive purchase and it was in one of the wildest parts of Ireland. Now the family next door to us looked after our cottage when we were away, they were guardians, and they did odd jobs for us when were away, odd building jobs, because the husband, Michael, was not only a subsistence farmer, he had built his own house and he had built the cottage we’d bought. And we had an extension built on to house the laboratory equipment and stuff like that, and also another small one to give us a spare bedroom. And we built up a working relationship and I found him such a reliable chap that I gave him the job of doing the – first of all recording the Sun Photometer readings, the haze density, right throughout the year. And he did it most diligently. I mean, better than any technician [laughs] you would have expected. And he was very proud of being asked to do these sorts of things, and he took charge of looking after the monitoring station when the more complicated gas chromatograph equipment and all the rest of it, and he did the job wonderfully well. And he’d got his name in the local newspapers, the Cork Examiner, and whatnot, as doing this work. And he got the whole sort of operation integrated into that community and they felt a part of it.

  • Interviewee James Lovelock
  • Duration 00:01:53
  • Copyright James Lovelock
  • Interviewer Paul Merchant
  • Date of interview 4/8/2010
  • Shelfmark C1379/15

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