Jenny Constant: 'it is well understood by those who are skilled in the art'

Jenny Constant discusses the skills involved in assessing liquid crystals under a microscope.

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How easy are the experiments to do, when you’re looking at the – assessing materials?

I don’t think you know that when you’re doing it.  A phrase that always appeared in patents when they couldn’t rightly explain things, in patenteese, is, I am not going to say how we did this, and here comes the phrase, ‘Because it is well understood by those who are skilled in the art.’  And I think that’s a phrase that’s still used.  You don’t appreciate, when you’re doing it, how difficult it is to do, because it’s what you do.  But I can remember, when I began to supervise people, and you would sit someone down to look down a microscope, to look at phase changes, and they would say, ‘I’m sorry, I – I can’t see the difference.  I don’t know what it is I’m looking at.  It all looks the same to me.’  But of course, in six months’ time, they would mostly be able to do it, unless it was something a bit obscure, in which case somebody would say, ‘Ah, I’m not sure about this.  Can you come and have a look?’  So I can’t say whether it was difficult or not.  But I guess that to start with I did find things difficult and then you get the hang of one thing and it becomes what you do.  I find that question difficult to answer.  I am certainly very observant.  I am also very dextrous, which was important.  Things were fiddly.  I don’t know whether they were difficult or not.  Probably many of them were.

  • Interviewee Jenny Constant
  • Duration 00:02:20
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 8/13/2013
  • Shelfmark C1379/98

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