Ref NoRMB/20
TitleOral history interview with Mr Terry Hinton on 14 January 2016
Date14 January 2016
Extent1 wav file
Name of CreatorUniversity of Surrey, Alumni and Development Department
Nailon, Harriet
Hinton, Terry
DescriptionInterview conducted by Harriet Nailon.
No transcript.

00:00-00:40: Introduction - began studying at Battersea in 1959, doctoral degree graduation 1964; undergraduate degree in Physics at University of Bristol

00:40-02:16: Why Battersea College? aware Battersea College was becoming a College of Advanced Technology; contacted Lewis Elton, head of physics, and was offered interview with Jack Rider, head of material science, accepted as research student

02:16-03:12: Study: Structure of Doctoral degree, 3 years full time, two years part time; researched resonance of metals

03:12-04:40: Battersea facilities: contrast to large research team at Bristol University; research team started by Lewis Elton, working in nuclear structures; about 20 doctoral degree students at college, about 40 undergraduates in each class

04:40-05:20: Battersea area: lived in Putney, married in 1960, apartment with wife, convenient commute on direct train

05:20-06:45: Memorable staff: Lewis Elton, good at finding space to expand research, installed mezzanine floors

06:45-09:30: Industry contacts: mentions new sandwich courses; recalls contacts with companies in London; research in physics of polymers with Professor Keller led to contact with Shell company

09:30-12:40: International Contacts: Alan Crocker, working on solid Mercury, made contacts with Johns Hopkins College, in US; mentions Bob Green and placement at college; discusses early computing

12:40-13:10: Return home: Describes return to UK to focus on polymers, which led to sabbatical with Professor Keller at Bristol University

13:10-16:30: Move to Guildford: Lewis Elton rumoured to have chosen site belonging to Church of England; describes cinefilm made by students carrying coffin around buildings

16:30-19:39: Role as assistant lecturer: natural progression; describes Lewis Elton as good leader; students used first names of lecturers, mentions common room

19:39-20:24: Gender Balance in Science: remembers four or five female students out of undergraduate classes of 40 at University of Surrey

20:04-21:10: Career at University of Surrey: recalls moving department; remembers working under 5 different heads of department; left in 2006 as senior fellow.

21:10-:27:50: Regrets: describes performing National Service between 1954-1956 before going to university; mentions difficulty passing French O-level, mentions correspondence courses during National Service; recalls work as radar technician on airfield in Germany; mentions week of study leave in Cologne

27:50-31:24: Schoolboy aspirations: wanted to be science researcher; remembers headmistress at school saying he should be a teacher; comfortable talking to people about technical things; describes electric clock from childhood

31:24-36:10: Developments in teaching Physics: describes growth in teaching of atomic physics and quantum mechanics; use of computing has expanded; industrial placements has expanded to other universities; mentions drop in hand drawing diagrams for publications; discusses the undergraduate's view of history of physics

36:10-39:10: Students: describes photographs shared at reunion of class of 1972; discusses how students have changed; considers new students are more prepared for university; discusses personal tutors; more acceptance today, more cosmopolitan

39:10-43:44: Socialising: didn't play sports; suggests socialising is more important for current students than it was; mentions Battersea Students' Union; explains postgraduates lived off site, so were not as involved in social life and clubs; mentions 1968 student revolution

43:44-47:30: Student life in 1960s: describes restrained married life in mid 1960s; describes significance of the Cold War and marches with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; describes childhood during Second World War and increase in opportunities during 1950s; mentions Cuban Missile Crisis

47:30-52:09: Regrets: describes sabbatical to Johns Hopkins College in United States of America; considers openness of American society and lack of class structure, describes 'can do' attitude and good university facilities; discusses Brain Drain of British scientists moving to America

52:09-01:00:36: Computing: describes value of computers to physicists; mentions Lewis Elton's use of computers, Eigenvalues for Shredding equations; remembers setting up Computational Physics Teaching Laboratory in 1973 with Lewis Elton; recalls role as director of computer assisted learning at University of Surrey during early 1980s; mentions project with St Thomas' Hospital and project to create simulations of physical systems for training; discusses the relationship between teaching and training

01:00:36-01:03:20: Future of computers in education: reference to Microsoft, explains desire to increase knowledge and teaching of concepts of computing; describes how computers teach new ways of thinking

01:03:20-01:08:50: Robots: Concludes they are and will be valuable tools; mentions Da Vinci robots, can do keyhole surgery, controlled by surgeon; mentions artificial intelligence; mentions potential of quantum biology, due to success of quantum mechanics

01:08:50 - End
Administrative HistoryTerry Hinton began a PhD in Physics at Battersea in 1959, graduating in 1964, and becoming an Assistant Lecturer. He remained at the University of Surrey as an academic until 2006, leaving as a senior fellow.
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