Ideas in Action programmes (04): radio broadcast. Sample containing about 133562 words speech recorded in educational context

11 speakers recorded by respondent number C857

PS5T8 X m (a, age unknown) unspecified
PS5T9 X m (gc, age unknown) unspecified
PS5TA X m (dw, age unknown) unspecified
PS5TB X m (tn, age unknown) unspecified
PS5TC X m (tb, age unknown) unspecified
PS5TD X m (gm, age unknown) unspecified
PS5TE X m (nm, age unknown) unspecified
PS5TF X m (sb, age unknown) unspecified
PS5TG X f (cd, age unknown) unspecified
KRHPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
KRHPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 139401 recorded on unknown date.


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [1] Hello.
[2] As you know, these programmes come to you from the University of Sussex, and if you've listened to any of them in the past, you'll know that they're devoted to topics and subjects in which we feel we have some expertise, and which we think would be of special interest to the local community.
[3] We're going to continue with this objective in the coming months in this, the third series, but before we get totally immersed I want to use the first three programmes to stand back to take a more general look at what universities are about today.
[4] Last week I talked with Laurie Sapper, who is General Secretary of the Association of University Teachers.
[5] He's the dons' union man.
[6] And today I have with me Geoffrey Caston, who is Secretary General of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals.
[7] Geoffrey, what is that organisation?
gc (PS5T9) [9] Well it erm goes under that rather queer name in fact it is the association of British universities.
[10] It's the organisation which erm universities themselves have set up and finance in order to promote those interests which all universities have in common, and this includes negotiations with the Government about erm money, it includes negotiations with erm university staff, erm and it includes a general service function of monitoring legislation, Government activity which affects universities, and generally promoting the universities in the public consciousness.
[11] It's, it, it is a form of accountability of universities to the public really.
a (PS5T8) [12] But it doesn't control universities, does it?
gc (PS5T9) [13] No, in no way does it control universities, it's erm each university sends its vice-chancellor as its principal representative or other members to other committees erm in order to erm give their view on what the collective what action the collectivity of, of institutions should erm should carry on in their name.
a (PS5T8) [14] Universities are very independent organisations and I suppose it, it's more like a league than a governing body.
gc (PS5T9) [15] Well that's true erm and indeed, erm there is nothing we do which erm requires universities to erm to do anything other than they would have wanted to anyway.
[16] Though that's beginning to be qualified a little because of the erm effects of erm national legislation, for example national employment legislation nowadays requires that all employers in a certain field of employment, and universities is one, erm pursue similar policies towards their staff, and indeed in our case erm pay them on the same pay scales and erm so in that sense we have to enter into agreements with trade unions and others which are binding on our members.
[17] But that's rather exceptional.
[18] In principle, no, we only act in a consultative and advisory way.
a (PS5T8) [19] You are in a position to see what's going on in the university world and therefore I'd like to ask you one or two questions, rather general questions.
[20] It is of no surprise to you and I to know that we are in a erm an economic crisis, and, but I think that we might be accused of being in an area that doesn't take the fair share of the cuts.
[21] Are universities being cut as much as for example primary schools and secondary schools?
gc (PS5T9) [22] Well, relative to the size of the job we have to do I think the answer is yes.
[23] If you're comparing us with primary and secondary schools we have to remember that the erm the great erm age bulge pass has passed through the primary schools and is passing through the secondary schools and is still to reach higher education.
[24] And the way that the Government has reduced the provision it makes for higher education erm is that it is has so far erm kept us with the same amount of resources while expecting us to take more students.
[25] erm In that sense, whereas of course in the case of primary schools there've been fewer resources but of course far fewer students.
[26] So in that sense the resources per student, the funds per student have in fact erm come down by in the region of erm fifteen per cent over the last ten years or so very roughly speaking already, and that's a very considerable reduction in provision.
a (PS5T8) [27] So that means that the productivity has to go up, presumably.
gc (PS5T9) [28] That means the productivity has gone up [laugh] because, that is if you measure erm productivity entirely in terms of numbers of students taught.
[29] But it is extremely important to remember that the teaching of undergraduate students in the eighteen to twenty-one age group is only a part, that's the one people usually evaluate universities, but it's only a part of the job which we do for society.
[30] erm The other parts of the job are that we do erm all of the fundamental and much of the applied research which the nation needs, we provide an increasing range of advanced courses in technology for people in industry, and continuing education generally, the number of mature students at all levels is rising, and there are a number of other service functions we do for the community as well as just teaching undergraduates.
a (PS5T8) [31] So it's linked very much with the national investment really, in terms of technology, in terms of work force, and so on.
gc (PS5T9) [32] Yes, well I think we believe that to be true, and certainly I think the Government believes it to be true erm we, ... People often say that the universities erm don't erm satisfy the needs of society.
[33] I think the important thing to remember there is that erm we regard ourselves as having and people who work in universities regard themselves as having a special obligation and indeed to use their own special skills in order indeed to define the needs of society in their own special field and then to do what they can to satisfy.
[34] The difficulties that sometimes occur is that erm universities are I would say with some justice don't always accept that it is Government and Government departments, ministers and civil servants, who are best equipped to define the social needs.
[35] We tend to reckon, perhaps rather arrogantly, that we take a rather longer view of the needs of society, and maybe are as close to getting it right as, as, as, as ministers with their day-by-day short-term preoccupations.
a (PS5T8) [36] There's one section of the student body that has come under the limelight in the last year or two and that's the overseas student body.
[37] We have a relatively high proportion of our student body that comes from overseas, and a year or so ago when the announcement was made that the fees of overseas students were going up, there was a cry that we wouldn't get any any more, they would all go to America or Russia or wherever.
[38] What has in fact happened?
gc (PS5T9) [39] Well, I think that it's, this is first year after the tremendous increase of fees which the Government imposed upon us erm last year erm increase about threefold, and erm it really is too early to say what has happened even this year.
[40] erm We won't have counted the students that are here erm until next month.
[41] So it, it is hard to say, erm and I wouldn't like to make a prediction except that I think the number of postgraduate students may have fallen more than the number of undergraduate students, and that we may see already even in this first year erm a substantial not altogether healthy change in the national makeup of overseas students.
[42] They will tend to be richer and from richer countries, rather than erm than, than the kind of cross-section that we would have liked to have before.
[43] erm I think the real danger however is that over the next three four five years, erm people all over the world will get into the habit of regarding Britain as an impossibly expensive country to study in, because no other country in the world attempts to charge the full cost of it's university education in tuition fees, and erm that gradually people will turn elsewhere.
[44] And this takes time, it takes time to change national habits, but I think it would be very serious for this country if erm in fact those people who want an advanced English language education in the Third World erm turned much more to the United States and, and, and Canada, which seems to be the erm trend, than they do at present.
[45] And this isn't just a self-interested view on the part of universities.
[46] I've just been at a two day conference at erm not very far from here, at Wisden House in which erm a number of erm top industrialists erm led by the former chairman of I C I have all unanimously been saying how bad they think it is for our future technological development and export development if overseas students get out of the habit of coming here.
a (PS5T8) [47] Education in the higher education sense is on the whole something for the eighteen to twenty-one-year-olds.
[48] Is that right?
[49] Shouldn't we be opening our universities to older people, for people to come back for a second dose as it were, for retraining and so on ?
gc (PS5T9) [50] Certainly.
[51] I mean, on the whole and in the past I think that has been true, but the proportion of mature students, that's undergraduates over the age of twenty-five has erm has doubled in the last erm ten years.
[52] It's now, it's still only about five per cent, but I think that that proportion is growing and I think this is something universities would welcome very much.
a (PS5T8) [53] The problem is still there.
[54] erm Is education as good, we all think it's a splendid idea, but surely in this, this day of, of crisis, financial crisis, of hardship, of shutting down hospitals, erm people losing their jobs, surely this is something we really can't afford at the scale at it exists at present?
gc (PS5T9) [55] Well, the fact is that erm only at present only twelve some twelve and a half per cent, one in eight, of our young people in the eighteen to twenty-one age group go on to any kind of higher education.
[56] This is by a very long way the smallest proportion in the western industrialised world of any country in Europe or North America.
[57] And erm if you relate that to our erm performance in industry I, I, I think it may well be that we are suffering from being a very undereducated country.
[58] And it's a, it's a tendency which I think we shall regret.
[59] It's the last place that cuts ought to be made.
a (PS5T8) [60] But supposing we had to make cuts all the same, supposing we just were forced into it, would you suggest that the best idea would be to close down one or two universities, not Sussex of course but one or two of the other universities? [laugh]
gc (PS5T9) [61] I don't really think that, that this is likely to, to be an option which governments have to consider.
[62] I mean if it's just economies you're after, closing down an institution's not the best way to do it, because the plant remains, and, and you can't easily get rid of the staff.
[63] I think the erm the best way is to improve productivity by taking in more and different students and multiplying the services which we provide for the community.
a (PS5T8) [64] So, ending on a positive note rather than a pessimistic note, what would you like to see for universities in the future?
gc (PS5T9) [65] I'd like to see us tapping erm more of the erm of each age group of students coming on erm from school.
[66] I'd like to see erm there is still in this country a reluctance on the part of erm the lower social and economic class children and families to continue in education erm This leads to a position in which, a situation in which in, in the workplace and elsewhere the educated person is still regarded as a, as a sort of rather strange and alien minority person.
[67] I think this is very bad, I think that I would like to see an expansion of the, of the intake and a broadening of its social base, and by the same token I would like to see erm it possible for more adult students to come in, perhaps on a part-time basis erm into the universities.
[68] That's, that's my vision of the future, and I hope that our present economic difficulties won't frustrate that forever, because I think we shall be a much poorer in both senses of the word society if that's what happens.
a (PS5T8) [69] Thank you very much, Geoffrey.
[70] Next week we shall be getting the student viewpoint of university life.
[71] Until then, good night. [recorded jingle]


a (PS5T8) [72] next few programmes we're going to take a look at trends in science and engineering, particularly in the way that the subjects are taught and opportunities for employment.
[73] Today, we're going to start with mathematics.
[74] Maths is a subject that many people find difficult.
[75] But it's also the language of science.
[76] And even traditional descriptive areas of science such as biology are becoming more mathematical each year.
[77] The availability of calculating machines, and now micro-computers, must have affected the way that maths is taught, and also possibly the skills that are needed to become a good mathematician.
[78] Now Dudley Ward is a mathematician at the University, who's particularly interested in education.
[79] Dudley, is maths today taught in schools the same way as it used to be?
dw (PS5TA) [82] No, I think there has been a change.
[83] There have always been good maths teachers who've made maths interesting and relevant to the children, but I think perhaps the emphasis has shifted from rote learning to helping children to understand what they're doing.
a (PS5T8) [84] But is this a good thing?
[85] Surely children need to know what their tables are.
dw (PS5TA) [86] Well, yes, of course, but erm we have to remember that a large number of children have always left school without knowing their tables, without really having got anything out of mathematics.
[87] So, it isn't as if we're saying, erm maths has always been taught quite well but we can do it better.
[88] The fact is that for most children maths has been taught badly or rather they have learnt it badly for one reason or another, so there is a need for, for an improvement or a change, so the idea that if children can understand something this will help them to remember it or to make it more real to them, this does seem to be a shift over the last generation.
a (PS5T8) [89] All right, I take your point.
[90] But let's, let's be concrete about this.
[91] Take multiplication, for example.
[92] Now there's obviously an old-fashioned way of doing it, two twos are four, two threes are six and so forth.
[93] How would you do it these days?
dw (PS5TA) [94] Well, I think there are many assumptions made by teachers.
[95] They assume that when a child hears ‘Two twos are four, two threes are six’ that they've got various pictures in their heads, various ideas onto which to attach these symbols and these words.
[96] Supposing you say to a child ‘What is four times two plus one?’
[97] Now assuming he knows what four times two is and assuming he knows what two plus one is and so on, he may come up with the answer ‘Nine’, or he may come up with the answer ‘Twelve’, and they're both right.
[98] erm Simply because you can interpret the question in two different ways.
[99] Now when we were taught sums like that, probably erm they were written down and we had special ways of writing it to distinguish between the two cases four times and then two plus one added together, to give us four times three equals twelve, or, four times two, which is eight, add one, which is nine.
[100] Now clearly we can teach a child a rule if the child is willing to learn that if we put the two plus one in brackets then that means add them together first and then multiply.
[101] And we had elaborate rules for, for doing this erm some of us will remember, but on the other hand a large number of people listening won't remember, though perhaps they were taught that.
[102] At the same time they're faced with that particular problem repeatedly.
[103] They pick up a calculator, and everybody's got those these days.
[104] If you type in ‘Four times two plus one’ what do you get?
[105] Do you mean add the two to the one and then multiply by the four, or do you mean multiply the four by the two and then add the one?
[106] It's got to be important to the child to make the difference between these two alternatives.
[107] It's got to be important to the child so that he needs to know whether he means four times two-plus-one or four-times-two plus one, whichever way it is.
[108] Let me give you an example of, of how this is done with a computer game.
[109] I expect you'll want to talk about computers later but there's a simple computer game which, which shows a screen with thirty-six numbers from one to thirty-six.
[110] And then three dice, electronic dice are thrown, and you get three numbers showing up on the screen.
[111] And the child has to combine those three numbers to fill one of the squares on the screen.
[112] Let's suppose the dice show up with a four, a two, and a one.
[113] Now it may for the game that if he can cover the square number twelve, he will score more points than if he covers the square with the nine.
[114] So it will matter then to the child that if he types in four times two plus one, it's got to be the right version of that sum.
[115] So it then becomes important to the child to know, how do you say, four times two-plus-one.
[116] He needs to, but he's got to want to be able to that, and if he does then he'll learn it, he'll understand that putting brackets round the two and the one means do that first.
[117] And I think that's perhaps a difference.
[118] The rule's important, but it should come from a need of the child rather than be imposed at some arbitrary time when the teacher thinks that all the children are ready for that rule.
a (PS5T8) [119] I see very much what you're saying, but isn't there a sense in which you almost need to absorb in an automatic sense some of the basic things?
[120] I mean to have to work out from first principles erm four plus three is seven every time, you may be able to do that with great understanding, but there's an awful waste of time if you've got to understand it each time.
[121] Surely there's a, a certain balance between the, as it were the rote-learning of, of fixed things, and the understanding of what you're doing?
dw (PS5TA) [122] Yes, of course, and there has to be a balance, and we mustn't go too far to one extreme.
[123] Many maths lessons today start with a ten-minute mental test as indeed perhaps ours did.
[124] One thing has come out of recent research, perhaps it was known all along.
[125] Teachers no doubt have suspected it, and maybe known it for themselves, but it is a fact that a large number of children at present leave school at sixteen knowing less mathematics than when they entered at eleven.
[126] Now presumably they've got more interesting things to think about when they're sixteen than they have when they're eleven, but this is a sad fact.
[127] Now if some of the mathematics they had learnt had been relevant to them and interesting to them maybe they would have remembered it in the same way they've remembered plenty of other things that are important to them.
[128] So, sure, we do need rote-learning, we do need to be able to say ‘Three times four is twelve’, we mustn't have to work it out on our fingers.
[129] We've got to have the, the fact at our fingertips. [laugh]
a (PS5T8) [130] Old-fashioned mathematics you used to have to do calculations of how many square feet of linoleum you
dw (PS5TA) [131] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [132] needed to lay on a floor or
dw (PS5TA) [133] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [134] or how much water to fill a pond and things
dw (PS5TA) [135] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [136] like that.
[137] The new maths seems to be much more to do with sets and groups and slightly abstract ideas erm do you think this is a retrograde step?
dw (PS5TA) [138] It would be if that was quite as true as, as you imply.
[139] I think a lot of the modern maths that we've, we've heard about is still very much aimed at the brighter children who were going to do O-level and, and beyond even in mathematics.
[140] Even the S MP syllabus, which is probably quite well known, most schools in Sussex deal a little bit with the S MP New Maths Syllabus, which has been going twenty thirty years now, but even that was originally written for O-level, and then a version for C S E was introduced.
[141] But even then you see you're dealing with the top fifty per cent of the population.
a (PS5T8) [142] Computers have come into schools both at secondary level and primary level.
[143] Is it worth having computers in primary schools?
dw (PS5TA) [144] Well, I think so.
[145] There's considerable argument about this.
[146] Many secondary teachers are worried about it because they say ‘The children are coming into the secondary school having perhaps used computers and we can't offer them computing for two or three years, erm you know and they're going to be very frustrated, erm and so perhaps they shouldn't go into primary’.
[147] I'm sure though they have to go into primary.
[148] You can't shut your eyes to it.
[149] The children are going to have them at home anyway, so if the teachers deny themselves this extra resource, and deny themselves the experience which the children can bring, I think they're cutting themselves off from a tremendous source of encouragement and motivation.
a (PS5T8) [150] There are a number of computer games that one can get erm there's Speak and Spell and I think there's another one called Little Professor.
[151] Are these worth while as far as parents' buying them for their children are concerned?
dw (PS5TA) [152] Yes, I think they are.
[153] I think you shouldn't expect too much from them, but I think anything which makes maths interesting or enjoyable is worthwhile.
[154] Another one, while we're talking names, is Big Track, which is a lovely little programmable tank which, that you can guide around, round the carpet and put in programmed instructions.
[155] And these are used a lot in schools as indeed are the Little Professor and the others.
[156] erm I'm all in favour.
[157] I think it opens up the child's awareness to what's available and what's coming erm moves them on into the next century really.
a (PS5T8) [158] You run a centre at the University which is aimed to help schoolteachers in their computing questions.
dw (PS5TA) [159] Yes, we do run many courses, well, I say many, but several courses for teachers in service erm courses.
[160] This is for teachers to come in the evenings after school and erm work with computers and perhaps more important is discuss with each other how they're using computers or whatever in, in their classes.
[161] There's a tremendous enthusiasm, partly I suppose because they don't want to be left behind in the, the new technology, but I think, more positively, that they see the advantages and some of the benefits that may come from having these machines in their classrooms.
a (PS5T8) [162] How do teachers get onto these courses?
dw (PS5TA) [163] The courses are advertised in the, in the schools and in the, in the staffrooms.
[164] There are many courses being run now.
[165] Computer awareness courses at the teachers' centres, the local authority are running them, erm there are user groups in Brighton and the, the area for, for such erm teachers and the University as you say runs courses with the Department of Education and Science erm to help primary and secondary teachers.
a (PS5T8) [166] So if the teacher wanted to find out about the courses they could either contact the University or their own organisations, erm the D E S or the, the Local Education Authority.
dw (PS5TA) [167] Yes, I think the teaching profession as a whole have got quite good access to information about the courses if they, they want to find out now.
a (PS5T8) [168] Returning to mathematics for a moment, it's often been called a very difficult subject.
[169] Do you think maths is difficult?
dw (PS5TA) [170] Yes, I do.
[171] I think there are large chunks of mathematics which are very difficult, and there are large chunks of it which are difficult to teach.
[172] Partly of course because as soon as you understand it you say, ‘Oh, yes, of course, how easy, how simple!’
[173] And then, how do you communicate that to other people?
[174] I think mathematics is a very hard subject to teach.
a (PS5T8) [175] Looking at maths as a much wider subject, as a subject perhaps for research and for exploration, have there been any very obvious trends in mathematics in recent years which could be described?
dw (PS5TA) [176] Well, I don't want to get too technical because mathematics does get very esoteric and erm it's a real Tower of Babel to research mathematicians.
[177] We become less and less aware of what our colleagues are doing in mathematics even.
[178] So there are fashions in subjects which come and go, and one major breakthrough will be made and then suddenly there's lots of people working in that area.
[179] And of course because mathematics isn't directly attached to anything else, any other subject area, it can follow the whims of individual researchers, so at that level things come and go.
a (PS5T8) [180] And lastly, Dudley, is maths a good subject for a job?
dw (PS5TA) [181] Yes, yes, it still is.
[182] Even when there aren't seemingly many jobs for anybody I think a mathematician is probably as well off as anybody to get a job, almost at every level.
[183] erm Indeed one of the sad things perhaps at the lowest level is how many jobs are requiring mathematical skills that, that perhaps twenty years ago weren't assumed.
[184] It's very hard to find a job which doesn't involve some interaction with machinery, with computing or whatever.
[185] And all this requires a certain level of mathematical skill.
[186] And at ... the more maths you know, I think, the easier it is perhaps to get a job, and perhaps to be able to choose an interesting field.
[187] There aren't many people who are actually spending their life doing maths.
[188] They're, they're doing things which perhaps require an understanding of maths.
a (PS5T8) [189] Well, thank you very much, Dudley.
[190] That's all that we have time for today.
[191] Next week I shall be taking a look at chemistry.
[192] Is chemistry still all test tubes and bad smells, or has this subject too changed from the days when perhaps some of us were at school?
[193] Until next week then, good-bye. [recorded jingle]


a (PS5T8) [194] Hello.
[195] This is the second in two programmes in which I talk to Professor Nuttall about Shakespeare and his plays.
[196] I find it amazing that Shakespeare's still as popular as ever, and I started by asking Tony why this was the case, and why after all these years people still seem to be able to find something new to say about him.
tn (PS5TB) [199] Speaking as a, an old university hack who's been teaching courses in this place since 1962, the Shakespeare course is the one thing which is utterly and deeply different every time I teach it.
[200] Trying to stop short of bardolatry, but it really is astonishing.
[201] I get the feeling that I begin to know my way round, to know that at least most of the chess moves of it.
[202] With Shakespeare, almost every time I read more than forty lines, I see something I'd never seen before, which is demonstrably there.
[203] erm He does seem to me to be the best.
[204] I mean all this common opinion is true.
[205] He is a writer of indefinite richness and it, it is amazing but the case.
[206] erm Nothing to add really.
[207] [laugh] One does quite generally find more all the time.
a (PS5T8) [208] Do you think it was the case that when Shakespeare was actually writing these plays he had any real concept of the richness of what he was producing or is this erm all a superstructure which has been put there by various university professors since?
tn (PS5TB) [209] Well, I think it's not erm a superstructure that's been put there, because, I mean for example when you get a particular idea, there are often other questions you can ask to check whether it's really present, to see whether the thing is alluded to at the appropriate point later in the plot and that sort of thing, and erm again and again you find that it is, that the thing you half suspected is mentioned by a character later.
[210] And when I find that I'm strongly inclined to suppose that Shakespeare has put it there.
[211] The question, whether he was conscious of all these layers when writing, seems to me unanswerable.
[212] I have no doubt that he was very very intelligent, in the ordinary meaning of the word, for example I think he probably had a very high I Q, for what that's worth.
[213] Ever since Ben Jonson people have thought of him piping native woodnotes wild and not being terribly educated.
[214] Education isn't the same thing as intelligence, he had lots of intelligence and not all that much education.
[215] I think he was conscious of a great deal probably, but at the same time, many writers will tell you, that they find when they've finished a poem or a play, things in it, demonstrably in it, systematically and intelligently present with real relations, which they don't remember writing.
[216] This is why you often get writers saying, ‘Don't ask me, look again at the poem,’ or ‘Trust the tale not the teller’.
[217] And the marvellous thing in Plato, of Socrates, erm when he'd been told by the Delphic oracle that he was the wisest of men, he, he started off like a sort of good Popperian scientist trying to falsify this, erm and he went round finding people wiser than himself, and he went to various people and they weren't any wiser, and then he thought, ‘Oh, the poets!
[218] They're marvellous people.
[219] They know so much.’
[220] And he went to them, and he found that they hadn't a clue what they'd written, and he concluded, quite soberly, that they must have been visited by a Muse.
[221] [laugh] Seems to me a very reasonable conclusion, I mean you can redress it up in Freudian terms and say their conscious did it, which is really very similar thing to say, I mean the unconscious becomes a sort of god in that case.
[222] erm So what I'm saying is, my guess is, and it's no more than that, that Shakespeare was probably conscious of a lot of it, but there's also probably an area that came from a very rich and active unconscious.
[223] But all that's just guessing, I mean we've no way of testing it.
a (PS5T8) [224] To what extent do you think that the creation of, of all these as it were structures on
tn (PS5TB) [225] mhm
a (PS5T8) [226] on Shakespeare is a useful exercise, or do you think it's a little bit like sort of mediaeval philosophy in, in taking a little a, a long, long way?
tn (PS5TB) [227] Well, it's like mediaeval philosophy in that it's not utilitarian.
[228] To me, the justification really depends on the fact that I view Shakespeare as a terminal good.
[229] That is to say I think that a world without Shakespeare in it would be a world substantially impoverished.
[230] I think Shakespeare is a good, complex thing in the universe [laugh] .
[231] That I take as a sort of axiom, as, as, as given to start with in this argument.
[232] Then, it follows from that, that understanding Shakespeare, and keeping the understanding of Shakespeare alive, is also a good, because if for example this great, rich and wonderful thing were simply there in the world and no one could see him and no one could understand him and no one was any longer thinking or talking about him, that also would be a secondary impoverishment.
[233] And erm I don't feel any shame therefore about going on with it.
a (PS5T8) [234] Really what I was saying is I, I think probably came over but I will rephrase it.
tn (PS5TB) [235] I'm sorry. [laugh]
a (PS5T8) [236] There's a sense in which, to put it in current terms,
tn (PS5TB) [237] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [238] When I say ‘I, I am cold’,
tn (PS5TB) [239] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [240] I may just mean [laugh] I am cold and
tn (PS5TB) [241] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [242] it may not be a statement about my view of myself with
tn (PS5TB) [243] No.
a (PS5T8) [244] regard to society and
tn (PS5TB) [245] Sure.
a (PS5T8) [246] my particular stage of
tn (PS5TB) [247] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [248] middle-age crisis [laugh] and so on and so forth although you know given a certain number of intelligent people they could no doubt build an enormous
tn (PS5TB) [249] Yes
a (PS5T8) [250] emphasis
tn (PS5TB) [251] Well
a (PS5T8) [252] on, on a simple
tn (PS5TB) [253] erm
a (PS5T8) [254] straightforward statement ‘I am cold’.
[255] And I just wondered whether, you know extrapolating backwards, whether we're doing the same disservice to Shakespeare.
tn (PS5TB) [256] You, you're talking to the wrong man on this, I'm not in sympathy with you, you see.
[257] You're, you're putting the point about over-reading Shakespeare.
[258] You'd find lots of academics erm at the Shakespeare conference in Stratford, who would agree with you that there is far too much over-reading of Shakespeare.
[259] I tend to think it's rather hard to over-read Shakespeare, simply because of the experience of, of finding that my reading fell short on many occasions.
[260] It is very easy to read him wrong, and to make mistakes, and there are of course occasions when he does offer a brutal simplicity which it would be ridiculous to, to try and develop.
[261] I myself, for example, tend to be erm an old-fashioned Coleridgean psychologistic critic, you know, I look for motives in Shakespearean characters in ways which L C Knight's told us we shouldn't do.
[262] And I do this because I think Shakespeare encourages us to make inferences and to think about them in that way.
[263] However, if you take characters like Lysander and Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream, it's obvious [laugh] , even to me, that it would be ridiculous to try and look for complex psychology and motivation in them.
[264] You know, there are cases where you can over-read, sure, but by and large over-reading is not the main vice of Shakespearean criticism.
[265] If anything, we went the other way after erm ‘How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth?’ and we under-read.
[266] We decided that Shakespeare's plays were mere patterns of imagery without human beings in them, and, by a strange act of critical abnegation, deliberately blinded ourselves to all sorts of psychological insights, which the Victorians had been able to see, and are now being seen again.
a (PS5T8) [267] One of your major interests has been that of the relationship of allegory
tn (PS5TB) [268] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [269] to Shakespeare in plays of one kind and another.
[270] erm Could you tell me a little bit about that?
tn (PS5TB) [271] Well.
[272] My interest in allegory really began at quite a different point.
[273] I was initially troubled by a philosophical problem.
[274] Can I explain that?
a (PS5T8) [275] Do.
tn (PS5TB) [276] Or try to? [laugh]
a (PS5T8) [277] Go ahead.
tn (PS5TB) [278] [laugh] I was struck by the fact that in one of the dialogues of Plato, Plato gets very worried about the notion of beauty, because he thinks beauty is something which is beautiful.
[279] He also thinks beauty is that in virtue of which we call beautiful things beautiful.
[280] Now if the beautiful things are beautiful, and if beauty itself is beautiful, what of the beauty in respect of which both beauty and the beautiful things are beautiful?
[281] Is that also beautiful?
[282] Sorry, this is pretty mind-blowing.
[283] But he has got himself into difficulties because he thinks that beauty is not, so to speak, a logical construction that allows us to talk about particular objects in the world.
[284] He thinks it is itself a sort of spiritual thing.
[285] He thinks it is itself something beautiful that sort of swims down into our world and is incarnated in particular objects.
[286] And then he wonders about that because his own way of forming universals means that he'd have to do it all again and again and again, in an infinite regress.
[287] So he has a problem basically about calling beauty itself beautiful.
[288] Now, meanwhile, or not meanwhile, quite a lot later, in early mediaeval allegory, you find that the allegorical poet has a quite ordinary technical problem when he's writing about things like mercy and cruelty.
[289] He wants to show the relation of mercy and cruelty, and of course they conflict, so he writes a poem in which there's a battle and there's a character called Cruelty who comes and fights against a, a character called Mercy.
[290] Now Cruelty is going to be shown as cruel, because that's the way allegorical poetry works.
[291] Mercy is going to be shown as merciful.
[292] So as soon as they start to fight Mercy starts trying to forgive Cruelty and Cruelty easily wins, whereas he wants to say of course that Cruelty, in this God-governed universe, is going to be defeated by Mercy.
[293] So he's got a technical problem.
[294] His technical problem again arises basically from the fact that he calls Cruelty cruel.
[295] Most modern philosophers would say it was nonsense to say that cruelty was cruel, you can only call people cruel, particular things.
[296] So there they both are, Plato with a metaphysical problem, the poet with a technical problem, because of their habit of referring to universals with adjectives derived from the universal.
[297] Calling beauty beautiful, calling cruelty cruel.
[298] When I looked at all this stuff, it came to me that it was very interesting that they thought of beauty as beautiful and cruelty as cruel.
[299] It mean in fact that they were thinking of abstractions in quite a different way from the way we think of them.
[300] erm The technical word for this is that for them, universals are self-predicating.
[301] That sounds very dry-as-dust and unintelligible.
[302] It means, in effect, that they had a quasi-sensuous way of seeing abstractions.
[303] They saw abstractions as in some way warm and coloured, and the sort of things to which you could appropriately apply quite vivid adjectives.
[304] Now that in turn means that the poetry of the period, and the allegorical poetry of the period especially, is not, as F R Leavis would probably have assumed, to be divided into cold, intellectual abstractions and warm, sensuous particulars.
[305] There is a sense in which the very abstractions have a sensuous property, perhaps through a philosophical mistake, but nevertheless it was the way their minds were built.
[306] You can see their minds were built that way because of the problems they get into both philosophically and technically.
[307] Therefore, I [laugh] decided that I had the clue to something that had long baffled me, that whereas Leavis's strict division of the world into sensuous particulars and more intellectual abstractions — I hope I'm being fair to him, I'm caricaturing and shortening — whereas this was applicable to the modern period, it probably wasn't to the period, I decided I think roughly before the eighteenth century.
[308] And with this in mind I then turned to the mysterious last plays of Shakespeare that we've been talking about earlier, erm and tried to see whether the sense one gets in those plays of love, for example, not as erm simply a logical construction for talking about the way people talk in relation to each other , but as some kind of spiritual entity, existing prior to the human subjects in the play, whether that sense could be in some degree confirmed and explained by an investigation of the general use of universals in the period and earlier.
a (PS5T8) [309] This erm approach could be explored with, with other sorts of literature, the Bible
tn (PS5TB) [310] Yes indeed
a (PS5T8) [311] for example
tn (PS5TB) [312] Yes, it
a (PS5T8) [313] I would have thought was a rich ground.
tn (PS5TB) [314] it, it could.
[315] One thing that I had to say, frankly, at the beginning of my book on allegory, was that The Tempest was not the necessary base of that book.
[316] It was in fact just a peculiarly rich and extended example.
[317] And the kind of thing I was doing was in principle applicable to great numbers of texts.
[318] That was why, when you first asked me about this, I turned the whole question round and said, ‘You have to begin from the philosophical problem’.
[319] But indeed, it could be applied in many places.
a (PS5T8) [320] Let me pick up a few points which occur to me arising out of what you've just been saying.
[321] erm First of all, beauty,
tn (PS5TB) [322] mhm
a (PS5T8) [323] which is a word [laugh] which is used by all sorts of philosophers
tn (PS5TB) [324] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [325] and erm wasn't it Ayer that made great erm mileage out of saying, ‘Just because there's a word for beauty doesn't mean to say that there's such a thing as beauty’.
tn (PS5TB) [326] Yes, well, Ayer, there, stands as a sort of paradigmatic modern philosopher.
[327] And when I was saying earlier that it was just a logical construction to help you to talk about particular things, and I think Ayer would go along with that.
[328] He is in fact opposing himself to the view I was trying to get out of the older writers, namely that ‘beauty’ is the name of some sort of spiritual being.
a (PS5T8) [329] As a non-philosopher I always used to find that a slightly depressing statement, that of Ayer's about beauty, and it seemed to me that one could perhaps immediately follow [laugh] that by saying ‘Just because there's a word for it maybe, you have it because you like it and you want to use it and isn't that self- [laugh] validating in a sense?’
tn (PS5TB) [330] Well erm it may not be quite as depressing [laugh] as you think.
[331] Someone who says there is no actual entity separate from the world called beauty could still be a chap who believed that the word ‘beautiful’ had a vivid and important use.
[332] He would simply say it refers to all those aspects of things which makes them beautiful, considered in sum.
[333] And that, if you think of that as a sort of mental object for a moment, is a very rich one.
[334] erm It doesn't for example necessarily imply that statements about beauty are merely subjective, or are delusory or are soft-headed or ... Though maybe Ayer would want to say that on another occasion.
[335] [laugh] I mean Ayer can be very depressing, you know, I'd [laugh] go along with that all the way.
a (PS5T8) [336] That's all that we have time for today.
[337] Until next week then, good-bye. [recorded jingle]


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [338] This is the first in a new series of twelve programmes on opportunities in education.
[339] The contributors will largely be from the educational faculty at the University, and in this first programme I have with me Professor Tony Becher, who is Chairman of the Education Area.
[340] Tony, what do you think are the main trends in education today?
tb (PS5TC) [343] Well, I think there are three perhaps one could erm broadly distinguish between.
[344] Conveniently one of them you could call long-term, one medium-term, and one short-term.
[345] If I think the short-term one first, that's perhaps the most obvious one, in the sense that most is written and talked about it at the moment, erm namely the cutbacks on expenditure in education.
[346] The medium-term one I would say is to do with broadly the attitudes of society towards education, and those attitudes have in fact undergone a fairly substantial change over the last ten years or so.
[347] And then the long-term ones are to do with demography, with the birth rate, with the number of children in schools which, as most people are probably aware, have gone down dramatically in the last decade.
a (PS5T8) [348] Well taking these in the order you suggest, the short-term.
[349] There are are cutbacks in education, there are cutbacks in everything in the, in the country at the moment and this is obviously linked with erm recession.
[350] How have the cutbacks affected education?
tb (PS5TC) [351] Well, I think that particular factor has been the most negative one of all.
[352] If people get the impression that the education system is in a thoroughly depressed state, erm I would want to argue against that in general, but I think it is true that the short-term cutbacks have made everybody erm thoroughly anxious and miserable, anxious about their jobs, miserable about not being able to produce resources for education.
[353] And of course the one minor consolation is that that kind of trend is not necessarily going to last forever.
[354] erm It could be that erm with a different political regime, you might get a positive commitment not to run down things like the schools, the hospitals, British Leyland, erm British Airways, British Steel and the rest.
[355] But certainly at the moment, erm and at least until presumably the next general election, erm nobody can see much light at the end of that tunnel.
a (PS5T8) [356] One of the difficulties, I would imagine, is associated not just with the level of cutbacks, but also the scale of time in which they're have to be implemented.
[357] I could imagine institutions, for example, being told to be in a different position perhaps in five years' time or ten years' time, and being able to do this by a variety of means, working towards it, whereas, it seems to me it's a very much harder problem, although it's, it's understandable as I said in the, in the present circumstances, to actually be able to take on this properly and do a proper job of change in a time scale of perhaps one year or maybe even less than that in some cases.
tb (PS5TC) [358] Well, that's absolutely right, of course.
[359] It's more at the medium-term level that you can talk about the system making sensible adjustments to new circumstances, and indeed, many schools and many Local Education Authorities have simply had to do that, they've had to erm adjust to much smaller numbers of pupils, correspondingly smaller numbers of teachers, and a much more static situation generally.
[360] That adjustment has not been without its advantages, in fact.
a (PS5T8) [361] Well, let's hear about some of the advantages.
tb (PS5TC) [362] One of them is at the post-compulsory level of schooling, where people no longer have to be at school.
[363] There's been an increasing tendency for people to stay on at school because they really want to, where it was one of the great criticisms of the boom years that people simply stayed on the escalator regardless, didn't think whether they wanted to stay on to, into sixth form, didn't think whether they wanted to go on to university or higher education, erm just did it without thinking.
[364] Nowadays it is much more a matter of choice.
[365] It's also clear that the teacher population has erm improved in the sense that it's become much less mobile.
[366] In the days of very rapid expansion, teachers in some inner-city schools stayed there on average about three years.
[367] Now you can't really get a coherent staffing policy within a school in that kind of flux, whereas now people perhaps erm a bit too much at the opposite extreme but nevertheless erm do know that they're committed to being in the school and have a, therefore a commitment to it, a commitment to improving their own work and, and their collective work.
a (PS5T8) [368] Well, we are going to pick up, later in the series, erm at least two aspects that you've mentioned.
[369] erm Professor Ron Dore is going to talk a bit about when education should stop and I suspect will be saying some of the things that you've already hinted at, and then later on Professor Colin Lacey will be talking about some aspects of teachers and teaching and training of teachers, and I suspect he will have something to say about mobility of teachers and careers of teachers as, as well.
[370] Let's move on to the medium-term question and get away from the perhaps the more depressing end of this time spectrum at any rate.
[371] erm You said that this is largely a question of, of social circumstances, accountability, erm?
tb (PS5TC) [372] That kind of thing.
[373] There was a time, I think, in the late sixties, when erm the education service did itself very little good by going along with the general mythology that you had only to put more money into the schools to service, to solve all social problems.
[374] The over-optimism of that became very clear erm in the mid-seventies, and people all over the world, not just in this country, began saying, ‘What are we doing?
[375] Why are we putting such huge proportions of our gross national product into schooling when it doesn't seem actually to resolve the worst social problems, it doesn't seem to erm improve erm greatly the prospects of employment and so on.’
[376] Well, education having been oversold in that way, erm the pendulum swung very strongly in the opposite direction, and I think, for a while, starting with the so-called ‘Great Debate’ under James Callaghan, education became very undersold.
[377] People kept saying, ‘Oh, well, the schools have got to justify everything they do to the public, they've got to be accountable.’
[378] erm And certainly the work which Julia Knight and Michael Eraut and I were involved in, those two will be talking of course later in the series, brought out some of the problems that were generated by that atmosphere of distrust.
[379] I think that's greatly improving now, partly because I think the schools have adopted a very responsible attitude towards it, on the whole.
[380] They haven't said, ‘Oh, well, we're not going to tell you anything,’ but they haven't either erm gone overboard as the American schools, many of them, have done, into becoming simply the ephemeral erm products of local opinion.
[381] I think that that trend is, on the whole, a fairly healthy one, and it's meant the schools have begun to be far more conscious about their responsibilities, not just in general, but, but about particular responsibilities, erm responsibilities such as erm dealing more effectively with handicapped pupils, dealing with ethnic minorities and so on, again erm issues which other people in the series will be talking about.
[382] erm I remember that a friend of mine was involved in the work of the Plowden Committee which, as you know, Brian, was dealing with erm teaching in primary schools, and erm was asked by the Ford Foundation to work with a small team in America spreading the ideas discussed in the Plowden Report in the States.
[383] And the whole thing was really a dismal flop because the context was so very different, the expectations were different, the kinds of things that you were saying.
a (PS5T8) [384] So you're really sounding a note of warning over translating or transferring one set of norms from one culture to another without being really rather cautious about it [laugh] .
tb (PS5TC) [385] In some aspects.
[386] Of course there's another erm respect in which education systems all over the world behave in an uncannily similar way.
[387] erm The fashions that sweep through different countries, educational technology was one, the independent learning movement was another, those kinds of fashions seem to know no frontiers, and one finds arguments being repeated in Stockholm very much as they were advanced in erm Brighton or in Tokyo or in other places.
a (PS5T8) [388] Moving on to your third point, the long-term aspects of education, you said these are largely demographic?
tb (PS5TC) [389] Well, I was erm trying to point out that the most stable element in a sense in a very changing system is pupil numbers, because you always know, pretty well exactly, how many pupils you are going to have at any given time.
[390] And you know some years in advance if you're in a secondary school erm that the total secondary school population is going to drop by, say, erm fifteen per cent in the next five years or whatever it might be.
[391] Now of course you can't predict at the level of the individual school what the population is going to be, but you can nevertheless be very clear that the system as a whole is going to have many erm fewer pupils.
[392] Of course nobody knows whether that downward curve is going to start going upward again or how fast it is starting to go upward.
[393] erm There are one or two people who have just begun to identify a faint movement back into an increase in numbers, but over very many years you can know pretty well exactly where you are as far as the total number of pupils you have to provide for is concerned, and therefore, in that sense, the system can plan its resources for a known population.
a (PS5T8) [394] Well, that sounds as if it's the sort of thing that ought to happen.
[395] erm I just sometimes wonder whether the numbers erm are right.
[396] erm I remember a few years ago when there was a great panicky shutting down of teachers' training colleges.
tb (PS5TC) [397] Well, alas, in that particular case, there was a panicky policy, because they delayed drawing the proper consequences from their data for too long.
[398] In fact erm there are now, you could say, too many teachers in the system overall, and that's why there are new proposals erm both in the colleges and in the universities to cut back on the number of teachers that are being trained.
[399] You've got, again, a much more stable population, there aren't nearly so many teachers, young women teachers who leave the system to get married and then perhaps don't go back at all, or only go back on a part-time basis.
[400] erm The whole nature of the stock of teachers has changed and on, I'm afraid, anybody's reckoning, there are rather too many of them.
a (PS5T8) [401] What do you consider to be the encouraging trends in education these days?
[402] What's really happening that's good?
tb (PS5TC) [403] Well, I think, it is this much greater caring for detail, for individuality.
[404] In expansion, erm people were interested in getting bigger schools, getting more teachers, getting more pupils, getting more resources, and on the whole they tended to forget the individuality at the expense of the large numbers.
[405] Now, partly I think as a result of the numbers being fewer, but partly as a result of simply a greater awareness of need, I think, the schools are more caring places, they do try erm not to treat erm minority groups as just annoying variants on the majority group, they try to erm think through their problems and to help to meet them.
[406] And that, I think, is, in humane terms, perhaps the most important thing that's, that's happening in education today.
a (PS5T8) [407] Thank you very much, Tony.
[408] Well, that's all that we have time for today.
[409] Next week I shall be talking to Dr Johanna [recorded jingle]


a (PS5T8) [410] Hello.
[411] This is another programme in our series from the University, in which we share with you news and views concerning activities that are going on here.
[412] In these programmes, we're talking with people in the community who have particular contacts with us.
[413] And Graham Mayhew, who is my guest today, is a particularly good example of somebody who has contact with us at all sorts of different levels.
[414] Graham, I want to start by asking you about you being Mayor.
[415] You look far too young to be a Mayor, but you've just finished being Mayor for Lewes.
gm (PS5TD) [419] Yes, I was the youngest ever Mayor of Lewes by a clear ten years, I'm the only one who's ever been Mayor in his twenties, and I think that came about probably because the family had been in the town since the beginning of the century, erm and I'd been involved in local politics since about eight or nineteen, I was on polling stations and so on.
[420] And so when I got elected to the Council I think one or two people at any rate felt that it was quite natural that I should have the opportunity fairly soon.
a (PS5T8) [421] And so you were the youngest ever Mayor of Lewes?
gm (PS5TD) [422] Yes.
[423] The previous youngest was thirty-eight when he took over, and I was twenty-eight.
a (PS5T8) [424] Well that's, as you say, a record by ten years.
[425] Did you actually enjoy being Mayor?
gm (PS5TD) [426] Oh yes, I mean it's tremendous fun actually, because it's one of those jobs which you can make more or less whatever you want out of.
[427] And providing you're sort of enthusiastic enough and you actually put the time in and the effort, then people respond.
a (PS5T8) [428] What are the things that you introduced that were different from previous Mayors?
gm (PS5TD) [429] Last year was the centenary of the Borough Charter.
[430] So on the one hand I was trying to restore the traditions of the thing.
[431] erm We tried to reintroduce some of the pomp and ceremonial.
[432] And then on the other hand, I felt that the mayoralty often didn't seem terribly relevant to people of my generation, and so I tried to involve a lot of young people in various activities, and the offshoot of that has been a Youth Advisory Committee which I set up, which at the moment is in the process of trying to negotiate with the County Council for some premises to try and increase the sort of youth club type evening provision in the town.
a (PS5T8) [433] Well, my son Andrew was involved with some of these discussions erm What I didn't learn firsthand, myself, I learnt secondhand from him.
[434] I think that's an absolutely excellent idea to involve the younger people.
[435] Do you, do you regard your efforts in that direction as being successful?
gm (PS5TD) [436] Well, it's really too early to say.
[437] I think it's been successful in trying to break down barriers a bit, and I think at least some of the representatives erm the head boy and girl and deputy head boy and girl at Priory School and some of the people from Rings School and so on at least have contact now on a fairly regular basis with local councillors, local council officials and so on .
[438] I think it enables young, the young people that have been coming to those meetings to find out too the problems that councillors have and local authorities have, in actually trying to carry out the sorts of things they want.
[439] For example, on the building that we're talking about shifting, first of all we've got to find a site for the thing, then we've got to get planning permission, then we've got to get the actual permission of the owner of the land, then we've got to make sure that erm electricity's laid on, that there's erm water laid on, that there's some sort of toilet or other facilities and so on , and when you add all that lot up, it's quite a complicated sort of series of bureaucratic procedures you've got to go through, and it's not a question of, you know, of people saying to us, ‘Well, as councillors, well, do this for us,’ and we can magic it out in six months out of thin air.
[440] There's an awful lot of paperwork that's got to be gone through, an awful lot of people to see, an awful lot of red tape really to get through, first, I mean just to make sure that the thing's safe and complies with health and safety standards.
[441] And that's something which you have to get across to young people, and if they're involved in the actual discussions on this, they're involved in the organisation, they begin to see the complexities, and they're less inclined to think, to automatically assume that erm people aren't on their side and don't want to listen.
a (PS5T8) [442] And of course Lewes is a small enough town that it's possible for ordinary people to be involved in, in central activities like council activities and so on.
gm (PS5TD) [443] Yes, I think it's a small enough town for people to get to know who their representatives are, to get to know each other, to get to know who runs which societies and organisations in the town, and that creates a sort of an area of erm communal feeling that you don't get in a place that's say five or six times as big.
[444] You know, Lewes is about the right sort of size for that, people don't get too much on top of each other, but at least they can find their way around.
a (PS5T8) [445] I know that you're a historian by profession.
[446] Did this allow you to reintroduce, rediscover old traditions in Lewes that had been lost?
gm (PS5TD) [447] Yes, I mean I run a series for one of the local newspapers on past Lewes mayors, and the amount of work that I had to do for that meant that I picked up all sorts of pieces of information about what other mayors had tried in the past, and things that had been successful and things that had been disasters, and as it was a centenary, I went to a lot of trouble to look up exactly what had happened a hundred years ago, and to try and recreate the ceremonial connected with that.
[448] And then when we elected erm two people Honorary Freemen of the town, erm I got in all of the other mayors from Sussex, asked them to come along with their robes and their mace-bearers and so on, and we had this very sort of grand ceremonial procession in the assembly hall which was packed house of about four hundred people.
[449] My only regret on that particular occasion now is that I didn't organise properly getting it videotaped, because it would have been a nice thing to keep, but as far as I could I kept to the traditions of mayoral ceremonial on those sorts of occasions.
[450] erm Lewes has only had a mayoralty for a hundred years, and so its ceremonial is somewhat new, but one was able to draw on the traditions in places like Rye where it goes back to the thirteenth, fourteenth centuries and erm I used some of the phraseologies out of sixteenth century Rye documents and so on in my Lewes mayoralty on these sorts of ceremonial occasions, and introduced some of the ceremonial which I knew was authentic to mayoralties elsewhere in Sussex.
[451] And I think it, it sort of paid off in making people feel in the town during the year that they had a Mayor, that the ceremonial actually meant something and related to them.
[452] And certainly I still find tremendous numbers of people who sort of come along and invite you to things, people who before would have probably said, ‘Oh, it's a waste of money,’ and I think we did quite a lot to, to change that attitude.
a (PS5T8) [453] Why is it that mayors only existed in Lewes for a hundred years, seeing it's such an old town?
gm (PS5TD) [454] Primarily because the town's basically a Saxon foundation.
[455] It's sort of gridiron pattern streets on the south side of the High Street.
[456] On the north side, that's all disrupted by the Castle, and as far as one can tell, when the town and the area around it, the [...] of Lewes was ceded to William de Warren, most of the local powers of the town council, such as it was, were taken away and subverted, and the town became a manorial borough.
[457] Now that sent Members of Parliament to Westminster from the end of the thirteenth century.
[458] It only had a very sort of ramshackle corporation because the lords of the manor of Lewes kept control fairly tightly on what the town was actually allowed to do and on its internal freedoms.
[459] Although there was a sort of mediaeval corporation it didn't have the royal charter, and so in the end of the seventeenth century it was somewhat subverted and really there was no proper town government to speak of until the beginning of the nineteenth century with the borough commissioners and then later on with the Mayor and Corporation which was set up in 1881.
a (PS5T8) [460] Well, you are ... you've obviously studied your local history very closely and I believe you actually run local history classes, don't you?
gm (PS5TD) [461] Yes, I've got four going at the moment [laugh] actually, it's rather ludicrous really.
[462] I've got one in Battle on Tudor Battle , all about the dissolution of Battle Abbey and erm what happened to the town afterwards, one on Elizabethan Rye, which is erm was notable because it was the largest place in Sussex at the time, very important port, lot of trade for London went to Rye, and there's a lot of stuff relating to piracy and erm warfare.
[463] For example, in fifteen fifty-seven, eight, when Queen Mary lost Calais to the French, the income of the town corporation doubled in that year from three hundreds pounds to six hundred and that's entirely because they pulled in an awful lot of French boats and then charged them all a lot of ransom money before they sent them back to France.
[464] So that sort of thing's quite fun.
[465] erm I've got courses in Eastbourne and erm a course in Brighton on mediaeval stained glass in fact.
[466] I've always enjoyed teaching, it's something which I feel is very important for somebody who's a historian, I don't like just doing research without communicating.
[467] And I think if you've got an interest and you can communicate it well to people, then it stimulates their enjoyment, and of course in a time when there's going to have to be more and more leisure, I think that's very important.
a (PS5T8) [468] And you're doing these courses under the aegis of the Centre for Continuing Education at the University?
gm (PS5TD) [469] Yes, that's right.
[470] I mean erm the second main paymaster of myself you know is the University in fact and erm without them I don't suppose I could have sort of financed the extra side of sort of clothing everything else for my mayoralty.
a (PS5T8) [471] And do I understand that there's a, a day school planned in the near future?
gm (PS5TD) [472] Yes, I've got a day school on December the fourth, it's a Saturday, it's all day from ten o'clock to about five.
[473] We're going to be looking at Lewes in the period during the late middle ages, early modern period when it had an unchartered corporation, how the town was governed and so on.
[474] We're going to be looking at erm the contrast between and places like Rye, which did have a chartered corporation, and we're going to be looking at sort of trade, at the effects of epidemics on the town erm and so on.
[475] I should think it should be great fun.
a (PS5T8) [476] And you don't have to have a history degree to come along to one of these things?
gm (PS5TD) [477] No, we don't expect any background knowledge at all.
a (PS5T8) [478] And details can be got from the Centre for Continuing Education at the University.
[479] I'm sure if anyone wrote in they would be sent an appropriate form.
gm (PS5TD) [480] That's right.
a (PS5T8) [481] How much does it cost?
gm (PS5TD) [482] I think it's six pounds fifty for the erm for the day.
[483] They have to buy their own lunch in the University Refectory, but that's an experience in itself, so anybody who wants to come and play student for the day, it's, it's great fun.
a (PS5T8) [484] Well, that sounds something to recommend for that December Saturday.
[485] [laugh] erm Looking at other aspects of your life and work, your official history activities are with the East Sussex Record Office at Pelham House.
gm (PS5TD) [486] That's right, yes, I run the Search Room there, which means that erm people come in to Pelham House, they usually meet me at a desk on the end of a telephone and I put them onto the documents that they want to look at and I make sure they're ordered up from where they're kept in one of the various repositories and strongrooms that we've got, and then I produce them for them and erm if they need any help reading them and so on I give them that.
a (PS5T8) [487] And are most of the documents in Sussex now kept in the East Sussex Record Office?
gm (PS5TD) [488] Well, there are two record offices for Sussex, there's the East Sussex one, under the East Sussex County Council in Lewes, and the West Sussex Record Office at Chichester.
[489] An increasing number of official documents are being kept at record offices, all of the parish registers for the various East Sussex parishes are now held, with one exception, at Lewes.
[490] erm All of the local authority records, as far as we've been able to get them in, are held there.
[491] We're trying at the moment to get in Nonconformist church records, or at least to get copies of them if the churches don't want to let us have them, because they're quite important for the nineteenth century history of East Sussex, and erm really any help that erm that we can get from the general public who've got old documents relating to their properties, minutes of any organisations that they've been involved in or that used to exist and that's now collapsed, anything like that that can add to the history of the county, we're always very grateful to receive.
a (PS5T8) [492] And again, the Record Office is something that lay folk can just come in and look up books and ask questions if they wish to.
gm (PS5TD) [493] Yes, it's open Mondays to Fridays from quarter to nine through to quarter to five, and anyone can just walk in and we'll do our best to help them and produce whatever it is they want to see, providing we've got it and we can find it.
a (PS5T8) [494] Well, I've actually spent some hours in the Record Office, I don't think while you've been there, erm doing a bit of ancestor hunting, so I am familiar with your, your work and activities.
gm (PS5TD) [495] Yes, well anybody can come in and trace their family so long as they know that they came from Sussex at some point and they've got some, something to work on, they've got some idea of which town or which village they came from.
[496] Then usually the parish registers and things like the census returns over the last hundred years are usually able to help them.
a (PS5T8) [497] One other contact that I think you have with us is that you sing in the Meeting House choir.
gm (PS5TD) [498] Well, yes.
[499] I hadn't actually managed to make it yet this term because of all the teaching preparation I've been doing but erm I've done that for the last two years and erm it's been quite an important activity because it enabled me, after I came back down to Lewes, to help to get to know a few people in the University and to sort of expand my contacts.
[500] And the Meeting House is one of those places which is open to the general public on Sundays for religious worship, there's a Catholic service at half past ten and an interdenominational one at half past eleven.
[501] There's a choir which produces, sings various mediaeval and erm Renaissance and eighteenth century anthems and so on, and they do a Christmas Carol Service and so on , and it's really quite, I find it quite nice to come to, because it doesn't have the sort of narrow denominationalism that many of the local churches have.
a (PS5T8) [502] You've got experience of being at two other universities, you've did your undergraduate work at York and then you did a doctorate at Oxford.
[503] How do you find Sussex compares with those two?
gm (PS5TD) [504] Well, it's difficult really.
[505] erm Architecturally I suppose it doesn't compare with a mediaeval university.
[506] I liked York very much, because it was set round a lake and erm it was the first one I went to, but I must say that of the other modern universities that I know I would say that Sussex was erm was the other best one that I've been to and the one that I've felt most erm comfortable and happy in.
a (PS5T8) [507] Thank you very much, Graham.
[508] Next week we shall have another member of the local community as our guest.
[509] Until next week then, goodbye. [recorded jingle]


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [510] Good evening.
[511] This programme comes to you from the University of Sussex.
[512] You could say that everyone at the University is involved in education, at least in the broader sense.
[513] But there are groups within the University that have been given specific responsibility for certain elements, and the largest of these is the Education Area.
[514] Professor Norman Mackenzie is Chairman of Education.
[515] I asked him to explain how the Area relates to the rest of the University.
nm (PS5TE) [519] Yes, it's erm a very small section of the University compared to Arts or Science erm in fact there are only twenty-five teaching members of faculty involved in education, but I think it's a pretty important erm part of the University.
[520] It's a part of the University that has quite a lot of contact with the community in Sussex.
[521] This is a, a helpful and reciprocal relationship because our students, who are in our Postgraduate Certificate of Education course, that's university graduates who are training to be teachers, do go out into schools in this area and do their teaching practice in those schools in a rather interesting way and we developed a scheme, here in Sussex, which was quite novel when we started it about ten years ago.
[522] The students go out and spend part of each week all through the school year in the schools, and the teachers in those schools, whether they are science teachers or history teachers or English teachers, collaborate with us in helping to train those students.
[523] And they come back into the University two days a week.
[524] So there's a reciprocal relationship with quite a number of schools in this area of a rather novel and to us extremely helpful and rewarding kind.
a (PS5T8) [525] What do you do for existing teachers?
nm (PS5TE) [526] We're very much involved in what's called in-service training, in the retraining and helping of teachers who've been in the profession for some years, and who need to get new qualifications or refreshment in their professional work.
[527] And that of course is quite erm an important part of our work.
[528] The in-service kind of erm activity is of course reflected in our, many of our courses, not merely in short courses, but in the fact that we run erm Masters courses, erm M As in Education of several kinds, and students in those courses are mainly teachers who have been released for a whole year to come and do a full-time course.
[529] But there again we have part-time courses for the M A and the in-service B Ed for teachers who live in the Sussex region and can study part-time.
[530] And then we have research students erm who are doing M Phils, Masters of Philosophy, or D Phils, Doctors of Philosophy, and erm research with us.
[531] And that adds up, one way and another, to about two hundred and forty students who are erm working with us at any given time.
a (PS5T8) [532] What are the other responsibilities of the Education Area?
nm (PS5TE) [533] It includes at present what we call the School of Education.
[534] We don't want to get too much into these complicated terms, but the School of Education is the link between the University and other institutions of higher education like Brighton Polytechnic and the West Sussex Institute of Education as it now is, and of course, up to now, colleges at Eastbourne like Chelsea and the Eastbourne College of Education.
[535] And all the students in those colleges that are studying education have been doing so for awards at the University of Sussex, so we're actually a much bigger family than the students we have here on the site at Thelma .
[536] Altogether, in round figures, there are about three thousand students taking education awards at the moment.
[537] That number regrettably is shrinking because the cutback in teacher training, but up to now there is a very considerable interchange between the University and the Polytechnic and the colleges, at the level of initial teacher training, as well as cooperation in in-service work.
a (PS5T8) [538] Presumably there is research in education, too.
nm (PS5TE) [539] We have a rather significant research effort.
[540] If I can put it in, not, I hope, in a boastful way, but to illustrate how important this is to us, about forty per cent, getting on for half of the income of the Education Area last year, was made up not of normal University funds, but of funds attracted from outside to support research from private foundations and from government departments like the Department of Education and Science.
[541] And we have therefore a very substantial and helpful research as well.
a (PS5T8) [542] Do you train teachers for both primary and secondary schools?
nm (PS5TE) [543] We are, on the whole, training teachers for middle and secondary schools.
[544] We do have a small number who come to us to do primary training, but it's erm it's one group only, and it's always been a rather special group.
[545] We don't cater to a large number of students intending to do first school work, it's, our main interest has been in the middle and secondary school areas.
a (PS5T8) [546] Are there any special features about the way Sussex trains its teachers?
nm (PS5TE) [547] Where I think we have tried to do something interesting is in this idea of giving the student a, a whole year's experience in the school to help them become professionalised, rather than the normal practice, the traditional practice of school practice, which meant going twelve, sixteen weeks into perhaps two bytes, into a school, and this does mean the student can get integrated with the school community and take part in the extramural life of the school, get involved in games and school plays and school outings in a way that's not possible if they're in and out on that short basis.
a (PS5T8) [548] But there is room for people, like myself for example, who have part interest in education, if I could put it that way, to spend some time working with you.
[549] You have some people who are part-mathematicians, part-educationists for example
nm (PS5TE) [550] That's true.
a (PS5T8) [551] So you're not just a closed box of educationists.
nm (PS5TE) [552] No, I think nobody would like that, either.
[553] Sussex has had what I think is a, a very unusual and valuable aspect, and that is that, to some extent people find their own level in their own work in teaching.
[554] If something interests you, you're free to go and explore the possibilities of teaching it, and you aren't shut into these watertight boxes that you're in that department and can never get out of it.
[555] And I think just as erm students of education draw, are taught by people from physics and mathematics and erm chemistry, just to take three examples right across the University, so several of us, in fact, do quite a lot of teaching in other areas of the University.
[556] I myself teach two history courses.
[557] The erm other people teach in sociology courses, other people are teaching in erm courses in the Culture and Community Studies School on literature and history and social policy.
[558] So there is quite a, a, a movement across those frontiers.
a (PS5T8) [559] Could you say a little bit more about the research going on in the Education Area?
nm (PS5TE) [560] We've always tried to make our research projects pretty relevant to the real and contemporary problems of education.
[561] For instance, we have a large-scale project erm at the moment which is concerned with falling numbers in secondary education and what should be done about them.
[562] This project, we're very pleased, is directed by Doctor Eric Briot , you may remember was the Chief Education Officer in London until he retired and came to lead this project, and a man of very great standing in education field, and what he's looking at is the effect of the falling school populations, which is already hitting primary schools, on these large comprehensives that we've created.
[563] What's going to happen when the size of sixth forms shrinks?
[564] Can schools offer such a wide range of choice in the curriculum? erm Will we be able to maintain the erm the levels of staffing erm that's been possible so far?
[565] And I think this is a pretty critical problem, and of course it's not only based on Sussex schools, but it's based on a number of schools throughout the country which we're studying to see the effects of this programme.
[566] There's another one that's very much concerned erm with the real situation in schools, we call it the Accountability Project, you realise that accountability is a rather a hot and fashionable word in education these days.
[567] To whom is a school responsible and in what way?
[568] The relations between teachers and the parents and the school governs and the Local Education Authority.
[569] And this one is a very interesting project because it's being done under the director of, direction of Dr. Michael Eraut in the University, but it involves not merely the University but the East Sussex County Council.
[570] We are actually partners with the Local Authority on erm this research project.
[571] And we've had a great deal of helpful cooperation and it's very much erm going right into the schools, right into the whole system of government and control of the schools, erm and I think again is going to produce some very interesting results before too long.
[572] We've a third big project going at the moment, a very tricky one.
[573] erm The Schools Council, erm as you may remember, has been putting millions of pounds into educational research over the last dozen years, and all kinds of new curriculum ideas and patterns of organisation have emerged.
[574] erm Professor Lacey, a colleague who is at the moment erm the research advisor of the Schools Council, has a project based here which is looking at the impact erm of these Schools Councils projects over the years, which ones have made an impact, which have fallen away, why some have succeeded, why others have fallen off.
[575] And we are in fact looking at these projects to see that there is, or if there is, good, not merely ordinary value for money, but good educational value for money, and what might be learnt for the future.
a (PS5T8) [576] These, as Norman Mackenzie has said, are major projects in educational research.
[577] And we shall be talking about them in detail in coming programmes.
[578] But there are many other interesting studies going on, concerned with all aspects and at all levels of education.
[579] Stephen Ball has been investigating the differences between streamed and mixed ability classes in comprehensives.
[580] Again, we shall be hearing about his conclusions in another programme.
[581] But this is what he had to say about one of the side effects that he noted.
sb (PS5TF) [582] It seemed that the pupils in the mixed ability classes developed more slowly socially than the pupils in the streamed classes.
[583] This was manifested in a number of ways, particularly in that pupils still in their second year in the mixed ability classes would be talking about playing with their friends, and generally their attitudes towards the teenage culture of pop music and magazines and fashions and discotheques didn't seem to develop so quickly as it had in the streamed situation.
[584] And I think really this comes from the problem of those pupils in the streamed situation, in the bottoms streams in particular, who found that they wanted alternatives to school, when the, they were in an inferior position in the school, they were devalued if you like by finding themselves in the bottom streams, and so they tended to look for out-of-school things, alternatives to school, from which to gain their satisfactions, and they would look to the pop media, to fashion, to football, to these kinds of things, and in the mixed ability situation this certainly did not happen in the same way.
[585] So the, the children in a sense remained children longer in the mixed ability situation, and again this was something that the teachers found, found very pleasing, in that the, the pupils were remaining involved in the school much more and much longer.
a (PS5T8) [586] Carol Dyhouse has made a special study of women and education.
[587] She will be taking part in a programme on this subject on March the twenty-ninth.
[588] But as a preview, this was her reply when I asked her whether the problem was, not whether women needed more education, but that men needed educating about women.
cd (PS5TG) [589] Men, perhaps, should be encouraged to realise that women want to speak up for themselves, they don't really like being told what they want by men.
[590] It's difficult, though, because if you talk to adolescent boys in schools they're violently opposed to women's liberation, they hate the name women's liberation, because they're very defensive perhaps about their own masculinity at that age, and their own masculinity is defined very much in terms of being superior to girls and having mums who wait on them at home.
[591] So it's difficult to challenge that kind of supposition at that age.
[592] Later on, it's easier.
[593] Boys need to be discouraged from assuming that they know what women's position is.
[594] I think it's, it really begins in the home, this, because mothers can do quite a lot in not educating their own sons to think of them as servants.
[595] A lot of women do this, they're very tolerant about boys' mess in the home and untidiness generally, and in a sense they, they lay the foundations, right from the very beginning, of boys' growing up to think of women as kind of household servants.
[596] This attitude, you know, boys will be boys and they make a mess and poor Mum has to do all the washing, is really quite, quite misguided because it, it does encourage those assumptions that mothers are there to tidy up after sons, and of course then sons when they grow up and get wives want to replace their mothers.
[597] So women themselves can do something about educating men in the home, starting with their sons.
a (PS5T8) [598] Talking to members of the Education Area about their researches, I was struck by the constructive relationships that they built up with the schools and groups that they studied.
[599] Many of the projects arose not just because they seemed to be suitable topics for academic research, but at the direct instigation of teachers or sometimes students.
[600] The roles of the researcher were seen in terms of helping to identify, study, and solve an educational problem, with the fullest collaboration.
[601] The premium was on being involved as a partner, or as an invited guest, rather than remaining as a detached outsider.
[602] Michael Eraut is concerned with evaluation in education, and had this to say.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [603] In my mind, the object of doing an evaluation is to create some kind of improvement in the situation that is being evaluated.
[604] I'm not interested in producing reports and publications out of evaluation studies, I'm interested in affecting the situation, and affecting it to the mutual satisfaction of the people involved in it.
[605] When I'm working with people on an evaluation or discussing evaluation in general, one of the major items of discussion always is, how can you consult other people, how can you get them involved?
[606] I say to them, ‘Look, don't start planning this whole thing on your own from the beginning.
[607] Go round and talk to the various people you know that are interested and say to them ‘Look, I'm planning to try and do this work, but I don't just want to do this on my own, I want to take into account other people's views.’
[608] For example if I'm looking at O-level history, ‘What sorts of things do you think might be important, or what kinds of evidence do you think I ought to collect, or what issues do you think I ought to take into account?’’
[609] So one tries to build up a kind of agenda of all the things that different people involved think might be important, before one tries to produce a plan as to how one's going to, to work.
[610] If people aren't interested in, in evaluation of something that concerns them, then nothing will happen at the end of it.
[611] I mean there's no earthly use doing a beautiful piece of evaluation erm which no one wants to know about, and publishing something that has no effect.
a (PS5T8) [612] We've heard about the Education Area, but there is one very important unit that works largely in the wider community, and that is the Centre for Continuing Education.
[613] I asked Professor Manny Eppell to describe the Centre's activities.
a (PS5T8) [614] What we try to do is to make available to people opportunities for study in depth and over a fairly long period of time, on issues and in subjects which are part of University activity.
[615] Now it could be said of course that we don't offer the same kind of very intense opportunities that are on offer to undergraduates, but in some senses, and many adults have testified to this, this is an advantage, because it enables people in their own time, and sometimes over a fairly prolonged period, to explore with a tutor, a scholar, the kind of interests that they have in the issues that have concerned them in society.
[616] It also provides an opportunity, and I think this is quite important, for people to get to know what is happening within the fields of expertise, which increasingly in our society become more and more specialised, more and more hedged off from one another, and in a sense I think that there is a very great danger if intelligent adults in the community, laymen in effect, don't have some idea, some coherent idea, of what's going on in these fields of specialisation and expertise.
[617] Now I'm sure you, Brian, would acknowledge that in a certain sense we are all laymen most of the time.
[618] However expert we may be in a fairly narrow field we are laymen to one another.
[619] I'm a layman to you and you're a layman to me in many senses, and therefore erm the, the, the fact that our students are in effect very often laymen is not something that detracts from their motivation to study, in many instances it's something that gives it stimulus and underlines it.
[620] There's another aspect to what we do, and that is that I think we are part of a very powerful developing movement in education, and it is based on the concept that education should not stop with the terminal rituals of school and college, and that education should be as much part of life, wanting to know, to find out, to get to grips with the body of information and knowledge that's available in society.
[621] And in a relatively small way, but when you think of the other universities doing the same sort of thing, in a larger way, we are offering this kind of opportunity to people.
[622] I think there's one other thing that's worth thinking about, and that is that many of our students come into the University for one-day schools, for lectures, for activities of this kind, and this gives an opportunity for a kind of reciprocal traffic, if you like, so that people outside who often have very odd ideas of what universities do and what they're about and what they're like, can actually see your University, participate in its activities, and we can see ordinary folk who sometimes ask the shrewdest questions and make sometimes what seem to be the most penetrating kinds of points about the sort of things that we take for granted.
[623] Many of my tutors have said that one of the most salutary of their experiences has been to work with a good adult class, which starts with no preconceptions, doesn't necessarily have a qualification in mind, and ask the kind of questions which would tend to be asked say in Swift's Gulliver Travels.
[624] What, what appear to be, as I said, naive questions very often are most penetrating and bring us up short because they involve things we've taken for granted for many, many years and perhaps ought to look at again.
a (PS5T8) [625] Could you give me an idea as to the size of the community which the Centre of Continuing Education covers, and also the number of courses and the students involved?
a (PS5T8) [626] That community, for historical reasons, happens at the moment to be East Sussex, the whole of East Sussex including Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings and so on, and a substantial slice of West Sussex, so that our open community courses are available in these areas.
[627] The bulk of them, incidentally, are not in the University, some are, but they are in places that students can get to after their work, or easily from their families and their towns and villages throughout the, the county.


gc (PS5T9) [628] In what way did furnishing change during the fifties?
dw (PS5TA) [631] Apart from the fact that I think most people were able to afford a far bigger range of furnishings, for instance, the number of homes that actually had a carpet in the living room, there was very small percentage of people who could afford to have any sort of carpeting except for a small square of something in their living room.
[632] By the mid-sixties, you see, a large proportion of homes would have got fitted carpeting throughout, so there's that kind of difference.
[633] There's also the introduction of actual new pieces of furniture, like the coffee table, which you don't find in pre-war homes except in very élite, grand houses, but this is almost a, a standard fitting in a living room now.
gc (PS5T9) [634] Can you think of any reason why the coffee table should have suddenly become so popular?
dw (PS5TA) [635] Well, I think it's, it's largely to do with the changed uses of the living room, because I think one of the, one of the changes that I found in, in the way that people organise the rooms within their house, is changing over from having a best parlour, usually in the front, which was very seldom used except for inviting the vicar in or whatever, or laying out the dead, combined with a back kitchen, a family room, where you ate and so on, and a move over to having one combined living-dining room where all the family's activities went on.
[636] And I think tied in with this is people inviting people into their homes more.
[637] Also of course changes in actual eating habits.
[638] I think we tend to eat much faster, if you like, and, and to take more snacks, and I think it's interesting that the rise of the use of a coffee table ties in a lot with the rise of people having televisions in their front rooms, because introducing the television made all kinds of changes into, just the way people arrange their chairs, not centring them round the fire any more, and a coffee table's a very neat addition to that kind of arrangement.
gc (PS5T9) [639] To what extent do you extrapolate from looking at furnishings to social conditions?
dw (PS5TA) [640] I think it's very hard to separate the two, but it's a big chicken and egg, to say which came first, the social conditions or the furnishings is erm is very hard to say, but they are, I mean like in that example that I just gave, they're very strongly tied up.
gc (PS5T9) [641] Social conditions certainly affected Mrs. Daisy Sawyer's choice of furnishing.
[642] She remembers setting up her first home, right after the war.
tn (PS5TB) [643] They were dockets that we had, after the war, to buy our furniture, because there wasn't much furniture around, we was only allowed so many per family.
[644] And once you spent those dockets, you just had to go and buy secondhand if you wanted any more.
[645] There's quite a few around us because then we was not going onto a council estate from the one room, and we were all in the same boat together.
[646] We was all having a hard time, a rough time, and doing what we could to make our homes look respectable and nice for people to come into.
gc (PS5T9) [647] Helen, could you call this kind of personal recollection about furnishings a type of alternative history, perhaps like oral history?
dw (PS5TA) [648] Yes, because this is describing, analysing how ordinary people lived, what was going on that enabled them to live in this way.
[649] Yes, it's a kind of history that history books are not usually written about.
gc (PS5T9) [650] When you walk into a living room, what sort of clues do you get?
dw (PS5TA) [651] [laugh] I get clues as to how a particular family organises its life, whether the room is a room for the whole family or a, a room that's perhaps excludes children or a room that's for best, that kind of ... which not only tells you something about that particular family but, when you've seen enough homes, tells you about general patterns that are going on in social life.
gc (PS5T9) [652] Do you find it easy to deduce class from looking at a living room?
dw (PS5TA) [653] No, I wouldn't say I did, and I wouldn't say that's what I was looking for, particularly, because again I mean it's a much abused notion that perhaps that class disappears in postwar Britain, I think that's a political issue that was an attempt to make it look as if class was disappearing, class differences rather, but I think there is a lot of evening out, there's not the stark differences of the quality of life of furnishings that you would have found say in homes before the war.
gc (PS5T9) [654] Where do you do your research?
dw (PS5TA) [655] Well, part of it I've done in the Kent Town, East Brighton area.
[656] Particularly in the streets that have undergone a great deal of change since the war, like the street where I live myself, which is another thing that prompted me to, to go into the research in the first place, which is erm a house of small Victorian erm I believe the estate agents call them artisans' cottages [laugh] , and this kind of area which, there's a great deal of this sort of property in Brighton, has undergone enormous changes since the war from being multi-occupied before the war, with one family on each floor, were regarded immediately after the war as slums and were scheduled for demolition, but they've been a great lease of life all over the country, this sort of property, and been subjected to a process which has come to be known as gentrification, which has meant that when the middle class couldn't afford to, to buy semi-detached in suburbs they took to buying this kind of smaller property in town centres, thereby introducing a whole new element into streets that had never seen these, this kind of things done to houses before.
gc (PS5T9) [657] Are people generally willing to let you into their houses?
dw (PS5TA) [658] It varies a great deal.
[659] I think older people are quite naturally rather anxious, and they're also rather puzzled as to why people should be interested in what their homes were like, now or twenty years ago.
[660] But on the whole once I've got talking it's been very successful, and people are always amazed at what they do remember in great detail about how they got things, why they got them, when they got them, and I think by and large the people that I have talked to have found it very interesting to do for themselves as well as for me.
gc (PS5T9) [661] Generally what reasons did people give for choosing furniture?
dw (PS5TA) [662] An enormous variety of reasons, and [laugh] by and large not the sort of reasons that advertisers would hope that they did give.
[663] I think again the sort of picture that you get from books is rather like a stage set, with everything new from the year nineteen fifty-eight or whatever, all bundled into a room together, this is what it looked like.
[664] Well, of course, real homes don't look like that at all and the way that their things are accumulated is not like that.
[665] erm A lot of people gave as a reason for getting a particular piece of furniture the fact that it was given to them by their parents when they got married, or that a neighbour was trying to get rid of it, or that somebody from work had passed it on and they needed one.
[666] When it came to new furnishings, people usually they found it difficult to say why apart from‘I got it because I liked it’, or ‘I got it because it was cheap’.
gc (PS5T9) [667] Who in the homes made the furnishing decisions?
dw (PS5TA) [668] Well this provided some very interesting information I think, because I was very surprised the degree to which men were involved in decisions about what to put in the home and had very strong opinions about quite small details of colour and this kind of thing as to what went into the home.
[669] But there did seem to be some pattern by which certain objects were very much considered the wife's province.
[670] I mean I didn't find any husbands going out and choosing lampshades, for instance, or they weren't particularly bothered about the colour of curtains.
[671] It's the kind of objects that get changed more frequently, and particularly those to do with colour, were mainly the wife's decisions.
[672] But obviously the heavier pieces of furniture, the more durable ones, are also the more expensive, and when it's largely the money for them's going to come out of the husband's pocket they're going to have more of a stake in erm [laugh] in saying what they want.
[673] And the kind of criticisms split down the middle, as well, on furnishings, that by and large men were far more concerned about the, the lack of durability in modern furnishings compared with their parents', whereas women weren't so concerned with that.
gc (PS5T9) [674] Generally, have you discovered any particular changes in Brighton's home furnishing over the past generation?
dw (PS5TA) [675] Yes, I'd say there was a definite move towards the same kinds of objects, the same kinds of styles and qualities of furniture being found in a wide variety of income groups, areas of the town, different types of houses, a much more over-all feel, really, a move towards classlessness I suppose you could call it.
[676] The fact that a very similar kind of furniture can be bought in an enormous variety of different places, there's not this same idea that ‘Oh, I wouldn't ever go in that sort of shop to buy it because it's not a place for my sort of person’.
gc (PS5T9) [677] In addition to becoming less class-distinct, homes generally got more comfortable as well, didn't they?
dw (PS5TA) [678] Yes, I think one of the main things that, that made this possible was the improvements in heating.
[679] Heating for instance in more than just one room, which for instance became standard in council house building in the late forties onwards.
[680] The move towards much more efficient methods of heating like convector heaters right on through to central heating, so that you could use more just that back parlour where the cooker was that kept the place warm.
[681] For instance bedrooms, much more use of bedrooms for actually living, particularly for children, although I think that is one of the few instances where you can discover class patterns if you like.
[682] That in lower income groups, not because you couldn't afford to heat the bedrooms, but there's a definite idea that bedrooms are for sleeping in, rather than living in.
gc (PS5T9) [683] What direction do you see your research taking you in?
dw (PS5TA) [684] Well it's hard to know where to stop, really [laugh] erm I mean the, the difficulty of concentrating on [...] one area of the country, is that we're of course I think there must be very great differences in different areas of the country.
gc (PS5T9) [685] Thank very much to Helen Martin and Mrs. Daisy Sawyer.
[686] Next week on Ideas in Action we'll pay a visit to the Brighton Youth Orchestra, and [recorded jingle]


a (PS5T8) [687] take you back in this first talk about the art of film erm to the very early days, and these are difficult I think for us to imagine because we're so used today to sound films, of all the effects in, in the theatres, we're used to the great stars, we're used to the big subjects, and yet the film began in the smallest possible way, it began really as a sideshow, it began as a hobby for a group of people, sometimes they would be French, sometimes they would be British, sometimes American, the early pioneers, whose main interest was to produce a camera, which would look like a still camera and yet somehow would manage to produce a picture which moved when it was projected on a screen.
[688] So the first people who made films, the first people who invented the apparatus by means of which they could be made, were relatively simple showmen or photographers, or in certain cases like Edison, erm the, you know a professional inventor, who would use either his staff to develop a piece of apparatus, or would do it himself.
[689] And this is really why the beginning of cinema is an international thing.
[690] Because now one man, now another would produce some part of what became in the end the motion picture camera.
[691] Now you may say ‘Why on earth talk about this sort of thing on Brighton Radio?’
[692] Well, there's a very good reason for this because as it happens erm Brighton was a filmmaking centre in the very earliest days.
[693] erm There was one particularly noted filmmaker, a man called George Albert Smith, who worked in Brighton, but there were others too, there was a man called John Bennett Stanford and another called Esmé Collings.
[694] And Brighton, strange as it may seem, became, in Britain, one of the small pioneer centres where these first movies were made.
[695] Now one has to get this picture into some sort of perspective against, as I said, the big films of today.
[696] These men, all of them, were people who first of all were devoted to their cameras.
[697] Some of them actually made their own cameras, and even more strangely, used the cameras to project the films after they had made them.
[698] In the daytime they would shoot erm with their apparatus, the short strips of film, in say the streets of the towns where they were, and then in the evening they would use the same apparatus adapted to project the films onto a screen.
[699] And the kind of thing they made of course erm were just short moments of motion, short silent films which showed action which lasted about a minute.
[700] It might be a scene in the High Street, or it might be some particular local personality who it would entertain the people to see in the evening, erm their faces on the screen.
[701] They couldn't hear any speech.
[702] erm These films could only just run and show the faces, show the expressions, show a little action.
[703] And this really was the basis therefore of the first films, they were really demonstrations that pictures could move, and this was sufficient for people to pay a few pence to come in erm and look at the films.
[704] Now this was the kind of man that George Albert Smith of Brighton was, and he made a whole range of short films, as all the early filmmakers did, erm publishing a catalogue every so often, and offering his films for sale to other showmen, because as the years passed erm these films became extremely popular.
[705] Now we're dealing with the year about eighteen ninety-six onwards, and the filmmakers of this time erm would make this large number of short films, make several in a day if they had the, if the, they had the opportunity and the subjects, and then they would print catalogues of these pictures and market them.
[706] Market them not only in this country but abroad.
[707] It became quite big business.
[708] Now I remember it was about oh twenty years ago that Rachel Low, the daughter of celebrated cartoonist, and I, we were both on the staff of the British Film Institute then, erm decided we would write the early history of British film.
[709] And we travelled down to Brighton from London and met in his home George Albert Smith, who was then in his nineties, a charming old man, very good-looking, and very, very interested to share his experiences of the past with us, and I remember he showed us his account books.
[710] And there it was, in the late nineties, he was adding up his pence and his shillings and the odd pound or two here and there, these were his costs of making the pictures that he was making in those days, and then when you turned over and we came to nineteen hundred, nineteen hundred and one, nineteen hundred and two, erm the figures had broadened and under the pounds into three figures and then into four.
[711] And this was what kind of business filmmaking became.
[712] It was a matter of very small beginnings for everybody, and then as the pictures that they made became more and more popular, more and more acceptable, used not merely in fairgrounds or in odd corners of shops and this sort of thing, for the odd fifteen minutes or twenty minutes of movie, but entered into the music halls, became one of the acts in the music hall entertainment erm this really was the foundation of a new industry, a new industry of entertainment, a new industry of information.
[713] This was the background to it all.
[714] George Albert Smith was later of course erm to come on and make a big name, a world name for himself as the inventor of the first colour process, a very simple, two-colour process, but it was invented by him in Brighton, and it was the first world colour process.
[715] And it was patented erm in nineteen hundred and six, and was called Kinemakolour .
[716] And in nineteen hundred and eight, erm this Kinemakolour was put on the market with a special company and erm Smith in nineteen hundred and eight was awarded a silver medal by the Royal Society of Arts erm for his invention.
[717] And this colour process was to be used erm Delhi Durbar for example was, was filmed in colour by Smith, and this marvellous colour process, at least marvellous for its day, erm was known everywhere.
[718] Unfortunately it resulted in a patent war, and finally by the mid-teens, about nineteen fifteen, erm the process died as a result of the rivalries of other companies.
[719] Nonetheless, George Albert Smith's name stands as the inventor of a colour process which was viable, which was shown worldwide, and which presented for the first time on the screen a photographically produced colour picture.
[720] All the others had been hand-tinted or hand-painted, and this after all was not the real thing.
[721] So this was another reason for his, his place in film history.
[722] Now you may wonder the kind of films these early pioneers made.
[723] I've mentioned one or two kinds of very simple films, but of course they soon became much more erm elaborate in a, in a simple way elaborate.
[724] They lasted much longer, they lasted five or ten minutes.
[725] erm Some were what we would call nowadays newsreels.
[726] Some of these newsreels I might say were faked, I don't mean George Albert Smith's were faked, but erm there was for example the case erm of the Boer War.
[727] The Boer War was on and the first sort of major conflict erm in the period of movie history, and naturally people wanted to see what the war was like.
[728] So it was much easier if you hadn't got a lot of money to fake some action, and produce some fake Boer war newsreels than to do the real thing.
[729] So I'm afraid that some were faked and some were real.
[730] And this was to be the case with a lot of actuality pictures of the time.
[731] Nonetheless it was news really which brought people in beyond the mere curiosity of seeing pictures that moved, brought people in erm to these early shows.
[732] They wanted to see a battleship launched, they wanted to see Royalty in action, they wanted to see anything that was happening which was an event in the world, and so cameramen like George Albert Smith, and eventually George Albert Smith's staff, would go out around the world, much as it would happen now but in a much simpler way, erm to make actuality pictures.
[733] And in the course of time they began to make simple documentaries erm which would be something say the study of Pekin, if you happened to go there, or Italy if you happened to go, any country that to which you could go, you went and you made not just newsreels but also erm documentary studies of these films, of these places.
[734] That is they would really be the beginnings of what we would now call travelogues.
[735] Travelogues were immensely popular, people hadn't the resources to travel in those days easily unless they were wealthy, and here was a chance to see what the world was like in various places that were inaccessible erm to the average member of the audience.
[736] And then there were the vaudeville films.
[737] [...] films which featured, although you couldn't hear their voices unfortunately yet, featured erm famous singers and artists of, of the variety stage.
[738] They would be featured and then a live player with a piano or what have you erm would produce the music which went with the action on, on the screen.
[739] And then there were trick films.
[740] Now the trick films came particularly out of the pioneers' own attitude to their apparatus.
[741] erm If you were not so much an artist as a technician, you became as a technician interested in what this camera of yours could do, and therefore George Albert Smith, who was primarily I would say a technical man rather than an artist, he was very interested in the trick film.
[742] Now trick films were the sort of first visual magic that the cinema could produce and erm these, these films you would see for example a motor car disintegrate and then reassemble itself, this kind of thing, people's clothes change, drop off and a new set of garments would come on, all this sort of thing, people's faces would change, their environment would change, their chairs would collapse under them and rebuild themselves, this sort of thing which could be done relatively easily once you knew how to do it.
[743] And the trick films were these, in a sense, the magic comedy form which erm these early films took.
[744] They were very, very popular and went all over the world.
[745] Well these were the main films.
[746] Only later were, was one to find it possible to develop a small comedy action or a small dramatic action on the screen, this would be around nineteen hundred and three, four, five, about five or six years from the beginning, that films of this sort would make.
[747] Well now I have in front of me my book that I wrote with Rachel Lowe about these erm these early film erm makers of Britain, and leafing it over I see some of the facts which lie behind the Brighton's, Brighton's contribution to this.
[748] Esmé Collins, I read, was a well-known Brighton portrait photographer, one of the very first to take up the production of cinema films in eighteen ninety-six.
[749] So Smith, as I said earlier on, was not alone in this.
[750] He erm was himself erm one of a school of Brighton filmmakers.
[751] And then there was John Bennett Stanford, who was a wealthy amateur, who was one of the people who pioneered the filming of the Boer War.
[752] And his films were shown in London at the Alhambra, and were, this was something new and exciting and erm therefore helped to establish the popularity of the newsreel.
[753] Incidentally you might like to know where George Albert Smith worked in Brighton.
[754] He was erm in St. Anne's Well Gardens, erm that's where his address was, and eventually erm he was erm able to take over erm quite a considerable estate in Brighton, and develop it erm as a studio.
[755] Now erm some of this films might be of some interest.
[756] Among the trick films, for example, he made use of double exposure as early as eighteen ninety-eight in a group of films, these are titles, ‘Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother’, ‘The Mesmerist’, ‘The Corsican Brothers’, things like this, and he was one of the pioneers incidentally of the close-up.
[757] Usually it's D W Griffith of America who's given credit for the intelligent use of the close-up erm but Smith was immensely interested in the portraiture area of photography, and made a series of films which were called at the time ‘facials’.
[758] ‘Facials’ meaning erm films of people pulling faces, grimaces, caricatures, human caricatures really.
[759] And this was a most interesting branch of early filmmaking, it was the mobile portrait, the portrait where people's faces were in action.
[760] erm I see here one of his catalogue entries for eighteen ninety-eight, ‘Waves and Spray.
[761] Fine effect.
[762] Rough sea dashing against stone groin.’
[763] This was the kind of thing which fetched people in, in the very early days.
[764] erm Well these, I think, I think this perhaps gives sufficient of the feeling of erm the kind of work these people did.
[765] But I would like to say just one word about what I felt about the character of George Albert Smith.
[766] I knew him over a period of about two years before he died.
[767] I actually invited him when I was Director of the British Film Academy to come to London erm and with the help erm of Brian Coe of Kodak we actually reconstructed about thirty seconds of this two-colour process erm and put it on a screen for our filmmaker colleagues in London.
[768] And this was a tremendously moving moment, I think.
[769] There he was, this very old man, talking about his process with tremendous enthusiasm, and then we said, ‘Well all right, now we'll all sit down, we'll have a look at exactly what this two-colour process looked like.
[770] We've only managed to reconstruct about thirty seconds of it, but this at any rate will give the impression of the way it was.’
[771] Well in a sense we were able to give this very quiet manner and very enthusiastic, very explicit, very kindly, very polite erm man his chance to relive for a moment erm this great contribution that he made in the past.
[772] He was able to come back, and this was in the late nineteen fifties, half a century later, and tell us all about it.


tb (PS5TC) [775] ... well known as centres of academic learning and excellence, where people are taught to degree-level standard.
[776] They've always had links with industry and commerce, but over the last few years they've recognised the need to develop and publicise their links.
[777] The University of Sussex is no exception.
[778] Over the past decade it's built up an international reputation for the quality of its scientific and technological research.
[779] In fact it's one of the very top U.
[780] K.
[781] research universities.
[782] It's high standing is shown by its being in the top three universities, along with Oxford and Cambridge, in the national table which shows the proportion of income derived from research grants.
[783] For example, last year alone, the University earned a total of four point nine million pounds from research grants and contracts, a figure which has risen despite the recession.
[784] About a third of the four point nine million pounds came from contracts placed by industrial firms, government departments and other agencies, for work to solve specific problems.
[785] Much of this work has been done for the larger national and international companies.
[786] However the University also runs an extensive Services for Industry programme, designed to help smaller local firms in Sussex.
[787] And in the last four years about one hundred local firms have been given help.
[788] I've been joined today by Professor Mike Springford, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University, and Chairman of the Services for Industry Coordinating Group, and John Golds, the University's Industrial Liaison Officer.
[789] They've come along to talk about the Services for Industry programme, and what the University can offer local firms.
[790] So Mike, what's the background to the Services for Industry programme?
gm (PS5TD) [794] Well you could say that erm our background goes back erm twenty-five years, in fact, we've had a considerable involvement with industry both local and national for as long as the University has been in existence, which is now nearly twenty-five years.
[795] Now in this respect, of course, twenty-five years is rather a short time in the life of a university, and a good deal of this time has been spent in building up a research base, and now, as you mentioned in your erm remarks a few moments ago, Andrew, we have an enviable research record in a very wide range of disciplines.
[796] Now about four or five years ago, we felt that the time was right to promote our involvement with industry and commerce rather more vigorously.
[797] I think erm there were essentially three reasons for this.
[798] The first was to give some form, and to formalise, our collaboration, and our involvement with existing industrial colleagues.
[799] The second was a conviction that many of us had, that we do indeed have a great deal to offer, by way of expertise and consulting, from the campus.
[800] And thirdly, and certainly not erm least, we hoped ourselves to benefit at a time when the Government cutbacks were just come into force, which were requiring us to raise erm more income from non-government source.
tb (PS5TC) [801] And what sort of facilities can the University offer?
gm (PS5TD) [802] Well I suppose most of those, but certainly not all, are on the Science side of the University.
[803] Let me just mention erm just a few.
[804] We organise ourselves in different schools of studies.
[805] If I mention them and then perhaps give you a few examples of the sort of facilities which erm which we have available.
[806] In Engineering and Applied Science, there's a very wide experience in the broad area of electronics and computers and micro-processors, computer-aided design, and such topics as biomedical engineering and instrumentation.
[807] In my own school, which is Mathematical and Physical Sciences, there is a considerable expertise in erm materials, in the study of surfaces using electron microscopy, in subjects like opto-electronics, in the use of radio isotopes and mathematical modelling say.
[808] In Chemistry and Molecular Sciences, one finds a whole range of analytical tools, experience with erm polymers, and again the chemistry of surfaces and interfaces.
[809] And in Biological Sciences, erm one finds erm subjects like drug testing, plant physiology and biochemistry, and subjects like speech analysis and synthesis.
[810] In addition to this, of course, on the campus there are other erm units.
[811] We have erm a special research unit, which we call Micro-processors, Instrumentation and Control.
[812] In addition to this, of course, there's a good deal of energy research goes on in the campus, and erm there's another unit which we call the Science Policy Research Unit.
tb (PS5TC) [813] And so, John, how have these University facilities benefited local firms?
nm (PS5TE) [814] Well as Mike said, since the inception of the Service for Industry programme in nineteen eighty, the University of Sussex has helped nearly a hundred local companies.
[815] Some jobs are problem solving, or analysis, some are much more involved.
[816] You see a university has a wide spread of expertise and facilities, which is well beyond the finance of a small company, and even sometimes a larger company, especially when the expertise or facility required is out of the ordinary.
[817] We are, by this programme, doing our best to serve Britain's future by working with industry?
tb (PS5TC) [818] And can you give me some examples of the firms that the University's managed to help?
nm (PS5TE) [819] Yes.
[820] The University does work for a variety of large companies, such as Rolls Royce, I C I, Shell, B P.
[821] These are international companies or, put another way, household names.
[822] However, I cannot divulge the names of local companies, because in the majority of cases, the results of the work are confidential.
[823] What I can give are examples of the expertise and facilities provided.
[824] For example, analysis, using the N M R machine.
[825] Gas chromatography.
[826] Tailor-made short course for individual companies, to bring their staff up to date with modern computer techniques.
[827] Designs of locks.
[828] Design of a new magnet detection system.
[829] Medical research.
[830] Mathematical progress of schools of our education area.
[831] These are just some of the facilities and expertise that have been made available to industry.
[832] As another example, and totally unrelated to science, a couple of years ago we undertook a project to look into the organisation of a charitable trust.
tb (PS5TC) [833] And so you've been able to help a number of firms.
[834] How have the firms found out about what the University offers?
[835] How's the programme been publicised?
nm (PS5TE) [836] Well we do this in a number of ways.
[837] We collect together most of the information erm in a single brochure which we call ‘Services for Industry’.
[838] And indeed we've just erm put together a new edition of this erm document erm it collects together the range of advisory and consultancy services on the campus, together with a list of the sort of test equipment and facilities around, and it also notes other things, such as M S E courses and short courses which can be put on.
[839] And then from time to time, erm in fact a few times during the year, we circulate a newsletter to something like a thousand erm companies on our list.
gm (PS5TD) [840] Yes, I think in addition to that we, the University participates in exhibitions.
[841] For example, last February at Birmingham, at an exhibition called Barclays Techmark, the University participated.
[842] It is also going to Eastbourne, to an exhibition organised by the Confederation of British Industries, and to another in Brighton, on Technology Transfer.
[843] We all have close ties with the Southeast Region of the C B I.
[844] In fact they held one of their regular meetings here last September.
[845] We also work very closely with the Federation of Sussex Industries, and they will be having one of their monthly meetings at the University in November, and we also hope to organise a joint open day with the F S I next June or July.
[846] The University is a member of the Brighton-Hove Chamber of Commerce, and it is also on the Management Board of the local Business Enterprise Agency.
[847] This agency, supported by the towns of Brighton and Hove, is sponsored by the local business, with the aim of advising people willing to form their own business and thereby create jobs.
[848] Also earlier this year the University formed a Managing Directors Club.
tb (PS5TC) [849] Well that sounds quite interesting.
[850] Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
gm (PS5TD) [851] The club has about sixty members from industry and commerce, with East and West Sussex, and the boundaries of the surrounding counties.
[852] It is organised by the University of Sussex.
[853] Aims are to provide an opportunity for industry and the University to meet, and assess each other 's needs, and for industry to find out what we are doing.
[854] It is also a vehicle for industrialists to meet each other, and discuss common problems.
[855] The club meets three or four times a year.
[856] So far the meetings have been held at the University, but the plan is to move the club's meetings around the counties of East and West Sussex.
[857] Membership is open to managing directors and chief executives of industry and commerce.
tb (PS5TC) [858] Okay, so what you've told me so far's fine.
[859] But I'm sure there are people listening who are thinking, ‘Well, how much is all this going to cost if I want some advice?’
[860] Can you give us some idea of that?
gm (PS5TD) [861] Well obviously this very much depends on the expertise and service required.
[862] If it's just advice, that service is normally provided free.
[863] Analysis of a single sample, using say, one of the smaller machines, will cost as little as twenty-five pounds.
[864] An investigation, or a design of a new system, are obviously much more expensive, even a few thousand pounds.
[865] There are, however, government-sponsored schemes whereby the research councils support research in conjunction with industry through co-optive studentships or co-optive grants.
[866] These are not expensive.
[867] For example a studentship to undertake research leading to a higher degree can cost as little as five hundred pound per year for the three years.
tb (PS5TC) [868] Well we've been talking about the benefits which the local firms obviously gain from the work that's going on here, but the question could be asked, what benefit do the academics in the University and also the students gain from the, the programme?
gm (PS5TD) [869] Well first of all I think there are a number of intangible benefits which accrue from us making new contacts outside the University, and tackling and discussing new problems in different areas.
[870] But certainly, on the more tangible side, it's true to say that an increasing proportion of the research in the University in widely different areas erm is supported now erm through this programme.
[871] I can give you a couple examples of the more tangible advantages with reference to schemes which are administered by the erm Science and Engineering Research Council.
[872] erm One of them is called the Teaching Company Scheme, in which partners from universities and manufacturing companies get together to tackle problems with the objective of increasing manufacturing performance in some area.
[873] erm Another example is the CASE Scheme.
[874] This stands for Cooperative Awards in Science and Engineering and erm under this scheme, a company erm can have a problem tackled by a research student working in a university and erm a supervisor, and indeed in this case, the input, the financial input, by the company may be quite small, may only amount to a few hundred pounds.
[875] One of the other advantages of this scheme is that the student erm spends some months each year in the company, and in a number of cases in the past this has led to the student erm getting a job when he leaves.
[876] And finally on the undergraduate side, a number of our erm contacts have led to the undergraduates being able to erm find vacation work.
tb (PS5TC) [877] And finally there have been some items in some of the national newspapers recently concerning university science parks.
[878] I understand that Sussex University doesn't have a science park, but in fact it's got a research park.
[879] Can you tell me what the difference is, please, John?
nm (PS5TE) [880] Many science parks have been developed through the combined initiative of a university, local authority, or development agency, and a finance house.
[881] The buildings is built speculatively.
[882] In other words, tenants are then sought.
[883] Our approach at Sussex is different.
[884] Departments have forged close links with a number of companies in the area of research and development.
[885] Because of the benefits, the close collaboration, excellent facilities, some companies wish to cement even closer, more permanent links.
[886] This can be achieved by siting their R and D base, or part of it, on the campus.
[887] Companies do not, always, on the basis of existing collaboration, wish to move directly to a purpose-built building.
[888] At present four companies have part of their research and development base on campus, renting existing space.
[889] By using this facility they can further develop the links and use our services.
[890] One company, Asansiki , a subsidiary of Toyota, is building a fourteen hundred square foot building on the campus, and an international high technology company is about to build a ten thousand square foot building.
[891] The agreement for this should be reached on the second of November.
[892] These two companies will form the nucleus of the University of Sussex Research Park.
[893] From this you can see that there is a major difference between our approach and the conventional science park, in that we are not undertaking speculative development, but are using what is termed internally within the University as ‘the incremental approach’.
tb (PS5TC) [894] Okay then.
[895] Suppose I'm an industrialist listening to this programme, and I've been very interested in what you've been saying, and I feel that I've got a problem that the University could possibly give me some advice on.
[896] How do I go about it?
nm (PS5TE) [897] Well that's quite simple, Andrew, as an answer.
[898] All they need do is to contact me, John Golds, either by phone or by letter.
[899] I will then do my best to see whether we can solve their problem.
[900] My telephone number is Brighton six oh six seven double five.
tb (PS5TC) [901] Well thank you very much to both Mike Springford and John Golds.


[recorded jingle]
sb (PS5TF) [902] Hello.
[903] This is the start of a short series on science, in which we're going to explore some of the boundaries of our physical universe as we understand it.
[904] Space, time, temperature and so on.
[905] Now that winter's coming on, what would be more appropriate than a programme about low temperatures?
[906] And by low temperatures I don't just mean a few degrees below freezing, but the world close to what scientists call ‘absolute zero’.
[907] And to help us in these explorations we have as a guide Dr. Low Thomson.
[908] Low, when we talk about low temperatures, what do we actually mean?
cd (PS5TG) [911] I think depends upon the, the problem.
[912] A room temperature might be a low temperature for certain erm physical phenomena, but by and large I think in physics low temperatures tends to mean temperatures below the erm boiling point of liquid helium, I think.
sb (PS5TF) [913] And how cold is that?
cd (PS5TG) [914] Well, on the centigrade scale that's at minus two six nine approximately, but in fact we in physics tend to work always with an, what we call an absolute scale of temperature.
[915] Room temperature is around about three hundred kelvins, but why we call it absolute is it, erm the lowest temperature one could ever get to is in fact designated as zero.
sb (PS5TF) [916] So that's interesting in itself.
[917] What you're saying is that there is actually a limit to how cold you can get.
cd (PS5TG) [918] In the way that erm that the temperature scale has been defined yes, that's correct.
[919] There in fact originally were different ways suggested.
[920] Logarithmic ways would have meant there would be, there would have been no limit in fact, one could have always gone to, to, one would essentially have minus infinity as, as the lowest.
[921] But erm on the absolute scale of temperature, zero kelvin is the lowest one can get, and all one can hope to do is to get ever closer to that zero, when one goes to low temperatures.
sb (PS5TF) [922] I think we're probably going to come back to that again in a minute.
[923] But let's talk for a moment about how one actually tries to get low temperatures.
[924] How do you do that?
cd (PS5TG) [925] erm As far as we're concerned, we do much the same I suppose as, as the housewife does in her kitchen.
[926] She buys a refrigerator, plugs it in, and puts her food in there, and gets to some, maybe minus ten, or minus fifteen erm centigrade that way.
[927] We essentially buy some rather larger refrigerators which will liquify some gases for us.
[928] We have two in the University, one that liquifies nitrogen from the air, and another which liquifies erm helium gas which we buy in from erm Texas in fact it comes.
[929] And the air when it's liquified gives us a starting base temperature of seventy-seven kelvins, whereas the helium when it's liquified gives us a base temperature of four point two kelvins.
sb (PS5TF) [930] Basically it's very easy, isn't it, to get down to about seventy-seven degrees above absolute zero?
[931] Liquid air, liquid nitrogen is, is about that temperature and, and it's
cd (PS5TG) [932] That's right, it's
sb (PS5TF) [933] easier to get hold of.
cd (PS5TG) [934] It's fairly easy to get hold of, it doesn't cost too much to liquify.
[935] The, the, the, the [...] cost of liquifying air is around about ten p a litre.
sb (PS5TF) [936] So that one, fairly readily, can get down to about minus a couple of hundred degrees below room temperature
cd (PS5TG) [937] Yes.
sb (PS5TF) [938] Something of that order.
cd (PS5TG) [939] Very easily, yes.
[940] And, and, and liquid nitrogen you'll find in, in all walks of life, in hospitals all over the place that erm farmers now often have it in their farm, they, they
sb (PS5TF) [941] That's the sort of thing you use to burn warts off fingers [laugh] and
cd (PS5TG) [942] That sort of thing, that's right.
sb (PS5TF) [943] What happens when you try and get below that?
[944] It gets progressively harder to get down in temperature, does it?
cd (PS5TG) [945] You have to erm spend progressively more because it, it, it, it just is as you say much much harder to get down.
[946] You have to have bigger compressors, higher pressures, and, and better insulation.
[947] erm Helium does liquify at a much lower temperature than any other element and in fact it was not until erm this century that erm helium was finally liquified.
[948] All the other elements had been erm liquified in, in, during the Victorian period.
sb (PS5TF) [949] How on earth would that have happened in the first instance?
[950] Did people expect it to be liquified and work on it until it happened, or was it just an accidental discovery?
cd (PS5TG) [951] No, there was a, a programme right throughout the erm second half of the nineteenth century to try to liquify all elements.
[952] There was speculation in fact that helium might not liquify at all.
[953] People had so much difficulty with it.
[954] What's interesting, Brian, by the way, is that, that helium is, it is the sort of the life and blood of low temperature physicists.
[955] Most peculiar element.
[956] It was discovered not on earth in fact but on the sun in the first place, in about eighteen sixty-eight erm absorption lines were seen, and, and it was a long time after that before people realised there was some helium on the earth and, and, and eventually erm helium, some gas was found bubbling up through, from a pit in the Black Forest and, and analysed and found to be helium.
sb (PS5TF) [957] I see.
[958] And then, erm it was at a much later stage, in the nineteen twenties or perhaps a little bit earlier than that they actually first managed to get enough of it to liquify.
cd (PS5TG) [959] Nineteen oh eight.
sb (PS5TF) [960] Nineteen oh eight.
cd (PS5TG) [961] Is, is in some sense the starting point of low temperature physics, erm One doesn't want to mention too many names but one erm the sort of grandfather of, of the whole subject is a man called Cameling Onis who in the, erm in Holland in the Leiden erm University there, first liquified helium.
[962] He was an astonishing man because not only had, no sooner had he done that, than he then performed a tremendously important experiment.
[963] Only three years after that he put some erm mercury into a glass capillary and measured its resistance, and in nineteen eleven he discovered superconductivity.
[964] It's quite remarkable that a mere three years after liquifying helium he, he erm had got this tremendously important erm effect.
[965] This is one of the most important effects in low temperature physics, the fact that electrons, in many metals, go into a superconducting state in which they have no resistance whatsoever, no electrical resistance.
sb (PS5TF) [966] All right.
[967] Well let's just take a step backwards.
[968] We're, we're getting rather complicated here.
[969] It's the electrons in metals which actually carry the electricity, is that right?
cd (PS5TG) [970] That's right, yes.
sb (PS5TF) [971] And what you're saying is that if you get to sufficiently low temperatures, you get a situation in which the resistance in the metal drops to zero.
[972] What's the implication of that?
cd (PS5TG) [973] Well, the resistance of course is caused by the fact that electrons as they move around in, in, in metals, bounce off things and this erm causes their, their flow to be impeded.
[974] Now erm suddenly, it sets in at one particular temperature, this resistance just disappears entirely.
[975] First of all it's a, it's a most astonishing theoretical phenomenon that this should happen, and in fact it took a whole half of century later before an explanation could be found as to what, what was happening.
[976] Many applications that involve superconductivity, and around us today we see I think lots and lots of erm important applications.
[977] What comes to mind erm is that in the last erm fifteen years or so erm we've been able to make magnets using superconducting wire, and these magnets erm involve very very large magnetic fields, much larger than one could ever get using a, a copper-wound magnets which were the, way when you did things previously and erm there are an enormous number of applications.
[978] The most recent, and it's quite exciting, is to use magnetic resonance imaging to look at erm nuclei in the body and to see what they're doing and where they are, and that's going to be very exciting but it involves having a very very large magnet in which one puts a whole patient all at once.
sb (PS5TF) [979] This is a medical diagnostic tool.
cd (PS5TG) [980] That's right.
[981] That's right.
[982] It's, it's just coming in, erm not many hospitals have this at the moment but erm Britain is really quite to the fore in, in this work.
[983] This work started originally in, in erm Nottingham University and in Aberdeen University and erm now we're rather lucky in that I think we have erm one company, Oxford Instruments, that supply almost all the big magnets that are used in this work all over the world.
sb (PS5TF) [984] Essentially you put the person in the centre of a huge magnetic coil, and that allows you to find out what's going on medically inside the person.
cd (PS5TG) [985] That's right.
[986] All the nuclei in the body process at a, or rotate at a particular speed, according to whatever size magnetic field you put them in, and then you apply a radio frequency field to the body at the, at just that frequency, and if you tune things correctly, there is absorption of energy, and you can detect that.
sb (PS5TF) [987] And that can detect erm tumours, body defects and so forth in a, in a non-destructive way if I could put it that way.
cd (PS5TG) [988] Yes, it will
sb (PS5TF) [989] It's less harmful than X-rays, for example.
cd (PS5TG) [990] You get the same kind of picture you can get with X-rays, with what's reckoned to be no harm whatsoever.
[991] As well as that, essentially X-rays just tell you where things are, but erm in this erm magnetic resonance imaging, you find out not only where things are, but what they're doing.
[992] You can find that certain nuclei are moving fast, others are moving slowly.
[993] This will inevitably lead to enormous erm help in diagnostic aids for medicine.
[994] You mentioned erm tumours, in fact you get this as I said the same picture with, with X-rays as you get with magnetic resonance imaging, but what is different about tumours apparently is that the erm relaxation time with which the erm nuclei move erm varies erm according to whether a cell is, is cancerous or not.
sb (PS5TF) [995] So that's one application of superconductivity.
[996] There are other low temperature phenomena which are rather fascinating.
[997] There's a thing called superfluidity, isn't there?
cd (PS5TG) [998] Yes.
[999] Superconductivity essentially is just superfluidity of electrons in metals.
[1000] Superfluidity is something which is seen so far in two liquids.
[1001] One is liquid helium four, which is the standard most common isotope of helium, that's the stuff that was liquified in nineteen oh eight.
[1002] That was discovered to be superfluid in about nineteen thirty-two.
[1003] The way that superfluidity shows up is most extraordinary as well.
[1004] For instance if one has a, a bucket of erm liquid helium, the helium will climb out of the bucket before your very eyes and empty.
sb (PS5TF) [1005] It can see a lower surface and it will literally climb out
cd (PS5TG) [1006] Yes.
sb (PS5TF) [1007] and down.
cd (PS5TG) [1008] It forms a film all over the surface and essentially erm climbs up through this film and, and will empty out of the bucket.
sb (PS5TF) [1009] So what really happens as you go towards low temperature?
cd (PS5TG) [1010] Well, things become simpler.
[1011] Essentially if you're at a, at a high temperature, the real nature of the substance is being masked by a large amount of erm energy, excess energy, a large amount of excitations that cause randomness and cause extra things to happen.
[1012] If you, if you can cool down you're essentially taking away all that erm extra energy, you're making things less random, in fact one way to look at low temperature physics is, is to think that we're always striving after the ideal, we're trying to make things more and more perfect.
[1013] The first, simplest way is simply to take a boiling liquid and to pump on it.
[1014] If you do that, you're pumping away the erm highest energy atoms and leaving behind the lowest energy ones, and in that sense it's becoming more perfect.
sb (PS5TF) [1015] We've talked a lot about four degrees above absolute zero.
[1016] What happens if you actually try and get down to absolute zero or even pass the other side?
cd (PS5TG) [1017] No, you can never pass the other side.
[1018] I mean absolute zero is, is just some absolute that we, we strive to get to, but you can certainly get closer and closer, and in the last erm ten or twenty years one has seen erm enormous strides in, in getting there.
[1019] I think erm when I started doing low temperature physics about twenty-five years ago or so, the lowest temperature that had been reached was around about erm two milli-kelvins from absolute zero.
sb (PS5TF) [1020] That's about two thousandth
cd (PS5TG) [1021] Two thousandth
sb (PS5TF) [1022] erm degrees.
[1023] Yes.
cd (PS5TG) [1024] Two thousandth of a, of a degree
sb (PS5TF) [1025] Yes.
cd (PS5TG) [1026] Yes.
[1027] In fact erm at Lancaster University quite recently a temperature of around about nine micro-kelvins was reached from absolute zero, so that's a, an advance of almost three orders of
sb (PS5TF) [1028] That's about erm one over a hundred thousandth of
cd (PS5TG) [1029] Yes.
sb (PS5TF) [1030] a degree.
cd (PS5TG) [1031] That's right.
sb (PS5TF) [1032] So that's getting very close indeed.
[1033] But it's, it's like trying to climb a mountain, isn't it, in a sense, you, it's getting steeper and steeper as you get to the peak, so it gets harder and harder to get that last little bit.
cd (PS5TG) [1034] That's right.
[1035] It's by, by ever successively smaller, smaller steps we'll eventually head ever towards absolute zero without ever getting there, that's true.
sb (PS5TF) [1036] And at Sussex, there are quite a number of people doing these sorts of experiments, what, about six or eight different people doing experiments in low temperature physics?
cd (PS5TG) [1037] Yes.
[1038] We have about, I would say in all about erm twenty chriostats at, at least, and, and
sb (PS5TF) [1039] A chriostat is, is what low temperature physicists call the little bit of experimental apparatus in which they get their low temperatures.
cd (PS5TG) [1040] That's correct.
[1041] That's right.
[1042] And, and we have erm maybe twenty or so of these, some of which go not much below four degrees, but some of which in fact really go to quite low temperatures.
[1043] We, we're one of the main centres in the country for that, and some of these erm big apparatuses go to erm well below one milli-kelvin.
sb (PS5TF) [1044] And it's really good to know that there are so many applications in the, in the real world, medical and physical and, and otherwise.
[1045] It's not just a little bit of science for the sake of science although it has a strong content there.
[1046] Low, the last question I want to ask you is really a rather naive one.
[1047] These temperatures are incredibly cold erm and very low.
[1048] You can get frost-bite only about ten degrees below freezing point.
[1049] erm Do you have to wear gloves and protective equipment to do these experiments?
cd (PS5TG) [1050] No, no, no, not at all.
[1051] erm The low temperatures we're talking about, Brian, are, are right inside erm very big apparatuses, so that as far as we're concerned [laugh] the room is just at a normal temperature and the low temperature is within a can within a can within a can within a can away from us.
[1052] It's really erm insulated by about ten different layers from erm of various kinds of insulation from, from, from the room, so that erm we never actually experience the low temperatures ourselves, I must confess.
sb (PS5TF) [1053] Probably just as well.
[1054] Thank you very much, Low, and that's all that we have time for today.


[recorded jingle]
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1055] Hello.
[1056] This is the first in our new series of Ideas in Action from the University of Sussex.
[1057] I'm Andrew Panting, the Information Officer for the University, and for this first programme I've been joined by Ted Nakhle and Lawrence Suss.
[1058] Ted is the Senior Assistant Registrar in Student Administration, and Lawrence is the Admissions Officer for the University.
[1059] They've had a very busy summer in the Admissions Office, but now the new academic year is underway, I've invited them into the studio to ask them about this year's admissions.
[1060] Right then, Lawrence, what's the current state of play at the moment?
a (PS5T8) [1064] Well, the University's just admitted all its students this year, and we've had what I think is a particularly good year.
[1065] First of all applications to the University rose by about thirteen per cent, which was very much better than what happened to all other universities.
[1066] So we've done rather well there.
[1067] erm Secondly the result was that our intake this year has been particularly good.
[1068] I think you may know that sometimes universities need to go into something called clearing, which is a last-minute applications process in erm in late August and September, to fill the last few vacancies.
[1069] And in the past few years we've had to go into clearing as most other universities would do.
[1070] Well this year, we closed all our courses except one.
[1071] So we did extremely well.
[1072] And the second point I think about this year's intake is that, in terms of A-level grades, it's particularly good.
[1073] We've got some extremely competent and bright students, and I'd like to think that they'll do quite well.
[1074] So it's been very good this year.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1075] Ted.
[1076] What advice can you give to anybody thinking about applying to university in nineteen eighty-five?
tn (PS5TB) [1077] Well I think that it must be recognised that the current state of demand and supply is going to make it very difficult for most applicants, and we would be concerned to advise them not to panic unduly as a result of that, and to make their choices on the sort of rational criteria that would apply in any year.
[1078] One of the important lessons I think to learn is that the choice of course, which tends sometimes in situations of high demand to be too related to supposed vocational use, so we notice for example that there is increasing demand for courses which appear to have a vocational content, can sometimes lead to disadvantage.
[1079] If I could cite one example of that, the accountancy profession recruits seventy per cent of its intake from non-accountancy graduates, and in fact, a student taking accountancy, and getting a not particularly good degree, even a lower second class honours degree, can sometimes be regarded by employers as having demonstrated not particularly good aptitude for accountancy, and be discounted in favour of a candidate from another major subject, who's got a better class of degree.
[1080] The lesson, I think, there is to pick a course that will create the sort of environment in which performance can be maximised, rather than to pick something which appeared to have more vocational use, but may not be as good for the individual student as a course that he or she will enjoy.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1081] What about deciding which university to go to, because there are a lot of universities offering a lot of different courses?
tn (PS5TB) [1082] I think there, again, the message would be the same.
[1083] Think about it seriously.
[1084] Don't pay too much attention to media pressure.
[1085] Think about the total environment.
[1086] The students who perform well at university are those who are well-motivated rather than those who are able, since most students entering university are able.
[1087] Use the vacations to visit as many campuses as you can.
[1088] Living in this area, for example, you can visit a campus university here at Sussex, a town-type institution at Brighton Polytechnic or Portsmouth Polytechnic, a city-based university in Southampton, and it's very easy to get to London.
[1089] That will give you a fair idea of the sort of environment in which institutions are placed, and the sort of environment in which you might be happy, and again, go for the environment in which you think you will be happiest.
a (PS5T8) [1090] Could I just reinforce something that Ted said about erm vocational course as well?
[1091] I think candidates who are thinking of applying for entry in nineteen eighty-five, who are now say seventeen coming on eighteen, have got three or four years ahead of them at university, which is a considerable time, and if nothing else, university will make them question themselves, what their interests are, and they'll introduce them to new subjects, new areas of study, and it may be a mistake to embark on a vocational course, and discover halfway through that actually it's not what you want to do.
[1092] I would emphasise what Ted said.
[1093] That is, motivation is the most important thing.
[1094] That if you go on a course for which you're well-motivated, then you'll do well.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1095] I know some people take a year off before they enter university.
[1096] Could that be a good idea, say for, to try out a vocational area?
a (PS5T8) [1097] Yes.
[1098] Provided the erm the candidate or the student knows what they're going to do in that year.
[1099] I don't think it's any good sitting around, on the dole, doing nothing.
[1100] So it's, it's very important to have something to do.
[1101] Most universities welcome it, because it gives the student a chance to look at themselves afresh during that year off, to increase their experience, maybe for a chance to stand on their own two feet and travel or work somewhere else.
[1102] So that when they get to university, it's not the first time away from home, it's not the first time they've got their money and so on.
[1103] One of the, the tasks I have to do in May each year, is I write to the candidates who've just taken a year off, who've been away for the last two-thirds of a year, and I write to them and say, ‘You've been away for two-thirds of a year.
[1104] Are you going to come in October?’
[1105] I get three sorts of responses.
[1106] The first are those people who say, ‘Thanks for writing to me.
[1107] There's no way I'm going to come to Sussex.’
[1108] And I'm delighted, frankly, that people write to me that early and say, ‘I'm not going to come’, because I can give their places to somebody else.
[1109] There's a second group of students who write to me after that letter in May, and say, ‘I no longer want to do English at university.
[1110] I'm much more interested in psychology.’
[1111] Because they spent their year off teaching children in a nursery school, or working in a home for mentally handicapped people, and they discovered a new area of interest to which they can relate, and they become motivated to read that subject.
[1112] And of course the third group of students write and say, ‘Yes, I applied last year to do Biology, I want to do it, and I'm really clear I want to do it.’
[1113] And they too have examined their motives.
tn (PS5TB) [1114] There are lessons in that for people thinking about applying this year, and who may not intend to take a year off.
[1115] And the main lesson is that there are no short cuts to choosing a university course or choosing a university.
[1116] It has to be a serious process of thought and research, both about the candidate's own interests and motivation, and about the type of course and institution which they want to attend.
[1117] One of the dangers of the current climate for admission, which makes it more difficult than it has been in recent years for students to get into universities, is that the concentration is on the techniques of application, rather than on what lies behind the mechanical process.
[1118] And I would urge all intending applicants to give very serious thought to what sort of person they are, to what their real academics interests are, and to what sort of institution they want to attend, and to recognise at the outset that that cannot be gleaned from any one compendium or any one adviser.
[1119] And that it's up to them to do the research, to listen to advisers, parents, other students and so on, but at the end of the day it's them that's got to go and do the course.
[1120] All they can get from other people is advice, and not instruction.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1121] You mentioned the technique of applying.
[1122] I understand that there is quite a, a complicated form called an, an UCCA form.
[1123] I'm not terribly sure what UCCA stands for, but it's the form that pupils use to apply for university.
[1124] Are there bits of technical advice that you can give to people intending to apply to university?
a (PS5T8) [1125] Yes.
[1126] UCCA is the Universities Central Council on Admissions, and applications to universities go through the UCCA.
[1127] It's a central system.
[1128] It's like a clearinghouse for all, all applications to all universities in, in the United Kingdom.
[1129] The form is a long form.
[1130] It can be quite off-putting.
[1131] Little bits of advice I would give erm are these.
[1132] Firstly, when UCCA get the form they photoreduce it for the universities.
[1133] So it actually comes to us quite a bit smaller than when it's filled in by them.
[1134] So it's important that their writing is clear, is large enough for us to read, otherwise we're going to have a really quite difficult job.
[1135] A second point I would make is, check spelling.
[1136] I've got a whole list of funny errors, some a bit too near the bone to repeat on the air, but they're extremely funny, and it's certainly not a good way of getting your application noticed by misspelling.
[1137] So get the writing clear, the spelling clear.
[1138] I think the third general point I'd want to make is this: if you're applying for a course at university, then it doesn't matter what A-levels you're taking, or what courses you've put down for at the five universities.
[1139] I think candidates somehow have got to assume that the admissions tutors or selectors don't think the candidate wants to do the course.
[1140] That's the starting point.
[1141] That is you've got to prove to the admissions tutor or admissions selector that you want to do the course.
[1142] For instance, because you take A-level English, and you apply to five English courses, I don't think you should assume that the admissions tutor thinks you want to do English.
[1143] And there's a section on the form which asks candidates to fill in their interests and it's in that section that a candidate puts over their own personality, and so I would ask people who are applying to think very carefully before filling that section in, and to be both broad in what they say, that is to include all their interests, but also to be very specific as well.
tn (PS5TB) [1144] I think in, in shorthand terms the best thing to do is to regard the UCCA form as a mirror, and to look at it when it's completed and say, ‘This is the picture of me.’
[1145] If it looks scruffy, then it implies that you are scruffy, if it looks badly thought out, unclear, then it implies that you are badly thought out and unclear.
[1146] And to recognise that the bureaucracy of the system is inevitably large and complicated.
[1147] There will be, next year, something in the region of a hundred and seventy thousand applicants nationally through UCCA.
[1148] They can all submit up to five choices, which means that there will be something like eight hundred thousand application forms floating through the system.
[1149] If you make a mistake, it's just not possible to go back and retrieve it, and for a selector to say, ‘Well, I don't think this person's made a very good case, I'm sure if we gave them another chance they would make a better one.’
[1150] It doesn't happen like that.
[1151] The form is all you have in the initial stages, and if you don't erm fill it out sensibly then you don't get as far as the interview, when of course your individual personality can start to come through.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1152] All right, so you've decided which university you want to go to and which course you want to do.
[1153] And you've filled in your UCCA form making sure that you've put yourself across properly.
[1154] What happens next?
a (PS5T8) [1155] Well what happens next is this.
[1156] There's a reference required from a headmaster or headmistress or principal of the college.
[1157] And so it's passed on to the person in the school or college responsible for that.
[1158] And of course at this time of the year I would guess the people responsible for writing references get hundreds of requests, not just for universities but for polytechnics and other colleges of, of higher education.
[1159] And that may take a week or two weeks in the school or college to get that done.
[1160] And it's up to the school or college then to pass on their application form directly to the UCCA.
[1161] UCCA then have to process it, they create a computer record, they photocopy it, and pass those papers then on to the universities.
[1162] And I would guess it takes something like two or three weeks, after UCCA get the papers, that we actually receive them.
[1163] Which is quite a long time.
[1164] So so far we've got maybe a week or two filling in a reference, two or three weeks in UCCA, and a week in the university, which is almost I guess almost two months.
[1165] So it can take quite a long time to process applications to that point.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1166] Well I'm sure that information's going to be very useful to pupils applying to university for next year.
[1167] Thank you very much, Ted and Lawrence.


[recorded jingle]
sb (PS5TF) [1168] During some of the earlier programmes in this series, the question of how far parents could or should be involved in their children's education was raised.
[1169] We talked about ways in which parents could encourage their children to read, and also the extent to which Dad or Mum should help with homework.
[1170] Today I have with me Mrs. Julia Knight and Dr. Michael Eraut, who, together with Tony Becher, have recently completed a study that looked at parental involvement in primary schools.
[1171] Julia, should parents be involved in schools?
gc (PS5T9) [1174] I suppose the answer to that depends on whether you're a teacher or a parent.
[1175] Most teachers say that they like the parents of the children they teach to be involved in their children's education, in fact I think nearly all teachers would say that.
[1176] But of course what they mean by involvement varies from one teacher to another, erm and there are certain limits which most teachers feel that they should put on parental involvement.
[1177] For example, when you're thinking of young children learning to read, teachers like parents to read to their children at home and look at books with them at home.
[1178] erm They don't like them to buy copies of the school reading scheme and keep it at home and go through it book by book, that they feel is encroaching on their professionalism.
sb (PS5TF) [1179] Do you think, in fact, Michael, that, that parents actually can do harm to their children by insisting on being involved in their teaching at too early a stage, for example by forcing their children to read?
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1180] Well, it's always erm possible to, to do harm, but it's also possible to do a lot of good by the interest that's shown in, in children's work.
[1181] erm One just needs to be sensitive to, to the issue.
[1182] I mean if obviously the child is reacting in some way or feels that they can't even relax when they're at home, erm then someone's overstepped the mark.
[1183] But if it's a question of a child feeling that a parent thinks that it's important, and feeling that parents are interested in what they're doing, then that I would have thought was beneficial.
sb (PS5TF) [1184] Julia, you studied about twenty-one different schools, all in East Sussex, were they?
gc (PS5T9) [1185] That's right.
sb (PS5TF) [1186] And did you find that parents were involved in most of these schools?
[1187] Did most of them have P T As, for example?
gc (PS5T9) [1188] All the schools involved in our study were very welcoming to parents.
[1189] They had actually chosen themselves to come in on the study and so they were obviously schools which were particularly interested in involving parents as much as they could, and erm they would all certainly have done as, probably as much as most schools in the country are doing as, as far as involving parents are concerned, both in having parent helpers in the classrooms, and in having organisations for parents and social events for parents of the, of the fundraising type.
[1190] From the parents' point of view, to go back to your original question about whether it's good for children to be helped at home, of course it's, it doesn't make any sense to stop helping your child just because he's reached the age of five.
[1191] It's a normal thing to do, to teach your children everything from the time they're born, so to put some kind of arbitrary division on where you stop helping is nonsense to the child and it's, it's absurd to parents, too, and of course it doesn't happen.
[1192] With the parents we interviewed erm not only did all of them see their own role as being helpers and supporters of their children as being a very important one, but a very very large number of them were doing extra teaching at home or getting even paid tutors in to help with their children.
sb (PS5TF) [1193] Do you have any sense in talking to schools, for example, that parents were a nuisance, Michael?
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1194] erm I think there were times and occasions where some teachers felt that some parents could, could be a nuisance.
[1195] erm I suppose that would mean if they felt they were taking up so much of their time that they couldn't do what they considered to be their job properly, and if they felt that I think the parents were persisting and insisting that their own children got more attention than the school could really afford to give them if they were going to be fair to everyone.
[1196] But this was a term that I think was only applied to very few parents, on the whole, it really, it was not a sort of ... ‘Parents are a nuisance’ is not a general belief of, of teachers at all, not today.
sb (PS5TF) [1197] I know a local primary school that doesn't have a P T A at the moment, and my feeling is that in fact the head teacher in particular is terrified of the, the pressures that would be put on her if in fact the P T A was formed.
[1198] erm Do you have any similar experience?
dw (PS5TA) [1199] Not through our study, certainly.
[1200] I don't think the existence or non-existence of a P T A makes that much difference to the pressure that's put on.
[1201] If you have a group of parents who want something particular from a school and are going to organise themselves into a group to pressurise that school, they'll do it whether there's a P T A there or not.
[1202] But erm perhaps that's a good point to erm mention that most of the parents we interviewed didn't see themselves as erm people operating in a group.
[1203] They saw their relationships with the school very much in terms of an individual one, and it was their own child that was the important thing.
sb (PS5TF) [1204] That is important, isn't it?
[1205] The, the difference between parents as a group or individuals.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1206] Very much so.
[1207] erm I think we found that a school has, it's very important for a school to get the relationship right with individual parents in talking about their children, and how their own children are progressing, and that's quite a different kind of relationship from the one between schools and a body of parents about general school policy.
[1208] And I think both of them need to be erm thought about and looked at, but they're certainly not the same thing.
sb (PS5TF) [1209] There's been quite a lot of discussion recently about how many parent governors or parent managers there ought to be in a, in the school system.
[1210] And I think on the whole the movement is towards building in parents, more parents formally in this particular level.
[1211] Do you approve of this?
gc (PS5T9) [1212] I don't think it will make very much difference to the way things actually happen in practice.
[1213] I think, my own personal feeling about governing bodies is that erm they're rather ineffective because there isn't really a role for them to play.
[1214] They may have occasions when they can be called into use for some particular issue, but on the whole there's no real mechanism for contact between governors and parents.
[1215] erm Governors have no true power of any sort really.
[1216] erm There's always an ambivalence in the relationship between governors and schools in that, in order to have a good relationship with a head, you need to be on friendly terms with him so that the head, or her, so that the head will communicate with the governors.
[1217] If you're on too friendly terms with him, you may be in danger of not doing your job properly as a governor, because it can be quite difficult to stand back from somebody in an objective way when you know them too well or are too closely involved with them.
[1218] And certainly the school governors who we interviewed for that, the project, on the whole felt that erm it was a slightly empty role.
sb (PS5TF) [1219] I know that your study was largely concerned, in fact totally concerned with primary schools, but do you feel that there is a difference between the parental role in a primary school and secondary school?
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1220] Yes.
[1221] erm I think first you have to relate to so many teachers erm as a parent of a secondary school child, and this is obviously a much more complicated procedure and also I think parents, many parents feel that they know a little bit less about what their children are doing at school at the secondary stage, it's all that little bit more advanced, that little bit more different perhaps from what they had in their own education.
[1222] So I, I think it's difficult to sustain the same kind of relationship.
[1223] And I'm not sure that the children necessarily want their parents quite so involved in their school life by the time they, they get to that age, they're, rather value their independence in, in many ways.
gc (PS5T9) [1224] I don't entirely agree with Michael over the business of not being quite so familiar with the work when the children are at secondary school.
[1225] I think erm that sometimes the fact that children have moved to a school where they have a timetable which has got subjects written down on a piece of paper, and the fact that they bring homework back with them and parents can see work in exercise books, sometimes that acts as a kind of reassurance to parents that something is going on which they recognise as education.
[1226] The problem with many of the parents we interviewed of primary school children was that they didn't really know what their children were doing at school a lot of the time and, because they didn't know what they were doing, they sort of feared that it, they weren't doing anything or that what they were doing was not actual work, what they remembered as work.
[1227] erm Many primary school children have no timetable and they don't bring homework home, and when the parents ask them what they did all day at school they say ‘Nothing’, and some parents, that's all they've got to go on, and they, they get quite worried about it.
sb (PS5TF) [1228] Is part of the problem that the schools just don't communicate with the parents?
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1229] erm Well the schools communicate, but they tend not to tell the parents the obvious things.
[1230] I think this is the problem.
[1231] In other words if you, you've been a teacher and you're working in a school, you tend to talk about the things about your school that different from other schools, not about the things about your school that are the same, and that go on in all the other schools as well.
[1232] And yet, from a, any visitor from a, another country or another planet would notice much more the things were the same, than the things were different.
[1233] So parents tend not to hear about the things that really go on a lot of the time in nearly all schools and they do hear a bit about the things that are a little bit different, so they can get quite a distorted picture of, of what's going on.
[1234] In fact there was a, I think some of the recent erm concerns about schools have come from an image that's been built up over a period of time that the schools spend very little time on the, on the three Rs for example.
[1235] And we found that many parents were inclined to believe these kinds of reports, and yet this just wasn't true if one saw what was going on in the schools.
[1236] The problems were, was that the schools, since they were doing this, they assumed that all schools did this, therefore they didn't need to talk about it, they didn't need to tell them about it.
gc (PS5T9) [1237] And the communication that does exist between schools and parents, in most schools there's, there is plenty of communication but it's hardly ever about the curriculum.
[1238] It's almost always about the sort of fringe things that happen in schools, the not strictly educational erm organisational matters about when to bring bits of equipment and which day the term's going to finish, but very few schools put much into writing about how they teach maths, or what the children are going to be doing that term as a topic.
sb (PS5TF) [1239] And do you think this would be an advantage, if they did so?
gc (PS5T9) [1240] Yes, I do.
[1241] erm I think it could be quite time-consuming for the teachers, at least initially, until they'd got used to some reasonably easy form for doing it.
[1242] But I think that erm once they'd got started on it [laugh] they would find it very beneficial in terms of erm improving their kind of over-all general image.
sb (PS5TF) [1243] Well you've made this study and you've written a book, Policies for Educational Accountability I think it's called, which is just recently come out, and I'm sure that will be a, a very worthwhile contribution, but let me just ask you a personal questions.
[1244] You're both parents.
[1245] How do you get on with your schools, the schools to which your children go?
gc (PS5T9) [1246] Really I suppose much the same way as those parents whom we interviewed who had some sort of educational knowledge or understanding of their own, since we're both involved in education.
[1247] It's not nearly so difficult for people who, who do know a bit about teaching, to understand what's going on.
[1248] I'm a teacher myself and if my children come home and tell me things they've been doing in maths which might seem very perplexing to somebody who knows about modern maths, I understand the educational reason for them doing so.
[1249] If I didn't have that advantage, I might easily be extremely suspicious of what was going on and think that much of the sort of thing they're used to especially at primary school was not maths at all but was playing around with bits of string and round cylinders and erm certainly nothing like I remember doing.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1250] I think my relationship is a fairly normal one, but I do find myself bending over backwards not to erm use any of the sort of additional knowledge I have of education, and if there are things going on that perhaps I think that there might be better ways of doing it, then I bend over backwards not to give that kind of impression or to suggest it at all, because it seems to me that it's going to make the relationship with the school or with the teachers erm a rather awkward one, and I don't think it will good for my children.
sb (PS5TF) [1251] Is there anything that you think needs to be changed, something that you've picked up as a result of your study you, you feel ought to be changed in the school system?
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1252] Well, not in the formal sense.
[1253] In fact I think the people who are looking in the direction of change in terms of parent governors and P T As etcetera are, I think looking in the wrong direction.
[1254] I mean the feeling that I got from our research was that there are certain things that are absolutely basic to a good relationship between the school and the parent.
[1255] First is that the parent should have a reasonably good idea of what's going on.
[1256] I mean they like to know what's happening to their children all day.
[1257] And the second is that there's the, that the parents should have some kind of feel for how the child is progressing, and how the child is getting on.
[1258] Now all schools try and communicate with parents about these things, but parents don't always perceive what the schools are doing erm in, in the way that the schools would like.
[1259] And I think there is scope for misunderstanding there, and I think that if those two basic things, if we could learn to do those better, and I say ‘we’ because I don't think anyone has all the answers to these problems, that, that school-parent relationships would, would improve a lot more that way, by doing these basic things better, and being sensitive to the difficulties of, of communication, rather than by trying to do all kinds of new policy things and erect new formal committees of this and that kind.
sb (PS5TF) [1260] Do you have any advice to offer parents as a whole or as individuals, Julia?
gc (PS5T9) [1261] Only to take every opportunity to go to the school and get to know it as well as you can, I think, erm and don't be afraid to ask questions.
[1262] I think that's quite important.
[1263] erm It's sometimes a little bit daunting to go to a school, particularly if you happen perhaps to have hated school yourself and not to have been near a school for a long time, got away from it as soon as you could when you were younger.
[1264] erm It can be daunting to go back and erm meet teachers again and talk to them as, as adults rather than in the way that you used to when you were a child and erm the teacher was very much above you, but erm try your best to, to do that for the sake of the child because it is very very helpful for children if they feel that their teachers and parents are on pretty good terms.
sb (PS5TF) [1265] Well thank you very much, Julia and Michael.


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [1266] Hello.
[1267] Continuing our short series on disasters, today we're going to talk about weathering and erosion in Sussex.
[1268] What is happening to our famous chalk cliffs?
[1269] Are we losing them as they're attacked by the sea?
[1270] Will any of the famous cliff paths be left in a century or two?
[1271] I recently put these and other questions to David Robinson, a physical geographer at the University.
[1272] He had this to say about weathering.
tn (PS5TB) [1276] Depends what you mean by ‘weather’, but yes, the countryside of Sussex is constantly suffering the attack of rain and the rain either has to soak into the ground where very often it erm dissolves material and eventually finds its way to rivers so that all rivers are carrying material from inland in solution out to the sea, or if erm you get very heavy rain, then the water actually runs off the surface of the ground, and as it runs off it will carry particulate material out into the rivers and then out to sea.
[1277] An average rate is probably somewhere in the order of ten to fifteen millimetres per hundred years, which probably doesn't seem very fast when you say it in terms of a hundred years, but when you think in terms of the length of time that landscapes have been involving, then erm you've got to multiply it by centuries and indeed millions of years, and erm you can see that quite erm dramatic changes can occur.
a (PS5T8) [1278] Well taking our rivers, first of all, have the rivers of Sussex changed very much in recent years, and when I say recent years I mean over the last few centuries?
tn (PS5TB) [1279] We don't really know a lot about how much sediment load they've been carrying because we have been measuring the amount of material being carried by Sussex rivers for the last decade to two decades, so our level of information is very, very low.
[1280] What we do know is that, particularly in the lower reaches of the rivers, they have suffered in the time that man has been around in Sussex, in say the last ten thousand years, very, very dramatic changes.
[1281] We know, for example, that for much of that period, places such as the lower Ouse Valley and the lower Arran and Ada Valleys were in fact flooded arms of the sea and that the sediment brought down by the rivers of Sussex from inland, along with deposition by the sea in the quiet waters within those estuary-type areas, has gradually in-filled them.
a (PS5T8) [1282] Going a little bit further east, Rye used to be a very important port, and erm that was, what, in the sixteenth century certainly and possibly even later than that.
[1283] It now is very far inland.
[1284] Was that caused by the same sort of sedimentation, the same sort of depositing of silt?
tn (PS5TB) [1285] The history of it has been the subject of a lot of work just recently, in fact, from an archaeological standpoint by Professor Cunliffe.
[1286] But yes, erm it, it's partly sediment brought down from inland, it's also the fact that you have offshore of Rye the area of Winchelsea Beach and so-called Rye Harbour which is somewhat detached from the town of Rye, and there's been an enormous accumulation of shingle there, so that the Castle, which was built in, that's Camber Castle which was built in the reign of Henry the Eighth, since that time the shoreline at Winchelsea Beach, as a result of the accumulation of shingle, has moved in excess of one point five kilometres seaward of that point, and so obviously erm Rye is now much further inland than it was at that time.
a (PS5T8) [1287] Thinking about our coastline, seeing that we're talking about it a bit, what about our white cliffs all along the coast?
[1288] Are they going to be erm falling into the sea gradually over the coming years?
[1289] Are they eroding rapidly?
tn (PS5TB) [1290] Well, yes, they're eroding rapidly.
[1291] At the present day a large survey that was carried out by East Sussex County Council in the nineteen seventies, mostly looking at different maps of different ages and the position of the coast on different maps, showed that the average rate of erosion is between point three and point five metres per year.
[1292] erm But certain headlands and certain soft parts of the cliff were going back at more than a metre a year.
[1293] It, it is a serious problem, I mean the area at the moment between east of Saltdean, erm Telscombe Cliffs, erm through to the east end of Peacehaven, is in the process of being protected by a seawall and an undercliff walk, rather like the area from erm Black Rock in Brighton through to Saltdean, because the rate of retreat of the cliffs there was so great erm that it would very shortly be threatening the houses on the clifftop at Peacehaven, so that erm a lot of money's having to be spent to stop the erosion of the cliffs along that stretch.
a (PS5T8) [1294] Is this protection effective?
tn (PS5TB) [1295] Well the protection from Black Rock at Eastwood has been quite effective.
[1296] The cliffs themselves are banted back in order to make them safe from rock falls and so forth, but they, they do still suffer from weathering attack by rain, by frost, and the combination of salt from spray and frost is quite damaging, so that anybody who walks along the undercliff knows that in winter, for example , you tend to get a sludge of erm white erm finely divided wet chalk which sledges off erm cliff, particularly those people in recent years who've walked behind the marina, where it no longer gets washed off by the high tide [laugh] erm where Brighton Corporation have to keep trying to remove it.
[1297] The wall and the walk, yes, it's effective as long as it's maintained.
a (PS5T8) [1298] What about the walks along the top of cliffs?
[1299] Do they, these damage erm cliffs at all?
[1300] Cliffs, use of cliff paths?
tn (PS5TB) [1301] No, compared to the weight of rock in the cliff, the, the extra weight of a person walking along the clifftop is, is minimal.
[1302] erm What does tend to happen is that in very dry weather, such as we've had this summer, the chalk dries out and cracks open up.
[1303] Most cliff falls occur in the wet autumn and winter weather during gales, when you get a lot of pounding by waves at the foot, and the cliff itself is very very heavy because of all the water which is contained within it.
a (PS5T8) [1304] Moving inland a little bit, are there any significant problems which are caused by weathering or erosion?
tn (PS5TB) [1305] The major problem inland probably that affects general public is mass movement, that is to say where erm slopes en masse erm fail, that is to say sections of slope simply slip or move en bloc down erm the hillsides, and there are a, a number of occurrences where roads in particular have been cut or damaged erm in this way.
[1306] One, for example, oh five, six years ago, perhaps more, time passes so quickly [laugh] erm on the Lewes to Wych Cross road, closed the road at Dane Hill for a very long period of time, while the road was completely reconstructed.
[1307] And there was another one which affected the road, again the same road but north of Wych Cross, at Bramble Tie , which is between Forest Row and East Grinstead.
[1308] So erm this happens quite regularly.
[1309] And it even happens where the clays which overlie the chalk, the tertiary clays which you can see for example in the top of the cliffs at Newhaven, and if you look back at the cliff from the western breakwater for example you can see clay sitting on top of chalk.
[1310] Those clays in fact go right across the hillside there, and they cause a lot of problems because they slope inland, and over Ritchie Hill, coming out of Newhaven, the road there is nearly always during the winter months broken by cracks which open up, and has in fact been subject to considerable reconstruction this last summer.
[1311] In fact there's a road at, near Wadhurst, at a place called Best Beach Hill, which slips so regularly that in fact the County Council decided it was hopeless trying to keep it open, and it was closed in oh about nineteen seventy.
[1312] And it's quite interesting to, to go and look at that road now and see just what it's like.
[1313] I mean the problem is roads don't mend themselves.
[1314] If these things happen in fields you don't particularly notice them, because the vegetative cover is self-healing.
[1315] It covers the breaks and tears very rapidly, and all you see is a slightly rumpled field.
[1316] And if you go round, particularly the steep slopes on the margins of Ashdown Forest, not on Ashdown Forest itself but when you climb up from the very flat erm plain area of the Low Weald onto the so-called High Weald, then that area in particular is very subject to, to this type of activity.
a (PS5T8) [1317] We talked earlier about the effect of erosion and weathering on the coastline, cliffs, protection and so forth.
[1318] Historically there'd been attempts to cut down the effects of the sea by building breakwaters and so on.
[1319] Have these effects been entirely beneficial or have they had side effects we don't fully appreciate?
tn (PS5TB) [1320] Well, if one looks at the Sussex coast at the present day, most of the Sussex coast is protected in some way from the action of the sea, either by a sea wall, or by a groined beach.
[1321] The idea of groining a beach is that along the Sussex coast the beach material is moving from west to east, this is because the prevailing winds drive the gravel erm onto the beach from the southwest, and it moves in that direction all the time.
[1322] The idea is that if you build groins then it gets trapped by the groin, it can no longer travel erm pass beyond it, and what you get is the gradual fill-up with beach material between groins.
[1323] Now there's no doubt that groining on the beaches has been very successful in many cases.
[1324] The groining tended to begin in places such as Brighton and Hove, where ... which were holiday areas, and who wanted to make sure they kept their beach, and wanted if possible to even enlarge their beach and certainly the urban area of the resort developed.
[1325] They wanted to try to ensure that that area wasn't flooded by high tides and so forth.
[1326] And erm the effect though of holding beach material on one part of the beach is of course that it starves the area which is along the Sussex Channel coast to the east of beach material that it would formerly have received.
[1327] But that stretch of beach itself still tends to lose material further to the east, because the winds are still coming from the southwest predominantly, still driving the, the beach material along.
[1328] And so what tends to happen is that at the end of a groined bit of beach the area immediately down-drift, that is to the east on the Sussex coast, starts to suffer from very serious erosion.
[1329] erm The response has been for that authority then to groin its bit of beach, and so we end up with a situation today where along the Sussex coast practically the whole of the coast is groined, except for the areas which are backed by high cliffs, erm where we have the sorts of rates of erosion that I mentioned.
[1330] I should mention, I suppose, that in the far east of the county erm the cliffs at Fairlight, which are sands and clays are also going back at sort of the same types of rate, that they're also receding very very rapidly.
[1331] By different processes erm but nevertheless receding at the same rate.
[1332] Now, where you get a big breakwater, erm the most spectacular example, historically, along the Sussex coast is the Newhaven breakwater, which, the present one was completed about eighteen ninety erm that's just a very large groin, and on the west side of Newhaven breakwater and under the smaller breakwaters along the Sussex coast, you've got the accumulation of gravel.
[1333] erm So that at Newhaven at the present day you now have a fossil cliff, now largely buried because the tertiary sands and clays which sit on top of the chalk have slumped over, and so much of the original chalk cliff face is, is now buried, but you have this mass of slump material on what was formerly beach, and the gravel ridges stretch for what, one hundred, two hundred or more metres erm from the bottom of the cliff.
[1334] And for something erm about half a kilometre to the west, so that you get this big wedge which is built up of, of gravel.
[1335] And erm in contrast the beaches at erm Seaford have suffered very serious erosion as a result of the depletion of material which they formerly received and Seaford, which of course faces southwest anyway, has always suffered serious erosion.
[1336] But it does seem, historically, as if erm the rates of erm erosion and damage and the incidence of flooding appears to have increased subsequent to the building of the Newhaven breakwater.
a (PS5T8) [1337] I shall look at breakwaters and groins with renewed interest, David.
[1338] Thank you very much.


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [1339] This is the last Ideas in Action programme before Easter.
[1340] In recent weeks we've been taking a look at our Sussex heritage, and asking questions about conservation and preservation in our county.
[1341] Today we turn from wholesale to retail, as it were, and from large scale projects to relatively small scale projects.
[1342] Mrs. Peggy Webb has a story to tell us.
[1343] You don't mind if I call you Peggy.
tb (PS5TC) [1347] Not at all, no, everybody does.
a (PS5T8) [1348] Now you have told me that sixteen years ago you retired to Sussex for a quiet life.
tb (PS5TC) [1349] That's true. [laugh]
a (PS5T8) [1350] And before very long you found yourself involved with a project which looked as if it was actually going to take over your life.
[1351] Tell us about this.
tb (PS5TC) [1352] Well I had no intention of having a project but I got very steamed up about conservation generally, particularly with my time with the Sussex Trust for Nature Conservation, where I learnt so much, and erm I felt I wanted to do something actively concerned with it myself.
[1353] And erm one day when I was digging in a vegetable garden, I got a whiff of a smelly swamp in the fields, which once, I knew, had been an, a pond in the last century.
[1354] And it occurred to me, I could make that a, a little nature reserve, very small, but erm rather like nature reserves that the Trust look after, and so erm I negotiated with the farmer
a (PS5T8) [1355] You didn't actually own that belt of land.
tb (PS5TC) [1356] No, it was a farmer's, and erm he didn't want to sell it, but I pursued him for nearly a year, and in the end he said that I could erm buy it and erm that's when the project began.
a (PS5T8) [1357] So you had a bit of swamp just off the bottom of your garden
tb (PS5TC) [1358] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1359] which you decided had some prospects of being reclaimed.
tb (PS5TC) [1360] I, I thought so, yes.
a (PS5T8) [1361] Yes.
tb (PS5TC) [1362] Because it was no use to the farmer, there was no water to be seen there, and I thought I could do it with my own garden tools, and so once I'd removed all the rough brambles and so on and discovered the periphery of the old pond
a (PS5T8) [1363] How big an area are we talking about?
tb (PS5TC) [1364] An acre, approximately.
a (PS5T8) [1365] An acre [laugh] , yes.
tb (PS5TC) [1366] Yes.
[1367] I started to dig in one corner of it, and I dug for six months, winter months, erm and erm managed a shallow pool which erm wasn't what I had envisaged at all, but erm two snipe lived there and liked it.
[1368] And then I decided very reluctantly to have an excavator and for three and a half days it worked down there and erm created a sort of Black Hole Calcutta and put all the stuff it had taken out, it spewed around so that it, there was just mud and no water.
a (PS5T8) [1369] Well that must have been quite a mess.
tb (PS5TC) [1370] Oh, it was dreadful.
[1371] Most depressing.
a (PS5T8) [1372] Weren't you, you were really quite horrified when you saw what the excavator
tb (PS5TC) [1373] I was.
a (PS5T8) [1374] had done.
tb (PS5TC) [1375] My idea of a nature reserve and what I was actually looking at were not the same thing at all.
a (PS5T8) [1376] Did they dig just a big hole, essentially, or did they
tb (PS5TC) [1377] Well they left
a (PS5T8) [1378] dig patches
tb (PS5TC) [1379] a huge island in the middle, and erm went all the way round, and anyway I, I made a path out of flints from, taken from all the mud, and worked my way round, and then started to plant things, and a hawthorn hedge, bushes and shrubs, and erm my son gave me a boat and I was able to go across to the island.
a (PS5T8) [1380] But how did you get water in that, that area?
tb (PS5TC) [1381] It just came.
[1382] Some from, a lot from the heavens, because it rained for a solid week after the excavator had left and erm from the springs, it's a natural water-gathering area.
[1383] And once the springs were cleared again, and all the junk removed, I've, I didn't mention that it, it took about six months to get all the junk, prams and barbed wire and tins etcetera etcetera, removed, before you could actually start anything.
a (PS5T8) [1384] So it used to be a pond last century or
tb (PS5TC) [1385] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1386] or earlier.
tb (PS5TC) [1387] A, a big pond and used for watering erm the cattle and erm then it silted up and erm got neglected and people naturally just threw things into it.
a (PS5T8) [1388] There seems to be a natural habit of people to throw things into ponds
tb (PS5TC) [1389] Yes, I think so.
a (PS5T8) [1390] [laugh] Terrible habit.
tb (PS5TC) [1391] Yes.
[1392] It, it's a thing that we have to live with, it seems.
[1393] There's an infinite variety of erm wildlife down there now and always mallards and moorhens, and in the pond, roach and rud and
a (PS5T8) [1394] Did you put the roach and rud there?
tb (PS5TC) [1395] Yes.
[1396] Yes, we got those put in after a holiday near Rye.
[1397] There was a pond by us, belonging to the people that we were with, and they let us bring some, and we popped them in, and erm on the far bank of the pond there are always lovely dragonflies, and on the other side there's some marsh orchids which, I didn't let the excavator erm scoop away that bank and each year there are marsh orchids.
a (PS5T8) [1398] How much of the items there are natural, as it were, and how much did you import?
[1399] You brought the fish in, the
tb (PS5TC) [1400] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1401] roach and the rud.
tb (PS5TC) [1402] I brought the fish in, and I, I brought various erm flowers in, such as irises and erm marsh marigolds, and a few waterlilies, and I planted a hawthorn hedge from two hundred and fifty quicks, as they call it.
[1403] Oh, I, I think it's erm mostly nature, really.
a (PS5T8) [1404] And the birds turned up of their own volition?
tb (PS5TC) [1405] Yes, there, there are woodpeckers down there.
[1406] erm We had bats down there, but I haven't, but not the last two, two or three years, I don't know where they've gone.
a (PS5T8) [1407] When did you get the pond more or less completed, as it is now?
tb (PS5TC) [1408] erm About five years after I started it, I think everything was, was growing up, and erm I haven't done the major things recently, I'm just doing gentle management.
[1409] I used to do
a (PS5T8) [1410] How much do you have to look after a pond, I mean
tb (PS5TC) [1411] Oh
a (PS5T8) [1412] is it something that just looks after itself or
tb (PS5TC) [1413] No.
a (PS5T8) [1414] do you actually have to do
tb (PS5TC) [1415] No
a (PS5T8) [1416] things to it?
tb (PS5TC) [1417] A pond won't stay still at all.
[1418] If you leave it for a while, the reeds invade, and there's no expanse of water at all.
[1419] And so quite a big job has been cutting reeds back around the islands and the banks, and also we've had what they call blooms of blanketweed, not so much recently but, apparently it's more common with new ponds and I had a tremendous bloom of blanketweed the first year after I made it.
[1420] And I filled up the boat with forty loads of blanketweed.
a (PS5T8) [1421] Good heavens.
tb (PS5TC) [1422] But now, if I do it in spring, it isn't such a big job.
[1423] It's never taken such a hold.
a (PS5T8) [1424] Do you do it all yourself, or do you get people to help you?
tb (PS5TC) [1425] I've had erm on two separate Sundays I've had volunteers to come and help but ... and my son-in-law made a silt trap, and the Water Board erm made the sluice gate, because it goes into their stream, and it was part of their responsibility.
[1426] But otherwise I've done it myself.
[1427] And I enjoy it, it's so peaceful down there.
a (PS5T8) [1428] And you have lots of visits from schoolchildren?
tb (PS5TC) [1429] Yes, they come from the local schools and erm The Watch, the children of what they call The Watch erm part of the Sussex Trust come along, and erm oh, they just pop in and very often they, at the end of term they come with tadpoles and things that they ... Oh, I, I haven't mentioned the frogs and toads, we've plenty of those.
[1430] And the children give me gifts of frog spawn and we pop it all in.
[1431] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1432] How marvellous.
[1433] And they send you lots of drawings and pictures and little poems and
tb (PS5TC) [1434] Oh, yes!
[1435] They
a (PS5T8) [1436] articles?
tb (PS5TC) [1437] When, when they've been down, and they've been back to school, they've sent me a collections of drawings and nice little notes about it, and we've come firm friends because first they look at me, on me as the pond woman, oh, they saw me on television getting my award, and erm they thought that was rather wonderful, and so we, we, we talk and now the, the first ones have quite grown up.
a (PS5T8) [laugh]
tb (PS5TC) [1438] But we're all friends.
a (PS5T8) [1439] Now, I'm glad you mentioned the award, because I know you didn't do this to do an award, but nevertheless you did get an award.
[1440] erm Tell me about that.
tb (PS5TC) [1441] That was totally unplanned. erm I was told by a friend that there was erm Pebble Mill were going to organise an Environment Project Competition for Great Britain, and they suggested I sent for a form, which I did, and filled it in, and erm to my astonishment a film crew came down and filmed the pond, and later on I was invited with my husband to Pebble Mill to get this award [laugh] and it was given me by Virginia Mackenna and Bill Waters, and David Bellamy was there, and erm we had a wonderful time.
a (PS5T8) [1442] And you, you won the individual award in the Conservation Category, is that right?
tb (PS5TC) [1443] Yes, for nineteen eighty-two.
[1444] And erm it shows erm a butterfly sitting on a cogwheel.
[1445] And that was to symbolise erm conservation being supported by industry.
[1446] And Ford's put up a lot of the money and so they wanted their cut from the publicity, and they gave me another award, and their manager in Brighton came to present it.
[1447] But I don't know what to do with it.
a (PS5T8) [1448] [laugh] It's a plaque.
tb (PS5TC) [1449] Put it on my tomb
a (PS5T8) [1450] It's a plaque.
tb (PS5TC) [1451] Yes, it's just a plaque and erm but ... The thing that erm I enjoyed on that occasion was meeting the other conservationists who'd been called up.
[1452] erm Everybody was so enthusiastic about what they were doing and erm people like David Bellamy, he gets very excited on television programmes but talking to him as we were, you could see how sincere he is about everything that he does and how dedicated to the cause.
a (PS5T8) [1453] Peggy, thank you very much for talking to us.
[1454] It's


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [1455] And welcome to a new series of Ideas in Action, in which we're taking a look at various approaches to history.
[1456] What better way of starting such a series than by talking to Asa Briggs, Lord Briggs, prominent author and historian, previous Vice-Chancellor of the University and now Provost of Worcester College, Oxford?
[1457] I asked him whether history had changed from the dull factual subject, all about kings, queens, and the Repeal of the Corn Laws, that I encountered when I was a schoolboy.
gm (PS5TD) [1461] I think history can be so many different things to different people, and it's partly a matter of the way in which you are taught, it's partly a matter of what you're taught.
[1462] There's still unfortunately a great deal of history which is pegged to dates, and dates are very important to historians, but fortunately now there's a lot of history which tries to bring the past back to life in some kind of way.
[1463] And this kind of history is taught in school, and to a certain extent it's taught in universities also.
[1464] erm And of course there's a great deal of history which is now being written which is much more exciting than most of the history that used to be written in the past.
[1465] And the appearance and the style and the treatment of, the kind of materials which come out of history publishers really represents a kind of revolution in the subject, this subject, in the course of the last twenty-five years.
a (PS5T8) [1466] You are essentially a social historian?
gm (PS5TD) [1467] I'm essentially a social historian, although I sometimes think that if I wanted to find the right adjective, and I've never been too much worried about adjectives, I would say I'm really a cultural historian.
[1468] Because I'm not just interested in society, which can be thought of in a kind of abstract fashion, but I'm very much interested in the expressions in ordinary ways of life, in the arts, in literature, in music, of the kind of society that you've got.
[1469] And I think if I had to choose an adjective to describe myself, I would say that I'm a cultural historian, with a very strong social interest.
[1470] I started by being a very straight economic historian.
[1471] I did a degree in Economics, and erm the first kind of history that interested me was really rather meticulous and careful and detailed economic history.
[1472] I switched increasingly to erm political history, then I moved from economic and political history to social history, to some extent linking the two, and increasingly over the last ten years, partly through the work that I've done on the history of broadcasting, and on twentieth century history, I think I would say that I would now be a cultural historian.
[1473] We don't use the adjective much in England.
[1474] It's used a good deal in the United States.
a (PS5T8) [1475] Let's have a look at some of the historians through the ages.
[1476] When I knew we were going to talk, I dug out some of my old history books.
gm (PS5TD) [1477] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1478] The earliest ones I think is, are books by erm Clarendon, The History of the
gm (PS5TD) [1479] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1480] Rebellion.
gm (PS5TD) [1481] Great work.
a (PS5T8) [1482] Eckhardt
gm (PS5TD) [1483] Yes, yes, yes.
a (PS5T8) [1484] Dr. Howell's History of
gm (PS5TD) [1485] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1486] These, were these really the earliest historians in our nation, as
gm (PS5TD) [1487] Well they were chronicles, in a sense, erm there were chronicles very frequently written by interested parties, and in the case of Clarendon's History, it was really an attempt to look back over some experiences which he himself had had, and in a way it is a, a, a classic of its kind.
[1488] There were historians even earlier than that, of course.
[1489] There were first of all Tudor chroniclers of various kinds, many of them writing straight political propaganda.
[1490] There were mediaeval chroniclers, working from monasteries and sometimes from the courts, and those chroniclers were producing history which was an attempt as it were to set down what seemed to them to be the most important things that were happening at the time, with a few asides.
[1491] And of course you really, in order to get at the origins of history, you've really got to go back to the, to the Greeks.
[1492] And the Greeks did really produce two quite outstanding historians by any criteria, Herodotus and Thucydides.
[1493] And it used to be very fashionable to say that Thucydides was much the better of these two historians, he was describing erm a war in which he himself took part, he weighed the evidence very carefully, erm he produced very incisive statements about individuals and about problems, and that Herodotus had a lot of myth in what he wrote, and he was more wide-ranging, and he didn't really have the same standards of truth that Thucydides had had.
[1494] I read them both again erm last year for the first time for many years, and I found Herodotus much the better of the two, because Herodotus was prepared to be curious about everything.
[1495] And I think that the revolution in history which has taken place over the course of the last twenty-five years has been a revolution which has been fuelled by people's curiosity to study things which previously had not been studied, rather than just to take some formal statement of what seemed to be important, which is what the chroniclers took, or some propaganda statement, which is what the Tudors took and what the seventeenth century historians took, or indeed to write very academic history, which is what professional historians have tended to do, over the course of the last erm forty or fifty years.
a (PS5T8) [1496] In the last century, there were many histories written.
gm (PS5TD) [1497] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1498] Perhaps erm Gibbon's History of
gm (PS5TD) [1499] erm Gibbon's written in the eighteenth century.
a (PS5T8) [1500] That was a little earlier
gm (PS5TD) [1501] and Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is again a great historical work, it very wide-ranging.
[1502] The footnotes by themselves are worthwhile reading.
[1503] But in a way the nineteenth century was the century of history, because it was erm thought at that particular period of time that in order to understand what was going on in contemporary life, you had to have some historical appreciation, knowledge and perspective, and erm a great deal of the explanation of other subjects in the nineteenth century was, erm if you like, historical in character.
[1504] The theory of evolution, in a way, is a historical theory.
[1505] In the twentieth century, history has suffered to some extent in terms of its general significance in relation to people's interpretations of life, because we now have a whole generation of politicians who, and statesmen, if you can call them such, who know very little history at all.
[1506] But there's a great public interest in history in this country, so that every football club, every voluntary organisation, erm every town erm wants somebody to write its history.
[1507] Anniversaries are landmark occasions.
[1508] And through this kind of general interest in history, which is not started in academic circles, but elsewhere, and through the interests of adult education works and working groups of various kinds in history, and through some of the best history taught in schools, we've really broadened our notions of, of, of what history is, and one of the most lively recent developments has been erm the idea of history workshops, where people themselves recall erm what has happened over the course of their own lifetimes, using oral history, tape recorders, and things of that kind.
[1509] So history's a very much broader and more popular subject in this country than I think it is in almost any other country in the world.
[1510] We are a country which is very conscious indeed of history, or let's put it this way, of the past, and the job of the historian is to convert that interest in the past into something which is a little bit more critical, more profound, erm and which will genuinely, I think, provide you with some kind of perspective in which to understand the problems of the present.
a (PS5T8) [1511] You feel that very strongly in the introduction to your book, your recent social history
gm (PS5TD) [1512] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1513] book, you, you say that history is not something, I can't remember the quotation exactly but roughly it was to do with history's not something that you just write and put up on the shelf, it's
gm (PS5TD) [1514] No.
a (PS5T8) [1515] something that you're very aware of and you're aware of your own destiny
gm (PS5TD) [1516] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1517] and, and your own background and
gm (PS5TD) [1518] Sure.
a (PS5T8) [1519] your
gm (PS5TD) [1520] Sure.
a (PS5T8) [1521] own future even.
gm (PS5TD) [1522] Well I wrote that history erm that social history of England with erm one point very much in mind.
[1523] It seems to me that if we have any knowledge of England's past at all, we do tend to have a kind of a picture of our history in the back of our minds which may be completely wrong.
[1524] And there is no one single picture of English history which is absolutely right, in other words there are different interpretations of almost everything that matters in history, but what I wanted to try to do in that social history was to give some account of England's past which was meaningful to people living in the late erm twentieth century.
[1525] Not for professional historians so much as for people who really did want to have a version of England's past which makes some sense sort of sense now.
[1526] And we're always revising that picture of the past, in other words, somebody else in twenty-five years' time will have to do a different kind of social history.
[1527] My social history is very different from Trevelyan's, one of the most remarkable books on English social history, because of course I come from a very different background, I've different experience from Trevelyan, but also I've been writing at a different time.
[1528] And somebody else with different experience from me, writing in twenty-five years' time, will produce a very different book from mine.
a (PS5T8) [1529] Trevelyan wrote in nineteen forty-two.
gm (PS5TD) [1530] Trevelyan wrote during the course of the, of the, of the war, and it was of course a book which was read by enormous numbers of people erm particularly after the end of the war, and he was of course the nephew of erm Macaulay, and therefore he's in line with another of the great books on English history which were written in the middle of the nineteenth century, Macaulay's A History of England, which also had as many sales as Trevelyan's.
[1531] And they're the kind of books which in a way encapsulated people's views of what history was, the history of this country was, at that particular point in time.
a (PS5T8) [1532] There's a sense in which I think you are saying something which I've often heard people say recently, and that is that in a day, in a time of rapid change, we personally and collectively need to make sense of where we're going, our futures, in terms of our past.
[1533] And some people talk about roots, it's a common thing
gm (PS5TD) [1534] Sure.
[1535] Sure.
a (PS5T8) [1536] I think that that's something close to what you're saying.
gm (PS5TD) [1537] It's something very close to what I'm saying erm and erm I'm saying perhaps one thing in addition, which is that just as when we look into the future, which, as a historian, I'm asked to do more often, I think, these days than looking at the past, but when we look into the future, we have different versions of what that future will be.
[1538] There are different futures, there are alternative futures, and any deterministic view of what the future will be is clearly erm something which is wrong, in my view.
[1539] Similarly, I think, as we look into the past, there are different versions of the past.
[1540] There are different scenarios, to use the term that science fiction writers and futurologists use.
[1541] The different scenarios are there in the past just as they are in the future, and it's the historian's job in a way to explain why there are different scenarios, and to give some idea of how many of them there are.
[1542] And he will require, in order to do that, to be a time traveller into the past as much as a science fiction writer would have to be a time traveller into the future.
a (PS5T8) [1543] Asa, you've got very close to saying something which I've often pressed historians on, but they've never got quite as close as you have, and that's actually saying that history is useful insofar as it might tell us something about the future.
gm (PS5TD) [1544] I think that history is interesting insofar as it will tell us something about the future.
[1545] erm We've got to be very careful about the word ‘useful’, because in my experience it's perfectly possible for people to know an enormous amount of history and to make terrible mistakes.
[1546] History in these days can be as much a consolation as it can be of an inspiration, and I also believe too that sometimes in life it's very important to emancipate yourself from the shackles of the past in order to make the kind of decisions which it's necessary to make in present conditions.
[1547] Having said all that, I think the interest erm of history lies in exactly the same kind of area as interest in the future, in the sense that we are dealing erm as historians with time, and, to use the old cliché, time marches on, it certainly moves, and the future, the present and the past do form some kind of continuum.
[1548] Therefore, the historian to my mind who is really a lively and stimulating historian is going to be interested in the future as well as in the past.
a (PS5T8) [1549] Asa Briggs will be speaking again in our concluding programme in this series, but next Sunday John Rohl will be talking about the archivist's role, and his work and discoveries concerning twentieth century Germany.


a (PS5T8) [1550] What do you know about the Muddletonians, the Ranters and the Diggers?
[1551] And who were Praise God Bare Bones and Deliverance Smith?
[1552] I recently discovered the answer to these questions from Willie Lamont, as I talked to him about his approach to history.
[1553] I first asked him what changes he would like to see in the history.
nm (PS5TE) [1557] I think two of the big changes that I would like to see happening, and I think are beginning to happen, one is to put much less stress on the content of history, which in many cases is, is less important, than the learning the skills of a historian.
[1558] And oddly enough erm the lead in many cases has come as much from the primary school as from the university in this respect.
[1559] The good primary school, in encouraging children to use documents, to dramatise in the classroom, to get the children into the experience of people living in another age, in many ways come close to what the university historian is doing than some of the secondary erm school histories, which are still weighed down with this content.
[1560] So I'd like to see more emphasis on the activity of the, the pupil as historian.
[1561] Secondly I think the other thing is, is a change in what is regarded as the content of history.
[1562] Because I think one of the extraordinary changes that have taken place in history at professional level is the much greater interest in things that older historian would have thought was outside their province.
a (PS5T8) [1563] What sort of things do you have in mind?
nm (PS5TE) [1564] Well I was thinking of things like witchcraft, which would seem a rather a luxury fringe subject, but some of the most fascinating research that's been done recently in my period of early modern history has been showing how witchcraft erm was the second most important erm crime to come before the courts apart from theft in, in my period, and in exploring why witchcraft had this appeal you're learning much more about the age.
[1565] The serious point I'm making is that, too often, in schools, the kind of questions are focused on just what is least interesting, not the, people's attitude to witches, or to their bodies, or their attitudes to women, to children, all these things which are now considered part of the historian's province, but instead we get saddled with the Treaty of Uncia Scolesi and the Repeal of the Corn Laws, and this is worrying.
a (PS5T8) [1566] One of the qualities which I think you alluded to earlier was the quality of imagination, to the ability of, to actually feel what it was like to be in a particular place at
nm (PS5TE) [1567] mhm
a (PS5T8) [1568] a particular time.
nm (PS5TE) [1569] mhm
a (PS5T8) [1570] Is that, is that the case?
nm (PS5TE) [1571] That's absolutely right.
[1572] There was a, a very touching erm and I think rather important book erm published in about nineteen sixty-nine, called The School I'd Like, which was edited by Edward Blisham, in which he got children to describe what they thought the ideal school was like.
[1573] And I still remember, there was a fourteen-year-old Judith, describing her history lessons, and saying ‘Four years ago in the primary school I crouched, spellbound, before the eye of a Roman gladiator.
[1574] Now four years later I'm doing British social and economic history, seventeen hundred to the present day, and then listing a whole lot of textile inventions and the flying shuttle and so on, all of which didn't work anyway.’
[1575] And she finally ends by saying, ‘All I can look forward to now is the toneless drone of the master's voice and the pendulum swing of his leg over the desk.’
[1576] It was a terrifying thought, but it had behind it a lot of erm I think of force, and the point is that the primary school teacher who was getting the child to crouch before the Roman gladiator was not in the business of training professional historians, was much more interested in getting the child involved in an educational way, yet ironically was coming closer to perhaps what we're trying to do at university now, than the teacher who was going through a list of the textile industries and so on.
a (PS5T8) [1577] There's been a lot of publicity given, from time to time, to groups that try and live as people did in the Stone Age.
[1578] And they set up little communities
nm (PS5TE) [1579] mhm
a (PS5T8) [1580] and they try and last a year through the winter
nm (PS5TE) [1581] mhm
a (PS5T8) [1582] and make things out of wood, and, and try and exist more or less independent of twentieth century society.
[1583] Is, is that serious history, or is it just a sort of jokey thing to do?
nm (PS5TE) [1584] Well, I, I, I think it depends on the skill and the industry that has gone into the enterprise, but in itself it could be extremely interesting.
[1585] I found that erm in dealing with erm a radical group in the seventeenth century, the Diggers, led by one called Jerod Winstanley, that erm I did have students who were emboldened by reading of their experiment to, to, to, to see what it was like, as the Diggers did, to form their own little commune and practise their communal living erm à la seventeenth century.
[1586] I think it only lasted through the summer vacation, but it was a, it was an interesting experience, and in fact in, in their own little way the group showed some of the tensions which we found in our seventeenth-century radicals.
[1587] I think the, the imagination, training the historical imagination, is, is the most powerful contribution that the study can make.
[1588] And I think it, it's a mistake to see it just as a kind of erm as a little frill.
[1589] One sees it occasionally in, in a, in school lessons where a teacher will give a straight factual lesson for thirty-five minutes, and then say, ‘Sit up, get your rulers out, imagine you're a Saxon peasant.’
[1590] That's the kind of gimmicky, artificial sort of exercise, when in fact erm in a sense what, what is wanted is, as in fourteen-year-old Judith's case, to, to get into that situation right from the start.
a (PS5T8) [1591] I know that you've made a particular study of the Muddletonians.
[1592] Who were the Muddletonians?
nm (PS5TE) [1593] Well the Muddletonians were a weird group.
[1594] They were formed at the same time as the Quakers, actually, in sixteen fifty-two, and the main erm belief of the group was that John Reeve and his cousin Ludowick Muddleton were the two prophets who'd been chosen by God as the last witnesses in the Book of Revelation.
[1595] God spoke on three February mornings to John Reeve, and told him that he was to be the prophet and his cousin was to be Reeve's mouth.
[1596] And this little weird group existed in the seventeenth century, never numbered more than about two hundred, and dwindled in number, and was supposed to have died out in about the nineteenth century.
[1597] And in fact in Chambers' Encyclopaedia, they are confidently reported as being extinct.
[1598] erm There they might have remained erm but erm a sensational discovery took place, which was during the Second World War, when, in the Blitz, a bomb actually hit the, the, the place of worship for the Muddletonians, where they were still worshipping though in very small number, and the man whom we have called the last Muddletonian, who was a farmer in Matfield in Kent, went out with his lorry — you remember petrol was rationed during the war, but he was allowed as a farmer — he took his fruit to Covent Garden, and then went to the smoking ruins of the Muddletonian worship, and filled his apple boxes with papers, and they remained there until the nineteen seventies.
[1599] A most extraordinary thing, because there was the records of a group running right through from sixteen fifty erm to, to the present day, and lying there in apple boxes.
a (PS5T8) [1600] So you were able to get access to these records and make a full study of them.
nm (PS5TE) [1601] Yes, and one of the great ironies is that when I'm talking to students about the nature of history, one of the first things I try and say to them is ‘Look, don't have this idea that there's a great bundle of documents lying in an attic, and this is the way that history works, that people make a sensational discovery and then they write a book about it.
[1602] It doesn't work like that at all,’ I say quite confidently.
[1603] Unfortunately the Muddletonians erm seems to contradict the point I'm wanting to make, because erm frankly it seems to belong more to the world of historical novels.
[1604] The fact is that this last Muddletonian lived on till nineteen seventy-nine, and we believe that the, the sect ends with him there.
[1605] But his widow has made a present of a portrait of, of the, of the prophet, which is now in the Meeting House in Sussex University, with a plaque erm commemorating the gift.
[1606] And in one respect it's not quite erm as straightforward as I've made it appear, and perhaps after all I'm not wrong in making the claim I did, because E P Thompson, the historian, erm was the person who really made the discovery in the first place, and it came about because he had been interested in the possible links between the Muddletonians and Blake, and this led him to ask questions which, in a roundabout way, led to the discovery of the archive.
[1607] I mean, there was certainly an accident element in, in the, in the physical discovery of the manuscripts, but also it arose out of the historian asking questions, out of the interest that he was wanting to explore.
a (PS5T8) [1608] This part of the country is extraordinarily rich in small sects that grew up and flourished in the last two or three centuries.
nm (PS5TE) [1609] mhm
a (PS5T8) [1610] Is that for any particular reason?
nm (PS5TE) [1611] erm
a (PS5T8) [1612] We've got quite a number in Sussex, haven't we?
nm (PS5TE) [1613] Oh yes, that's true.
[1614] Just now been produced erm a local study on Quakers in Lewes, and of course we have the, the Marian martyrs, and a wonderful blacksmith creature called Huntington, William Huntington, who in fact does actually mention the Muddletonians with great contempt.
[1615] It's very interesting that it's in Sussex and East Kent that, just in the border there, that some of the most exotic Puritan names that you sometimes hear about, Praise God Bare Bones and Deliverance Smith and these kind of weird names, which are often thought of as typically Puritan, in fact are very narrowly defined to a geographical area, and in time.
[1616] That most of these exotic names, these exotic Puritan names, are to be found just in the few villages on the borders of East Sussex and Kent that, and are, are to be found in the fifteen nineties to sixteen hundreds.
[1617] It was a fad which didn't last, but again it does bear out your, your general point.
a (PS5T8) [1618] And some of them, of course, emigrated to the United States because they couldn't cope with life back in the old lands, the Shakers, are they part of the same sort
nm (PS5TE) [1619] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1620] of thing?
nm (PS5TE) [1621] Yes, that's right, and in fact I, I was interested for erm even before I got interested in the Muddletonians in the way in which people in the early modern period were fascinated by the idea of Christ returning on earth a second time, on the millennium, and erm I wrote about that experience.
[1622] Another Sussex colleague, John Harrison, erm followed this through erm for the nineteenth century, and he's written about the Shakers and I've been interested in the Muddletonians and the Ranters.
[1623] In all these bizarre religious groups, one is in fact trying to recreate in an imaginative way a world that's rather different from us.
[1624] I think that one of the great problems, and I've made a number of studies of individual Puritans in the seventeenth century, is that we talk about Puritanism and we think of Victorian Nonconformity.
[1625] In fact, as Christopher Hill says, they're as different as vinegar from wine.
[1626] And one of the things we mustn't do, in fact, is to assume that erm our seventeenth ancestor is just ourselves in funny clothes.
[1627] What we have to do, we have to make the mental leap into a very different world in which witchcraft and dreams and superstitions and so on are mingling together and we must make that effort, and not just assume that somehow it's William Gladstone who happens to be dressed up in Oliver Cromwell's clothes.
a (PS5T8) [1628] So history really is not just facts, it's also imagination.
nm (PS5TE) [1629] Yes.
[1630] There's a lovely erm James Thurber cartoon which shows somebody sitting in a room and there's a lovely party going around and everybody else is talking very animatedly and somebody's looking over their shoulder and saying contemptuously, ‘He doesn't know anything except facts.’
[1631] And one has a nasty feeling that this would be erm a, an O-level history candidate, where unfortunately that is, seems to be just the quality that's required.
[1632] And there was a Dutch historian, Reneer in London, who used to give lectures in which he made a point of not knowing any dates, and he would say ‘The Armada came in’, and then there'd be a little row of girls who'd call out ‘Fifteen eighty-eight’, and then he'd say ‘James the First came to the throne in’, and they would call out ‘Sixteen oh three.’
[1633] That may be a rather spectacular and extravagant way of showing his disdain for factual knowledge erm which no doubt can go too far.
[1634] But I think it's going in the right direction, that in, in a sense what is not wanted is, is facts to, to cluster the, the, the memory but erm imaginative qualities to kindle the, the intellectual spirit's curiosity that we really want to awaken.
a (PS5T8) [1635] Willie, thank you very much indeed.
[1636] Next Sunday, I shall be talking to Keith Middlemas about his studies of European Communism.


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [1637] Hello.
[1638] There are probably as many approaches to history as there are historians studying the subject.
[1639] In my investigations so far, I've come across practitioners who could equally well be categorised as anthropologists, geographers, economists, sociologists and even philosophers.
[1640] Vivian Hart, for example, could be described as a political scientist, who has found herself delving into history.
[1641] Her main interest is that of minimum wage negotiations.
sb (PS5TF) [1645] That's right, it may sound a very boring topic but in fact it's turned out to be a very interesting piece of historical research which I'm still working on.
a (PS5T8) [1646] How far back in time does this go?
sb (PS5TF) [1647] Well, in Britain and America, which are the two countries I'm looking at, erm almost the same moment, round about nineteen oh nine in both countries.
a (PS5T8) [1648] And does it go back earlier in other countries, or is it just restricted to Britain and America?
sb (PS5TF) [1649] No, various European countries started erm thinking about the same idea at the same time, and there are some interesting questions here about why everybody suddenly lit upon this piece of legislation.
a (PS5T8) [1650] Well why did they?
sb (PS5TF) [1651] Well, the answers to that of course are very complicated, but they all became interested or anxious at a similar time about the problems of extreme poverty.
[1652] They discovered sweatshops and people working in their homes for long hours trying to erm patch together a very very poor living.
[1653] And one of the reasons they all became interested at the same time was that a lot of them knew each other, and so one of the things I've been looking at is the correspondence between Americans and British people, and the fact that they travelled and kept diaries of who they met in the other country, and they all swapped ideas on how to deal with this particular level of poverty.
a (PS5T8) [1654] Now the year nineteen oh nine seems to me a curious year.
[1655] I, I don't identify that with any particular happening in the United States or this country.
[1656] Why nineteen oh nine?
sb (PS5TF) [1657] Well, the legislation in Britain, the first law which is the law from which our present wages councils for people like hairdressers came from erm was passed in nineteen oh nine, and it was because we had a reforming Liberal Government at the time.
[1658] And also because a great wave of public pressure built up.
[1659] There were big exhibits of people living in dreadful conditions in tenements in the East End for example, and the legislation in Britain followed about, in America I mean, followed about three years later.
[1660] erm Partly out of the same kind of wave of public sympathy, but was much slower and much more long-drawn-out process in America.
a (PS5T8) [1661] Yes, Americans, erm I have the impression, they're being rather slow to go in for this sort of Federal legislation.
[1662] But presumably there were one or two great exponents around at that time that set the whole thing off?
sb (PS5TF) [1663] Oh, there were some very strong-minded individuals, whose papers I've been reading, and whose correspondence is, is fascinating.
[1664] The main one I think was a woman called Florence Kelly, who was a powerhouse of reforming energy.
[1665] She erm lived in a rented room in a settlement house in New York and she really provided the, the energy of the movement all over the country.
[1666] If you read her diaries you discover that she travelled incessantly on trains and overnight trains so that she could speak at meetings the next morning.
[1667] She had a number of very enthusiastic friends who did the research and, and generally assisted her, but everybody gives her credit for, not only working in New York, but it actually was not Federal legislation, they had to work state by state.
[1668] So they achieved it in one state and then they moved on to another and started a whole new campaign.
a (PS5T8) [1669] Your study may be a historical one, but it in fact, this is very much a political movement, isn't it?
[1670] It must be.
sb (PS5TF) [1671] Oh yes.
[1672] Yes.
[1673] It was erm a movement to pass legislation.
[1674] It was very controversial at the time and it's remained so ever since, and indeed in both Britain and America there are political movements right now to change minimum wage laws in, in ways that I think Florence Kelly would deeply have disapproved of.
a (PS5T8) [1675] What sort of directions are these movements going, then?
sb (PS5TF) [1676] Oh, for example, to pay young people a lower minimum wage.
[1677] They may be doing the same job as older people, but there are questions about whether you might not make more jobs for young people if you paid them seventy-five per cent, two-thirds of, of the going minimum wage.
[1678] And that's the kind of singling out of one group of workers, and making a special case for them, that she really disapproved of.
[1679] She wanted all poor people to have a floor below which their wages could never fall.
[1680] A subsistence level of, of wages which would be basic and never dropped.
a (PS5T8) [1681] erm Nineteen oh nine is relatively recent in terms of history.
[1682] Are there any of the people who were involved in those negotiations still around?
sb (PS5TF) [1683] Oh yes, one of the, one of the surprises of this was discovering that in fact one of the people who knew Florence Kelly and indeed worked for her for a while, and who herself set up a minimum wage board in Washington, in the District of Columbia, is indeed still alive, and has very powerful memories of, of both the people and the activities of the movement.
[1684] And I was able to go and talk to her in Washington, and, and really feel that history was coming alive.
[1685] She's ninety-three now, so she has a, a very long memory of, of political causes.
a (PS5T8) [1686] And she actually remembers the, the details of what happened in those days?
sb (PS5TF) [1687] Oh yes.
[1688] She talked about her entire life, and I was running behind trying to keep up with which decade she was talking about.
[1689] She was also very much involved in the nineteen thirties in Franklin Roosevelt's social programmes.
[1690] But she remembers very well and erm she was able to give me a lot of personal details about the movement in nineteen nineteen.
[1691] She wasn't actually there in nineteen twelve, she was still an undergraduate in nineteen twelve, but she became active in government about nineteen seventeen and, and her memories are very vivid.
a (PS5T8) [1692] How absolutely fascinating.
[1693] And when you actually do a study such as this, where do you go for source material?
sb (PS5TF) [1694] Well, you start out by reading any books that you can find to give you an idea of who was involved, and my next stop after that was the Library of Congress in Washington, where they have the papers of the National Consumers' League, which was Florence Kelly's organisation, and, and contains most of her own personal records, too.
[1695] And after that it's, it's partly systematic, that you discover more organisations and you go and look for them, and it's partly luck, that erm you drop into a library or you meet someone who says ‘Oh, did you know that erm there are these papers in, in such and such a library?’
[1696] For example I found myself in a warehouse in Manhattan, where the New York Public Library keeps a lot of its records, and I discovered an enormous deposit of papers of, of an organisation which was actually very strongly against the minimum wage, which appeared not to have been touched for about the last — sixty years?
a (PS5T8) [1697] My goodness.
sb (PS5TF) [1698] Very dirty.
a (PS5T8) [1699] [laugh] I'm sure.
[1700] Minimum wages.
[1701] erm Has that been a concern of unions, or has it been other sorts of organisations that have been pressing for them over the years?
sb (PS5TF) [1702] Mostly other organisations.
[1703] In, in Britain the unions accepted the idea and went along with the legislation.
[1704] In America the unions fought it.
[1705] They didn't want the government starting to set wages.
[1706] They felt that if it set the wages of very poor people, the next thing it would do would be to start setting the wages of trade unionists.
[1707] So they actually took a very active role against it, and had been the allies of people like the National Consumers' League on other issues, but on this one they really differed, and were one of the major blocks to passing the legislation.
a (PS5T8) [1708] And how about in Britain?
[1709] Have the unions supported minimum wage negotiations here?
sb (PS5TF) [1710] On the whole, on the principle that the people who are not covered by union membership very often are people it's very difficult to organise.
[1711] They're very poor people, they may work in industries with hundreds and hundreds of small outlets, whether they're workshops in people's homes or hairdressing shops, and it's much harder to organise that kind of person than it is to organise a factory worker in a big factory.
[1712] And so on the whole the unions in Britain have seen this as a way of catching some people who otherwise would fall through the net entirely.
[1713] Whereas in America the unions have seen it as an intrusion on their rights to collectively bargain, even though they haven't been very active in trying to organise them themselves.
a (PS5T8) [1714] In terms of this country, in particular, you said that it, it started roughly the same time because of the, the legislation in nineteen oh nine.
[1715] That was legislation was put through by the Liberals at the time, would it be?
sb (PS5TF) [1716] Yes, Winston Churchill was the President of the Board of Trade at the time, and he actually sponsored the legislation.
[1717] Since then it hasn't changed at all.
[1718] It's been recodified but the general principle of it has stayed really exactly the same.
[1719] In America where initially it was done one state after another, it actually has changed quite a lot and erm the developments have been very interesting, partly because they've been in the courts rather than in Congress.
[1720] So lawyers as well as politicians have been very much involved in defining what it actually means.
a (PS5T8) [1721] Is there actually a definition difficulty?
sb (PS5TF) [1722] Oh, there's a tremendous difficulty in deciding what a minimum wage should be.
[1723] Should it be a subsistence wage and if so how do you calculate how much that is?
[1724] Is it the same in the middle of New York as it is in erm a rural area somewhere, where people presumably can live on the land more easily?
[1725] And there's also a big problem in defining who should get it.
[1726] The original American legislation was only for women, and they made in fact some very erm convoluted and not very satisfactory arguments about why they should only do it for women.
[1727] There were a lot of very poor men also in a number of these trades who were not originally covered by the legislation, and that's where the erm the developments have, have come from since then, the dynamic of the policy, because the argument over whether it should be only for women rebounded on them, and people said, ‘No, it shouldn't’, so for a while the legislation was all scrapped and then they started again, and now the Americans have much more comprehensive laws than we do.
a (PS5T8) [1728] Why was it originally only for women?
sb (PS5TF) [1729] Well they thought they could only get it through both legislatures and the courts for women.
[1730] Women at the time didn't yet have the vote, and they made arguments about women being more dependent people, less able to fight for themselves, more in need of the protection of the state, which in some cases did not actually distinguish women from men in the same industries.
[1731] But at the time they thought that was all they could get, and they decided to go for half a loaf rather than the whole.
a (PS5T8) [1732] Roughly speaking, what are the arguments against having a minimum wage?
[1733] You've explained what are the erm objections which come from unions, and I would imagine there's a political element in the sense of, roughly speaking, more conservative inclined people might be pushing against, more socialist inclined may be pushing for.
[1734] Am I right?
sb (PS5TF) [1735] Yes, that's true.
[1736] The, the erm conservative tends to believe that the free market should set people's wages and that the supply and demand of labour and the number of people looking for jobs in an industry will affect the level that the wages reach.
[1737] And the argument that my reformers made against that was simply that where you have a huge number of people who are desperate for jobs, there's no level below which the wages may not fall, under a free market system.
[1738] But there's a moral argument that at some point you're not paying them enough to live on.
[1739] You're paying them starvation wages, and someone else therefore is keeping them alive, might be their husbands, it might be the state giving them charity, it might be the state giving them pensions or unemployment benefits, it might be charities giving them clothes and food just to keep them alive, and that that's immoral.
[1740] No employer has a right to take the work of a man or a woman without paying them a living wage.
[1741] So the moral argument was the one originally that triumphed, but the argument about the market is, is the alternative.
a (PS5T8) [1742] You basically are in favour of a minimum wage.
sb (PS5TF) [1743] I'm convinced by the moral argument.
[1744] It's very hard to spend months in the archives, reading the papers of the people who spent so much of their lives fighting for this kind of thing, and not I think be rather affected by dedication and by the evidence that they amassed with such enormous difficulty, and by the way they kept coming back and fighting for it over and over again, and the free market argument by comparison lacks that kind of humanity I think.
a (PS5T8) [1745] Thank you very much, Vivian.


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [1746] Hello.
[1747] About a month ago I spent an afternoon looking through the German National Film Archives in Coblentz.
[1748] Three of us, an American student, a German woman and I, watched newsreels dating from before the First World War to about nineteen forty-eight.
[1749] After a couple of hours the German lady and I were so choked with emotion that we were scarcely able to speak.
[1750] ‘That was a lot of fun,’ said our young American companion, as we left.
[1751] John Rohl is a historian with a special expertise in modern German history.
[1752] John, how did you actually get interested in German history?
cd (PS5TG) [1756] I think the first answer I must give you is, is simply in terms of my personal biography.
[1757] I was born in London in nineteen thirty-eight, but my father was German, my mother was English, I was actually born in the German Hospital in London.
[1758] And so I was almost predestined to consider how the two great nations of Western Europe, the Germans and the English, related to one another.
[1759] And of course I was also born almost with the, with one very important advantage, which was that I could speak German erm from birth, as well as English.
a (PS5T8) [1760] So you've carried out quite a lot of your studies actually in Germany.
cd (PS5TG) [1761] I am very much an archive man, Brian.
[1762] I spend all my vacations, and sometimes my sabbatical years, in German archives, rooting out erm previously unpublished material.
a (PS5T8) [1763] Do you have a particular speciality, a particular interest?
cd (PS5TG) [1764] In a narrow sense my main interest is the period in which the Kaiser ruled over Germany, which of course includes the First World War.
[1765] In a more general sense I am fascinated by some of the things you've just mentioned in your introduction, the question of continuity in German history, how we, how this marvellous nation, the nation of Beethoven and Wagner and Marx and Freud, actually finishes up going to war twice against its European neighbours, and in the Second World War in particular committing these awful atrocities.
[1766] And in the process of course destroying the old Europe, allowing the very thing that, arguably, they were trying to stop from happening, to happen, that is to say, allowing the Russians to advance towards the Elbe, and allowing the Anglo-Saxons as they see it to erm come from the west and taken over the western half of Europe.
a (PS5T8) [1767] Germany as a country hasn't really existed for very long, has it?
cd (PS5TG) [1768] It was founded, as you rightly imply, in the eighteen sixty-six to seventy-one period as a nation-state, although one could argue whether in fact it was a nation-state or not.
[1769] And of course it was completely cut apart in nineteen forty-five, losing two-fifths of its territories altogether to Poland, and erm the remainder then being erm cut into two, to East Germany and West Germany, with France receiving Alsace-Lorraine back again.
a (PS5T8) [1770] What went wrong with Germany as a nation?
cd (PS5TG) [1771] That's a question we're all asking ourselves.
[1772] There are basically two interpretations, if you like, in a broad sense.
[1773] The first is that everything was really all right until nineteen eighteen.
[1774] In other words, according to this view, Germany along with all the other nations stumbled into war in nineteen fourteen, was then declared, simply because she was the defeated party, declared to be the guilty party, erm had punitive terms imposed on her at the Treaty of Versailles, and as a result of this moved towards extremism in internal politics, with the erm consequence that the Democratic Republic of Weimar collapsed, erm Hitler came to power, and Hitler was some kind of evil person, a Satanic messenger from Hell, who first of all visited his atrocities on, on the Germans before doing the same to Europe as a whole.
[1775] That is the old view that a lot of the older generation of conservative German historians have been trying to persuade us of.
[1776] The alternative vision is the one that I subscribe to, and along with me, most historians in this country and in America, and indeed increasingly erm a young generation of German historians, and this is that things began to go wrong well before nineteen fourteen, and that the Germans in fact deliberately started the First World War as the Treaty of Versailles said they did, that nineteen eighteen was not therefore the beginning of the evil, but merely a hiccup in erm a German attempt to conquer Europe, erm as it were, a play with two acts, the first act being nineteen fourteen to eighteen, and then the second act being nineteen thirty-nine to forty-five, two attempts to dominate the continent of Europe by military force.
a (PS5T8) [1777] It's an interesting situation that you alluded to, that people that win wars, on the whole, given enough time, are regarded as ‘all right’, whereas people that lose often are cast in the role of being baddies.
[1778] I suppose if we look at British history there was a period in the last century and earlier where we did a pretty good job of conquering people, but we don't feel too badly about that, but we feel pretty indignant about Germany trying to take a bit more territory at various points.
cd (PS5TG) [1779] Yes, I think one of the mistakes the Germans made erm was to try to take territory in Europe.
[1780] The times had simply passed when one could conquer France, conquer Belgium, conquer Holland, even conquer Eastern Europe, and say, ‘This is the same as moving into Africa or moving into the Far East’.
[1781] The nations of Europe had become too proud, too self-aware to tolerate that, and gradually, with this kind of behaviour, a collective anti-German consciousness arose I think which, strangely, even today unites Russians, Poles, with people in the west of Europe and America.
a (PS5T8) [1782] Do you believe in what I might call national characteristics?
[1783] Do you think, for example, in Germany, in the nineteen-thirties, there was just an evil genius, Hitler, who managed to carry all before him, or do you think that the, the people as a whole were ready to be persuaded along those particular lines?
cd (PS5TG) [1784] I don't believe in national character in any biological sense, but I do think that the German people were ready for a person like Hitler.
[1785] Now in between those two extremes, the notion on the one hand that somehow national character is biologically predetermined, and the other that what nations do is merely accidental, erm you've got the whole area of erm education, state control of the media, newspapers, erm even prisons and armies, conscription, things of that kind, which actually fashion erm national character for, not forever, but for the period in which those forces are in control, and that is a particular message that the youth of that country is receiving.
[1786] In other words this can be susceptible to change.
[1787] If you then get a complete change in regime, as happened in nineteen forty-five, if you get re-education, if you get a completely new economic and indeed world, international situation, then of course the Germans become different people.
a (PS5T8) [1788] How is the German background, the German education, the German social system, whatever it is, how does it differ, say, from the English system?
cd (PS5TG) [1789] Well since nineteen forty-five, in the Federal Republic of Germany, there is very little difference essentially between the educational system erm there and the educational system in this country, for very obvious reasons, I think the western Allies simply imposed their values, their educational systems among other things, on the West Germans, who were rather reluctant at the time to accept it, but have grown to love those values and arguably are now as good if not better at preserving them than we are.
[1790] Of course before nineteen forty-five the value system being emitted by the educational system and other sources in the whole of Germany, in a much larger Germany than the Federal Republic of Germany, was very different indeed from those being purveyed in the educational establishments of this country or in France.
a (PS5T8) [1791] In what ways, John, did they differ?
cd (PS5TG) [1792] erm I think there was a great erm stress on authoritarianism.
[1793] I mean all the clichés really on Germany's need to expand militarily, on the need to do one's duty, to obey orders in an unquestioned way.
[1794] You had to be very courageous to be a democrat.
[1795] It wasn't the dominant ideology.
[1796] If one is of course a member of a minority, let us say, one is a Jew or erm a socialist or erm a South German, erm then one is much more likely to cherish democratic values and federal values, and much less likely to accept authoritarian rule from above.
a (PS5T8) [1797] John, you're clearly very passionately involved with this, and have been involved with studying German history for twenty years plus.
[1798] erm Why is this?
cd (PS5TG) [1799] One of the reasons, Brian, is that I think German history is too important to be left to the German historians.
[1800] They've not in the past shown themselves to be very honest erm nor very keen on going into their own archives, and I think it's, actually takes people like me, who live on the border-lines if you like of the two cultures, to go in and discover erm sometimes embarrassing documents, embarrassing information, to confront them with it, in their own language, so that they have to take stock.
[1801] If it weren't for people like myself erm then maybe the older German tradition of historical writing would still today be dominant.
a (PS5T8) [1802] One of the things that always puzzles me about archives is it seems to me that there must be a limited number of archives, and there are an awful number of historians.
[1803] How do people keep on finding new things to look at?
cd (PS5TG) [1804] erm I think the first answer is that erm not all historians go into archives.
[1805] I think they ought to much more than they do, but the plain truth is that they don't.
[1806] A lot of them philosophise, and let's be clear about this, it's actually extraordinarily difficult to read erm German archival records.
[1807] I've known many British historians who have an adequate reading knowledge of German, erm who go into the archives expecting to be able to read the documents, and what they don't realise in advance is that the handwriting is actually Gothic script.
[1808] It is a handwriting that you could not read, for example, however hard you tried.
[1809] It is as foreign to, to your eyes as the Russian script would be.
[1810] So one has to actually learn erm an entirely new alphabet before even being able to read the first word on the first page that you see in the archives.
[1811] And a lot of people at that stage give up.
[1812] There are a lot of archives, but there are even more archives than you imagine there are because there are actually erm a huge number of archives in private houses and castles in Germany that are not public archives, and a lot of people don't even know about these.
[1813] I think you have to evolve, develop quite a lot of detective sense, to meet people, to imagine where could further letters be that would help me, and you have to charm your way virtually into those houses, and persuade the people erm to let you look at Grandfather's letters in the trunk in the attic.
a (PS5T8) [1814] And do you very often come up with erm new papers, new information, which, in your mind, at any rate, changes one's view
cd (PS5TG) [1815] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [1816] about what happened?
cd (PS5TG) [1817] All the time.
[1818] Every time I go into a new archive I just can't believe what I'm discovering.
[1819] Just give you one example if I may erm which erm will serve to underline the sort of points that I've been making erm to you.
[1820] I discovered recently, in a public archive, a letter from the Kaiser, written in nineteen nineteen, to erm an ex-general of his, saying that the Jews must be exterminated from German soil.
[1821] More recently still, I came across a letter written in English, by the Kaiser to an American friend, dated nineteen twenty-five, in which he writes, erm ‘The Jews must be exterminated in a pogrom covering the whole world.’
[1822] That is clear in his mind, the only question for him is how this should be done, and he says, ‘I think probably we should treat them like mosquitoes, that is to say, we should, we must use gas.’
a (PS5T8) [1823] And it was popularly believed that those ideas weren't prevalent until much later presumably.
cd (PS5TG) [1824] Oh, I mean this material, which I've discovered, when it's published, will rock the German historical establishment, there's no doubt about it.
[1825] Their entire case has been designed to prove that Hitler was some kind of freak event that had no links with the German past.
[1826] If I can demonstrate that the Kaiser himself, the monarch who ruled Germany for thirty years until nineteen eighteen, had ideas very similar if not identical to those of Hitler's, at a time when he was not in contact with Hitler, when Hitler's party was nowhere in political terms, then I think that's yet another very important indication that there is continuity in German history from say the Bismarckian period through to nineteen forty-five, and that Hitler stands in that national tradition, and is not some kind of lightning erm that, that struck Germany erm from a blue sky.
a (PS5T8) [1827] John, my last question is simply this: Can one learn from history?
[1828] Do you think that the German people today have a sense of their own recent history?
cd (PS5TG) [1829] Somebody once said that if we don't history we're condemned to repeat history, and God forbid if that were erm to happen.
[1830] I don't think it will happen, because I think the German people have learned from their history.
[1831] I'm bound to say that they failed to learn from their own history after nineteen-eighteen, so that they did in effect repeat erm their history a second time with disastrous consequences for everybody.
[1832] Had they, after nineteen-eighteen, learnt the lessons that were to be learnt, then we might have been spared Hitler and the Second World War.
[1833] You said at an earlier stage in this conversation erm that it's always the defeated parties who are blamed for starting wars.
[1834] That implies that in a sense that there's a question of choice about it.
[1835] I don't think there is a question of choice.
[1836] I think the record, it's available in the archives, historians who are honest and hardworking could even then have come up with erm answers that would have incriminated the German leaders of nineteen-fourteen, and therefore moved German society, I believe, substantially towards the democratic centre, if not the Social Democratic Left.
a (PS5T8) [1837] Fascinating, John.
[1838] I wish we had time to talk more about this.
[1839] Next Sunday, Willie Lamont gives his approach to history, when


a (PS5T8) [1840] Of a number of works on twentieth century literature, including books on Camus and other people.
[1841] And, perhaps most important from the point of view of Sussex, he was the originator and the editor of a series which will be many of you, largely based on productions from this University, erm involving, comprising six volumes on French literature and its background.
[1842] He was fairly recently awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by his college, Trinity College Dublin, he tells me he's not quite sure why but I think there are really good reasons, and he is a member of the University's Grants Committee.
[1843] I'm not at all sure about the relevance of the last of these qualifications to the proceedings this evening [laugh] but I am sure that all the other qualifications and all the rest of the experience conspire to make John Cruikshank an eminently suitable lecturer on our subject for tonight, which is ‘Proust: Novelist and Explorer’.
[1844] Thank you, John.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [1846] Ladies and gentlemen, I'm very grateful to Professor Eppell for his characteristically kind and generous remarks, and erm I accept them all the more readily because I know you will treat them with a healthy degree of scepticism.
[1847] erm At least two considerations, I think, make it a rather unnerving experience to attempt a critical assessment of Proust.
[1848] In the first place, because of his own sharp intelligence and his, particularly perhaps his self-awareness, as a writer, he's one of the best exponents of his own work, and one has moments of panic therefore, erm in which further comment seems either foolhardy or superfluous or quite likely both.
[1849] erm Again, Proust emphasised repeatedly the shifting, elusive nature of personal identity.
[1850] erm In fact a simple formulation of this problem occurs in the opening paragraphs of À la Recherche, erm when the narrator writes this: ‘When I woke in the middle of the night, I could not tell where I was, just as I did not know at first who I was.
[1851] I simply experienced, in its most elementary form, the sense of existing.’
[1852] This distinction, between, as it were, having an existence, and possessing an identity, erm is a major preoccupation in the novel, just as finding answers to the questions ‘Where am I?’ or rather more importantly ‘Who am I?’is one of its central objectives.
[1853] The fact that individual identity is surrounded by doubt and confusion in this way prompts of course the anxious question in such as myself, ‘Who was Marcel Proust?’ and ‘Has one identified him in terms appropriate to a centenary celebration?’
[1854] In seeking to answer this last question, erm I decided not to attempt a kind of structural analysis, the kind of structural analysis which characterises in fact a lot of important current critical writing, but to approach Proust in fact along the more familiar lines of biography and straight analysis of his work.
[1855] I did so erm partly because this seems the most useful approach for an audience, not all of whom perhaps have read in detail the fifteen volumes of À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, erm and partly because he in fact offers a very interesting challenge, I think, at this precise level.
[1856] Once one thinks in terms of the man on the one hand, and his writings on the other, one is surprise, even, I think, puzzled and disconcerted, by the disparity, the apparent disparity at any rate, between, on the one hand, the frequenter of the Faubourg Saint Germain salons, and, on the other, the author of À la Recherche, between the rather eccentric hypochondriac and the observer in the novel of human weakness, erm between perhaps the often precious and whimsical Figaro columnist and the architect of an astonishingly complex and lengthy novel, amounting to something like one and a quarter million words.
[1857] If one is inclined, as one may well be, to doubt the validity of sets of distinctions of the kind I've just made, they are at least based on a separation which Proust placed at the centre of his own critical theory.
[1858] In a damaging exposure of Saint Beuve's literary critical method, Proust argued against Saint Beuve that the biography of a writer, erm even an account of his habits, his social attitudes, his vices, his virtues and so on, that this may tell us nothing at all about the nature and significance of his imaginative work.
[1859] erm The social man, Proust says, rarely offers a key to the creative personality, and he's anxious to keep a distinction between these two things, and I shall try to do something the same.
[1860] erm This idea, I think, takes particular form in À la Recherche.
[1861] Marcel, the first person narrator of the novel, meets the writer Bergotte for the first time.
[1862] Up to this point, he'd experienced an almost boundless admiration for the Bergotte whose books he had read with intense pleasure, if you like, Bergotte the artist and thinker.
[1863] And now, on a particular social occasion in the novel, he's introduced to Bergotte at a gathering in the Faubourg Saint Germain erm and he's shocked at what seems to be the gap between the man who faces him and the author whose works he has so admired, and he writes, ‘My greeting was returned by a youthful, uncouth, small, thickset, shortsighted person, with a red nose, curled like a snail's shell, and a black tuft on his chin.
[1864] The nose and beard also seemed to imply, to produce, to secrete constantly a certain kind of mind which had nothing to do with the intelligence diffused throughout the books, books that I knew so intimately, and which were permeated by a gentle and God-like wisdom.’
[1865] One may say, of course, that Marcel is shocked simply because he has a foolish, a foolishly romantic conception of what a writer should look like.
[1866] One may also want to argue that an uncouth manner and a snail-like nose erm are no barrier to the possession of gentle and God-like wisdom.
[1867] erm Yet the distinction is one on which Proust repeatedly insists, at least for critical purposes, and elsewhere I think he puts the same idea quite succinctly, when he says and I quote, ‘The man who inhabits the same body as a great genius has very little contact with him.’
[1868] The dualism implied by this statement can be related I think directly and appropriately to Proust himself.
[1869] At the same time it seems fair to say that until recently, writing about Proust, particularly perhaps in England, but in France, too, has concentrated too much and too exclusively on the social element in the dualism, has concentrated too much, if you like, on the nose and the beard.
[1870] Reminiscences have been published, dwelling lovingly on the Belle Époque, and Proust's place in it.
[1871] Octogenarian titled ladies have provided accounts of Proust dining at the Ritz and dispensing ridiculously large tips, playing the tables in various fashionable casinos, entertaining the Faubourg Saint Germain with his gossip and his apparently outstanding powers of mimicry, or even cautiously testing the air, at one of the Normandy seaside resorts, wrapped in his fur-lined cloak on a summer day.
[1872] Now of course all this is fascinating in its own way, and it no doubt leads us at least onto the fringes of an entertaining piece of social history.
[1873] Nevertheless, I think its effect is to distort in some ways the dualism set up by Proust.
[1874] erm The effect is in fact to concentrate on the curling nose and the tufted beard at the expense of the wisdom and the artistic achievement.
[1875] It seems to me appropriate and indeed perhaps essential that one should offer a brief biographical sketch of Proust on an occasion like this, but I shall try to avoid the unbalance of which I've spoken, by at least relating the biography to the circumstances in which the novel was written, and I shall in any case spend the major part of the time that remains on an examination of the novel itself.
[1876] Marcel Proust was born in Paris, on the tenth of July, eighteen seventy-one, two months after the collapse of the Commune. erm His father was a well-known doctor, who seems curiously enough to have failed markedly to understand the causes of his son's lifelong illness erm and his mother was the daughter of a Jewish stockbroker.
[1877] And although Proust and his younger brother were in fact brought up as Catholics, Marcel remained particularly conscious of the Jewish elements in his background, and this indeed is quite an important element, as some of you will know, in the novel.
[1878] When the Dreyfus Affair, with its rather unpleasant anti-Semetic, anti-Semitic aspects, broke on the French political scene in the eighteen nineties, Proust became an active Dreyfuseur at once, signing the famous Manifesto of the Intellectuals, and obtaining the signatures of various other people.
[1879] He attended the trial of Zola daily, and he even smuggled a copy of his first book of essays, as it turns out I think the wildly inappropriate Les plaisirs et les jours, to the imprisoned Colonel Picard, who had become the defender of Dreyfus at considerable personal cost.
[1880] From the age of nine Proust suffered spasmodically but severely from asthma.
[1881] Inevitably his mother nursed and protected him in his early years, and this was the basis of a deep, perhaps inordinately and unhealthily deep, attachment of son to mother.
[1882] On the other hand, as his awareness of his own homosexual tendencies developed during his teens, the deep emotional dependence on his mother was complicated by a contrary feeling of resentment, based no doubt on guilt.
[1883] Because of course he knew perfectly well that the promptings of his own nature were an offence to his mother's moral code.
[1884] And I think one can say that, by general standards, Proust was physically ill, and emotionally unbalanced, despite his increasing social successes, and even an unexpected twelve months spent, as a volunteer mark you, in the French army.
[1885] erm He became in fact the arch-introspective: ill, somewhat neurotic, and yet possessing unusual insight into his own and other people's emotional and mental processes.
[1886] Despite the distinction he made between, as it were, the ordinary daily self and the special writing self, it's difficult not to see, in his own nature, evidence of some of his clearest gifts as a novelist.
[1887] Indeed, he accepts, I think, this kind of connection, when he writes, at one point, well on in the novel, ‘The magnificent yet pitiable family of the nervously afflicted is the salt of the earth.
[1888] It is they and they only who have founded religions and composed artistic masterpieces.’
[1889] The religion which Proust eventually elaborated, as we shall see, was I think a religion of art, and the masterpiece which he wrote was of course his novel in fifteen volumes.
[1890] Up to the age of thirty or so he appeared to devote himself mainly to the social life of various celebrated Parisian salons.
[1891] Although he has been accused, of course, of social snobbery, I think it's clear that he observed the life around him closely and critically.
[1892] Indeed, a striking and major aspect of the final volumes of À la Recherche is their often cruel analysis of the moral bankruptcy and social collapse of this salon world, during the years that culminated in the First World War.
[1893] It seems fair to say, in fact, that the first thirty years of Proust's life laid much of the intellectual basis for his later literary erm achievements, and it was incidentally also during the eighteen nineties, that, among other things, he obtained a, a Licence des lettres, that he attended Bergson's lectures, that he discovered Ruskin, and that he wrote the bulk of nearly a thousand manuscript sheets discovered in an old hatbox after the last World War, and published as Jean Santeuil in nineteen fifty-two.
[1894] And this is a novel which is I suppose an early but certainly a very embryonic attempt to write À la Recherche.
[1895] Between nineteen hundred and one and nineteen hundred and six, increasing illness erm severely restricted Proust's social engagements, and indeed because of his asthma erm he tended to stay in bed during the day, and get up only at night, though even those who don't suffer from asthma have been known to adopt this regime for other purposes.
[1896] erm His father died in nineteen hundred and three and his mother in nineteen hundred and five and of course his mother's death was a particularly shattering blow, and he actually spent six weeks in a clinic for neurotics.
[1897] However, again like many another, Proust cherished, and I mean cherished, his own psychosomatic troubles.
[1898] He successfully resisted treatment, and he returned home from the clinic describing himself, and I use his own words, as being ‘fantastically ill’.
[1899] At the same time, erm if his mother's death intensified his illness, it also freed him to concentrate more fully on the writing of his novel.
[1900] Madame Proust had not greatly favoured his desire to write fiction.
[1901] She had encouraged him rather to work as a translator, this seemed to be a safer activity.
[1902] erm Also while she still lived, he had been of course inhibited from putting down on paper very much of a novel which, now largely formed in his mind, and in which sexual abnormality would play erm at least a considerable part.
[1903] At the end of nineteen hundred and six, he moved to the Boulevard Haussmann.
[1904] Because of a phobia about noise, which was one of his several rather neurotic characteristics, he had his study, as we all know, lined with cork to insulate it.
[1905] And indeed, incidentally, when he stayed in the famous erm Grande Hôtel at Cabours in the summer, he frequently rented additional rooms on either side of his own, in order to ensure silence.
[1906] This is also the period when he hired as chauffeur and typist a young man, Alfred Agostinelli, who drove him to the seaside in a closed car, took him by the same means to visit many Romanesque churches in Normandy, and who was killed when the plane he was learning to fly crashed into the sea off Antibes in nineteen fourteen.
[1907] And Proust's relationship with Agostinelli, over a period of I suppose something like seven years, undoubtedly contributed a certain amount to the main outline of the Marcel-Albertine affair in the novel.
[1908] The last fifteen years of Proust's life — he died in nineteen twenty-two — are mainly the story of the actual writing of À la Recherche.
[1909] It was completed in nineteen hundred and twelve, turned down by three publishing houses, including the Nouvelle Revue Française, and finally accepted by Grasset on the understanding that, while it would appear under Grasset's imprint, it would also appear at the author's expense.
[1910] erm Only Du Côté de chez Swann erm had appeared when the outbreak of war, and Bernard Grasset's call-up, interrupted further publication.
[1911] By the end of the War, the Nouvelle Revue Française people realised their mistake in refusing the novel in the first place, and with that erm commercial acumen which I think still characterises that particular publishing house, they now quickly obtained exclusive publication rights.
[1912] erm During the four years of war, however, erm and indeed right up to his death in nineteen twenty-two, Proust revised and enlarged his novel so much that it trebled in length, and the publication was not in fact completed until after his death in nineteen twenty-seven.
[1913] Some indication of the immense editorial difficulties that arose, many of which I may say were not solved until the, the Pléiade edition in three volumes of nineteen fifty-four, some of the difficulty I think is hinted at, at any rate, in a recent description of the state of Proust's papers at the moment of his death, and I quote: ‘Huge packets of type- and manuscript, the pages festooned with half-illegible addenda, and blackened with savage deletions which had swallowed up entire paragraphs, heaped the ugly little bamboo table that stood near his death-bed, and overflowed from the shelves of the table along the top of the nearby chimneypiece.
[1914] Three of the seven sections of À la recherche du temps perdu still awaited publication, and although one had been typed and corrected, none of them was yet in proof.
[1915] Among the papers that the novelist left behind him were many feverously scribbled notes, showing changes that he intended to make, and new episodes that, given the opportunity, he would have worked into his narrative.’
[1916] Turning more directly now to À la recherche itself, one can say I think that its many images of search and travel provide some justification for the sub-title of this talk, ‘The Novelist as Explorer’.
[1917] The whole novel is in fact a voyage of exploration and discovery, erm exploration of the nature of reality and the eventual discovery of how this reality can be recreated for our detailed inspection by means of art.
[1918] And it's this journey from external reality to the profound truths of art, a journey which takes Proust through a series of investigations of the nature of time, the nature of the intellect, the nature of memory, it's this journey which I must now attempt to trace, and I perhaps just ought to say that I think I get abstract once or twice from this point onwards.
[1919] I don't think it's so much the difficulty of the matter, as the inadequacy of the manner, but erm it ... the main structure behind erm what I have to say at any rate revolves round these three successive ideas of time, intellect, memory.
[1920] If we seek to examine the external world of people and objects in terms of our own experience of that world, the fact of time is bound, I think, to be an important consideration.
[1921] This is a truth which the late nineteenth century relearned, particularly in France, and in reaction to a predominantly static picture of reality implicit in much positivist and naturalist thought.
[1922] In fact in the eighteen nineties, I believe the seeds were being sown, of what has since been called the time obsession of the twentieth century.
[1923] A new picture of a world characterised by flux, and thus a world not reducible to static intellectual categories, a picture of a world of flux was emerging, particularly clearly I suppose in the writings of Bergson.
[1924] Bergson held chronological time, time measured and divided into units, as a largely misleading human convention.
[1925] What we actually experience, he argued, what we actually experience is duration, a continuous flowing and change, what he calls in a rather striking phrase, I think, ‘succession without divisibility’.
[1926] And of course this is rather like the distinction made by William Goulding in Free Fall.
[1927] Some of you will remember that he makes a distinction between what he calls and I quote, ‘A dead thing.
[1928] The straight line from the first hiccough to the last gasp’, and human experience of time, which he describes as, and again I quote, ‘A memory.
[1929] A sense of shuffle, fold and coil.
[1930] Of this day nearer than that because more important.
[1931] Of that event mirroring this.
[1932] Or those three set apart, exceptional, and out of the straight line altogether’.
[1933] Now the very title of Proust's novel, À la recherche du temps perdu erm underlines time as a major object of his own exploratory urge.
[1934] The first and last words of the novel, at fifteen volumes distance from each other, are in fact temporal expressions: ‘longtemps’ and ‘le temps’.
[1935] erm ‘Longtemps’ and ‘le temps’.
[1936] And indeed he's preoccupied, I think, very much with the equivalent of Bergson's duration, or, if you like, Goulding's shuffle, fold and coil.
[1937] This is frequently seen, of course, in the novel.
[1938] erm A very quick example would be the famous sentence in which Marcel, the narrator, says, ‘An hour is not merely an hour.
[1939] It is a vessel filled with perfumes, sounds, projects, moods.’
[1940] And this distinction between an hour as sixty minutes and an hour as a section of complex human experience, is I suppose the distinction one would make between clock time and what might be called existential time, time as it's humanly experienced.
[1941] One should perhaps just add at this point that Proust also underlines the very flexible nature of this existential time.
[1942] At another moment in the novel, the narrator writes: ‘The time which we have at our disposal each day is elastic.
[1943] The passions we experience expand it, those we inspire in others contract it, and habit fills it.’
[1944] It's difficult, I think, just to grasp the implications of a statement like that immediately.
[1945] I could perhaps put at least part of it in very homely erm and perhaps somewhat banal terms by saying that five minutes spent waiting for the person one loves may seem like five hours, whereas five hours spent with that person may appear a mere five minutes.
[1946] This insistence on human time as both flexible and, one might say, I suppose, multi-dimensional, has various consequences of course for the structure and the style of À la recherche.
[1947] Because it rejects the straight line conception of time from the first hiccough to the last gasp, the novel is not built round a clear, sequential story, that might be summarised in a few paragraphs.
[1948] To read it is not to be entertained by ‘a good yarn’, but to share Proust's recreation of what he believes the nature, the quality, the, almost the texture, as it were, of various kinds of human experience, to be like.
[1949] Equally obviously, the concern with shuffle, fold and coil, means frequent time shifts, prompted no doubt mainly by association and memory, time shifts between past and present.
[1950] The elastic narrative that results is one that has been given, I suppose one might say, a narrative that's given complex emotional shaping, rather than straight chronological form.
[1951] This also means that the narrative tempo of the novel changes on many occasions, and on perhaps most occasions is particularly slow as a tempo.
[1952] Because like many of his near contemporaries, such, for instance, as Henry James and Virginia Woolf certainly, Proust was concerned to expand certain small but emotionally important blocks of time, to expand them so as to convey an experience fully and in detail, as one would experience it living through it.
[1953] He sacrificed, he sacrificed the quick movement, the rapid changes of circumstance which a certain kind of reader demands, in order to match his description of thinking and feeling to the actual pace at which these things are experienced in real life.
[1954] Now turning from the structure very quickly to the style, one has I suppose to underline Proust's insistence that a writer's style must grow organically out of his thought, out of his conception of reality.
[1955] Many of you will know that in the eighteenth century, Buffon had defined literary style as the order and movement which we impose on our thoughts.
[1956] Now Proust quite consciously stands this idea on its head, when he writes, and I quote, ‘Style is simply the order and movement which grow out of our thought.’
[1957] ‘Style is simply the order and movement which grow out of our thought.’
[1958] And consequently, given his own sense of the flowing, indivisible nature of duration, it's appropriate and inevitable on his own principle, that his prose should consist of long, flowing sentences, within often enormous paragraphs, and without division into chapters.
[1959] Proust is also exceptionally aware I think of a, of the, the, the complex nature of reality, a reality built up in a number of layers, so that his sentences are made even longer than might otherwise have been the case, by the introduction of successive subordinate clauses, in which he seeks to qualify as precisely as possible what he is saying.
[1960] In which he seeks to introduce a sense of nuance, and in which he sometimes offers three or four possible different explanations of one particular human action, without adjudicating between them.
[1961] His long sinuous phrases are designed to enclose the different levels and quirks of reality, just as liquid, spilt on a rough pavement, eventually seeps into every crack and cranny.
[1962] The style of the novel, in fact, like the structure, is used to attempt to convey in words certain sound rhythms as we actually experience them.
[1963] erm It's not easy to give an example that's brief, because of what I've just said about the style, but I offer one very short passage here, which might or might not convey what I'm attempting to say.
[1964] It's a passage which reads as follows.
[1965] In English.
[1966] In Anglo-Irish. erm ‘There was a small tap on the pane, as though something had struck it, followed by a light, though abundant falling, as though grains of sand were being dropped from a window above, and then a more intense and regular sound, which took on a rhythm and became fluid, resonant, musical, infinite, universal.
[1967] It was raining.’
[1968] It's hardly possible to hear, in translation, the way in which the increasing tempo from the initial individual raindrops on the windowpane, to the final, single sound of the rain striking the window, it's difficult to convey the manner in which this is subtly rendered, I think, by length of phrasing, by using adjectives of increasing syllabic length, and so on, and perhaps just in this one particular case erm I, I might just read the passage, very quickly, in French.
[1969] erm ‘Un petit coup au carreau, comme si quelque chose l'avait heurté, suivi d'une ample chute lègère, comme de grains de sable, qu'on eût laissés tomber d'une fenêtre audessus, puis la chute, s'étendant, se règlant, adoptant un rhythme, devenant fluide, sonore, musicale, inombrable, universelle.
[1970] C'était la pluit.’
[1971] What I've just been saying about the importance of time and movement in Proust's novel give rise I think to a further question.
[1972] How do we make direct contact with this mobile, fluid reality?
[1973] We usually assume that our minds can tell us a lot about what things are really like, but this is an idea which Proust, like Bergson, I may say, erm rather firmly rejects.
[1974] Bergson went so far as to describe intelligence, or the intellect, as being, and I quote, ‘characterised by a natural inability to comprehend life.’
[1975] He argues that reality resembles a cinematographic film, a ceaseless unwinding an moving, but the intellect is so constituted, that it can only provide us with stills, separate and immobile, from that motion film which is reality.
[1976] Intelligence operates, in fact, through concepts which break up the flow of our experience, classifying it by isolated, lifeless categories, such as cause and effect, beginning and end, subject and object, and so on.
[1977] On a number of occasions in the novel, the narrator Marcel himself refers to the intellect as a kind of lattice-work, with which we try to capture reality, but through which reality flows and escapes us.
[1978] He argues that intellectual concepts are fundamentally arbitrary, and says indeed at one point, ‘Ideas formulated by the pure intellect possess logical or potential truth only.’
[1979] It's in this way I think that Proust clears the ground in order to claim that the artist, be he writer, painter, musician, can capture reality by means not open to and indeed mostly at variance with the discursive intellect.
[1980] The artist can do so by imagination, intuition, and the expressive resources of his particular art.
[1981] And this is why at a late stage in À la recherche, Marcel says that it is a mistake, particularly where the artist is concerned, to accept, and I quote, ‘It's a mistake to accept things as they are in reality, names as they are written, people as photography and psychology give in an unalterable idea of them.’
[1982] ‘As a matter of fact,’ he adds, ‘this is not at all what we ordinarily perceive.’
[1983] This is a bit difficult, I think, to follow, and what Proust means perhaps becomes clearer in a story which he himself told on more than one occasion about the painter Turner.
[1984] It seems that Turner showed one of his drawings of Plymouth Sound, with several ships seen against a background of the setting sun, to a ship's officer.
[1985] The officer promptly criticised the absence of portholes in the drawing.
[1986] erm Turner replied, ‘If you go up to the top of Mount Edgecombe, and look at the ships against the light, with the setting sun behind them, you will realise that one cannot distinguish the portholes.’
[1987] ‘But you know perfectly well that they have portholes,’ retorted the officer.
[1988] ‘Yes, I know,’ said Turner.
[1989] ‘But my job is to draw what I see, not what I know.’
[1990] ‘My job is to draw what I see, not what I know.’
[1991] I suppose this might be taken as perhaps a basic statement of Impressionist doctrine, and we know, incidentally, that the fictional painter in À la recherche, Elstir, who plays a very important role in the novel, perhaps more important than either the fictional writer, Bergotte, or the fictional musician, Vinteuil, that Elstir was modelled in considerable part on Monet.
[1992] Elstir is described by the narrator as an artist who painted objects, and I quote, ‘not as he knew them to be, but according to the optical illusions of which our first sight of them is composed.’
[1993] It's significant, I think, incidentally, that Elstir paints so many seascapes, since the restless flowing movement of reality is I suppose particularly obvious in, exemplified by the sea.
[1994] And when Marcel visits Elstir's studio, he's fascinated by the way in which the sea is sometimes painted as though it were part of the sky, and sometimes it looks as though the sky is part of the sea.
[1995] These are paintings in fact in which the line of the horizon is fluid and changing in order to convey an optical illusion which is quite familiar to most of us, I think, by inspection on Brighton Front.
[1996] Elstir's paintings persuade Marcel of their truth, but it's a truth which is different from the intellectual truth which he first brought to his initial contemplation of those paintings, and Marcel says that in this way, by his art, Elstir frees us from the cramping tyranny of the intellect, by painting, and again I quote, ‘by painting some unusual picture of a familiar object.
[1997] A picture different from those that we are accustomed to see, unusual and yet true to nature, and for that reason doubly impressive to us, because it startles us, and makes us emerge from our habits.’
[1998] This brief explanation of Elstir's originality as an artist might I think be applied equally appropriately to Proust, the novelist.
[1999] By a combination of Impressionist vision, imagination, a magical mastery of language, Proust uses À la recherche to explore often banal objects, often apparently dull people, often apparently trivial episodes, in such a way that he recreates them with a freshness, erm a power of conviction, that persuade us we're actually seeing them with a privileged insight, or perhaps even seeing them for the first time.
[2000] Apart from this, Elstir's insistence on painting what his senses register, not what his mind believes, is connected with two features in À la recherche which ought to be mentioned I think however briefly.
[2001] Firstly, Proust often describes the material world by means of kinetic imagery in the novel.
[2002] I mean by that that he attributes motion to what we know in our minds to be static, immobile, inanimate objects.
[2003] For example, as Marcel drives along the winding road to Martinville, he describes the three spires of the church in terms of active movement, the spires exchange places, they come closer together, they draw further apart, they hide behind each other in turn.
[2004] erm And he describes them in these terms because of course this is how he sees them from different angles while rounding a series of bends on the road, so that in fact he describes the movement which his senses perceive, not the solid immobility to which his intellect testifies.
[2005] On other occasions in a, in a different though I think related way, erm Proust shows that a phrase such as, for instance , ‘the Church of St. Hilaire’ is a piece of shorthand which the intellect employs to define and to stabilise and to make easy to deal with what is at the sense level a complicated and continually changing reality.
[2006] He therefore describes the very different appearances of the village church, the Church of St. Hilaire, its very different appearances on a spring day, on a misty autumn morning, on a summer morning, at midday, at five o-clock, in the late afternoon.
[2007] And this attempt to embrace a constantly shifting reality reminds one of course of the various series of Monet, including of course the famous series of paintings of the west front of Rouen cathedral, seen at different times of the day, and during different seasons of the year.
[2008] But Proust also regards the world of people as being just as fluid and difficult to grasp, indeed more so, than the world of objects.
[2009] At the beginning of this talk we found Marcel asking the question, ‘Who am I?’, and personality, whether it be the self or other selves, is seen by Proust as something so changeable and mysterious, that it's virtuously impossible to pin it down.
[2010] The result is that the main characters in À la Recherche are not by any means all of a piece.
[2011] They're not, in Proust's own phrase, ‘as photography gives an unalterable idea of them’.
[2012] They are fascinating not least of all because they possess, even as characters in a novel, an aura of mystery and uncertainty.
[2013] They have a dimension of being beyond the reach of rational formulation, and they often disconcert us by behaving quite differently in one novel, in one volume, from what the previous volume had led us to expect.
[2014] This view of people, and the shifting, changing, fluid evanescent reality which is a human being, this sense leads Proust to a particular theory which affects the way in which many of his characters behave towards one another.
[2015] He sees what is nowadays called, I think, ‘inter-personal relations’ as being largely predicated on the need for people to convince themselves that they have a wholeness and a separateness and an individuality and a defined self, and they do this by trying to define themselves against those other shifting, evanescent erm personalities that they call their friends, enemies, wives, children and so on.
[2016] So erm because of his emphasis on the shifting, ill-defined nature of the self, Proust sees people as seeking chiefly in others, whether consciously or not, a confirmation of selfhood.
[2017] And I think it's this, rather than his homosexuality, which largely explains Proust's extremely negative view of love.
[2018] For example, in the relationship between Marcel and Albertine, which is the chief of several memorable love affairs in the novel, we find Marcel feverishly seeking to understand himself, to define himself, in relation to Albertine.
[2019] More than physical possession, in which, Proust says, one actually possesses nothing, Marcel seeks from Albertine reassurance concerning his own distinctiveness, his separateness, his individuality, and in Proust's conception of love, therefore, failure is inevitable, because despite the conventionally unifying language of love, what we seek at the most profound level is not contact with another person, but contact with ourselves.
[2020] And Proust concludes from this that erm when we believe ourselves to be in love, and I quote, ‘the bonds between us and the other person exist in our minds only.’
[2021] Well, I move rapidly from these dispiriting erm thoughts erm to say something about the third and last point, the question of memory, because even could the artist recreate, in the way that I've tried to suggest, through an awareness of time, and through a, a rejection of the intellect, even if he could recreate in this way reality present to him in time, how is he to make contact with the past?
[2022] The attempt to answer the question, ‘Who am I?’ inevitably led Proust, as it leads his fictional hero, to explore and examine his past.
[2023] In the novel, however, Marcel finds that this exploration mostly leads to a dead end, since the conscious effort of remembering, which is after all an effort of mind and will, is something which at best yields only a lifeless image of the past.
[2024] Marcel says repeatedly that what he calls ‘voluntary memory’ or ‘intellectual memory’fails to make the past truly live again.
[2025] However early in the novel he has an experience which makes him aware of a significantly different kind of memory, and this is of course the famous incident in which as a young man he dips a small cake, a madeleine, into a cup of tea.
[2026] Now, the mere sight of the cake crumbs floating on the tea has no particular effect on him, but suddenly when he actually tastes them he gets a strange feeling of excitement, a feeling almost of elation.
[2027] For some time he struggles to explain this feeling, and eventually he realises that the taste is of course exactly the taste which he enjoyed as a small boy when his Aunt Léonie gave him a madeline dipped in an infusion.
[2028] And the fact of having, and also of course of realising that he is having, the same experience as he, and the same sensation, as he'd experienced many years before, this sensation releases a whole set of associated feelings.
[2029] The past becomes present to him with a total immediacy and a complete conviction which he says intellectual memory could never achieve.
[2030] Proust says that rather like those thin, flat pieces of coloured paper called Japanese flowers, which expand and become indeed three-dimensional when placed in water, similarly the taste of the madeleine brings back, not an abstract intellectual idea of the past, but the authentic sensation of his experiences as a small boy in the houses and the streets and the gardens of Combray.
[2031] This type of remembering, which comes unbidden, through the sense of taste or touch or smell, is what Marcel of course calls ‘involuntary’ or ‘affective memory’, and in contrast to intellectual memory it recaptures past experience in its lived immediacy.
[2032] This privileged memory, spontaneously derived from sense association, is something of course that other writers, such as Châteaubriand, Nerval, Baudelaire, had pointed to before Proust.
[2033] Nevertheless, if his discovery is less original than he claimed, he rightly says that his novel analyses the mechanism of involuntary memory in unique detail.
[2034] However, Proust's real originality, on this point, springs from the fact that he gave to the phenomenon of involuntary memory an aesthetic application.
[2035] He found in its nature the means by which he could impart freshness, immediacy, spontaneity, imagination to his own vision as a writer.
[2036] In fact, eventually, the phenomenon, if you like the psychological phenomenon, of involuntary memory, become the creative principle of À la recherche.
[2037] It is the mystery which Marcel explores throughout the course of the novel, the intuition which he finally learns to understand and use, the revelation, ultimately, the revelation of his distinctive vocation as an artist.
[2038] I think it explains in large measure why as we read the novel we are frequently struck by its quite special ring of truth, by its memorable rendering of the physical world, by a profound insight into human experience.
[2039] Indeed with involuntary memory as the creative principle, one might almost dare to say that the opposition between poetry and the analytical is removed, because perhaps one of Proust's greatest achievements as a novelist is the way in which he reveals poetry and imaginative perception as the most appropriate and authentic means by which our human experience can be both understood and recreated for ourselves and for others.
[2040] Now, I know many would not agree with this.
[2041] erm I take refuge in the fact that this is what Proust says, and I report, erm I think this amounts to claiming that the artist can give us privileged insight into life.
[2042] That I do believe.
[2043] erm That art possesses some form of saving truth, and this is certainly Proust's belief.
[2044] François Mauriac quite rightly observed, I think, that God is terribly absent from À la recherche.
[2045] And indeed, it's a novel which offers not salvation through erm a recognisable religion, but rather something like salvation through art.
[2046] Because Proust saw involuntary memory, which after all causes the past to coalesce with the present, he saw involuntary memory as a means of abolishing time, however provisionally, however briefly, and in this way the artist takes on a God-like role, since through his art he can free the individual from time, and to this extent confer immortality on that individual.
[2047] In the final volume, Proust speaks of involuntary memory as being used in art, being used in such a way that, and I quote, ‘this moment, freed from the bondage of time, recreates within us the sensation of a self freed from the bondage of time.’
[2048] I'm conscious of having talked about Proust's novel in somewhat forbiddingly abstract terms, in the sense that I choose to talk about time, intellect, memory.
[2049] I've said little about the rich descriptive skill, the human insight with which he leads the reader through humorous happenings, tragic episodes, through the follies of social manoeuvring and the deceptions of love, through a portrait gallery of adolescent girls, aging homosexuals, upstart socialites, and solidly sensible servants, to an eventual understanding of his, Marcel's, artistic vocation.
[2050] Yet Proust insisted, himself, in a letter to Gide, that he was incapable of narrating anything in which he was not primarily seeking to grasp a general truth.
[2051] And since I believe that criticism cannot be a substitute for the reading of the novel, I've been content to sketch some of the general truths which I think lie behind it, and a familiarity with which would I think help to illuminate an eventual reading of À la recherche du temps perdu.
[2052] These general truths culminate in a final illumination, an ultimate discovery, brought back by Proust from his exploration of time, intellect, memory, and this discovery, this final illumination, is I think his assertion that there exists an extra-temporal and infinitely potent reality which only great art can express.
[2053] Thank you.


[recorded jingle]
tb (PS5TC) [2054] Today, Tony McCaffery talks about some aspects of chemistry, becoming a chemistry student, and the importance of research in maintaining good chemistry teaching.
[2055] But first, Jenny Payne gives us her view of the University from the viewpoint of the Information Office.
[2056] If you should ever telephone the University, there's a pretty fair chance that you'll be put through to Jenny.
[2057] But does she know all the answers?
a (PS5T8) [2061] Well, we do our best or try to pass people on to other people who would know the answer.
[2062] We get really weird things at times.
tb (PS5TC) [2063] What sort of weird things can you think of?
a (PS5T8) [2064] Well, oddities.
[2065] We've had somebody ringing up for their crossword puzzle, can we fill in the clue to that?
tb (PS5TC) [2066] Did you manage to fill in the clue?
a (PS5T8) [2067] I'm not sure that we could, actually. [laugh]
tb (PS5TC) [2068] My goodness.
[2069] Well, that's very bad, or could you pass them on to somebody that could, could do the crossword?
a (PS5T8) [2070] Well, you have to be terribly diplomatic.
[2071] I don't imagine that erm somebody would be, like to be interrupted in the middle of lecture to answer somebody's crossword puzzles, you have to be diplomatic about things like that.
tb (PS5TC) [2072] It's not part of the University's public service.
a (PS5T8) [2073] We don't see it quite as part of our role, no.
tb (PS5TC) [2074] Right.
[2075] So what other things happen in your Information Office?
a (PS5T8) [2076] Well, we get the usual sort of things you would expect, about fact and figures about the University itself.
[2077] We provide a service not only for the six thousand odd people that are on the campus
tb (PS5TC) [2078] Six thousand odd people!
[2079] That's a heck of a lot of people.
a (PS5T8) [2080] Oh, it is.
tb (PS5TC) [2081] They're not all students, presumably.
a (PS5T8) [2082] No, we've got about four thousand five hundred students.
tb (PS5TC) [2083] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [2084] And the rest are lecturers and other staff, and then various other units are on campus, and also now we have some industry people on campus.
[2085] We have two high technology companies
tb (PS5TC) [2086] mhm
a (PS5T8) [2087] Which have recently come onto the campus, and they work with some of our scientists here .
tb (PS5TC) [2089] Oh, I see.
[2090] Are they, are they part of the University, or are they entirely separate from the University?
a (PS5T8) [2091] No, they're, they're separate.
[2092] They have an arrangement with the University and they have their own buildings, and they collaborate with the people here, mostly in Engineering.
tb (PS5TC) [2093] So it's a bit like a science park at
a (PS5T8) [2094] It is.
tb (PS5TC) [2095] at the University.
a (PS5T8) [2096] We haven't actually called it a science park but it's something on that line, yes.
tb (PS5TC) [2097] mhm And, and you had to provide information about them, apart from everything else.
a (PS5T8) [2098] Oh yes, and we deal with the press a lot of course, but you, as I say you do get calls from anybody, about anything.
[2099] It can be about other universities.
[2100] erm Brighton generally, Sussex, anything anybody thinks they don't know and then they think the University would know, and they just ring us up, which I suppose somebody on the campus will know, but you don't always, can't be able to find them always, so it's quite difficult.
tb (PS5TC) [2101] Well, every day a different challenge
a (PS5T8) [2102] mhm That's right.
tb (PS5TC) [2103] It certainly sounds like that.
[2104] Tell me, what are the changes that have taken place in the University over the past few years?
[2105] We don't hear so much about student problems these days.
a (PS5T8) [2106] No.
[2107] A few years back there was quite a lot of trouble.
[2108] It was really only a very small group of students involved, but they got a lot of publicity and I think over the last few years it's changed quite a lot.
[2109] Students seem much more inclined to knuckle down to the work and not get involved in quite such dramatic protests as they were before.
tb (PS5TC) [2110] Do you think there's any particular reason for this?
[2111] Are they worried about getting jobs, or
a (PS5T8) [2112] Oh, I'm sure it's partly that, yes, yes.
tb (PS5TC) [2113] So you think the students are quieter and, and working harder now than they used to.
a (PS5T8) [2114] Oh, I think the majority always have worked hard, but they, some of them became quite flamboyant and extravagant in their gestures about what they, how they wanted to change things, and I think nowadays they, perhaps sadly, really, they feel they, they can't so they just knuckle down to it all.
tb (PS5TC) [2115] Oh, it sounds to me as if you miss the days when there was a bit more action on,
a (PS5T8) [2116] [laugh] Oh, I wouldn't say that [laugh] .
tb (PS5TC) [2117] on the campus.
[2118] All right, I won't quote you.
[2119] Don't listen, anyone, to what she's saying, she denies it.
[2120] How about the, the cuts?
[2121] I mean we're all worried in, in the world about cuts in various areas and the education area has its share of the cuts, we know the teachers are worried about their salaries and what's going on in the schools, and even we hear from the University from time to time that they, things aren't as they used to be.
[2122] How are the cuts affecting the University?
a (PS5T8) [2123] Oh, in many ways.
[2124] There's been something like twenty per cent cut over the last few years and erm some faculty members have taken early retirement and left, so a lot of subjects have lost some of their most able people.
[2125] erm There's not much opportunity for job advancement, there are fewer opportunities to rise up the scale and become Readers or Professors and so on.
[2126] In other areas there have been cutbacks.
[2127] erm There are fewer administrative staff to deal with, really, more problems, in a way, because though we have fewer students than we did before, there's still more work involved and we can't, we don't, we no longer have a planning period.
[2128] Once upon a time you used to have a five year planning period, and that has now disappeared, so we live hand to mouth, and the Finance Officer manages marvellously in juggling things round, but one can no longer plan as one used to, and therefore it's rather sad really, because people no longer have the chance to develop things as they would wish to.
tb (PS5TC) [2129] But how's it left the University? erm Are people terribly depressed?
[2130] Is, is the place a bad place now because it can't
a (PS5T8) [2131] Oh, no, no
tb (PS5TC) [2132] afford to run properly?
a (PS5T8) [2133] It's not a bad place, but erm I think in common with a lot of other universities, well, all universities, some of the excitement, enthusiasm has gone, because people no longer have the chance to do what they would want to do.
tb (PS5TC) [2134] Oh, dear.
[2135] It sound a little bit depressing.
a (PS5T8) [laugh]
tb (PS5TC) [2136] Still, you've got a Silver Jubilee Year this year.
a (PS5T8) [2137] Oh, yes, I'm looking forward to that very much, yes.
tb (PS5TC) [2138] And you're going to celebrate what's left?
a (PS5T8) [2139] Oh, yes! [laugh]
tb (PS5TC) [2140] And celebrate a prosperous future, one hopes.
a (PS5T8) [2141] Oh, yes, I'm sure it will be.
tb (PS5TC) [2142] Well, let's hope it is for, for you and all your colleagues and of course all the students, Jenny Payne. [recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [2143] Thank you. [recorded jingle]
tb (PS5TC) [2144] Chemistry, to many of us, is a little bit like cookery.
[2145] Take a pinch of this and a pinch of that, stir well under a slow heat, and see what happens.
[2146] But in reality, modern chemistry is a much more precise science, as Tony McCaffery, Dean of the School of Molecular Sciences, would be the first to point out.
[2147] Are there many students studying science at Sussex, and in particular, is Chemistry a popular subject?
gc (PS5T9) [2148] Well, yes, there are quite a few.
[2149] There's a large number of undergraduates that's studying for the B S C degree, and a very substantial number of postgraduate students studying for the Masters degree or the Doctor of Philosophy.
tb (PS5TC) [2150] So Sussex is a university with quite a high status in terms of science.
gc (PS5T9) [2151] In terms of research it has a very high status indeed, and is one of the leading erm scientific research centres in the country.
[2152] erm For undergraduate teaching it also has a very high reputation for innovation and for creative teaching.
tb (PS5TC) [2153] Now, there's a lot of controversy sometimes about getting into universities, and I want to ask you, is it very difficult to get into a university these days?
gc (PS5T9) [2154] Well, course, erm like most things you have to work at it.
[2155] You can't just walk in off the street and say ‘I want to study a degree in neurophysiology or erm or chemistry even.’
[2156] You must prepare yourself for it in the erm in the time-honoured way, which is to erm acquire A-levels or erm an Open University qualification or a Higher National Certificate or something of that kind.
[2157] Once that's accepted, then it's relatively straightforward.
tb (PS5TC) [2158] Is it particularly difficult to get in as a chemist, for example?
gc (PS5T9) [2159] Well Chemistry of course is, is traditionally much easier in many ways than English or some other subjects, and this reflects the esteem held amongst schoolteachers and students of the sciences as opposed to the arts.
[2160] erm By comparison in A-level grades it's easier to get in at Sussex in Chemistry than it is in English.
tb (PS5TC) [2161] I see.
[2162] Are you sure you've got that the right way round?
[2163] It sounds to me as if there are too many people that want to get into Sussex in English, and not so many that wanting to get Chemistry.
gc (PS5T9) [2164] Well, that's quite right.
[2165] The erm number of applicants for English is very high indeed.
[2166] Chemistry it's not as high as we would like, and certainly not as high as erm our status in research erm would suggest erm and we feel that the perhaps there's some image-building still to be done in this field.
tb (PS5TC) [2167] I see.
[2168] One of the things that a lot of people are concerned about these days is, is the future of higher education.
[2169] There are lots of screams coming from universities about them being hard done by, being cut back financially and so on so forth.
[2170] How do you see the future of higher education?
gc (PS5T9) [2171] Well I, I take the implicit point that erm we're all suffering cuts throughout the country, therefore why shouldn't higher education suffer similar cuts, but of course, higher education is in a different category to erm many other fields that the government pays for and sponsors, in that higher education is investment in the future, and therefore, if Britain is to survive erm as a, a nation of erm of some economic standing, is to well in the national, in the international stakes, then we must be innovative, we must create new things, and we must erm in, in that, to do that we must invest very strongly in higher education.
tb (PS5TC) [2172] And you would couple higher education in the terms of, in the sense of teaching students, with doing research in educational institutions presumably?
gc (PS5T9) [2173] I think that's an absolutely essential part of a higher education institution such as a university.
[2174] Without some knowledge of research it's very hard to keep your teaching fresh and lively and interesting and relevant, and the other factor is of course that research contributes to the long-term economic base of the country.
tb (PS5TC) [2175] mhm I find that very interesting, because I, I suspect many members of the general public think of universities where primarily students are taught.
[2176] They don't think of them as places where research goes on.
[2177] But you were telling me that there's a lot of research that goes on in the universities.
gc (PS5T9) [2178] Oh indeed there is, yes.
tb (PS5TC) [2179] I mean what sort of, take a, take a university teacher, a university don, for example.
[2180] What percentage of their time would they spend actually on doing research as opposed to teaching?
gc (PS5T9) [2181] Well this varies from individual to individual, but there are individuals who probably spend erm seventy per cent of their time on research, erm twenty per cent on teaching, and ten per cent on playing tennis.
[2182] But there are erm others who, for whom teaching is the major aspect and the major important role that they perceive for themselves erm but there is always a balance and on balance, taken over the whole system, I should think that most people spend fifty or sixty per cent of their time on research.
[2183] erm Teaching is erm an important function, but not erm the only function of a university teacher.
tb (PS5TC) [2184] mhm Well that's a lot of time to spend.
[2185] And obviously it, it erm underlines your comment that research is very important.
[2186] You said that it was important because of the national economy.
[2187] In what sense do you mean that?
gc (PS5T9) [2188] Well.
[2189] erm In a wide range of senses, really.
[2190] First of all there are people in universities who are inventing things which will be used next year or the year after or the year after that.
[2191] For example there are people who are developing new plastics on industrial contracts erm within a department with our school.
[2192] There are others who are doing research which might lead to erm developments in the communications industry in twenty years from now, or in ten years from now.
[2193] erm It's often long-range, strategic research which people are doing which erm it will contribute in ten or twenty years' time, provided that industry picks it up appropriately.
[2194] But there are other cases where research is being done which will be used next year.
tb (PS5TC) [2195] Could you give me an example of that?
gc (PS5T9) [2196] Yes, I certainly could.
[2197] In our Polymer Research Group, there are erm people doing research on novel plastics for erm credit cards, for additives to plastics which you use for credit cards, to give bank cards and credit cards a longer lifetime.
[2198] There are others who are working on erm ways in which banknotes can be, the lifetime of banknotes and library books erm in the paper industry can be erm lengthened, so that our erm library books will last longer.
tb (PS5TC) [2199] erm These sound very very interesting projects, and they're all taking place at Sussex?
gc (PS5T9) [2200] Those I mentioned are taking place currently at Sussex, yes.
tb (PS5TC) [2201] Yes.
[2202] Lastly, do you think we as a country spend enough money on research?
gc (PS5T9) [2203] Well, we, we do spend a very substantial fraction of our gross national, national product on research.
[2204] However, a major fraction of that goes into military research.
[2205] erm The fraction going into civil research, of this speculative kind, or of a development kind, is very small compared to all the countries of Western Europe.
[2206] erm It's smaller even than Italy and erm and almost as low as Greece.
[2207] So I, I believe we don't spend anywhere near as much as we should do.
tb (PS5TC) [2208] But in spite of not having enough money, Sussex is still active and perhaps in the forefront of the scientific research.
gc (PS5T9) [2209] Yes, because we get a larger than average slice of what is available.
tb (PS5TC) [2210] And what's your particular line?
gc (PS5T9) [2211] My own line is studying the effect of lasers on chemical reactions to see if lasers can be used to stimulate or generate new novel types of chemical process.
tb (PS5TC) [2212] And can they?
gc (PS5T9) [2213] erm There are indications that in perhaps twenty years' time that there might be [laugh] some novel applications of lasers.
[2214] It's too early yet to say whether erm it will revolutionise the chemical industry.
tb (PS5TC) [2215] Well, Tony McCaffery, good luck for the next twenty years.
[2216] Join us next


[recorded jingle]
tb (PS5TC) [2217] And welcome to another programme in our series of Ideas in Action.
[2218] One of the features that worry people about modern society is the fear that it is becoming more violent.
[2219] Scarcely a day passes without us reading in the newspapers or seeing on television assaults, batteries, violent acts of all kinds.
[2220] Richard Clutterbuck is a lecturer in Law in our School of Social Sciences at the University, and he's taken a particular interest into legal aspects of violence in society.
[2221] Now, violence is not exactly a new phenomenon in society, is it?
[2222] It's been around a long time, as they say?
dw (PS5TA) [2226] Yes, I think that's true, but at the same time there is a debate going on as to whether in fact there's more violence now than there used to be, some people say there is more violence, other people say that, that erm that's not the case.
[2227] Violence appears in many shapes and forms in society.
[2228] Violence may be the erm scenes that we've been witnessing of terrorism lately, or it may simply be a boxing match, or a rugby match, or something like that.
[2229] So we need to be clear as to what we define as violence, and how we see violence in society.
[2230] I would like to say that, that the level of violence has been fairly static, but at the same time we are able to tolerate certain levels of violence.
[2231] We all accept, for example, pushing and jostling on the Underground.
[2232] We all accept the physical free-for-all which passes for the January sales.
tb (PS5TC) [2233] I suppose you, you would say that violence is what is socially acceptable in a given context.
[2234] You mentioned boxing and that's a sort of legitimate violence which takes place in a limited area and which people watch because presumably they enjoy it, but don't wish to particularly partake in themselves, and whereas it's all right for people to punch each other 's heads in the boxing ring, they would object to people coming outside the boxing ring and punching the spectators' heads.
dw (PS5TA) [2235] I think that's right.
[2236] I think that our attitudes towards violence do change.
[2237] We were willing to accept bare knuckle fights a hundred and fifty years ago, we're unwilling to accept them today.
[2238] Today within the margins of acceptability we find professional boxing.
[2239] It's being erm boxing as a sport is being erm eradicated in schools, and it may be that in, in the future, maybe the none too distant future that boxing ceases to be acceptable.
[2240] We still accept physical contact games like rugby.
tb (PS5TC) [2241] Let's move on to perhaps some of the legal aspects and some of the areas where we are actually concerned about violence at the moment.
[2242] In the streets, for example, how can you actually decide whether a violent act has taken place or not?
[2243] It seems to me that it must be a very fine line must be drawn a violent act and a non-violent act.
dw (PS5TA) [2244] The, the area of law here is bedevilled by many layers of discretion.
[2245] erm For example if erm two people are walking down the street and there's a certain amount of jostling, then the victim, if he is a victim, may well consider that it's not violent, or that it's nothing out of the ordinary, or that it's something which is acceptable, and then not take the matter any farther.
[2246] If the victim reports it to a police officer, the police officer has an element of discretion whether to take the matter any farther, whether to give a warning, whether to get involved or not.
[2247] Sometimes actually bringing in the agencies of the law may be like pouring oil on a fire rather than pouring water on a fire.
[2248] And then beyond that there are the layers of discretion at the prosecution stage and in the court.
tb (PS5TC) [2249] It seems to me that we have not a very consistent to this.
[2250] If, if I walked up to a policeman in the street and gave him a little shove, the chances are he would arrest me, unless it was done in a totally friendly way.
[2251] On the other hand, if I was on a picket line or somewhere, I could give him a pretty hard old shove without pulled in, I would imagine.
dw (PS5TA) [2252] erm That may well be the caricature picture.
[2253] I wouldn't like to go that far myself.
[2254] Certainly discretion is exercised by human beings, and those human beings are subject to all the, the frailties of humanity, and in many situations the policeman is in a tense but essentially human situation, where he has to make snap decisions on the spot.
[2255] And those snap decisions may be influenced as much by his surroundings and the circumstances in which he finds himself, as by some rational academic view of what is actually going on.
tb (PS5TC) [2256] Isn't the situation really, erm taking it erm group violence, if I could put it that way, isn't it a question really checks and balances.
[2257] In a sense the whole point of making a group protest, for example, is that you can actually display some strong feelings or other, and isn't the, the point achieving a balance between some acceptable way of maybe even physically showing your disapproval of something and something which goes over the boundaries, actually ends up with damage being done to people or property?
dw (PS5TA) [2258] Sure.
[2259] Group violence has two elements which are a little worrying.
[2260] One is that the, the presence of a large number of people can cause intimidation, can cause the apprehension of violence.
[2261] That is worrying to people.
[2262] That is one of the things about mass pickets and mass demonstrations which people do find worrying.
[2263] And large numbers can physically cause severe damage which could not be caused by a smaller number of people.
[2264] I suppose the, the example of that is where a house wall was pushed in by the, the mass that was thronging outside the Brunwick gates.
[2265] I don't think there was any erm suggestion that that was a preconceived plan, it just happened because there were thousands of people in a space which was patently insufficient for that number of people.
[2266] The other element of group violence is of course, if there are a group of people throwing bricks at the police, or chanting or swearing at people wanting to go to work from a picket line, the law, the criminal law is designed to prove guilt against an individual for an individual's conduct according to the preordained laws, whether they be statute law or common law.
[2267] And the question is, is the this individual guilty of this particular act and does this particular act contravene the law?
[2268] Where you have a group of people and a brick comes out of the group and lands on a policeman's head, then it's very difficult for the law to attach individual and specific guilt to a particular individual.
[2269] This is one of the problems under which the law labours, because of course, if we didn't accept that it's individual guilt that counts, and we looked to group guilt, then that in itself is an infringement of civil liberties and human rights, you are being judged not according to your acts but according to the acts of others erm with whom you happened to associate, even though your conduct may not in itself be reprehensible.
tb (PS5TC) [2270] To what extent does the law deal with events which have taken place, and to what extent does the law deal with events which might take place?
[2271] In other word prevention as opposed to dealing with events which have already gone past?
dw (PS5TA) [2272] Yes.
[2273] In the old films erm the saying was from one conduct to another, ‘Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.’
[2274] I think in terms of public order and violence on the streets, then it's to court disaster to wait until the disruption actually happens.
[2275] The law does provide a battery of preventative powers available to the police and others, after all, every member of the public, every citizen has a duty to erm prevent a breach of the peace occurring in his presence.
[2276] So it's not only a duty that, that's laid on the police.
[2277] But these preventative powers do exist, because once violence occurs on the streets, once there has been a breakdown of public order, then the damage has been done.
[2278] Violence in society, I think, is rather like a fire.
[2279] From the moment of its inception, the fire causes damage.
[2280] As soon as any outbreak of violence, however mild, occurs in society, then damage is done, if it's only to the social fabric of society, because one or two people cannot go about their business, cannot go about their pleasure, in the way in which they would wish to.
tb (PS5TC) [2281] But the law normally deals with events which have taken place.
dw (PS5TA) [2282] The criminal law is normally concerned with things which have occurred.
[2283] A problem here is the function of the law.
[2284] erm What do we see the function of any particular area of law or in particular any area of the criminal law?
[2285] One function is to, to visit retribution or sanctions upon people who have broken the law.
[2286] Well that's okay for some crimes.
[2287] erm But in terms of public order crimes, it may well be that this sort of view does not act as a preventative to erm prevent the same thing happening again.
[2288] After all, many groups which take to the streets are looking for publicity.
[2289] And when you look at the price of hiring thirty seconds of advertisement time on television and organising a mass demonstration with some gratuitous violence which will get thirty seconds in a T V news broadcast, erm then I think the cost-efficiency graph shows that the erm violent demonstration is the better way, in those terms.
tb (PS5TC) [2290] The old erm violence in society was dealt with largely with the Public Order Act of nineteen thirty-six, but recently we've had introduced a new Act through Parliament.
[2291] How does the new Act differ from the old one?
dw (PS5TA) [2292] In some ways the new Act is something which has provoked a lot of discussion.
[2293] I think that the bill which we first saw may well not be the bill that is eventually produced at the end of the day.
[2294] But it looks likely that we will get a new statutory regime relating to public order offences.
[2295] Some of the major points erm of the old Public Order Act are reintroduced in the new Act.
[2296] For example, the controls in the old Public Order Act Section Three over processions are reintroduced.
[2297] There is a new requirement that people organising demonstrations and processions in the streets should tell the police at least a week in advance, which is a good thing.
[2298] But now these controls over processions have been erm extended to cover static large meetings, and erm I would think that at the back of the draftsman's mind was the spectre of mass pickets, things like that.
[2299] The earlier part of the bill as it's, in its current form, erm puts on a statutory basis several of the old common law offences, such as riot, erm affray, unlawful assembly.
[2300] These were an amorphous group of crimes.
[2301] erm They have had periods when they were prosecuted, then they dropped out of fashion, now they have recently been revived over the last twenty years by prosecutors.
[2302] All through this they've cried out for a modern definition.
[2303] In parts we have been given that modern definition.
[2304] This should make life a little easier for the prosecutor, but let's not forget that the prosecutor only deals in terms of the crimes, with violence that has occurred, and the violence that has occurred is of course something which has gone wrong in society.
[2305] So the Act is not in itself going to do anything to prevent violence actually occurring.
tb (PS5TC) [2306] Can you define the crime more precisely?
[2307] It seems to me it's almost impossible to do so, because what is threatening and abusive in one situation wouldn't be in another.
dw (PS5TA) [2308] Sure.
[2309] There is the problem of context, and the problem of context is dealt with at present by discretion.
[2310] erm In many cases where Section Five is invoked, erm the only witness is the police officer erm on the spot, and the court case is simply a slanging match between the policeman who says ‘This was said,’ and the individual who says, ‘No, I didn't say it, someone else did,’or occasionally somebody will argue, ‘No, that wasn't threatening, it wasn't abusive, it wasn't insulting.’
[2311] The issue of whereby a breach of the peace is likely to be occasioned is also a question of judgement, and it would be somewhat unusual for a court erm perhaps erm months later to go against the policeman's view, a view formed in the heat of the moment, where he had a firsthand erm taste of what was going on.
tb (PS5TC) [2312] Lastly, do you think the new laws, the new erm Act is going to be an improvement?
[2313] Will it help deal with violence in society?
dw (PS5TA) [2314] I'm not sure that we should talk in terms of any laws helping us to prevent violence in society.
[2315] It may well be that if you set the penalties so high, and if you can have a hundred per cent detection, then there may well be a deterrent element in these crimes, but basically the law is clearing up a mess, and the mess has occurred, and then the law comes along and does the best it can.
[2316] erm The police have often described themselves as erm in the following way, that society throws its problems into the dustbin and asks the policeman to sit on the lid.
[2317] Well, erm perhaps extending that, it's not just the policeman but it's the law and the law enforcement agencies that are sitting on the lid of violence here.
[2318] The trick is to prevent violence occurring in the first place.
[2319] erm The new Public Order Act may have some deterrent elements, but the tensions which provoke violence will probably be sufficiently great to override the deterrent elements in this Act.
tb (PS5TC) [2320] Richard Clutterbuck, thank you very much for talking to us.


a (PS5T8) [2321] In last week's programme I talked to Steven Medcalfe about novels, and asked him what makes a good read.
[2322] Steven suggested Spenser and Shakespeare, with perhaps Scott and Hardy, and if I insisted on an up-to-date author, William Goulding.
[2323] Later, and as a contrast, I talked to John Whitley, who's Dean of the School of English and American studies, because I know that he's an enthusiast and an expert on the modern detective story.
[2324] I started by asking John whether he was a Raymond Chandler fan.
tn (PS5TB) [2328] I have a, a considerable interest in popular fiction, though I should add perhaps that Steven Medcalfe is very interested in detective stories, too.
[2329] I, my interest lies particularly I think in the kind of erm popular fiction written in America between the wars, though it has to some extent carried on since World War Two.
[2330] This fiction has various names: ‘private eye fiction’, ‘hardboiled fiction’ which is a way of describing its style, and erm I have been interested in this for some time, partly trying to assess the reasons why such fiction occurred in America as a complete breakaway from the old kind of detective fiction which we all know about, the country house murder, why erm the figure of the private detective becomes so important in this kind of fiction between the wars, and what the relationship of this sort of fiction is to not merely other kinds of American fiction during that period but to more abiding American themes, particularly erm themes of individualism and toughness.
[2331] I have found that erm it seems basically to be a very pessimistic kind of fiction, more pessimistic than people have often given it credit for, largely because they tend to see, for example in Dashiell Hammett, who's the author I'm most interested in from this period, erm a precursor of a lot of heroes, private eyes, who were said to have a very kind of steely moral integrity, which they balance against a general corruption in the world outside, and it does seem to me that in fact with Hammett the detective mirrors the corruption of that world as much as he stands against it, so that it does seem to me rather pessimistic.
[2332] I would add that erm that is of course not my only interest erm but some of my other interests are very much related to it.
[2333] I am interested in much earlier American fiction, say in the period between seventeen eighty and eighteen thirty.
[2334] You mentioned Scott a moment ago, and Scott is certainly a profound influence on American fiction in the erm earlier part of the nineteenth century.
[2335] I'm interested in the romantic novel, and erm in the way in which certain kinds of English fiction affect American models in this period, which continues in a way my interest in popular fiction, because the American fiction really takes as its model in the late eighteenth century, the early nineteenth century, not in fact so much the mainstream British fiction of the eighteenth century, we think of Defoe or Fielding or Richardson or Smollett, these don't provide very suitable models for American writers during that period because they're all models based on the assumption of a fixed kind of society.
a (PS5T8) [2336] I then asked John whether in recent years America was producing good literature, and what he thought of popular authors such as James Michener.
tn (PS5TB) [2337] Well, having talked about my interest in, in popular literature I suppose I should begin by saying I don't much like the distinction between good literature and pulp literature but, on the other hand, I do accept that it has a function.
[2338] I have no interest myself in Michener or a lot of the writers of very long sagas erm who have made a great deal of money out of it.
a (PS5T8) [2339] I asked John what are modern American writers he would regard as outstanding.
tn (PS5TB) [2340] I had in mind Vladimir Nabokov, if you're willing to consider him as an American writer, John Barth, Richard Brortigan, Robert Coover. erm As I say they're all writers who might come under the heading of, of postmodern meta-fiction writers who do not take for granted that fiction has a, a direct and clearly understandable relationship with society so that it can erm give you a very clear picture of society at a given moment, which was generally the case in the, with British fiction in the nineteenth century.
[2341] They assume that erm it's very difficult to talk about reality, that reality means different things to different people, that people create in many ways their own reality, and they're interested in the process therefore of fiction-making, they're interested in erm how people create their own fictions, so that it becomes almost an endless series of mirrors, novelists writing novels about novelists writing novels and so on.
[2342] [laugh] This isn't of course the only kind of fiction in America in this period.
[2343] Part of the richness naturally of American fiction is erm that there are so many writers with so many different backgrounds, so many different ethnic backgrounds.
[2344] erm The Jewish novelist in America of course has become much more influential since the Second World War, particularly Saul Bellow, who won a Nobel Prize, erm Philip Roth, erm Bernard Malamud.
[2345] Black novelists, of course, have become quite prominent.
[2346] One of the greatest novels, I think, in America since the Second World War is by a black novelist, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man erm and of course Baldwin comes to mind, but there are many others.
[2347] erm The more recent developments in erm women's fiction, feminist fiction, erm the lead has come there certainly from America so that not only do you have leading erm women novelists but you have leading women black novelists and black women novelists [laugh] and this erm of course may very well come, and I hope it does, in this country, but it hasn't come at the moment.
[2348] erm Novelists in this country, it seems to me, are drawn from a much narrower social band, and you cannot have this ethnic richness, this melting pot richness, erm that American fiction has very clearly demonstrated I think since the Second World War.
a (PS5T8) [2349] Perhaps we could conclude by returning to the subject we started with, and that's the detective story.
tn (PS5TB) [2350] mhm
a (PS5T8) [2351] Why do you find detective stories so interesting?
tn (PS5TB) [2352] Well, I think I would emphasise that it is this particular kind of detective story that I find interesting.
[2353] I have always liked to read the Golden Age detective stories, if you like, the country house murder mysteries, but I would have to admit that reading those is to some extent desire for stasis, a desire erm for a particularly safe kind of world, where everything works out in the end, because that's usually what happens, and so these days I tend only to take very small doses of that particular medicine.
[2354] But the private eye, hardboiled fiction I think has much more to do with erm American themes, with difficulties of erm establishing identity in American society, with erm ... It seems to be a much more pliable instrument.
[2355] It can deal erm with much more difficult and dangerous things than the classic detective novel in England.
[2356] If I take one example as more updated version of Hammett and Chandler, one of the most successful writers I think in financial terms in America since the Second World War has been a man called Kenneth Miller, who writes under the name of Ross Macdonald, and has been turning out for, oh, the best part of thirty years now, novels about a Californian private eye called Lou Archer.
[2357] A couple of them have been turned into erm movies with, with Paul Newman.
[2358] And Archer is a detective who is a very much more human detective than Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple or any of that line.
[2359] He is a combination detective, father-confessor, erm psychologist, and the books, although they are somewhat repetitive if you were to read them one after the other, through quite a number, they nonetheless deal I think with very profound erm and difficult themes in American culture.
[2360] They deal very much with the breakup of the family.
[2361] The figure of the lost youth, the lost child is very prominent erm in those books, there is partly an autobiographical element.
[2362] He's very interested in problems of ecology.
[2363] Living in California he would be, but I mean one of his books is about, erm or has, as one very important element, a forest fire.
[2364] Another has an oil slick off the Californian coast, and the oil slick is not introduced in that novel purely for local interest, local colour, but is in fact a fundamental part of the themes of the novel, because the murders, the crimes involved take place within the family of the, the people who are oil millionaires, so that the oil slick is made to be an example of moral corruption in Californian society.
[2365] Now this use of a formula, making the, the formula as pliable as possible to take in all these different themes, seems to me very interesting, because it seems to me a point at which popular literature, erm or the so-called easy dividing line between popular literature and high art, becomes very difficult to judge, very fuzzy.
[2366] I think generally in the erm classic detective story that is almost impossible to achieve.
[2367] erm If you take a novel like Dorothy Sayers' Gaudy Night, which is offered as an example of a classic detective story which really is also a novel about academic life, it's a love story, I think as a love story and as a novel of academic life it's in many ways very good indeed, but I think as a detective story it's completely uninteresting [laugh] you know because one part has to fade in order that the, the other should come into focus.
[2368] And I think that the, just giving the example of Ross Macdonald, that this other kind of popular literature manages to avoid that.
a (PS5T8) [2369] So basically you, you find them interesting because that you feel that they are connected in
tn (PS5TB) [2370] Oh
a (PS5T8) [2371] to society in a real sense and
tn (PS5TB) [2372] Oh yes.
a (PS5T8) [2373] reflect a lot that's going on in society.
tn (PS5TB) [2374] Yes indeed.
a (PS5T8) [2375] Well, thank you very much, John.
tn (PS5TB) [2376] Thank you. [recorded jingle]


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [2377] Governments may rise or fall, but it seems that the Civil Service goes on forever.
[2378] Are they faceless heartless bureaucrats, or are they overworked caring administrators?
[2379] People's opinions vary, but one thing is clear: the Government is influenced by the views of the top civil servants, and in a very practical sense, it is the Civil Service that actually runs this country.
[2380] But is the situation different elsewhere?
[2381] Anne Stevens is an expert on public administration, and specialises in French affairs.
[2382] I recently asked her whether the French civil service differed from their British counterparts.
tb (PS5TC) [2385] Many people think they are.
[2386] They have a very much more selective and elitist system at the top.
[2387] They have a very fiercely competitive system, and some people say that you have to start preparing for this at nursery school erm and it's a question of going to the right schools, going to the right training colleges, though it's not so much a question of going to university, although you do have to have a university degree in most cases, but they have special training establishments with a tough competition to get into it, and as a result of this the people who come out are very highly selected, and think of themselves as being very professional, very competent, they have a great deal more self confidence, in some ways, than our British civil servants do.
[2388] And every so often erm the British look at this with a rather interested eye, and you'll find that erm Parliamentary committees erm there was one on the British Civil Service about two years, three years ago, nineteen seventy-seven, they went over to France to have a look at how the French did this to see if they could learn anything from the French experience, but in fact it's very difficult to transport somebody else's experience, lock, stock and barrel, into the British situation, and they quite sensibly concluded this wouldn't be a good idea.
a (PS5T8) [2389] Is there the same relationship between ministers in the Government, in France, and their civil servants, as there is in Britain?
[2390] Do you have an amateur minister, as it were, backed up by a, a more professional administrative civil servant?
tb (PS5TC) [2391] In some senses you do, erm but there are important differences.
[2392] One of the important differences is that in France you get far more cases of ministers who have been civil servants in their previous existence.
[2393] This is true of the present President, President Giscard, for example.
[2394] He went through the selection and training process that I am talking about.
[2395] He was trained at the École Nationale d'Administration, which is the national administration training school, and in fact at the École Polytechnique as well, which is, so he was one of the few people who went through both the elite training establishments, and he served as a civil servant for a while before turning to political life and getting elected as a Member of Parliament.
[2396] And it's much more usual for that kind of thing to happen, so that you are more likely to get a, a minister who has a very good idea about how erm the civil service functions because he's been part of it.
[2397] There are all sorts of reasons why this is true.
[2398] erm One of the reasons is that, unlike the British situation, you don't have to resign if you stand for election as a Member of Parliament in France.
[2399] You can stand, and if you're not elected you simply go back to your old job.
[2400] Now this would be unthinkable in Britain, because we have a much stronger tradition of political neutrality for our civil servants.
[2401] Our civil servants aren't supposed to display their political erm points of view.
[2402] In France there seems to be a separation.
[2403] It's not felt that your private life in terms of your political opinions will necessarily impinge on your public life, and, and to deprive somebody of the right to express their opinions in public would be regarded as an infringement of his civil liberties, which would be unthinkable in a republican erm situation.
a (PS5T8) [2404] Is there a difference in the relationship between Parliament and the Government in France compared with Britain?
tb (PS5TC) [2405] Oh yes!
[2406] Quite a noticeable difference.
[2407] It's a result of the Constitution of France, which was drawn up in nineteen fifty-eight, when General de Gaulle came to power, and the Constitution was very concerned to produce a separation between the legislative, that's the law-making, part of the government, and the executive, that's the part which was seen as carrying out the laws.
[2408] And so they made two provisions which make the situation rather different.
[2409] One of them was to actually limit the amount of things that Parliament can pass laws about.
[2410] In Britain we have this very well-established doctrine that Parliament is sovereign.
[2411] Parliament can do what it likes.
[2412] It, so the theory goes, it can repeal laws, it can pass laws, in any field.
[2413] In France that isn't so.
[2414] There's an article of the Constitution which lays down the fields with which Parliament may concern itself.
[2415] Obviously these are the most important fields, erm principles of taxation, for example, or the creation of new criminal offences.
[2416] Both of those require a parliamentary laws.
[2417] But anything outside that is a matter for governmental regulation, and not for parliamentary laws.
[2418] So that's one big difference in the relationship between Parliament and Government.
[2419] The other big difference is that ministers can't be Members of Parliament.
[2420] When you go to cast a vote in France, your ballot paper has two names on it, the name of the candidate for, or at least it has for each party or for each candidate two names.
[2421] The name of the candidate who is standing for election, and the name of his replacement, who will replace him if he becomes ineligible to be a Member of Parliament.
[2422] And you vote for the pair of them.
[2423] And if then your Member of Parliament is chosen to be a member of the Government, he resigns his seat in Parliament.
[2424] He has a month to decide whether he's going to stay as a Member of Parliament and not be a member of the Government, or whether he's going to be a member of the Government and resign his parliamentary seat.
[2425] And if he decides to be a member of the Government he resigns his parliamentary seat and his replacement takes over without the need for a by-election.
a (PS5T8) [2426] Do you think the fact that the French erm constitution and the French administration is so different from the British administration, this leads to some of the erm occasional tangles and differences of views we have between the British and French?
tb (PS5TC) [2427] Oh, yes, I'm certain it does.
[2428] It isn't at all easy erm for people who have been accustomed to working in one system really to appreciate erm the nuances, the differences, the pressures on another system.
[2429] And of course this can, can lead to misunderstandings, erm to difficulties, to different kinds of pressures.
[2430] One of the interesting things that I do is go every so often and talk to groups of British civil servants who are going to spend some of them a week some of them up to six weeks on an exchange visit erm with the French civil service, in an attempt to learn a certain amount erm about how the system works, both so that they will be able to understand more easily when it comes to joint erm ventures, joint matters, joint policies, what the other side is doing and the pressures within which it's operating, and also so that sometimes they may be able to learn things, and pick up useful tips and hints about the way to handle a particular problem.
[2431] And it's always very interesting, I find, to go and talk to these groups of people erm and see the way that questions are put, which reflect a British experience, which are not the questions which a French civil servant would necessarily put, because his experience is different.
a (PS5T8) [2432] Are there any aspects of the French administration you think are, that are better than the British approach?
tb (PS5TC) [2433] I think one of the things which the French have learnt to do is, indeed, to integrate specialists, whether they're scientists, whether they're economists, erm and their generalists, that's to say the people who have basically a legal, economic, administrative background, to integrate them within the administrative hierarchy in a much better way than we have, erm and this is erm something which does I think make it easier sometimes to provide advice that really is erm clued up about the technical aspects of something.
[2434] Another, and that's a, it's a very much smaller point, but I think it's not unimportant thing, that I would like to see the British Civil Service emulating, is the amount of time and attention that the French give to training their young civil servants in foreign languages.
[2435] It's very unusual to find a senior civil servant in France who can't speak either good English or good German or both, and it does make communications a lot easier.
[2436] I know that some British civil servants are making considerable efforts to improve erm in these terms but erm I think we've still got a long way to go in appreciating the importance of at least being able to understand somebody else's language, erm even if you can't always erm communicate in it as well as you can in your own.
a (PS5T8) [2437] I certainly respond to what you were saying about having trained people in ministries.
[2438] I was talking to a civil servant in the Ministry of erm Energy the other day, and he said that he reckoned out of several hundred people working there there were about fifteen people who had a scientific or engineering background, and therefore were able to talk with some degree of expertise perhaps and certainly knowledge about the matters that they were discussing.
[2439] The rest were, came from all sorts of different backgrounds.
tb (PS5TC) [2440] The Civil Service in Britain has always this feeling that the problem with a specialist is that he may get too committed to his specialism.
[2441] He may not be able to see the political and general interest wood for the specialist trees, and there is a sense in which there are obviously dangers of that kind erm and the generalist has always taken the view that it's for the specialist to be able to explain his problems in language which, after all, politicians who take the final decisions will have to be able to understand.
[2442] And there is some sense in this.
[2443] I'm not sure it's a bad thing for a specialist to have to be able to explain his problems in terms which erm and intelligent and reasonably informed layman can understand, but erm I think perhaps in Britain we go too far erm in not integrating the two and putting them together and erm this is somewhere where the French in many cases have got the balance a bit better.
[2444] I think that's really as far as I would want to go. [laugh]
a (PS5T8) [2445] Anne, we have talked about France mainly, and I know that's your, your major interest erm but how do the other European countries compare with France, Germany, for example, perhaps the others?
[2446] Are they rather similar more similar to France in administration than Britain?
tb (PS5TC) [2447] In some respects they do have some characteristics that are similar to the French ones.
[2448] In Germany, for example, there's nothing like the division between Parliament and Government that I was speaking of erm as far as France was concerned, erm nor is there to quite the same extent erm the sort of links between administrative politicians and political administrators, but one of the things they share in common is a tendency to have a legal background and a legal approach to administration, and almost all senior civil servants in Germany, for example , have gone through a legal training.
[2449] Admittedly legal training may be a bit wider, and may include elements of economics and political science, erm than the kind of training that we have in Britain, but it is nonetheless a law-dominated training, and this does make for a difference erm in approach, I think.
[2450] Germany, of course, is different because it has a federal system, so that the central administration is important in policy-making terms and policy is tending to go more and more towards the centre, but the administration of the different states, federal states, what they call the Länder, has a very important executive role, and the central government has a much less important role in actually carrying out policy.
[2451] erm So it's rather smaller erm and in that sense differs, because of the extent to which the federal states have their, have their own powers and their own responsibilities.
a (PS5T8) [2452] So, in summary, we are all administered rather differently, but perhaps we've all got something to learn from each other.
tb (PS5TC) [2453] Yes, because we're all facing very much the same kind of problems.
[2454] Germany, admittedly, hasn't got quite the same high rate of inflation, but France has an inflation problem, France has an unemployment problem.
[2455] erm Many of the problems of what are usually called ‘advanced capitalist industrial economies’ are similar, erm and I think it is increasingly the case that we find that we can't tackle them on our own, we need to consult, we need to learn from each other.
[2456] erm Other people's solutions affect what we can do, and so we have to come closer, in the sense at least of understanding and consulting.
[2457] I'm sure that's very important.
a (PS5T8) [2458] Thank you very much, Anne.
[2459] That's all that we have time for today.
[2460] During the next few programmes, we're going to take a look at trends in science and engineering, particularly in the way that the subjects are taught, and opportunities for employment.
[2461] Next week, for example, we shall start with mathematics.
[2462] How has maths teaching been influenced by the introduction of calculators and computers?
[2463] Do we have enough old-fashioned arithmetic?
[2464] And how important is a good mathematical background to getting a job?
[2465] These and other questions will be answered by Dudley Ward.
[2466] Until the same time next week, then, good-bye. [recorded jingle]


a (PS5T8) [2467] Ted Young is a very familiar voice to Radio Brighton listeners because for many many years he has been presenting the weather forecast.
[2468] He's now taken a step upwards or sideways or whatever it is, he's gone to the Met Office Headquarters, and he's more concerned with other matters.
[2469] Ted, what's it like to be a weather forecaster, are you a popular man as such?
gm (PS5TD) [2473] Oh, not all the time.
[2474] No, not by any means, but of course, when the weather is right, people just accept it and take it for granted.
[2475] When it is wrong for their particular purposes then we get the blame for it.
a (PS5T8) [2476] And are you confident when you give a weather forecast that the chances are that it's going to be correct, or do you do it with a slight feeling of uneasiness?
gm (PS5TD) [2477] Well, there are always possible alternative forecasts that we might make, but on the whole I think we know that we have to decide the best possible forecast that we can give, and, well, when I say ‘the best’, the most erm confident forecast that we can push out erm with the information that we have available.
[2478] Because if we don't do it that way, then our forecasts are of no use to anybody.
[2479] We could easily quite often sit on the fence and say the sun may come out or it may stay cloudy all day.
[2480] The rain may reach the area but on the other hand it may not.
[2481] It's much better, I feel, from the public's point of view, for us simply to say ‘Yes, I think although it will be cloudy until the latter end of the morning that we confidently expect the sun to break through, and then when it's through it'll stay with us through the afternoon.
[2482] It may produce the odd shower later in the afternoon with the heating but erm a fair part of the day will be dry.’
a (PS5T8) [2483] Most people just listen to weather forecasts and either believe them or don't believe them and certainly get cross with people like yourselves if it
gm (PS5TD) [2484] mhm
a (PS5T8) [2485] doesn't work out the right way, [laugh] but that must be just the tip of the iceberg as far as you're concerned.
[2486] The real work I suspect is behind the scenes in all sorts of different ways.
gm (PS5TD) [2487] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [2488] What do you have to do actually to, to prepare a forecast?
[2489] What actually happens?
gm (PS5TD) [2490] Well of course we are, the forecast that you hear on the radio or watch on the television is erm just the front end of a very last organisation.
[2491] First of all the British Met Office erm receives information from all over the world, and it is able to do this because it is part of a massive weather organisation called the World Met Organisation, and this is linked by very, very high-speed communications worldwide.
[2492] We have now erm at least the World Met Organisation has established a world global trunk communication system, and this can transmit information and it does transmit information to right round the world at very, very high speed.
[2493] If I can give you an example of what I'm talking about, part of the information we receive of course is erm surface, weather reports taken by weather observers at all sorts of places across the face of the earth.
[2494] Every hour of the day some eight thousand five hundred of these reports are made.
[2495] They are fed in onto this global trunk circuit erm from many feeder lines, sometimes by radio, sometimes by telephone, but they get in onto the very high-speed trunk circuit, and of those eight and half thousand observations made every hour, it takes between four and five minutes for six and half thousand of them to reach us at Bracknell.
[2496] And if that's not fast communication, I don't know what is.
[2497] The remaining two and a half thousand, because they come in on very much slower methods, can take up to two to three hours to reach Bracknell, but by the end of the three hours we have all the information that was available at any given hour of the day.
a (PS5T8) [2498] Forecasting has obviously improved a great deal over the years.
[2499] Is this largely due to being able to get many more measurements at many different places and stick them together rather rapidly using a computer?
gm (PS5TD) [2500] Well of course to forecast the weather accurately, you have to understand the atmosphere.
[2501] In past years erm in the British Isles especially with the British Met Office, we've only been able really to study part of the atmosphere over the northern hemisphere.
[2502] First of all it was just covering the North Atlantic, the eastern seaboard of the States, perhaps Greenland and Iceland, and Europe down as far as North Africa, and erm we concentrated on that part of the atmosphere, but of course the atmosphere is continuous all round the globe, and whatever happens in any part of that atmosphere, any part of the globe, has some affect on the rest of the atmosphere.
[2503] And so nowadays, with the advent of high-speed telecommunications, satellites, and the formation of the World Met Organisation in particular, we now get the information that I've already mentioned all over the world, very high-speed arrangements, and so we can now study the atmosphere all the way across.
[2504] The satellite erm in particular has helped considerably in this area, and future satellites we think will benefit even more, because we shall be taking erm infra-red erm pictures, as we fondly call them, of the atmosphere from that very high level, and sampling the atmosphere at very, very detailed levels, about one hundred metre-steps from the surface right up to anything up to ten thousand kilometres.
a (PS5T8) [2505] What sort of measurements do you do?
[2506] Is it air pressure and, and humidity and so on?
gm (PS5TD) [2507] Well the surface weather observer will take temperature, pressure, humidity, erm the wind speed and direction, he will study visibility, he will see whether it's raining or there are showers in his vicinity, erm study the amount of cloud, the type of cloud above him as he can see it, erm all these details will feed in onto a routine hourly observation.
[2508] Other times of the day of course he measures minimum temperature, maximum temperature, erm and the number of sunshine hours, the rainfall, and other temperatures such as ground temperatures or the earth's temperatures, all these things come into the picture to build up a weather observation.
[2509] At sea of course they measure the temperature of the surface of the sea as well.
a (PS5T8) [2510] erm To what extent do you rely on measurements, as it were, and to what erm extent do you rely on actual observations, because it seems to me that there's a, at least a possibility that you may have a whole sort of set of measurements that may indicate something's going to happen, but if you actually stuck your head out of the window and looked up you could see it was actually raining instead of sunny?
gm (PS5TD) [2511] Well of course bear in mind that when these observations are made, as they are at present, erm at spots over the atmosphere, they're represent the weather as seen from that spot.
[2512] Some of them are taken by instrumentation but others are eye observations.
[2513] Now they can only represent the area that the observer stands in and can see around him, and erm this leaves many gaps over the surface of the earth where we cannot really be sure of what the weather's doing.
[2514] We have to assume it's the same as the nearest observation, so erm it can be misleading just to take the surface observation, surface instrumentation readings, erm but erm we have to be able to interpolate, and this is the experience of the forecaster comes in, to say what is in the gaps.
[2515] And sometimes he's wrong, of course.
[2516] There can be, as erm I saw demonstrated recently, very large thunderstorm occurring in between observations, and that thunderstorm cannot be seen by any one of the surface observations, but it is there, radar can pick it up, for instance, or a satellite can see it, but the man on the ground can't see it necessarily, and so that could slip through and it may be the only thunderstorm in a vast area, but it is there, but the observations don't show it.
a (PS5T8) [2517] The general public are only really aware of some of your services, I suspect.
[2518] They hear weather forecasts, erm see weather forecasts presented on television, and perhaps read weather forecasts in the newspaper, but the Met Office does very much more than that, doesn't it?
gm (PS5TD) [2519] Oh, it does indeed, yes.
[2520] In fact we are really divided into various branches.
[2521] We have a, a whole range of branches doing research into the atmosphere.
[2522] There's a tremendous amount we don't know about the atmosphere.
[2523] We're always finding out new evidence.
[2524] erm We have to study the atmosphere at very levels, say, from the ground, up to six inches above the ground.
[2525] If you stop and think about it's very important that, that area of atmosphere for growing crops, seedlings, and things of this nature, so there is an agricultural erm connection there.
[2526] Then there is the general atmosphere from the ground up to, say, a hundred thousand feet.
[2527] erm In this area, all our ‘weather’ as we call it, rain, cloud, and wind, mostly occur, so we have to study this for the general forecast point of view.
[2528] Then there are erm the outer space of areas, the very high atmosphere, not outer space really, but the high atmosphere areas, we don't know a lot about this.
[2529] The ozone layers and erm the advent of carbon dioxide and these sorts of things, we're studying this all the time to see how it affects the atmosphere, how it therefore affects our weather.
[2530] So we have research branches looking into that.
[2531] Then there are other things, there are the ocean currents.
[2532] There's the El Niño Current, which has been in the news through the summer, off the coast of South America.
[2533] This is erm a warm current, small current, but nearby there is a big excursion of warm water wells up, and we're not very sure why, but it extends out into the Pacific.
[2534] This year it's extended far further than usual, and you've got hundreds of thousands of square miles of water which is much warmer than usual in the Pacific.
[2535] Now this will affect a vast area of atmosphere, because the air moving over that sea surface tends to take up the characteristics and if the temperature's higher on the sea surface than normal, the air becomes warmer than normal, and this sets up all sorts of reactions, it will probably produce a lot more clouds, for instance, and erm this in turn will cut off the sun's rays from that area of atmosphere, and this will have an effect on the whole erm heat engine of the atmosphere as we know it so erm we're now studying how far afield this is affecting the weather.
[2536] Is it affecting the weather all round the world?
[2537] Is it, can we attribute this sort of thing to the erm areas of drought, the areas of flooding that are occurring in various parts of the world at the moment, and all these sorts of things, and we have branches looking into this.
[2538] Then we come onto the, the real sort of erm bread-and-butter forecasting world, and erm as you rightly say, most people are, think that we just do the radio and television forecasting, erm perhaps read the newspapers and see the forecasts there, but there's much more to it than that.
[2539] For daily operation and domestic use, of course, the Electricity and Gas Authorities, they have to predict the amount of gas or electricity required, and the first thing they have to think about is what is the weather expected?
[2540] So we are erm continuously forecasting for the Gas and Electricity Authorities.
[2541] The Water Authority, well, there again, they're interested to some extent in forecast rainfall, but they're more interested in erm how much rain has fallen over quite a big area and erm over what a, what sort of period, so we maintain all the rainfall statistics throughout the country.
[2542] Some eight thousand or eight and half thousand erm rain gauges are involved, we get all the information from these being fed into us all the time.
[2543] Then erm one could go on, because the building industry, for instance, civil engineering, road construction, actual buildings being constructed, they're all very weather-prone, for quite a large extent of the contract, and so we provide erm weather advice to these people throughout the contract period usually, and not only throughout the contract period, but if the contract is held up because of weather then the, we get extension of contract comes into this, we can advise both sides on whether the claim is justified or not, because we have the statistics of how much rain fell, how cold it was, or perhaps it might have been a windy spell.
[2544] All these sort of things we, we keep tabs on.
a (PS5T8) [2545] And I suppose people organising special events must erm seek your advice on occasions.
gm (PS5TD) [2546] That's right, there are the leisure sides of things, the sailing industries, the golfing, erm many, many calls we get from the man who wants to play his round of golf tomorrow morning or in the afternoon or something of this sort.
[2547] He will ring up and enquire.
[2548] Of course I must add a, a word of warning here, because whereas once upon a time many people used to be able to ring the Weather Centres or a Met Office to get their own personal forecast, which was very nice, we enjoyed doing this, it has now got to the stage where so many people are trying to ring us that we just cannot deal with all the enquiries personally, and we're looking into ways and means of erm providing forecasts of this sort of nature, they're general sort of nature, by other means, such as radio and television.
[2549] We're always anxious to push out more forecasts if we can on these erm services but erm the Government are also leaning on us and saying, ‘Yes, but you're spending lots of money on satellites, computers and all this sort ... erm You must get some of that money back.’
[2550] So now we're having to charge for more of our services.
[2551] I personally don't like doing it, because it involves accountancy and all this sort of thing, but erm it erm when you stop and think about it, it's a, it's a must.
[2552] Somebody's got to pay for everything.
[2553] You can't get anything for free in this world.
a (PS5T8) [2554] What, what about events at shows, erm air shows and pigeon racing erm
gm (PS5TD) [2555] Yes, we're involved in all these.
[2556] erm The, the shows themselves, air shows, or even fêtes and things like this, the organisers are always very interested in the weather.
[2557] They like us to come along and have a stand erm which we do sometimes, and erm it also follows on, the insurance companies then step in because very often the organisers will take out a pluvious insurance to erm fend themselves off against loss of income because of wet weather, and we provide the information to the insurance companies of how much rain fell in the vicinity of that show, and this sort of thing.
[2558] As regards pigeon racing, well, many people don't realise how much money is invested in pigeon racing.
[2559] I was at one point some years ago told that more money's invested in pigeon racing than in horse racing.
[2560] I found this difficult to believe, but erm judging by the number of pigeon forecasts, race forecasts that we issue, erm we're very often talking about a quarter of a million pigeons at a time flying from A to B, and we provide the forecasts for these federations that race these pigeons, and there are a lot of pigeons flying about.
[2561] I know I see a lot of pigeons in my garden, but erm racing pigeons, erm it's a very, very big industry.
a (PS5T8) [2562] And the Brighton area.
[2563] Does that have good weather, compared with the rest of the country?
gm (PS5TD) [2564] Well of course it must do, it's on the south coast for, first of all, but erm the South Downs have their problems.
[2565] They're beautiful if you're walking across the Downs and admiring the trees or the open countryside, but erm there are times, and we've had just a recent spell with easterly winds, and we find with an easterly wind along the south coast, because of the Downs, and because of the, the Dover Straits, these easterly winds tend to erm funnel, as we call it, and therefore they are stronger than they would normally be expected to be, so Brighton does have its disadvantages in, from that point of view, but from the sunshine and the general point of view erm it takes a lot to beat the area.
a (PS5T8) [2566] Ted Young, thank you very much.
gm (PS5TD) [2567] My pleasure.


a (PS5T8) [2568] for almost any day, and you'll find news of floods, famines, earthquakes, and any number of other natural and man-created disasters.
[2569] This is the first of a short series of programmes in which we shall be taking a look at some of these unfortunate happenings, and asking questions such as, ‘To what extent can they predicted?’ and ‘How can they best be coped with?’
[2570] Dr. Francis de Souza, the founder and Director of the International Disaster Institute based in London, recently visited the University.
[2571] I asked her how one defined a disaster.
nm (PS5TE) [2574] Well it's a very good question.
[2575] I think that the simple answer that it's you, the media, who decide whether an event is a disaster by the way in which you report it.
[2576] If an earthquake happens in, let us say, Timbuctoo, and it is a very strong earthquake which shakes erm towns in surrounding areas perhaps sort of fifty miles away erm that is clearly a disaster of one sort or another.
[2577] But if it doesn't kill lots of people, we don't consider it a disaster, or if you, the media, decide not to report it, it isn't a disaster.
[2578] Disaster is something which comes on your telly, mid-evening, and shows pictures of people in distress, usually people from the other end of, of the world, that's a disaster.
a (PS5T8) [2579] And presumably there's also a time-scale associated to a disaster.
[2580] A disaster can't by definition last too long.
nm (PS5TE) [2581] No.
[2582] I think that's an extremely good point actually, because of course, when one thinks about it and looks at it, there are many many things which are happening in today's world which are disasters.
[2583] The way in which forests are disappearing, land is becoming desert, erm food is not being grown in areas where it used to be grown, those are disasters, but what we're talking about is the, the rather more sudden event which, which you know reaches a crescendo, even if it does take a long time to develop, like a famine, nevertheless the disaster is considered to be that point when perhaps thousands of people are in very desperate need of food.
a (PS5T8) [2584] Is there an element in which a disaster is an event which you can't forecast?
[2585] Is there a sense in which if you knew it was coming it's not a disaster, or at least it, it needn't be a disaster?
nm (PS5TE) [2586] Yes.
[2587] I mean that is really, in a sense, what we're all about at the International Disaster Institute, is to try and carefully work out what happens to people in various parts of the world.
[2588] If there's a drought, how that drought affects people so that they actually begin to starve from want of food.
[2589] Now if we are able to work out what happens, then of course we can relay that information to the major relief agencies, whom we would hope could then step in and provide food before the famine occurs.
[2590] Unfortunately we've not got to that stage yet, and it's very rare for a threatened famine to be prevented by the international relief community, and even, once it has occurred, it's very rare for the relief to run smoothly, so I think the research part is to try and find out how to get the right aid to the right people at the right time.
a (PS5T8) [2591] Is, is disaster research linked to some extent to risk-taking theory?
[2592] Is that very much to do with your sort of research you do?
nm (PS5TE) [2593] Oh, very much so, because I mean there are two aspects to a disaster.
[2594] First of all it's the, the finding out erm how best you can prevent one, and then when you've found that out trying to persuade people to take the necessary measures to make themselves less vulnerable.
[2595] erm For instance we know that, that erm in this country you can't get a mortgage without taking out fire insurance, and the reason why it's mandatory in a mortgage is because if it were left to people's whim they wouldn't do it, they'd say, ‘Well it won't happen to me,’ and mortgage companies don't like that very much.
[2596] But I think that what we're dealing with in developing countries is not so much erm an unwillingness to make themselves less vulnerable to disasters but much more erm they don't have the resources.
[2597] They don't have the money.
[2598] And if you have a very small amount of money, and a large number of erm demands on, on that budget, then the last thing you're going to do, is to spend a lot of money reinforcing your house for an earthquake that may affect your grandchildren and not you.
[2599] So I think that disaster preparedness and, and, and making yourself safer comes only when you have quite a large surplus, and that means in the developed countries of the world, like the Californian was much, much less likely to die from an earthquake even though he lives in a very vulnerable part of the world, than perhaps erm a rural person in Central America.
a (PS5T8) [2600] To what extent do you research into specific disasters, floods, for example, or earthquakes?
nm (PS5TE) [2601] We at the Institute research into those disasters erm for which we currently have an expertise, as it were, but erm our group was founded actually at the beginning of erm the nineteen seventies and we have specialised quite a lot into looking at famine food erm emergencies and nutritional and medical engineering, sanitation aspects of famines, and lately we've included in that erm quite of lot of, of work, research work into refugees, the cause of refugees, the prevention of refugees, the alleviation of suffering of refugees, particularly in developing countries.
[2602] Floods is a fairly highly specialised now, particularly flood plain management.
[2603] On the whole we've tended to leave that to, to people who do have that specialisation.
a (PS5T8) [2604] Do you carry out your research by studying actual disasters as they take place or do you build models, theories as to what might take place?
nm (PS5TE) [2605] Well we do both.
[2606] I think that the idea of erm you know, rushing in to a disaster, taking the aeroplane out, and, and seeing this enormous distress around one and sitting there with a notebook and a pencil is, is unacceptable and indeed we don't do that at all.
[2607] What we tend to do is to brief ourselves very thoroughly on vulnerable spots in the world, and in countries where we already have links and where we've worked before and we know the background because we, we feel we need that and we monitor very carefully certain events which could lead to a disaster, so that when the disaster does happen, like for instance the Ugandan famine of nineteen seventy-nine to eighty-one, we knew exactly when it was going to happen and we knew exactly where the people were, we knew who was going to be affected, we knew why they were affected, we knew where the food stocks were, we knew how long it was going to take to get so many thousand tonnes of food from A to B erm and how many trucks you would need.
[2608] I mean it was down to that kind of detail.
[2609] So when we actually got out there, we go out to work in some capacity or another, either to carry out a survey of the logistics or perhaps to sort out and look at the way in which one can set up an immunisation programme in a refugee camp.
[2610] It's always in a working capacity, but the difference being that we note down the results of our work, document it very carefully so that we can provide some kind of a lesson learnt for a future operation.
a (PS5T8) [2611] Do people listen to you?
nm (PS5TE) [2612] Not enough.
[2613] Not enough.
[2614] And I think there are two reasons for that.
[2615] First of all because erm when we set ourselves up we were erm I think fairly critical of the relief system, and the relief system erm I think is still very bruised from that, it didn't like being criticised.
[2616] And I find that extremely understandable, but nevertheless we felt it was necessary to say, ‘Well, you know, it's not right.
[2617] They're not getting it right, and there are really no longer any excuses.’
[2618] The second reason is that there are huge constraints to effective relief programmes.
[2619] They are political constraints, particularly with the U N, they are political ones when one considers government to government aid, I mean at the moment for instance the British Administration will only give large, significant amounts of emergency relief to countries which are already recipients of British development aid.
[2620] The third factor which I think tends to constrain rapid and effective relief action is that erm disasters are fundraising opportunities for agencies.
[2621] Public attention is focussed on an event somewhere in a remote part of the world, and people are extremely generous.
[2622] And in a way this interferes with acting in advance of the disaster, or indeed acting perhaps not immediately, but spending a little time considering what might be the priority needs and then going in with it.
[2623] There's tremendous pressure on agencies to, you know, to send in the medicines, to send in the blankets, when they may not really be needed.
[2624] So I think that the kind of logical erm thread and erm that we present and the logical work that we do is not always compatible with the actions of the international humanitarian community, but it is changing, slowly.
a (PS5T8) [2625] What do you feel about the contributions of the voluntary agents like Oxfam or Christian Aid in terms of disasters?
nm (PS5TE) [2626] I would thought that from my quite long experience now with the relief agencies that the British operational agencies, that is those agencies which consistently respond to overseas disasters and send out their own people, technically and professionally qualified people, and that would be really Save the Children Fund and Oxfam, are absolutely excellent.
[2627] I mean they probably are the best in the world.
[2628] They're not exactly specialist agencies but they have a great deal of experience and they have a commitment to a certain kind of research, and they have, I mean we've had our run-ins with them as it were, but they have listened, and they've supported some of our work as well , and I think that they in time will provide a kind of model as it were for a number of erm perhaps less experienced agencies throughout the world, newly set-up ones, as to how it is possible to do consistently good logical rational work in the face of the chaos that a disaster produces.
a (PS5T8) [2629] What about disasters in this country?
[2630] Are there any disasters you see in your books that might take place in this country that we're not taking any notice of, in terms of planning at all?
nm (PS5TE) [2631] Well, I think there are a very large number.
[2632] I mean we, we were very concerned about the possibility of there being wide-scale, widespread large-scale flooding of London before the barrier was put up.
[2633] In fact we were funded by an independent erm foundation to do a, a very large study of that which we did and we reported and we, we found that the risk was totally unacceptable, calculating statistically the risk.
[2634] erm There are many areas of the British Isles which are, are liable to flooding and vulnerable to floods.
[2635] I think another erm area is this question of erm you know dumping of toxic waste, and transporting of toxic waste, which after all could flare up into a disaster very rapidly indeed.
[2636] And apparently a colleague of mine gave a paper this morning saying that Kent was vulnerable to earthquakes erm even though earthquakes have not been recorded or at least not substantial ones in this country for perhaps two, three hundred years erm there is a history of earthquakes in, particularly in the sort of Colchester, Essex, Kent region, and erm the erm the historians and the pundits tell us that erm they may come back again so perhaps we ought to reinforce our buildings now.
a (PS5T8) [2637] What about on a personal level?
[2638] Do you ever think about a disasters as erm an individual level or do you just deal with them at a large-scale, national group level?
nm (PS5TE) [2639] Yes.
[2640] I mean disasters to us, necessarily, means a lot of people being involved in a short space of time in a limited geographical area.
[2641] I mean it's the old story, isn't it, one person who gets killed on a Bank Holiday car crash is not news but four getting killed together is a disaster, is newsworthy, I mean that's the way it works.
a (PS5T8) [2642] Are you concerned about our roads and railway systems?
nm (PS5TE) [2643] No.
[2644] We leave that to the specialists, and indeed I think that the reason why we're particularly concerned with disasters which happen in the poorer parts of the world, the developing countries, is because they seem to have less of a voice to be able to complain about what is done to them.
[2645] There are assumptions made in the richer, Western countries, the donor nations, about what people need, and they're saddled with it, and it can have long-term, disastrous effects, the wrong kind of aid.
[2646] And I think that our concern is to try and see how that can be improved and, and possibly the underlying reason for that is that erm we all feel that unless we take it seriously, the kind of disasters that increasingly affect developing countries, and try to make our own assistance more rational, more respectful in a way of, of them and their cultures, then I think we're storing up an enormous amount of trouble for ourselves in the future.
[2647] Whereas I think in this country that there are adequate channels and mechanisms for people to protest, or, you know, for others to protest on their behalf.
a (PS5T8) [2648] It would clearly be very difficult to compare one disaster to another, in fact I'm not even sure you could do it from a grammatical point of view, but if you were to point your finger somewhere in the world and say, ‘We really ought to look at what's happening here, or what might happen there,’ could you think of one outstanding example?
nm (PS5TE) [2649] Yes, I'm afraid I can, very immediately and very clearly indeed, and that is famine.
[2650] We, we felt at the end of the seventies that there was no question that the eighties was going to be a decade of increasing food shortages, and widespread famine, that is, people literally dying for want of food.
[2651] And sadly, very sadly I think we're being proved right.
a (PS5T8) [2652] Francis, thank you very much.


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [2653] Continuing our short series on education, today we're going to talk about the school curriculum.
[2654] A few weeks ago the Secretary of State, Sir Keith Joseph, announced that he would like schools and the educational world generally, to explore whether they could define specific objectives for particular subjects.
[2655] Putting it crudely, a core of knowledge, such that if a student knew certain facts, he could be said to have reached a certain standard.
[2656] In this way perhaps examination assessment could be made more objective.
[2657] In recent months, Sir Keith has set up a national committee to explore some of these possibilities.
[2658] The School Curriculum Development Committee, as it's called, is headed by Professor Roger Blin-Stoyle, who is a physicist at Sussex.
[2659] Roger, has your Committee started work yet?
sb (PS5TF) [2663] Yes, erm we began work in earnest in the beginning of the New Year.
[2664] I should perhaps explain, though, how the Committee came into being.
[2665] erm Listeners will probably know that there has been for many years what's called the Schools Council, which has looked at erm curriculum matters and examination matters, and a year or so ago it was decided to discontinue the Schools Council, and to replace it by two successor committees, one the School Curriculum Development Committee, which you've already mentioned and which I chair, and a parallel committee concerned with examinations, the School Examination, sorry the Secondary Examination Council, which is chaired by a mathematician, Sir Wilfred Cockroft.
[2666] The Examination Council came into being some erm nine months ago and has already been involved in quite a lot of activity, I mean particularly the erm problem of sixteen-plus examining, whether we should move from a system of erm O-levels and C S E, or to a combined system, Sixteen-plus Examination it would probably be called.
a (PS5T8) [2667] Well we may return to that in a moment
sb (PS5TF) [2668] Yes.
a (PS5T8) [2669] but I want to ask you, are you going to work on this idea of a core curriculum?
sb (PS5TF) [2670] Well, this is certainly one of the things that we shall be looking at.
[2671] erm You must recognise that the general outline of school education, from primary and in secondary level, is a matter of policy, and this is in the hands of the D E S and local authorities.
[2672] Our role, I think, has to be, among a great many other things, to look at the over-all effect of the school curriculum, to ensure that it's balanced, that it's cohesive, and that it has an appropriate spread for all children.
[2673] At this particular point in time, we have the Technical Vocational Education Initiative.
[2674] This is an initiative which is enabling schools to pay quite a lot of attention to vocational matters.
[2675] And that is something that we shall want to look at to see what impact this has on the rest of the curriculum.
[2676] So yes, the answer to your question is, we shall be looking at the curriculum as a whole, and at its various parts.
a (PS5T8) [2677] And when you say various parts, do you mean various ages and stages as well, or is this essentially something for sixteen-year-olds?
sb (PS5TF) [2678] No, we mean all ages and all stages.
[2679] Our task is to consider the situation from the earliest primary level through till, certainly the compulsory school-leaving erm age, sixteen, but of course we shall be very interested in developments between sixteen and eighteen.
a (PS5T8) [2680] Are you actually going to include subjects that are less traditional, perhaps, erm compared with the academic subjects such as history and geography?
[2681] Are you looking at personal and social education, if I could call it that?
sb (PS5TF) [2682] Well, this is certainly one thing that erm we want to look at.
[2683] We're moving into erm an age where, for example, there is a lot of unemployment, and one can't see that going away very quickly.
[2684] It's an age when I think erm children leaving school have got to be versatile, self-reliant and able to cope with very changing situation.
[2685] We live in a technological age, and there are going to be major changes without a doubt, we've all seen them over the past few decades, and into the future there are going to be many major changes.
[2686] And so children have got to leave school able to cope with these changes, and this means that we have to develop self-reliance in them, and general abilities for living.
[2687] So yes, we shall be looking at erm those sort of matters.
a (PS5T8) [2688] Are you concerned with equality of opportunity for both boys and girls, for example?
sb (PS5TF) [2689] Yes, that is something that erm we've erm made quite clear, as a result of our first major meeting, which we held two or three weeks ago, that sex equality, sex stereotyping, are matters that have got to be looked into very carefully.
[2690] This is particularly important, and I'm now riding my own hobby horse, but in the area of science erm we have a situation that erm in most secondary schools choice has to be made at the age of thirteen, fourteen, by boys and girls as to which subjects they should take.
[2691] Most girls opt out of the physical sciences.
[2692] erm This has a knock-on effect insofar as if they've once given up the physical sciences, then it means that they've given up all hopes, when they leave school, of following a, a job or a profession, of courses in further or higher education, in technological, engineering subjects.
[2693] And we are moving into an age, I think it must be recognised, where some of the traditional jobs for girls, for example, secretaries, shops, things of this sort, are actually being decreased because of the technological revolution, so bearing in mind that something like seventy per cent of women are actually in employment, it's very important that a girl, at the age of thirteen or fourteen, does not decide to cut herself off from the possibility of employment in these technological, engineering fields.
[2694] So one thing that I'm sure we'll want to do is to support the work of the Secondary Science Curriculum Review.
[2695] This is one of the projects that we've inherited, incidentally run by another member of Sussex University, Dr. Dick West, which is recommending, and it's getting a lot of strong support for this, that all children should have a balanced science education, including the physical sciences, up to the age of sixteen, and so that erm issue of choice will just not arise.
a (PS5T8) [2696] It must be very difficult to be objective so far as the curriculum and level of knowledge of certain subjects are concerned.
[2697] I would imagine that almost the easiest subject to start with is something like mathematics.
[2698] Am I right in thinking you can define more readily whether you know something or don't know something in mathematics?
sb (PS5TF) [2699] Well, yes, mathematics is a nice, tidy, logical subject, and erm is a subject which erm terrifies a lot of children, and I think here particularly of the situation in primary schools.
[2700] About erm eighteen months, two years ago a report was published, the Cockroft Report, this is the same Sir Wilfred Cockroft who's chairing the Examination erm Council, which looked into the teaching of mathematics at all level in the country and it was an extremely good report and a lot has followed from it.
[2701] One thing that has not been taken up very thoroughly at this stage is the question of teaching of mathematics in primary schools, and this is a field that erm we decided at our last meeting that we must erm look into.
[2702] So many children can be put off mathematics at the primary level, and it's important this doesn't happen.
[2703] It's also important that erm children at primary level do learn something of calculators and the technology of mathematics.
[2704] They see them at home, it's all around them, but the use of calculators for example has not really been built yet widely into the curriculum for primary schools, so that is an area that we shall be having a look at.
a (PS5T8) [2705] And you're not worried that the use of calculators at too early a stage would make a child quite incapable of understanding what addition and multiplication [laugh] and so forth is [laugh]
sb (PS5TF) [2706] Well of course there, there is this worry, and, and they have to be used erm properly and in a helpful way.
[2707] I think erm certainly for a child to rely entirely on a calculator for all mathematical operations would be a disastrous thing.
[2708] On the other hand, used aright, it can help very much in the understanding of mathematical operations, because far more many and widespread examples can be dealt with very quickly, and they can for example erm get a feel of the result of multiplying or dividing or whatever it, it is, numbers of quite different sizes.
[2709] So I think there is a lot of work to be done there, but as you rightly say, it has to be done carefully and one mustn't get the dependency on calculators which one does see around one.
[2710] I've seen this in shops when somebody has to add a twenty p to seventy-three p and out comes the calculator
a (PS5T8) [2711] [laugh] Yes.
sb (PS5TF) [2712] and this is terrible.
a (PS5T8) [2713] What about the skills which are very important but don't come as a formal part of any subject, the so-called communication skills?
[2714] Are you thinking about those at all?
sb (PS5TF) [2715] Yes.
[2716] I, I'm sorry to keep saying ‘Yes’ to everything [laugh] that you're, you're suggesting, but yes, we are thinking about communication skills, particularly the encouraging and helping children to learn to write properly, I don't mean calligraphy, I mean actually write and express themselves on paper, oral communication, and things of this kind are things that we do want to pay attention to.
[2717] I should perhaps explain in the context of your various questions when I say that erm we do want to become involved in these things, that, at this stage, and we've only held two meetings, we have just identified themes and general areas in which we want to work, and not precise projects or activities.
[2718] That will be the next stage we shall be working on over the next half-year or so, and what we do want to do is to seek the help of all the local authorities and teachers in this work, because one should perhaps put things into context, we're a committee of twenty-two people, we have a staff, which when they're all fully employed they'll be about fifty, we have a budget of two million, but we have got to communicate with something like four hundred to five hundred thousand teachers, something like erm five thousand secondary schools and twenty-six thousand primary schools.
[2719] So it is a major problem, this communication, and so we do have to work with local authorities, with teacher organisations, anyone who can help us in this task.
a (PS5T8) [2720] Are you going to set up lots of projects?
sb (PS5TF) [2721] Well, we shall certainly be setting up some projects, but we would hope to use small-scale projects which are perhaps already underway in different local authorities.
[2722] And we have also inherited a number of projects from the Schools Council.
[2723] I've mentioned already the Secondary Science Curriculum Review.
[2724] erm I won't list them all, but there are one or two interesting ones, for example, there is a project dealing with the relation between education and industry, the Schools Council Industry Project, which we wish to support.
[2725] This is a project which is to help children at school understand something of industry and of the industrial world in which they're going to work, and also conversely to bring industrialists into involvement with schools themselves and with developing the curriculum.
a (PS5T8) [2726] Lastly, Roger, your committee, it's a small committee, twenty-two members
sb (PS5TF) [2727] mhm
a (PS5T8) [2728] tackling an immense task.
[2729] Are you open to suggestions from the educational field as a whole as to what you should do and what's important and so on?
sb (PS5TF) [2730] Oh, indeed.
[2731] I said earlier that we want to involve all aspects of the educational system, and for example we have already written to every local authority in the country, telling them about the general themes that we have identified as important, asking for their comments, for their suggestions of other matters that we should perhaps look into, and also asking for their help and involvement.
[2732] So yes, we're very much open to suggestion.
[2733] erm We shall have our own ideas, of course, and these are expressed at this stage in terms of these general themes, but we surely will respond when, if there are any suggestions coming.
a (PS5T8) [2734] Roger, thank you very much, and good luck in this enormous project you're undertaking.
[2735] That's all that we have time for today.
[2736] Next Sunday we shall be looking at another live education issue.
[2737] Until next week then, good-bye.


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [2738] Hello.
[2739] Science is thought of as a subject that is difficult both to teach and to learn.
[2740] The folklore in school terms is that you have to be a relatively ancient teenager to appreciate physics and chemistry and biology.
[2741] Is this true?
[2742] Today I have with me Dr Mike King, who's made a study of science teaching in schools.
[2743] Mike, how early can science be taught to children?
cd (PS5TG) [2745] Well I think that rather depends on saying fairly concisely what it is we mean by science.
[2746] If in a sense it means how early can you teach children facts and contents and very straightforward knowledge, then I think the answer is not very early at all because it may be fairly meaningless that you could teach a child to repeat Newton's law, perhaps the same way as you could teach him to repeat the eleven times table, but without a good concept of number or what Newton meant.
[2747] It's probably something they could learn off parrot fashion, but doesn't have any actual meaning for them.
[2748] But if you look at science as a way of exploring their world, a world they can structure their curiosity about aspects of the physical world, about aspects of the environment, then I think we can do it very early indeed, probably from the time children can come to school at the age of five and from reception classes onwards.
[2749] In fact, we do run a project which looks at the ways science can be taught in the first school, which has been very surprising to me and many of my colleagues by what can actually be done with children in the ages of five to seven.
[2750] For most young children in that age group, the world's a magic place and we traditionally like to teach them nature study and flowers and cuddly hamsters and rabbits in school, and that's the nature table syndrome, and that's great and I'm not knocking that at all.
[2751] There is so much opportunity for children to look at the nature of the physical world around them which isn't taken advantage of, and which could be, and I think that may have something to do with the attitude of teachers as much as the attitude of children.
[2752] But erm they're tremendously curious about the nature of the world around them and they're certainly capable of, if not understanding why, exploring what.
a (PS5T8) [2753] I took my godson, Dominic Robinson, round my laboratory the other day, which is a physics laboratory, and he enjoyed it immensely and asked a number of questions, and was absolutely intrigued and fascinated by the various bits of wires and plugs and so on like that, and he asked me the sort of questions that I don't think I would expect sometimes my [laugh] undergraduates to ask.
[2754] They were perhaps stemmed from innocence, but they were very searching and very real questions, and he was obviously very excited to ask them and to listen to some of the answers.
[2755] Do you think we perhaps put kids off an interest in science by our sort of insistence that they have to have a solid understanding of Newton's laws and all sorts of principles, and we lose the magic too early?
cd (PS5TG) [2756] Yes, I'm sure we do, and I think that's to do with our notions of what science is.
[2757] There's a mystique which has built up about it.
[2758] Anybody who's worked in graduate or postgraduate level in science likes almost to continue that mystique.
[2759] Yes, we do put children off by being rigid because a child, I am sure, doesn't see the world in a rigid way.
[2760] What's out there is all out there.
[2761] Bits of his universe are to do with art and colour and drawing.
[2762] I mean if you watch a child, and I have a seven year old boy, playing stacking cards or dominoes is the current thing in our house, watching them stack them and then knocking them off and watching them fall and the way they fall, the amount of work which is involved there in structures and forces and the nature of gravity and the way things behave under gravity fascinate them.
[2763] The problem, of course, is most of us couldn't give a sensible reply to the very searching questions they ask, so we tend to say something like ‘that's a fascinating questions, but you'll have to wait till you're older and ask a scientist’.
[2764] That's not the children's mistake, that's ours, because we couldn't actually for the best part respond in a meaningful way.
[2765] And in another sense what we don't do often is to actually recognize the significance of the child's question because of the language he puts it in.
[2766] He asks something which, you know, I mean the way they do, what is life, and you wouldn't know — unless you're perhaps trained or awake to the significance of what the child is actually asking — you wouldn't know how to respond to that, so you tend to put it off.
a (PS5T8) [2767] You mentioned that schools are quite good at biology, that they have guinea pigs and they have growing plants and so forth, and I think you hinted at the fact that they perhaps are not quite so good at maybe the harder sciences, we might [laugh] call them, of physics and chemistry.
[2768] Is that the case and, if so, what can we do about it at an early stage?
cd (PS5TG) [2769] I believe that is the case, and I believe that again is a reflection of us as adults erm and not an indictment of teachers.
[2770] They show great pedagogic skills in almost every aspect of school life.
[2771] Most of us, as people who live in this world, are interested in our environment, and even if not young we certainly grow to appreciate it and to learn a bit about flowers and the way animals live and work in our garden and watching David Attenborough on television and erm we have a genuine interest because as part of this world we know it and come to understand it, and probably feel, therefore, if even if you're not a biology specialist, which you certainly don't have to be by any means, when a child asks a question about, you know, ‘where do the flies go in winter?’ and ‘why's the hamster gone to sleep for three months?’we feel more capable of answering it because we're closer to it ourselves and those are the sorts of questions that people told us.
[2772] When a child asks a question about something dropping from a height — does it get faster and it falls for longer and longer?— that probably is a question that most teachers who are not trained in the physical sciences just cannot answer.
[2773] What can we do about it?
[2774] I think at the end it must come down to two things; one basically a change in attitude — we have to come to recognise that we live in a very, very technological society, that most of us were born before man walked on the moon, but the kids in school were born in an age when man had walked on the moon ten years ago and they live in a world which is very scientific, and we have to recognise that — and the other one is practical sense, I think, where we really have to look seriously to in-service training of teachers, a) and b) we have to look carefully at the way we train teachers now.
[2775] In many institutions which train primary and first school teachers, the teachers themselves have an option as to whether they can do a science course or not and then even if they do it it's usually very biologically biased erm towards the natural sciences.
[2776] At Sussex we actually make a third of the time they spend on the university component of their courses compulsory work in science — that is to say every student does it — so we can actually do something about it practically by looking at our processes of initial training and coming to realise what an important section of the world this is and training teachers accordingly, and not to leave it at that but to continue with erm progressive and planned in-service training of teachers.
[2777] Our own experience from several of the projects that we've been looking at which are in-service type projects, is that when we do train teachers and when we do put an investment in it, we see the pay-off in the schools that physical science does get done in schools, it is fun and it is exciting.
[2778] It's when the teachers think this is a boring, mundane, difficult thing to do, then that tends to be put over to the children and of course the disaster is that the children will believe it, and it if the children will believe it then we grow up in a highly technological society producing very few technologists or scientists.
a (PS5T8) [2779] What you describe does sound a little bit like a chicken and egg situation from the point of view that I think you were saying that erm many teachers are ill-equipped, actually, to teach erm physics, perhaps, and chemistry, whereas they are a little bit better able to get across fundamental ideas in biology, and in a sense because of this they are going to produce another generation who perhaps have very ill-founded ideas of these basic sciences and so on and so forth, and somehow one's got to cut into this cycle and actually improve it, improve the output somehow.
cd (PS5TG) [2780] Yes, the chicken and egg syndrome is interesting because ... and I agree it is a viscious circle, but in fact you don't make new omelettes unless you do break some eggs, and I think the time has come to break some eggs and I think that's what I'm advocating is that it will come from the teacher because the teacher is the guiding light of what happens in the classroom, and if the teacher has it in the back of their mind there will be no science, then there will be no science.
[2781] If, on the other hand, the teacher has it in the back of their mind always to be aware of the possibility of bringing into the work that's going on in the classroom and bringing all they're usually very excellent pedagogic skills to bear on it, aspects of the physical sciences, so that the children can get an early and meaningful introduction to it, then it will happen.
[2782] The question is how do you break into the cycle and make that happen, and I think the answer is, as I said, in two ways — one by making teachers more aware during their period of initial training, either at college or at university or polytechnic, and secondly by looking very carefully at the amount and type of in-service training erm that goes on for teachers once they've left college and are in the schools.
a (PS5T8) [2783] Essentially what you're saying is that a teacher who's actually teaching you ought to be able to say to that teacher ‘look, here's a package, if you like, that you can insert into your range of skills, and these are of things that you can do with children which are worthwhile doing and fairly easily for you to acquire skills yourself, and they will be very good and helpful for the children’.
cd (PS5TG) [2784] Well I'd only say that initially erm because then what you end up with is a sort of lucky dip which every now and then somebody will remember the bag of science tricks that somebody's taught them and dip into.
[2785] Now I think that's better than nothing, but I think one has to take it a stage further than that and say that erm the concepts and the processes in science do build logically one upon the other, in a coherent and meaningful way, and that's important for teachers to appreciate what that meaningful sequence is and that, you know, the lucky dip idea is, as I have said, better than nothing, but it's so much inferior to the notion that teachers should be aware that there is a progression in science and that they can teach children progressively from a very early age onwards and build meaningful knowledge upon meaningful knowledge.
a (PS5T8) [2786] Is there anything that parents can do?
[2787] Christmas is coming up and there are chemistry sets in the shops.
[2788] Do these make good gifts from a scientific point of view?
cd (PS5TG) [2789] Well they're a lot of fun and kids love them.
[2790] As I commented a little earlier to somebody, I still haven't quite forgiven my mother-in-law for the chemistry set she bought my seven-year-old.
[2791] He is absolutely amazed by it and spends lots of time in a garage at the back, which actually means that I spend an awful lot of time [laugh] in that garage in the cold too!
[2792] Yes, they are good sets and they do ... they are exciting for children.
[2793] They do enjoy them and they do make good use of them.
[2794] Quite often they need a lot of erm time spent by the parent with the child, and if the parent's happy with that they're fine.
[2795] None of them, or very few of them, if you buy a good quality one is dangerous.
[2796] It's very important, I think, that erm you match the age of the child to the age which is written on the box, because then the child will actually be handling materials that he can physically handle and ideas that he can physically cope with or intellectually cope with.
[2797] So they are probably very useful erm toys, educational toys, to have in the home, but I think for the child to get the maximum from them they do ... he often does require an adult with him.
a (PS5T8) [2798] How about electronic kits and circuits?
[2799] Are they worthwhile, would you say?
cd (PS5TG) [2800] Yes, they are; they are very much.
[2801] Again, it's a questin of matching the kit to the age of the child because some of them erm — the one we have at home, for example, plugs into the mains and although it only pushes out six or nine volts at the end the child actually does have to plug it in and, well I don't think I'd be happy if my six or seven year old was doing that, although my nine year old could cope with it quite happily.
[2802] So they are useful erm children can learn a lot.
[2803] What I like about them and where I think their strengths are is that they do put science, the physical sciences, in that bracket of activity which is fun, excitement and leisure and enjoyment and that it moves away from the notion that it's something you do on a wet Friday afternoon at school.
a (PS5T8) [2804] Thank you very much, Mike.
[2805] That's all that we have time for today.
[2806] Next week I shall be talking to Peter Abbs about teaching the arts and he will be reading some very interesting children's poetry.
[2807] Until next week then, goodbye. [recorded jingle]


gc (PS5T9) [2808] Dr Brian Smith from the University Sussex.
[2809] Now the Brighton Polytechnic and Mary Donoghue. [recorded jingle]
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [2812] Hello.
[2813] Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty, but one that's hard to define and sometimes very hard to cope with.
[2814] For the next three weeks on Ideas in Action we'll discuss some practical ways that parents and teachers can help dyslexic children.
[2815] Today we'll hear from polytechnic lecturer Reg James, who's just made a film of the special needs Brickwall School, and from local remedial tutor Dave Pollock, who'll give us some suggestions for teacing dyslexic children.
[2816] Reg, let's start with the most obvious question first.
[2817] What is dyslexia?
a (PS5T8) [2818] Well it's something that's very difficult to define in a way I think that's satisfactory.
[2819] What has been taken as kind of definition, which I'll paraphrase I think for this purpose, is that it's a condition that shows itself in children's reading difficulty and erm that they are having this reading difficulty despite the fact that they have had reasonable, normal teaching, that their level of intelligence appears to be normal and that they come from an adequate social cultural background.
[2820] Over and above that we think in a sense that it's a series of disabilities, of intellectual functioning, and although it's not by any means proven, we think that these are probably constitutional in origin.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [2821] Dave, would you agree with that definition?
gc (PS5T9) [2822] Yes, if I could just extend it a little.
[2823] I feel that it shows itself in the contrast between the child's — we're talking about children for the moment, although obviously there are dyslexic adults — it shows itself in the contrast between the person's ability to express him or herself in words and their ability to put it down on paper and to read it off paper, and it's this contrast which often arouses one's suspicions that there might be some problem and, having gone into it a little, we find that it stems from a failure of the sensory motor system — the brain isn't processing the information it's receiving through the ear and eye.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [2824] How would you both respond to a common allegation that dyslexia is a middle class disease?
a (PS5T8) [2825] I think that's a very unfair kind of criticism.
[2826] I've not had the experience perhaps of teaching so many dyslexic children to be able to comment on this, but certainly when I was making the videotape at Brickwall School [...] and I asked the headmaster about that and he pointed to the fact that they certainly have a very wide intake, a complete social mix, and Professor Miles at Bangor University says that in his experience of dealing with dyslexic children they come from all walks of life, and it's really quite inaccurate — I suppose there's a sense in which, if we've got to use these phrases, that middle class people have always been very concerned about the education of their children and so they may be the parents who will ask questions about their children's lack of development, but I think it's only, you know, more significant in middle class terms because of that.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [2827] Dave, what's your response?
gc (PS5T9) [2828] Yes, I agree absolutely with Reg there.
[2829] I've come across, and still regularly do come across, people of all ages, both sexes and all social classes, who have this kind of problem.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [2830] Given general definitional problems with dyslexia and learning difficulties generally, what practical suggestions can you offer to teachers of children with learning difficulties?
[2831] Reg.
a (PS5T8) [2832] The most essential thing, in a sense, is to give teachers enough information about this condition and the kind of difficulties it creates so that they can recognise it.
[2833] I don't know whether David would agree, but my experience as a teacher was that I certainly encountered, I realize now, in my teaching career, children with dyslexia and yet no-one had told me, in my training, anything about this condition and I don't think I was in a position until later, in a sense, to recognise that I had seen children with this difficulty.
[2834] So that I feel that one of the things that we must do is ensure that all people who are now training to be teachers, and those who already in the service, have got to be given more information about the condition so that they may be able to recognise it.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [2835] Dave, you did a P G C E course at Sussex.
[2836] Did you feel that students there were receiving adequate information about dyslexia?
gc (PS5T9) [2837] No, I'm afraid I didn't.
[2838] The P G C is a difficult course to fill, really, for the people who are organising it, because although it's called a one-year course, in fact it lasts eight months in practice, and there are so many aspects that have to be fitted in something has to go.
[2839] It's difficult enough, I think, to fit enough work on ordinary reading, if you like, let alone specific problems.
[2840] I went into dyslexia because when I did that course we had the opportunity to do a special study of a subject of our own choice and I spent a lot of time on dyslexia because I was already interested in it before I started.
[2841] But suppose now ... suppose I were a middle-aged to elderly teacher who had never come across dyslexia until recently and was now aware that he or she had dyslexic pupils, the first thing to do, I think, is to inform yourself.
[2842] There are courses that one can do, extra post-experience courses once can follow.
[2843] The Dyslexia Institute is a mine of information.
[2844] Local Dyslexia Associations are also full of information, and there are by now quite a lot of books which have been published which are — both for parents and teachers — which are veyr easy to follow and don't necessarily involve one in many evenings and weekends of cudgelling the brain.
[2845] Now suppose you've got a dyslexic child in your class, or one that you think may be — I can suggest various don'ts.
[2846] The first don't is not to believe that the child is lazy because he or she is not managing to spell.
[2847] Very often, as we've mentioned already in this programme, there's contrast between alertness, brightness, whatever you call it, with words in speech and the disability in writing it down.
[2848] So because there's this contrast the child isn't necessarily playing up or not bothering.
[2849] Also the dyslexic child is not necessarily unintelligent because he can't write something which you've just written on the blackboard or which has only just been shown to him in some other way; the dyslexic person can't look up at a blackboard, hold the visual symbols in her mind and get them down on paper in a different position.
[2850] If the nature of dyslexia is borne in mind by the teacher, then the child's confidence won't necessarily be undermined.
[2851] So many dyslexic children have been reduced to a state of dreadful anxiety by teachers who've called them stupid in front of the other children.
a (PS5T8) [2852] Could I just take you back, David, on the point where you're talking about the things that the teacher might recognise.
[2853] It seems to me that another problem, as far as the teacher is concerned, is the inconsistency in the dyslexic child's performance.
[2854] The fact that the teacher finds that the child has spelt a word correctly in one context and then perhaps in a sentence or two later may misspell the word, makes the teacher think that this is a question of carelessness, where we know, in fact, that is a feature of dylexia — that you may be able to get a spelling correct in one context and yet you will misspell it, as it were, a few moments later.
gc (PS5T9) [2855] Yes, right, I think maybe this is the moment where we could list some of the signs of dyslexia, both for parents and teachers, and indeed I hope there may be some educational psychologists who have some doubts who might like to enter into some erm dialogue with us.
[2856] Now I would like to isolate six possible areas of difficulty where dyslexic people will indicate signs of having a problem.
[2857] The first one is visual and auditory discrimination — now there's lovely bits of jargon for you — that means the ability to differentiate between symbols when they're written and to differentiate between different sounds, particularly highly frequency sounds.
[2858] Then there's the question of the association of sounds and symbols; now the average person, when learning to read, can be shown a letter, told the letter most commonly makes this sound, whatever it may be, and associate the two very quickly.
[2859] The dyslexic person has great difficulty with this.
[2860] Then we come to the problem of sequencing which, one again, can be visual and auditory and connected with the hearing.
[2861] In order to spell, one has to combine both kinds of sequence, one has to think of the syllables in the word in the correct order and remember them and remember how far you got, and also remember the sequence of visual symbols, i.e. letters on paper.
[2862] Sequencing is very often a the root of the dyslexic problem, not only in writing and reading, but also in remembering other kinds of sequence, like time sequence, which brings us to the next point.
[2863] erm sequences such as what happened yesterday, what happened today, what's going to happen tomorrow — dyslexic people very often have great difficulty with this and transferring from the two dimensional to the three dimensional, like you might say to a dyslexic adult when he or she asks directions, ‘Oh, well, it's first right, second left and then there's a tower on your right and you've got to turn to the left after the tree’ and so on, and a dyslexic person can't remember any of that at all , or transfer it from the map to the reality.
[2864] Last of all, we must mention orientation.
[2865] When we write we scan across and move our hands from left to right.
[2866] When we read we scan a line of print from left to right.
[2867] This doesn't come automatically to a dyslexic person very often, and we also look at letters from left to right, but if you look at a u and then turn it upside down in your mind, you have an n, or h and y can be reversed to turn into each other, if you like, in the same way.
[2868] b and d is a problem which a lot of dyslexic children have.
[2869] Teachers should be aware, particularly of that aspect, I think, because phonic method is very often used in schools, by which I mean that the teacher wil hold up a flash card, and on it would be a pair of letters, say, suppose for example sh ... the teacher will hold up a large card with sh on it and will say to the class ‘this is shuss’ and the children will all say shuss whenever this card is held up — that's fine, but the dyslexic pupil may not be seeing sh in the same way that the other children are.
[2870] They may be seeing hs, or backwards s backwards h, or backwards h backwards s — the permutations are, in fact, considerable the more you think about it, and once again I'd like to repeat that the teacher should be aware of the possibility that not all the class are actually seeing what she thinks they might be seeing.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [2871] Reg, can you add to any practical teaching suggestions?
a (PS5T8) [2872] One point I'd just like to add to what David was just saying there was that when you were talking about those orientation problems, when we were making the film of the children at Brickwall, what was brought home to me very strongly was that these sort of problems can arise in mathematics, as well as in reading.
[2873] If you think about the problems that there are with mathematics, whereby it's not just a question of scanning print from left to right, but that you were involved in processes where sometimes you're moving from left to right and sometimes from right to left, sometimes vertically.
[2874] Dyslexic children can have difficulties as far as ... of mathematics as well as reading.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [2875] What changes in the teacher training curriculum would you both like to see in order to improve teacher recognition of learning difficulties?
gc (PS5T9) [2876] The first thing to do is to have a major component of the reading section to include dyslexia, with erm instruction of trainee teachers, not only in how to recognise the problem, but also how to do something about it, and how to use the education system to bring support for parents and pupils.
a (PS5T8) [2877] Yes, I think that as David said one of the things that we've been working at very hard in recent years in teacher training is to try to improve the quality and the content of reading courses generally, and then I think it is also necessary to draw attention to teachers of this problem of dyslexia.
[2878] I favour the notion that it often should be more detailed work on dyslexia as probably can be done in the postexperience courses.
[2879] I think that teachers need to know people that they can turn to for further advice, but that they could familiarize themselves much more with what, as it were, they can do in the first instance by screening children, by using ... there are number of published materials, learning inventories, that can be used to discover whether a child has some difficulties that might point in this direction of dyslexia.
[2880] For example, Aston University have published some very helpful materials to help teachers in the classroom identify these difficulties.
[2881] Now I've used that as an illustration because I think these are some of the best materials that have been produced in this country, but there are other learning inventories and tests which can be used to help teachers find out whether they think that children have got these dyslexic difficulties.
gc (PS5T9) [2882] Could I just add something also there, that training of teachers, after they've done their initial training is becoming increasingly cut, of course, by the government.
[2883] It is all very well for us to sit here and tell teachers to go on extra courses, but they're finding that there aren't any left, so the next thing that they can turn to ... the next person they can turn to is the educational psychologist.
[2884] There is one for every school, of course, and this psychologist should have had more training in perceptual handicaps than an ordinary classroom teacher, and should be available to help assess the child and give advice to teachers and parents about how to help them.
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [2885] Many thanks to Reg James and Dave Pollock.
[2886] Next week on Ideas in Action we'll discuss some of the options open to the parents of dyslexic children.
[2887] Until then, goodbye. [recorded jingle]


tb (PS5TC) [2888] Hello.
[2889] In this last programme in our short series on the boundaries of science, we're going to look at one aspect of that most baffling and intriguing subject, the origin of life.
[2890] Harry Kroto is a chemist at the University, who a few years ago, in collaboration with a colleague and a student, discovered something about interstellar space that has forced scientists to reconsider their views.
[2891] Harry, what did you discover?
dw (PS5TA) [2893] Well we discovered that there were some compounds in interstellar space that we were really rather more complicated than had previously been thought possible, and these molecules had infeasible prebiotic species, in that there were very simple reactions that could take place that would allow them to form amino acids and other rather intriguing biological molecules.
tb (PS5TC) [2894] Presumably one thought that, in the early days in the universe as it were, the atoms and molecules that existed were very simple ones?
dw (PS5TA) [2895] Yes, I think that is true.
[2896] I mean the view that astronomers and most scientists and people who are interested in astronomy had was that there might be a few molecules in space, probably not very many, but if there were they would be very, very simple, probably one or two atoms, perhaps things like water, perhaps things like ammonia, and things like methane — molecules with a large amount of hydrogen attached to them and in fact a thermodynamically staple species.
[2897] Now what has happened in the last decade or so, through the advent of radioastronomy, is that we've discovered that there are vast clouds of molecules between the stars and they're just chock a block with very intriguing molecules, many of which are just the sort of things we would expect to be in the prebiotic soup.
tb (PS5TC) [2898] What do you mean by prebiotic?
dw (PS5TA) [2899] Prebiotic means erm a system whereby biological processes have not actually started, but would contain many of the basic building blocks for a biological system.
tb (PS5TC) [2900] Why is it that these molecules weren't discovered earlier?
dw (PS5TA) [2901] Well the major advance that was made in the late Sixties and early Seventies was in radioastronomy, where large radio telescopes with computer control and very high sensitivity were developed.
[2902] One reason was for communications, but another reason that was rather intriguing to scientists was that they could actually look at stars and look at the space between the stars and use a different region of the spectrum, in particular the radio region.
[2903] Previously one's knowledge of stars comes from the light that comes in in the optical range and the visible range, or in perhaps the ultra violet if you can put a satellite above the atmosphere.
[2904] Perhaps you can use infra-red dectors, but the radio telescope allowed astronomers to look in the radio range.
[2905] It turned out that radio astronomy of this kind looked at extremely low temperature regions.
[2906] One looks at a star, one sees radiation from an object which may have a surface temperature of many thousands of degrees — in fact, internal temperatures of millions of degrees, but with a radio telescope one's looking at very, very cold regions and these were totally inaccessible before the advent of radio astronomy, or of this type anyway, and for the first time one was able to see material spread between the stars rather thinly, but in fact in a very cold state.
tb (PS5TC) [2907] What sort of molecules have you been discovering?
dw (PS5TA) [2908] Well the original discoveries were of some fairly simple molecules.
[2909] People thought well what could be in space, they'd tune the radio telescope and they found, rather intriguingly, there were molecules like water and ammonia and methane, just as they expected.
[2910] Then, as they looked a little bit further and were a bit more adventurous, they found that there were some more interesting molecules such as alcohol.
[2911] I mean molecules that are rather larger, molecules that actually are rather important in biological systems.
[2912] But these were fairly understandable.
[2913] But as time went on and techniques advanced, they found that peculiar sorts of molecules turned up, rather unusual ones, things that weren't expected — molecules that are very uncommon on the earth and in fact a number of molecules were discovered in interstellar space before they were discovered in the laboratory.
[2914] This showed that the conditions in space were unusual and that unusual chemical processes were taking place, and they were then producing molecules that we didn't expect.
[2915] In fact, the chemistry on the earth is rather special — it's the sort of chemistry we're used to doing at the temperature on the earth in the conditions that occur on the earth, but interspatial space the conditions are quite different and so, in fact, it turns out the chemistry is different, and so also we find that there are molecules that we don't expect.
[2916] One thing that we did was find that there were molecules much, much bigger than was expected in the sense that there were many, many more carbon atoms involved than had previously been thought possible, and even now we just do not understand the processes whereby they are formed.
tb (PS5TC) [2917] Are you saying that there are molecules out there in space which we just cannot form ourselves in a laboratory?
dw (PS5TA) [2918] There are molecules in space that we would have great difficulty making in the laboratory.
[2919] I think we could do it now that we know something more about space.
[2920] Yes, we could probably make them, but they would be rather difficult.
[2921] For one reason, space is almost a vacuum, so that molecules erm are few and far between, and one thing about chemistry it is really the science of not particularly molecules but molecules that react with one another, but here once one has got a molecule in space it doesn't actually meet another one for a very long time, so even a molecule that is reactive and which may only last for maybe a microsecond in the laboratory, interstellar space it may last for a thousand years.
[2922] So we find that there's an intriguing chemistry going on in space that it would be very difficult for us to reproduce in the laboratory.
[2923] But I think the ingenuity of chemists and scientists and physicists and astronomers is such that, yes, we could do it — if we knew what we were looking for and had the right ideas.
[2924] What we're finding is that the discoveries in interstellar space are making us try new experiments and erm try and reproduce these conditions, perhaps in the laboratory, and then go on to discover new molecules in space and understand the processes that give rise to the molecules.
tb (PS5TC) [2925] How did people think that prebiotic organic compounds were formed before this discovery in outer space?
dw (PS5TA) [2926] Some rather nice experiments were carried out, perhaps in the Forties and Fifties, by Uray and Miller, who thought that the early atmosphere mainly contained methane, water and ammonia, mainly hydrogenated species which were thermodynamically stable, and they thought that perhaps if one put a discharge or if volcanic processes could actually inject energy into such a system and form the more complicated and more energetic molecules required for biology to actually get started.
[2927] Now this is a good idea, and in fact there's a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that geologists and astronomers who know something about the earth's atmosphere have looked into to suggest that this is quite a feasible mechanism for the formation of prebiotic molecules.
[2928] Now the curious thing was that if you looked at the early atmosphere, the molecules in that were the molecules that we expected to see in interstellar space.
[2929] After the violent conditions that erm we think occurred in the early life of the earth and injected energy and churned up the atmosphere and formed the prebiotic molecules, we find that just those same molecules are actually in the clouds in space, and these clouds are the basic raw material from which stars and plants form in the first place, so we might ask the question could they have got into the earth's atmosphere without this intermediate process, and I think there are mechanisms whereby these molecules can accrete into the earth's atmosphere, and it certainly suggests that we should look at thse and certainly not be taken as a foregone conclusion that the Uray/Miller experiments are the only mechanism whereby the prebiotic soup was formed.
tb (PS5TC) [2930] You say that you found interstellar space being pretty cold, there are some variations of temperature within it, aren't there?
dw (PS5TA) [2931] Well temperature, of course, is a very complicated thing, but let's assume we do understand what temperature means.
[2932] There are regions of space, and for the most part in these dense clouds between the stars, that have temperatures perhaps ten degrees above absolute zero, maybe as much as fifty degrees above absolute zero, so that's about minus two hundred and fifty degrees centigrade.
[2933] But what happens in these clouds is that certain parts of them, certain areas of the cloud start to collapse, and as they collapse the temperature rises and the collapse increases, and as the temperature rises through a thousand to a million degrees we find that these are the regions where stars form, and it is really the major discovery, as far as astronomy is concerned, of the radio research that we now know a lot more about the early stages of star formation.
[2934] And as we believe that erm the earth and the sun were formed at the same time, so we're starting to know a lot more about the original material from which the sun and the earth were formed, and here we find that it's just full of prebiotic molecules which we did not know beforehand and therefore puts a different perspective on what we think the earth's early atmosphere might have been.
tb (PS5TC) [2935] How was the astronomy actually done?
dw (PS5TA) [2936] Well I had a colleague in Canada who's a very close friend of mind, and erm I knew that he had actually done some radio astronomy.
[2937] He was a chemist himself, or a physicist, working on similar sorts of problems, and I wrote to him and said was he interested in looking at one of my molecules, and he wrote back and said he was very interested because it was, in fact, as I'd thought, a rather intriguing next step in our understanding and we got together with the Canadian group in Ottowa to try and set up a programme for observing these particular types of molecule in interstellar space.
[2938] It was, in fact, at the time just erm well let's try it and see.
[2939] I didn't have very much hope because it was really much more complicated than any other molecule that had been discovered.
[2940] It was almost a quantum leap in some ways.
[2941] And to our great surprise this molecule was, in fact, quite abundant.
[2942] Then the next step was very clear — that we should make the next molecule, which was rather more complicated, and look for that.
[2943] To our disbelief it was really very much more abundant than we could ever have thought possible, so we've actually been able to find molecules with eleven carbon atoms in a chain, floating around in space, and for which we really at the present time have no explanation.
tb (PS5TC) [2944] And astronomers would never have looked in that area, in that region, perhaps radio astronomy, unless you'd asked them to?
dw (PS5TA) [2945] Well I certainly wouldn't have thought about it, and I don't think any chemist would have believed it, and in fact what happened was it really came from this other esoteric sort of project that we were doing.
[2946] Had I wanted to do something in astronomy, which I did actually want to do because I'd taken an interest in it, in fact I would not have thought of this type of molecule.
[2947] It was just not even in question.
[2948] It was just ‘oh well, this might be interesting.
[2949] It is a bit unlikely, but let's try it.’
[2950] Then it turned out to be rather unusually abundant and erm we now have the problem of trying to understand why it's there in the first place.
tb (PS5TC) [2951] One interesting feature of this discovery seems to me that it's been a combination of different individuals approaching it almost laterally, in a sense, because you're not an astronomer, particularly, are you?
dw (PS5TA) [2952] No, I'm not even an astronomer now really in many ways.
[2953] I mean I've never looked through a telescope.
[2954] I mean I have helped to run a radio telescope.
[2955] We don't actually look at that — a radio telescope is a rather superb radio set with a rather large ariel.
tb (PS5TC) [2956] And all this started with you actually putting an undergraduate student on the project?
dw (PS5TA) [2957] Yes, one of the nice aspects of astronomy is that it brings people from many different areas of science together.
[2958] What actually happened was that a colleague of mine, Dave Walton and I, got together to look at a rather esoteric aspect of molecular motion, thinking of making molecules which were very, very long and had very simple structure but could have perhaps erm very complicated what we call dynamic motion, but there was some very good chemistry involved and we erm put this project together for the Sussex Chemistry Bithesis programme, and erm the student who took on this particular project, Alexander, spent two years learning how to do the synthesis and developed a lot of ability in this area; he also learned how to do the spectroscopic experiments and studied the analysis of molecular motion, and he was able to do this on top of the course work that he did, and in fact this particular project and Alexander, who did the work himself, and the subsequent exciting sort of repercussions of the project have all made me a rather firm believer in the course here, and that in fact undergraduates can do research and also that it's a very good training for the future.
tb (PS5TC) [2959] Thank you very much, Harry.


sb (PS5TF) [2960] Hello.
[2961] In this short series we're exploring some of the boundaries of science — the limits to what we can measure or experience, limits that exist in space, time, temperature and so on.
[2962] Last week, for example we were looking at the mind boggling distances that we encounter when we journey across the universe.
[2963] Today we travel to the other extreme and enter the microscopic world of the atom and its nucleus.
[2964] Jim Byrne is a physicist who work as the university.
[2965] I recently asked him how large an atom is.
tn (PS5TB) [2967] Well, of course, there are big atoms and small atoms ... hydrogen is a very small atom, uranium is a big atom — but something of the order of ten to the minus eight of a centimetre.
[2968] Roughly a hundred million atoms per centimetre.
sb (PS5TF) [2969] So that means if you could line up a hundred million atoms you'd just reach one centimetre?
tn (PS5TB) [2970] Just about one centimetre for relatively small atoms, yes.
sb (PS5TF) [2971] And virtually all matter is composed of atoms?
tn (PS5TB) [2972] All matter that we know is composed of atoms.
[2973] The familiar matter that we deal with in our ordinary life, that's jsut atoms, yes.
sb (PS5TF) [2974] And putting combinations of atoms together you get molecules and up to really rather long and complicated molecules?
tn (PS5TB) [2975] That's so, indeed.
sb (PS5TF) [2976] That's going in one direction of building up.
tn (PS5TB) [2977] mhm
sb (PS5TF) [2978] And going in the other direction, what do you have inside atoms?
[2979] Are atoms solid things, or are they all space or what?
tn (PS5TB) [2980] No, atoms are not solid things.
[2981] This is the great discovery that Rutherford and his erm collaborators made forty/fifty years ago.
[2982] In fact atoms are almost entirely made up of free space.
[2983] Essentially, what you have inside an atom is you have a very small mass of core, called the nucleus, and around this nucleus you have lighter particles called electrons, which orbit in closed orbits.
[2984] Now this is the picture that we have.
[2985] These are negative particles and the nucleus is made up of positively charged and neutral particles and the combination is kept together by electrostatic forces.
sb (PS5TF) [2986] So the nucleus itself is not solid.
[2987] It itself consists of particles?
tn (PS5TB) [2988] Well of course it's rather more solid than the atom is.
[2989] I mean if you think that an atom is, as we said, typically ten to the minus eight of a centimetre, then a nucleus is typically ten to the minus twelve of a centimetre, so that's four orders of magnitude down, so the nucleus itself, if you scaled the whole thing down by a factor of ten to the four, the neucleus itself again is made up of a fair amount of free space and loss of particles inside it.
sb (PS5TF) [2990] If you've got a positive nucleus and you've got electrons, negative particles going round it, and the two attract each other, why don't they just all collapse together?
tn (PS5TB) [2991] Well of course this was the great argument that went on.
[2992] I mean when Rutherford did his experiments years and years ago he produced his planetary model of the nucleus, of the atom where the nucleus plays the role of the sun and the electrons play the role of the planets, and people said well why don't they just spiral in an erm Rutherford had actually no answer to this, but the answer to this was produced by the Danish physicist Nils Bore, who said ‘Well they don't spiral in because erm electrons cannot just take up any orbit, they can take up certain specified orbits which he called stationary states, and there is a lowest one of these, and when the electron gets down there it cannot go any further.
sb (PS5TF) [2993] Well, I'm sure that's the right answer, but we're already getting a little bit complicated in our vision of what's happening.
[2994] Let's go inside the nucleus a little bit.
[2995] The nucleus isn't solid, it consists of other particles — what sort of particles are these?
tn (PS5TB) [2996] Well, erm the nucleus is not solid, but the particles in it are much more massive than electrons.
[2997] If you look at the particles inside the nucleus you have a proton, which is a positively charged particle, and it's about two thousand times more massive than an electron, and you have also have another type of particle in there called a neutron, and a neutron is to all practical intents and purposes it's just like a proton except that it has no charge, and so the whole mass of the atom is actually concentrated inside the nucleus.
[2998] The electrons balance the forces of course, but they don't really contribute to the mass.
[2999] So what we have inside the nucleus, we have two kinds of particle, the neutron, which is uncharged, and the proton which is positively charged.
sb (PS5TF) [3000] And you get smaller particles out of the neutrons and protons?
tn (PS5TB) [3001] Well, you can get hosts of smaller particles if you do various things.
[3002] I mean you're getting into quite deep water here.
[3003] Let's go back a little bit.
[3004] I mean if you ask what happens when electrons drop down from one orbit to another inside the atom, the emit light, which is the thing we are familiar with, but erm physicists tend to think of this as particles which they call photons.
[3005] Now, we you have neutrons and protons, they interact one with the other, but the particle that carries the interaction is not the photon, it's the new particle called the meson, and you have got smaller particles, much less massive particles than neutrons and protons, and these are called mesons or pye mesons, and the pye meson has erm a mass which is typically a tenth of that of a proton.
[3006] So if you collide neutrons and protons, bang them one off the other, you can produce these mesons.
sb (PS5TF) [3007] How do you know these particles actually exist?
tn (PS5TB) [3008] Well I mean how do you know that, for example, light exists?
[3009] I mean if you put your hand up to the sun you can feel it, you detect it, your eyes detect it, well you have detectors which detect them and, for example, if I want to detect something like an electron well then I can make a counter which is sensitive to charged particles like electrons, and I can allow these electrons to hit this counter and it will produce erm an identifiable electrical pulse and I can look at that and I can say this is an electron, or I can look at other particles, say, for things like helium nuclei which are called alpha particles, and I can make counters which will detect these and I can put a little piece of paper in front and I can stop off the alpha particles.
[3010] We know they exist because we can do things with them.
[3011] We can actually see practical effects which follow from usin them.
[3012] You can't see a proton because proton is too small erm the only things that you can see are microscopic bodies and again you only infer the existence of these microscopic bodies because you actually detect the light that comes from them.
[3013] Somehow or other your miond analyzes the light that it receives from these bodies and tells you about them.
[3014] In a sense you can do the same thing, of course, with erm elementary particles like neutrons and protons, but the process of interpretation is much more complicated.
sb (PS5TF) [3015] Continuing our journey to ever smaller particles, can we break up the pye meson into anything smaller?
tn (PS5TB) [3016] Well you don't actually have to do that with the pye meson because if it erm if you have a pye meson it just breaks up itself.
[3017] If erm, for example, I were to produce a beam of pye mesons, which I can do by taking very high energy protons and making them collide with ordinary hydrogen, then the pyon will come out and it will not live for very long, and I think the lifetime of a pyon is something of the order of ten to the minus eight of a second, which means that pyons only live for about one hundred millionth of a second, and these things then decay into othe particles and these other particles are called muons and they decay into ... not only do they produce muons, but they produce things called neutrinos and the muons themselves do not live for very long — a muon lives for about two microseconds, which is two millionths of a second — and it decays also into an electron and another neutral particle called a neutrionor, and these neutrinors just are there, they exist very [...] but they are the end products of these decay processes.
sb (PS5TF) [3018] You mentioned, very straightforwardly, experiments to find these particles — in fact aren't the experiments rather complicated and requiring big, expensive bits of equipment?
tn (PS5TB) [3019] To produce things like pyons, yes, they are.
[3020] You see the thing is produce something like a pyon you have to create enough energy to make it, and in order to create enough energy the you have to produce particles colliding at very high speeds, and in order to produce these particles you have to accelerate them.
[3021] Modern accelerators tend to be rather large machines to produce the very high energy particles required to produce new particles.
[3022] Of course pyons have been around now for so long that you don't need high energy machines to produce pyons.
[3023] In America and Canada there are things called pyon factories that'll actually produce massive numbers of pyons for you without any great problems.
sb (PS5TF) [3024] And going ever smaller, can you get from neutrinors to smaller particles?
tn (PS5TB) [3025] From neutrinors?
[3026] Well we haven't really discussed neutrionors yet.
[3027] We should leave the neutrionors aside for the time being.
[3028] erm we really got as far as the neutrons and the protons.
[3029] Well, of course, again if you want to see what a neutron or a proton is made of, I mean a neutron is a very small thing and a proton is a very small thing — it's about ten to the minus thirteen centimetres across.
[3030] And if you're going to try and look inside one of these things then you're going to have to use very high energy particles, which in quantum physics means something that is very short wavelength that you can actually look inside, and when you look inside these things by, say, scattering electrons from them, very high energy electrons, it appears that inside a proton and inside a neutron is mainly again just free space, and there are other point like objects inside these particles, and these objects are know as quarks .
[3031] Now no-one's ever seen a quark for the simple reason that no-one has ever managed to produced a free quark.
[3032] It appears that neutrons and protons are made up of quarks.
[3033] Each neutron and each protons has got three — they have three quarks each — and these quarks have got very peculiar properties.
[3034] The main one that people are interested in, of course, is that they don't have integral charge.
[3035] They don't have one unit of charge.
[3036] A quark supposedly has one third charge or two thirds charge, but nobody has ever managed to actually produced a free quark, but people do believe they exist because they explain almost all the properties that neutrons and protons have, and other particles.
sb (PS5TF) [3037] When people talk about quarks they use words like colour and charm and strangeness and other things.
tn (PS5TB) [3038] They do, yes.
[3039] I suppose we should really begin at the word strangeness because the word strangeness goes back to the late Fifties, early Sixties, when some people discovered particles more massive than neutrons and protons and these particles were discovered in the erm cosmic radiation, and they were also produced by accelerators in laboratories.
[3040] Now what happened was that these particles had very peculiar K properties.
[3041] For example, they lived very much longer than one would have expected, and Gellmann said well these were strange particles and he invented a new quantum number called a strangeness, and then he assumed that this strangeness quantum number was not quite conserved. erm we have conserved quantum numbers in physics like the charge — you have to conserve the charge, but you don't quite have to conserve the strangeness.
[3042] So this was a new strange quantum number, and I think really what happened as new quantum numbers became necessary to describe the new types of particles, people just began to think of more sort of strange names like charm and beauty and erm things like this, but they have no real connection with what we normally understand by charm and beauty, they are just quantum numbers.
sb (PS5TF) [3043] Jim, can we go on forever?
[3044] Will we find even smaller particles in future years?
tn (PS5TB) [3045] That's a matter of guesswork.
[3046] I don't think anybody knows the answer to that.
[3047] I imagine that we will.
[3048] I mean in the past in has always turned out that what people have thought to be elementary turns out never to be elementary.
[3049] I mean at one stage we go back a hundred years — back to Dalton ... he thought of his atoms as being fundamental entities that could never be broken up, whereas now we know that an atom is a very complicated structure and we can measure things about atoms, we can measure the [...] distribution, we can where the electrons and so on are.
[3050] Nuclei — there's been a tremendous amount of work done on nuclei.
[3051] We know the shapes of nuclei.
[3052] We know there are round ones, there are long thin ones, there are cigar shaped ones, there are disc shaped ones.
[3053] They turned out not to be elementary at all, they are complex things.
[3054] Neutrons and protons are now believed not to be elementary, that inside them they have quarks.
[3055] Even now there are theories which say that quarks are made up of other things and so on, so I mean who knows.
[3056] I think simply it's unknown.
sb (PS5TF) [3057] Jim, I'd love to keep going here and ask you a whole lot more questions.
[3058] Unfortunately that's all the time we have today.
[3059] Next week there'll be another programme in our series Ideas in Action.
[3060] Until next week then, goodbye. [recorded jingle]


tb (PS5TC) [3061] Hello.
[3062] In this short series we're looking at the boundaries of science, and we're asking questions such as‘How cold can we get?’ and ‘What is the smallest particle that we can envisage?’.
[3063] Today, by contrast, we're going to the other extreme.
[3064] We're going to peer into space and try to imagine the huge distances involved.
[3065] Our guide is Robert Smith, who's an astronomer at the university.
[3066] Robert, let's start by trying to put ourselves into context.
[3067] We're on a planet.
gm (PS5TD) [3069] Yes, and this planet is moving round the sun, which is part of the solar system.
[3070] The solar system contains not only our own planet, but also many other planets, at varying distances from the sun.
[3071] And the whole size of the solar system is something like forty astronomical units.
tb (PS5TC) [3072] We're going to have to talk about what astronomical units are in a moment, but let's go on in terms of size.
[3073] We're part of this particular system, what comes next?
gm (PS5TD) [3074] The sun is just a star, one of many thousands of millions of stars in our own galaxy, which is the milky way, which we see as we look up in the sky on a very dark night, and it was called the milky way by the ancients because it looked like a splash of milk across the sky, but we now know that it's a flattened system consisting of these thousands of millions of stars.
tb (PS5TC) [3075] So we're actually part of the milky way system, the galaxy?
gm (PS5TD) [3076] Yes.
tb (PS5TC) [3077] Which is the milky way?
gm (PS5TD) [3078] Yes.
tb (PS5TC) [3079] Are there many other galaxies in the universe?
gm (PS5TD) [3080] Oh yes.
[3081] There are thousands of galaxies.
[3082] Millions indeed.
[3083] Our galaxy is just an ordinary galaxy among many others.
[3084] It's part of what's called the local group of galaxies which contains about thirty galaxies.
[3085] It is, in fact, one of the two largest galaxies in that group and nearby, in astronomical terms at least, there are other such groups containing thirty/forty/fifty galaxies maybe, and these galaxies themselves, these groups, are clustered into larger groups and these groups are glustered into even larger groups, so there are clusters of clusters of clusters of galaxies, right out to the furthest reaches of space.
tb (PS5TC) [3086] All right.
[3087] Let's go back to distances.
[3088] Now you mentioned an astronomical unit, what's that?
gm (PS5TD) [3089] Yes, well that's just the name the astronomers use for the mean distance, the average distance, of the earth from the sun.
[3090] It's a convenient unit, perhaps a useful way of thinking about it is in terms of the time that light takes about eight minutes to reach us from the sun.
tb (PS5TC) [3091] So what you're saying, in terms of the eight minutes, is that something, an event which happens on the sun, which is visible, takes about eight minutes to reach us.
gm (PS5TD) [3092] Yes, if the sun were to go out now we wouldn't know about it for eight minutes.
tb (PS5TC) [3093] You've talked about many, many galaxies and so forth.
[3094] What sort of distance is there involved there?
gm (PS5TD) [3095] Well, the unit that we use there is the light year, which is the distance that light can travel in one year, and the nearest stars are about a light year away.
[3096] The furthest galaxies are about three thousand million light years away.
tb (PS5TC) [3097] Three thousand million light years — that really is a huge distance.
gm (PS5TD) [3098] Yes.
tb (PS5TC) [3099] Now if we try and get some idea of what this distance may correspond to, light travels at what sort of speed?
gm (PS5TD) [3100] Well, it travels at about three hundred thousand kilometres per second, or if you prefer the normal British units, a hundred and eighty six thousand miles per second.
tb (PS5TC) [3101] A hundred and eighty six thousand miles per second.
[3102] What's the fastest that humans can travel?
gm (PS5TD) [3103] Oh, my goodness.
[3104] In miles per second that's not so easy, but humans have travelled at perhaps a few tens of miles per second in a spacecraft.
tb (PS5TC) [3105] A few tens.
[3106] So we're talking about seveal thousands, if not getting closer to millions, of the speed that a human being would possibly travel?
gm (PS5TD) [3107] Yes.
tb (PS5TC) [3108] So if we're talking about something talking about something taking a light year to reach us in terms of light, any possibility of human contact we're talking about millions of years, probably, rather than a few years.
gm (PS5TD) [3109] Yes.
tb (PS5TC) [3110] And that's, I think, important because it gives us some concept of how far we would have to go to get there, as it were, apart from seeing it.
gm (PS5TD) [3111] Yes, that's right.
[3112] It would be very difficult even to to get to the nearest start.
[3113] It would take many thousands of years.
tb (PS5TC) [3114] Now light, presumably erm one of the reasons one chooses a light year as a unit or a distance is because it's a convenient number, but also presumably because it doesn't change very much with any physical factor.
[3115] I mean light is ... travels at a pretty constant speed, doesn't it?
gm (PS5TD) [3116] That's right.
[3117] In fact the speed of light is now defined to be a constant.
tb (PS5TC) [3118] So that's a good starting point.
gm (PS5TD) [3119] Yes.
tb (PS5TC) [3120] You've talked about fairly large distances, distances that you couldn't possibly measure with tape measures and using normal methods of measurement, how on earth do you know these distances are the kind you describe?
gm (PS5TD) [3121] That's a very good question.
[3122] Light itself can be used as a sort of tape measure.
[3123] For example, for distances within the solar system, distances to the planets and to the sun, we can use radar methods.
[3124] I think this is probably familiar to most people.
[3125] A radar beam is one that you send out and it bounces off the thing you're trying to measure the distance of and then the beam comes back and is picked up again and you measure the time between the beam going out and the beam coming back, and that's twice the time it takes for the beam to get to the object and back again.
[3126] So if you know how fast the beam is going, and that's in fact the speed of light, then you know how far away the object is, and you can do this for the planets.
[3127] It's been done for Venus and for Mercury about twenty years ago.
tb (PS5TC) [3128] How accurately would you be able to make these measurements?
[3129] How confident are you that they are correct?
gm (PS5TD) [3130] Quite remarkably accurate.
[3131] The basic astronomical unit is, in fact, known to about one part in a million.
tb (PS5TC) [3132] So that's radar.
[3133] That'll get you a certain distance, but that pre-supposes you can actually bounce something back, doesn't it?
gm (PS5TD) [3134] That's right.
tb (PS5TC) [3135] So what happens if you can't bounce something back?
gm (PS5TD) [3136] Well you can't use that method, and indeed radar can't be used outside the solar system.
[3137] The next method that is used is a method which again is familiar to people on the earth — surveyors use it all the time — and that's what we call triangulation, and the idea there is that if you look at a distant object against an even more distant background, then the apparent direction will depend on where you're standing, and if you move from one end to the other of a baseline, then a distant steeple, for example, will appear to move against the hills on the horizon.
tb (PS5TC) [3138] But, Robert, we on earth must have a very small baseline compared with the big distances we're trying to measure?
gm (PS5TD) [3139] Oh yes.
[3140] I'm just trying to give you and idea of how the method works.
[3141] Obviously you can't use any baseline that you can actually travel on foot from one end after the other, but we can use the astronomical unit itself as a baseline because the earth is moving round the sun.
[3142] It goes once round the sun every year.
[3143] That's what we mean by the year, and at opposite sides of its orbit a nearby star, for example, will appear to be in different directions relative the background of very much fainter, more distant stars, and we can use that to see how far away it is.
tb (PS5TC) [3144] And that get us up to a certain distance, but even then that method must fail when you get beyond a certain distance.
gm (PS5TD) [3145] Oh yes.
[3146] Yes.
[3147] That method can be used to distances of about a hundred light years.
[3148] Beyond that the angles involved become just too small to be measured and we have to use a quite different kind of technique which involves knowing something about the properties of the objects we're looking at.
[3149] And we talk about standard light bulbs — the idea here is that take a terrestrial example again, suppose you're looking out at night and you see a light approaching you, if it's a cyclist with a very faint light then you'll not see him until he's quite close.
[3150] If it's a motorcar with very powerful headlights you'll see it very much further away.
[3151] So we want to get bright objects that we can see at great distances, but we also need to know something about what it is we're looking at.
[3152] If we saw the cyclist close to and the motorist a long way away, they would look about the same.
[3153] So the distance makes something look rather fainter, and similarly if you have something like a particular kind of start that you can identify by some property — which we'll perhaps talk about in a moment — if you can identify it and you know how bright it is, then the fainter ones are further away and you can estimate the distance by how faint they are.
tb (PS5TC) [3154] What happens, Robert, if the stars aren't actually fixed distance, but they're actually moving, either towards us or away from us.
[3155] Doesn't that mess up you approach?
gm (PS5TD) [3156] It does, but the stars, although they're moving fast by terrestrial standards, are moving very slowly by comparison with the vast distances we're talking about, and they don't change their distances by very much in the time that we're watching.
tb (PS5TC) [3157] So what about the things that we occasionally hear of ... colour shifts and so on— is that relevant to what we're talking about at the moment?
gm (PS5TD) [3158] That is a way of measuring the speeds at which stars and galaxies are moving away from us.
[3159] The effect here is similar to listening to a train whistle.
[3160] As the train goes past erm you get a note that goes [...] .
[3161] The frequency changes as the train passes and the high note is when the train is coming towards us and the low one when the train is going away, and you get the same effect with light except that instead of being high and low it's blue shifted if the object is coming towards us and red if it's going away.
tb (PS5TC) [3162] Do we actually have blue shift stars?
[3163] I've heard of red shifts.
gm (PS5TD) [3164] Oh yes.
tb (PS5TC) [3165] We have both do we?
gm (PS5TD) [3166] Stars near the sun have both ... well some have blue shifts and some have red shifts, so they're moving in all directions relative to the sun.
tb (PS5TC) [3167] All right, now we've got pretty well way out — have we been able to reach the furthest objects in space by these methods, or are we stil stuck for a method?
gm (PS5TD) [3168] Well, by an extension of the this standard light bulb method you can get most of the way into the universe.
[3169] The nearby galaxies you can reach using a kind of special variable star.
[3170] It varies in brightness and the way that it varies picks it out.
[3171] Its a sort of signature — you can recognise that particular kind of star — it's called a sephied variable, and we know how bright that is and so we can use that to get distances to nearby galaxies.
[3172] For very distant objects these stars themselves are too faint to be visible, but if you look at clusters of galaxies, we find that the very brightest galaxy in a cluster is the same brightness in all clusters and so the fainter it looks to us the further away the cluster of galaxies must be.
[3173] And then we come to the red shift, in fact, that you were talking about a minute ago.
[3174] Because although stars near to us show both red shifts and blue shifts, distant galaxies show only red shifts, and that means that all the galaxies that we can see are moving away from us.
[3175] The universe, in fact, is expanding (although that's another talk really) and for the present purpose the important thing is that they're moving away at a speed which increases with their distance and so if we can measure the speed that they're moving away from us, then we can find their distance, and that takes us to the edge of the universe.
tb (PS5TC) [3176] Are there events taking place that we will never ever see because they're so far away, or maybe they're taking place in such a way that they're moving away faster than the light is travelling in our direction?
gm (PS5TD) [3177] No, they won't be moving away faster than light is travelling because the theory of relativity says that nothing can move faster than light, but there are certainly things which may be happening now which we shall not learn about for thousands of millions of years because they are so far away.
[3178] And when you look far into space, you're also looking back in time and we're looking back when we look at the very most distant objects.
[3179] We're looking right back to the beginning of the universe.
tb (PS5TC) [3180] And, lastly, if you went into space and you really went very fast and for a long, long time, would you ever reach an edge?
[3181] Would you ever reach an end?
[3182] Would you ever reach a boundary?
gm (PS5TD) [3183] That's disputed at the moment.
[3184] erm I think the consensus is that you wouldn't — that either space is infinite, or at the very least it it's finite it has no edge, so if you went in one direction for long enough you would come back in the other direction.
tb (PS5TC) [3185] Robert, the mind literally boggles at those distances ... mine does, anyway.
gm (PS5TD) [3186] So does mine.
tb (PS5TC) [3187] Thank you very much.
[3188] I'd love to talk to you more about this, but I'm afraid that's all that we have time for today. [recorded jingle]


nm (PS5TE) [3189] Hello.
[3190] Peter Simpson is a chemist at the university.
[3191] It's a long time ago since I did any chemistry.
[3192] It was at school, and my memories of chemistry is laboratories full of stink bombs, full of bangs, and rather unpleasant chemicals.
[3193] Has chemistry changed very much over the years, Peter?
sb (PS5TF) [3195] Well it's probably a good deal less smelly and bangy than once it was.
[3196] The Health and Safety at Work Act has made us rather more concerned about smells and bangs and the dangers these cause, so perhaps life is a little bit less smelly than it was, perhaps a little less exciting, but it ought to be a little longer too.
nm (PS5TE) [3197] On a more serious note, has chemistry changed as a subject very much over the last, dare I say, twenty five years?
sb (PS5TF) [3198] Well, yes, I think it has.
[3199] There have been scientific developments, of course, in chemistry, but perhaps it's seen now as being more important in the context of the contribution it's making to other important areas such as biology, environmental science and so forth .
nm (PS5TE) [3200] At school one did a certain amount of chemistry, and then at university one did what was possibly a slightly different subject.
[3201] Is that still true, or is the chemistry at school very similar to the chemistry that one would do at university?
sb (PS5TF) [3202] I think it's probably fairly similar, but of course it gets more sophisticated, both in terms of the intellectual level at which you talk about chemistry, the concepts and so forth, and also in terms of the sort of experiments you can do because we have such sophisticated apparatus now, which you couldn't possibly get in a school laboratory.
[3203] So we can do more sophisticated things experimentally and intellectually I would say.
nm (PS5TE) [3204] Now does that matter, so far as being at school is concerned, if they can't really do proper experiments does that mean to say they can't do proper chemistry?
sb (PS5TF) [3205] I wouldn't say that they couldn't do proper experiments at school, I don't think that's right.
[3206] It's just that we do rather more sophisticated versions sometimes of very similar things which are done at school, but they might be done more precisely, simply in a rather more sophisticated way.
[3207] But I am sure that if someone found they liked doing chemistry at school they're likely to find that they like continuing to do it at university, and vice versa.
[3208] If it turns them off at school it will probably turn them off at university.
nm (PS5TE) [3209] Taking your point that chemistry at university is a privileged subject in so far as that the equipment available is more sophisticated, more expense, more accurate, possibly, surely universities ought to be doing something to help kids in schools?
sb (PS5TF) [3210] Well, yes, that's absolutely right, and I think we've always taken it as part of our responsibilities here really that they should extend over towards students in schools as well as students here at the university, and we do of course do quite a lot, in various ways, across the science area, to contribute towards science in schools.
nm (PS5TE) [3211] Tell me some of the things that we do.
sb (PS5TF) [3212] Well the science area as a whole has a number of activities.
[3213] For example, we organise an annual school science lecture.
[3214] This takes place in late November and on two separate evenings we fill our largest lecture theatre with local school children from both sides of the county, sometimes a little bit further afield, and that means that we're giving them an illustrated lecture by one of our more distinguished colleagues, and we entertain and inform, I think, something like eight hundred school children every year in that alone.
nm (PS5TE) [3215] And that's something that possibly the public don't know about.
sb (PS5TF) [3216] Wel it doesn't get a great deal of publicity in the media, and of course we only circulate information about it to schools, so I'm sure that the man in the street probably has never heard of it.
nm (PS5TE) [3217] What sort of subjects will we tackle at these November lectures?
sb (PS5TF) [3218] Well we try to span right over the range of science.
[3219] We've had lectures in the biology area, in physics, in engineering and in chemistry, so that we've really spanned the whole shooting match really as far as that goes, and of course we try to put something into these lectures for those doing the most advanced work in the sixth form and also for those doing O levels, let's say, and some who are younger even than that.
[3220] We try in other words to hit a variety of targets of different ages, right across the spectrum.
nm (PS5TE) [3221] That's one big lecture in the year.
[3222] Are there occasions when there are other opportunities for kids to meet university people, perhaps hear them speak about their subjects?
sb (PS5TF) [3223] Well again the science area as a whole puts out a very large list of lecture titles, which it is prepared to deliver in schools.
[3224] Now this is very much a voluntary activity on the part of those who give the lectures, but neverthless we have an extremely large list, right across the science area, of lecture titles and lecturers, people who are prepared to go out and do this in schools, and of course they get an opportunity to meet teachers and students in schools in this way.
nm (PS5TE) [3225] You talk about a large list erm how many possible lectures are there on the list?
sb (PS5TF) [3226] Oh, I should say of the four science schools on average we've got maybe thirty or forty titles from each, so that's about ... well certainly well over a hundred titles altogether.
nm (PS5TE) [3227] And how many schools avail themselves of this opportunity each year?
sb (PS5TF) [3228] It's a little bit variable, I think, from our own science school — one science school to another — and from year to year, but I would say maybe twenty or thirty for each science school.
nm (PS5TE) [3229] And any school can get a lecturer to come out, subject to availability of course, to give one of these?
sb (PS5TF) [3230] Well we generally aim to have ... I suppose most of our lectures at an A level standard, but we have a significant number for those doing O level, indeed some lectures which can be tailored for either, so anybody very mucg below O level we probably couldn't cater for — I think probably because we wouldn't feel competent, rather than because we don't want to do it.
nm (PS5TE) [3231] So some of the lectures are actually aimed at A level students.
sb (PS5TF) [3232] Certainly, yes.
nm (PS5TE) [3233] Others at O level students.
sb (PS5TF) [3234] Right.
nm (PS5TE) [3235] And some could be given at either level?
sb (PS5TF) [3236] Well they might be tailored a little bit according to the level, but basically it's a similar lecture.
nm (PS5TE) [3237] Do they come with demonstrations?
sb (PS5TF) [3238] Usually this is so, but of course the lecturers they are very different in their approaches — some will use this illustration approach more than others.
nm (PS5TE) [3239] And if there are any teachers that want to know about this, they could get details by contacting you, Peter Simpson, at the university?
sb (PS5TF) [3240] They could indeed, yes, at the School of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences.
nm (PS5TE) [3241] Good.
[3242] Now that's lecturing, what other contacts do we have with schools?
sb (PS5TF) [3243] Well, as a chemist perhaps you'll forgive me for dwelling largely on what we as chemists do, but of course it's not only the chemists in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences who do things for schools — it's right across the area — but each year, for example, we have a week set aside for sixth form visits, in which parties of sixth formers come to the School and we're about to talk to them about university entrance, about what goes on in universities, but, most importantly, to show them some of the apparatus which they don't have at school but which they've probably heard about.
[3244] I think we've settled down to a pattern of events now which schools have actually indicated to us is what they want to see.
nm (PS5TE) [3245] And what time of the year does this happen?
sb (PS5TF) [3246] This is in the summer.
[3247] This year I think it's the first week in July we have set aside for this purpose.
nm (PS5TE) [3248] And again arrangements are made between schools and the university to accommodate groups of children, or
sb (PS5TF) [3249] Right.
[3250] We send out details to the schools each year, and they will book to bring a party of children round for, oh it lasts about two and a half hours altogether, and they will come either for a morning or for an afternoon.
nm (PS5TE) [3251] We in physics have two or three opportunities for sixth formers, fifth formers to come to the university and find out a little bit more about physics.
[3252] We run a lower sixth form residential summer school for kids, which has been very popular for the past five years.
[3253] We also run a summer school called Women into Physics, which is a rather strange title, but the idea basically is to persuade, if not encourage, young girls who have just taken their O levels that physics is a subject which could be for them — it's not unladylike about being a scientist and, in particular, being a physicist.
[3254] Do you do anything like this in chemistry, Peter.
sb (PS5TF) [3255] Well, not quite like this.
[3256] I think this merely emphasises that each school is operating its own erm thing, as it were.
[3257] But I must say I'm very encouraged to see the numbers of women who are applying to do subjects like chemistry and physics is going up and certainly we would applaud that sort of activity.
[3258] I think as chemists we would be glad to see more and more women come into the subject.
nm (PS5TE) [3259] Do you think that there is a disadvantage to being a woman at school, so far as a science subject's concerned?
[3260] Do you think that teachers really don't expect them to do well in the sciences and perhaps even positively discourage them from going into science?
sb (PS5TF) [3261] I doubt whether this is done deliberately, but I think it's part of everybody's perception of science in schools that girls do biology and boys do chemistry and physics, and I suppose this is bound to have its affect on people's choices, but I personally, and I think most of my colleagues would agree with me on this, see no reason to suppose that girls should be any less good at chemistry and physics than boys.
nm (PS5TE) [3262] Are they at any form of disadvantage when they come to university studying a science subject such as chemistry?
sb (PS5TF) [3263] I don't think so.
[3264] I don't think so at all.
[3265] It's interesting, actually, since I teach a first year class of biologists, where we do have rather more girls than boys, that erm as a class it works very well, possibly better than some of our own chemistry classes where there are fewer girls, and I don't know whether this is because of the mix or not.
nm (PS5TE) [3266] And certainly if they come for interview, if they apply to the university, they get a very good chance of entrance.
sb (PS5TF) [3267] Oh certainly, yes, there's no question of discriminating against women.
[3268] We're looking for good candidates whether they're men or women.
nm (PS5TE) [3269] Peter, the things we're talking about are highly commendable, but I suspect at the back of the minds of most kids at school the question of examinations — whether they're going to get their O level, or their A level, or their G C E or whatever — to what extent are university people involved in examining?
sb (PS5TF) [3270] Well we're involved in actual fact to quite a heavy extent.
[3271] Within our own School two of us are actually senior examiners for one examining board and this brings us into contact with teachers and indeed candidates.
[3272] It helps a great deal to keep us in touch with what's happening at school and enables us to exert some influence, I suppose, on what happens in schools, hopefully in the interests of the candidates.
nm (PS5TE) [3273] Do you find a resistance to change in schools in terms of the examination syllabus and content?
sb (PS5TF) [3274] I think possibly the reverse.
[3275] There have been an enormous series of changes over the last ten or fifteen years, and maybe some school teachers would be glad if it slowed down a little bit to make their life a little easier, I don't know.
nm (PS5TE) [3276] Sir Keith Joseph has recently gone on record as saying that he wished that examiners could be more objective in their assessment of what children know.
[3277] Is there any application of this in chemistry that you can see?
[3278] Is there a body of chemistry that, if you knew it, you're all right, as it were , you could pass a certain exam and if you didn't know it, or is chemistry a little bit subjective in terms of its assessment?
sb (PS5TF) [3279] Well there's an element of subjectiveness, inevitably, in an assessment, I think, but of course we are aware of this problem and we do try to be a objective as we possibly can.
[3280] We try to set ourselves specific aims and objectives and when it comes to marking scripts, for example, we have a quite specific mark scheme which has been very carefully thrased out, not only with examiners, but with certain school teachers, which we try to make tie this down as be as objective as we can, but there's always and element of subjectivity.
[3281] If there are four marks for a given point, the candidate who gets it all right gets four, the candidate who gets it all wrong gets nothing, but the chap who gets it part right has a possibility of one, two or three, and it's often a question of judgement as to what an imperfect answer is worth.
nm (PS5TE) [3282] Do you use multiple choice papers in examinations these days?
sb (PS5TF) [3283] Yes, most Boards do, I think, but to varying extents.
[3284] I think probably something like twenty per cent of the marks for most Boards will go on the multiple choice erm paper.
nm (PS5TE) [3285] We use multiple choice question papers in physics too.
[3286] I'm always a little bit worried about them because it seems to me that they almost define the syllabus in terms of what you can ask four reasonable questions in terms of alternatives about.
sb (PS5TF) [3287] Well I wouldn't like to see an exam system which was entirely multiple choice questions for just that reason.
[3288] I would also like to see skills of writing and arguing developed and tested.
[3289] But they are particularly easy to mark, but I suspect they give us a false sense of objectivity and I think we sometimes give the statistics a little bit too much weight.
nm (PS5TE) [3290] Lastly, in terms of chemistry as a career, is it a good career these days, Peter?
sb (PS5TF) [3291] Well my feeling is that students who graduate from here ultimately get jobs.
[3292] Many of them, of course, not in chemistry.
[3293] There are fewer jobs in chemistry than there used to be.
[3294] In an economic upturn that may change, of course, but I think they all get jobs of some sort, and I would have hoped that a chemistry degree, a good training in chemistry, would in fact also train people to think in such a way that they could apply it to a lot of other areas.
[3295] Chemists have traditionally taken employment in other areas anyway.
[3296] Lots of chemists have made very good chartered accountants, for example, but I would like to see very many more — let's say science trained people going out into the professions, particularly into politics.
nm (PS5TE) [3297] So it's a training for life, not just a training for being a chemist?
sb (PS5TF) [3298] I would like to think so.
nm (PS5TE) [3299] Peter, thank you very much.
[3300] That's all that we have time for today.
[3301] Next


[recorded jingle]
a (PS5T8) [3302] Hello.
[3303] In our series about computers we're looking at applications in all sorts of different areas, and today we're going to talk about how they're used in medicine.
[3304] Would you tell your symptoms to an electronic box?
[3305] I recently asked Dr Jim Hunter whether in the future diagnosis would be by computer rather than by doctor.
cd (PS5TG) [3307] Yes and no I suppose.
[3308] I think we're taking first faltering steps in this direction at the moment.
a (PS5T8) [3309] Is a computer better than a doctor?
cd (PS5TG) [3310] Well, the studies that I've been involved in, the computer has performed certainly as well as a consultant, and at times much better than a junior doctor in the particular situation that I'm talking about.
a (PS5T8) [3311] It sounds to me as if it could be a bit worrying to think that when you went to see your doctor you'd be faced by a machine instead of a human being the other side of desk.
cd (PS5TG) [3312] Well there are two answers to that I suppose.
[3313] One is that we're certainly nowhere near that.
[3314] All of the uses that I know of diagnostic computers are ... involve the doctor talking to the patient, looking at the patient, taking symptoms and then going and using the computer in a similar way that we perhaps might go and ask for an x-ray.
[3315] The other answer is that erm certainly some trials have been done with patients not being diagnosed by a computer, but by giving initial information like their age, their date of birth, erm where the pain is, etc. erm actually interacting themselves with the computer, and studies have shown curiously that patients actually prefer to use a computer rather than to give this information to a doctor.
[3316] Now why this should be, I don't know.
[3317] Whether it's because they feel they're not taking up the valuable time of a doctor, they can go at their own pace, who knows?
[3318] But certainly it may even be that people might, in the future, even prefer to talk to computers under some circumstances.
a (PS5T8) [3319] That sounds absolutely fascinating.
cd (PS5TG) [3320] I suppose one advantage of a computer is that it can store and remember a great deal of information.
a (PS5T8) [3321] Yes.
[3322] The ... if I can talk perhaps a little bit about the particular system that I'm interested in, the way it works is that it ... well it diagnoses abdominal pain; if you go into the erm particular casualty department — in the fact the Royal Sussex County Hospital at the moment — with back pain in your abdomen, lower abdomen, then the symptoms will be taken by a doctor and he will then go to the diagnostic computer and feed these symptoms in.
[3323] These cover a large range of things, like the patient's age, the patient's sex, where the pain is, where it started, how quickly it came on, and so on and so forth, and essentially within the computer has a large table, and this table contains, how shall I put it, the frequency with which this particular symptom was associated with a particular disease over the last few hundred patients that have been seen at that hospital.
[3324] It's very limited.
[3325] It only deals with the acute abdomen.
[3326] It deals with pains like appendicitis, coley cystitis, which is inflammation of the gall bladder — about nine different diseases — and it merely says to you at the end of the operation based on the last five or six hundred patients I've seen, the probability of this patient having appendicitis is ninety per cent, the probability of something else being ten per cent .
[3327] So, yes, it has a big database of about oh three thousand numbers, and it just looks these up essentially.
a (PS5T8) [3328] So it could be used as a preliminary check for patients, more or less on a routine basis?
[3329] Before the doctors or the consultant actually sees a patient, then
cd (PS5TG) [3330] Well not before the doctor sees the patient, because much of the information that is fed in would have to be gain, acquired, by somebody with a good deal of medical knowledge.
[3331] When I say ‘Where is the pain?’ and questions like this, this could be answered just by asking the patient, but there are erm various kinds of tests — one lovely test called Murphy's test, for example— which have to be carried out by a qualified doctor or a qualified medical person, so it's not a question of must being hooked onto the computer and the computer giving the answer.
[3332] It's an aid to the doctor for making diagnoses, not a diagnostic instrument in itself.
a (PS5T8) [3333] Is there anything special about this sort of computer?
[3334] Is it an ordinary digital computer of the sort that's used in commerce and industry, or is it a special type of computer.
[3335] Is it the program or is it the computer that's specific?
cd (PS5TG) [3336] It's the program that's very specific to this problem.
[3337] erm the one at the Royal Sussex is perhaps interesting, in that in fact it's ... the computer is based on a microprocessor, so it really is using the latest erm in advanced microtechnology.
[3338] The computer itself is a box, oh what, a foot and a half by a foot by two feet, very small.
[3339] erm but it's the program, yes, it's the application of complex programs to thee very sophisticated but very small computers, I think, which is of interest in this particular case.
a (PS5T8) [3340] mhm And how many places in this country are computers actually used in diagnosis?
cd (PS5TG) [3341] Oh, there you have me.
[3342] I don't know in general.
[3343] This particular system erm for diagnosing the acute abdomen, acute abdominal pain, we got the basic ideal from a hospital in Edinburgh.
[3344] They in turn got it from a hospital in Leeds, and I know of one other implementation in Sheffield of this particular system, so there may be two or three others that I don't know about, perhaps four or five in this country, of this particular type.
[3345] erm of more general types, I really don't know.
[3346] Not very many.
a (PS5T8) [3347] Is it used much more in the United States where medicine is much more expensive altogether?
cd (PS5TG) [3348] Yes, certainly, the erm place where such diagnostic systems came from, I think, was certainly the States, and most research has been done there — Stanford in particular has been very much involved in this so-called expert system.
a (PS5T8) [3349] You do this research in collaboration with the Royal Sussex Hospital.
[3350] Is that where the idea came from originally?
cd (PS5TG) [3351] The original idea came from a Doctor Dedombar in Leeds.
[3352] This ... his system was implemented in one or two places, including Edinburgh, and our current ideas essentially came from Edinburgh, from Bangor Hospital near Edinburgh.
[3353] The consultant down here who got interested is a Mr Philip Somerville, who's a senior consultant at the Royal Sussex.
[3354] He visited Edinburgh, saw what they were doing there, liked it and decided to see whether it could be done at Sussex and approached the university through the Bi-Medical Engineering Group, of which I'm a member, and I was interested.
[3355] We did a lot of talking, of course, and then it was decided that we could possibly raise some money by going to the League of Friends, which we did, and they very generously provided ... well in fact the whole total is about five thousand pounds, of which three and a half thousands represents the computer, and we're about to go live, as it were , in a week or two.
[3356] So far we've only had particular doctors using it to run it in, as it were, but in the very near future we hope that all of the doctors in the accident department will be using this system.
a (PS5T8) [3357] Do you have a medical background at all?
cd (PS5TG) [3358] None whatsoever.
a (PS5T8) [3359] So you do have to rely very heavily on collaboration with the local doctors?
Unknown speaker (KRHPSUNK) [3360] Oh indeed.
[3361] This is one very good aspect of such projects, I think, that the interesting work is to be done at the interface between one discipline — medicine in this case ... and another discipline — computer science — where both people just have to learn to talk to each other in their own language.
[3362] That's part of the problem in doing such research, certainly.
a (PS5T8) [3363] Do you think that it could ever be true that they would be sufficiently inexpensive that they could be used in most doctors' surgeries, or is it going to be something which is only used in one or two important hospitals?
cd (PS5TG) [3364] Oh no.
[3365] I think expense certainly won't be a problem.
[3366] I can very well see such prices going down and down and down ... well certainly to several hundred pounds.
[3367] In particular, if one started to make such systems much more, how shall I put it, ... tailor the electronics to the purpose, then the cost could be quite low.
[3368] At the moment we're dealing with a general purpose system, which is designed for all sorts of applications, and one pays for having a thing general purpose by costing more money.
[3369] Certainly it's feasible to have them in G Ps surgeries.
[3370] I would, myself, be very keen to look at the possibility of such machines perhaps even going to third world countries, because it's even arguable that the place for such intelligence systems is not to replace expert medical people in this country where we have such people, but to export them to developing countries which don't have such people, and one could imagine, perhaps, a system of erm paramedical orderlies, who had some sort of medical knowledge and manipulative skill, taking a small expert computer in a shoe box — it would be no bigger — to villages and getting diagnoses of patient illnesses there on the spot.
a (PS5T8) [3371] So it would make a great deal of difference in areas where there's very little available in the way of medical services.
[3372] What's the future, then?
[3373] You've worked out a program or a system for acute erm stomach pains — are you planning to move onto other areas and gradually build up a catalogue of aches and pains in the body, or what?
cd (PS5TG) [3374] [laugh] Well this particular system that I'm working on a the moment is really unintelligent.
[3375] It, as I said earlier, really just looks up a table of data values, numerical values, and comes up with an answer and you can't question it, you can't ask it why did you get that particular answer.
[3376] erm it doesn't give an answer, but if you could the only answer it could give is that what my tables say is wrong.
[3377] Now there is a class of systems, so-called expert systems, which have come out of artificial intelligence research, which can do much more than that, are much more intelligent.
[3378] Internally, they mirror the structure of an expert's thought, in this case of a doctor's thoughts, which tends to be much more.
[3379] If I see this and if I see that, then that means something else, and that something else taken in conjunction with something else that I see might suggest so and so, and so on.
[3380] This is the way that people think, people reason.
[3381] This isn't the way that the current system reasons, and I would certainly like to take the current system and push it in this direction of being more expert in a human sense.
[3382] I think one of the great areas of such as system is in teaching young doctors, in training people, and an expert who can't tell a tutee why he has given a certain answer isn't really much good as a teacher.
[3383] I think to be a good teaching aid something has to say ‘Well I think this because’ and, as it were, retrace the chain of reasoning that I've just ... the sort of chain that I've given you.
[3384] So that, I think, is where this research ought to go, into truly expert systems rather than in statistical machines, which is what it is at the moment.
a (PS5T8) [3385] So what you would see is the machine, as it were, engaging the patient in a much more perhaps conversational mode and with much more feedback and response to the way in which the patient is answering the questions or behaving, rather than just, as it were , a machine which elicits information from the patient and compares it with a statistical set of data.
cd (PS5TG) [3386] Yes, whether one would ever actually get such a system interacting with a patient is difficult to foresee.
[3387] It's possible, I suppose, but I think a lot of research has to be done on the way interaction takes place.
[3388] I think we've got to work out better ways of machines interacting with doctors, perhaps before we're ready to move on to machines interacting with patients.
a (PS5T8) [3389] Well that sounds absolutely fascinating.
[3390] I believe there's one other area in which you're working, and that is putting computers together to simulate visual interpretation of some kind.
[3391] Is that so?
cd (PS5TG) [3392] Yes.
[3393] erm this is a more abstract research project, which is concerned with the idea that we may, very soon perhaps, reach the limit of what we can cram onto a silicon chip.
[3394] That being so, the only way to get more computing power to attack any given problem — and the sort of problems I'm interested in are very complex problems — the only way to get enough computing power to tackle these may be to make a number of computers work together in co-operation; what we call multiprocessor systems or, since we're interested in microprocessors, small computers, we talk about multimicroprocessor systems.
[3395] A particular research project that I and two colleagues, Keith Baker and Erin Sloman, have a grant from the Science Research Council for is to look first of all at the problems of getting such as system with, well at the moment three but possibly up to twelve computers, working on a given existing artificial intelligence problem to see how to take this big program — it's called Popeye — it's a research project to study various areas of visual perception, as you say — to see how to break this down and have it running simultaneously on a number of much smaller computers, rather than on the single big computer that it's running on at the moment.
[3396] The second half of the project is concerned really with how on earth we get such program to work, such programs are very complicated, they interact in various odd ways, and getting the bugs out, getting the problems out or debugging as the jargon has it, is a really serious problem and we hope to make some advance on the problem of erm developing programs for such distributed multi-processor systems.
a (PS5T8) [3397] Thank you very much, Jim, for talking about this research. [recorded jingle]


tb (PS5TC) [3398] ... however, we're going to examine quite a different area ... how computer can help librarians to make better use of their stock.
[3399] Peter Stone is a librarian at the university.
[3400] Peter, how useful have you found the computer in our library?
sb (PS5TF) [3402] Well, first of all I suppose one should say that we don't just use one computer, we, like lots of other libraries, have got access to a large number of computers, and indeed you'll find these computers being used elsewhere for the same sort of work.
[3403] Probably most people have seen displays of Prestel, even in television rental shops, which is a system running through the Post Office network, accessing large amounts of mainly factual information — things like telephone directories, like timetables, like oh a lot of business information.
[3404] That's very effective if you're dealing with factual information which is changing fairly rapidly, and I think we'll see quite a growth of that in the next few years, but libraries aren't just stores of factual information, they store a large number of books and articles and they need access to that too, and probably the most typical external use of a computer in libraries ... in a university library, or academic library, these days is to access the huge stores of information on scientific publishing.
[3405] There's one gigantic computer in California, which has got access to a hundred databases there called the stores of information, compiled mainly by the publishers of journals.
[3406] It's got thirty million articles in it and you can find information, pull out articles relevant to your needs by looking for authors, looking for words in the text, and you can look at the summary of the article very quickly.
[3407] In both Prestel and those sorts of things as you use the system you pay, and you pay for the telecommunications cost, you pay for the computer cost and you pay for the information that you receive, and that sort of worthwhile sharing of information, I am sure, is going to grow.
[3408] However, my own interest, perhaps, is more in what a library, a typical library — not just a university library ... can do with its own computer, and most of our readers, most of the people who use libraries, expect to find books in those libraries and expect to find them when they want them, and our interests have been angled very much towards improving that sort of service.
tb (PS5TC) [3409] So there's a sense in which you use a computer for all sorts of different purposes.
[3410] You use a computer when books are issued, for example?
sb (PS5TF) [3411] Yes.
[3412] I'm sure most people by now are quite familiar with the use of computers in this way.
[3413] In fact, in about 1971 there was a sudden spate of development in this area, and both the university library and what was then Brighton Public Library, and West Sussex, all were innovators in those days, using computer-based lending systems, which used little cards with lots of little holes in them, and I am sure they are familiar to lots of people.
[3414] In the last few years you'll have seen those holes replaced by sort of zebra stripes — what we call bar codes in the trade, and those bar codes you'll also see on your groceries all over the place.
[3415] That's an interesting problem, the way we communicate to a computer is not the way we necessarily think of it.
[3416] You can only distinguish your library card from that of a book by a difference in the thickness of one line.
[3417] It's just a thick line for humans and a thin line for books, possibly, but it works and we haven't had any problems.
tb (PS5TC) [3418] So when you are actually checking out a book the librarian runs a little light pen, is it, over the code, so that it
sb (PS5TF) [3419] That's it.
[3420] Well there again there's a compromise.
[3421] We all know how to use pens, we were taught how to use pen in primary school, but the computer can't read our writing yet, so we use something which looks like a pen, but is reading something which doesn't look like letters of the alphabet and words, but which it can understand and understand very quickly and very accurately indeed.
tb (PS5TC) [3422] And presumably the advantage of using a computer for that is much greater than the mere erm saving of time in a librarian taking out a card and putting it in a wallet or a card folder or something like that, because you can retain in your computer a lot of information about what books are in the library and what books are out with lenders and so on.
sb (PS5TF) [3423] Right.
[3424] That information is only part of the very large store of information that we need to retain in our own local computer, which contains records about, oh it's about a hundred and fifty thousand of our four hundred and fifty thousand different books at this moment.
[3425] Going back on what I said earlier on, East Sussex County Library, for example, keep their records of books, their catalogue, on a system which is run from the British Library, and the Polytechnic draws that sort of information from a co-operative which was originally based in Birmingham.
[3426] We've chosen to go it alone, but the net result is the same, that the computer store of information includes information on the authors and the titles of the books and, of course, now includes information on the books that are being borrowed, who's got them, when they're coming back, how many other copies we've got, whether we've got copies on order, and all of that, all in one central store of information, a central store which can be shared by everyone using the library.
tb (PS5TC) [3427] mhm And I suppose in the old days if you actually wanted to know which books were popular and which books were not used at all you had to send a librarian to painstakingly look through the shelves, perhaps, and look at the date stamps or something like that, whereas now it's presumably just a question of pressing a few buttons and the information comes.
sb (PS5TF) [3428] Well right.
[3429] In the old days we simply couldn't afford to do that.
[3430] We're not dealing with a thousand items, we're dealing with four hundred and fifty thousand items, and for anyone to go and collect that information on a larger scale ... even sampling it would have been almost unthinkable.
[3431] Now the computer can collect this sort of information as people borrow the books, as a sort of by-product if you like.
[3432] The book is lent, it needs to be known when it's gone out, when it's due back, but the computer can clock up one.
[3433] That bit of information adds to other bits of information, all within the central store.
[3434] We know what the price of the book was.
[3435] We had to pay for it, so we had to send off a bill and therefore it knows what the price is.
[3436] We have to put a shelf mark on the book so that we can shelve the book, but that tells us quite a lot about the subject.
[3437] And if you start putting those three things together, the Librarian, as manager of his library, can start to put all this information together.
[3438] In fact the computer digests it for him to give him and overview of how effective his operation is, when he should be buying extra copies, when perhaps he should be thinking of not buying quite so much, or being a little more selective.
[3439] But the reader gains as well because he sees it from a different angle.
[3440] Most of our users come into the library looking for a very specific book.
[3441] About eighty per cent of the users are students, and they've normally been told to read this, or read that, or read the other and if they now use one of our computer terminals, which has got a little video screen on the top and a little keyboard, they can look up the books.
[3442] They can look the up by title, by the title of the book, as well as by the traditional author approach, and when they've found it the computer tells them how many copies are in the library or whether or they're all on loan.
[3443] It's all drawing information from this same central store of information.
[3444] It's a way of sharing information amongst a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons, information which previously would have been separated and almost impossible to put together without a great deal of effort.
tb (PS5TC) [3445] Let's hark back to what you were saying earlier about information storage on a very large scale.
[3446] You mentioned the explosion of information, particularly in the science area where there are thousands, literally thousands, of publications and scientists producing more information, more data every day and pumping into these things.
[3447] Do you think it's going to ultimately change the whole notion of publishing?
[3448] Do you think that perhaps in due course publishing will move into an area in which you wouldn't ever actually print anything, you would actually put it into a machine.
sb (PS5TF) [3449] Yes.
[3450] Well it's very interesting, but I'm not sure it's working in the same direction as almost implied by your question of implying that there was almost too much.
[3451] One of the more fascinating changes has been the introduction of word processing equipment, whereby someone who types his article can just sent off something like a floppy disk to his publisher, and without much intervention it appears as the printed article.
[3452] The publisher, traditionally, needs to sell at least a thousand copies of that to be worth even advertising it, but this means that you can print an extra copy whenever you want and this then implies and even larger and larger growth in more and more specialised information which only computers can manage, and one hesitates to work out where the end of all this is.
[3453] The human race is producing so much information.
[3454] It isn't factual information, we're not just looking at price movements of stocks and shares, but in the scientific community it's very much to do with ideas and how that person can get across his ideas, his concepts, to people half a world away.
[3455] That's a very complicated question.
tb (PS5TC) [3456] And you mentioned then how a floppy disk, that's a sort of disk storage device, can be used to get a book printed.
[3457] Is this being used at all in practice, or is it just a daydream?
sb (PS5TF) [3458] Oh yes, indeed, a close friend of mine has been working on a history of a very large British company and he's just seen the proofs produced from the printers from the typescript which was typed in his own office, and apart from the fact that their computers can change the typefaces and improve the whole thing, the work has not had to be rekeyboarded, as they would say, retyped in, at all.
[3459] It does save things very considerably.
[3460] It's part of this way in which the computer can turn information over and over again for a different need.
[3461] I saw in publishing a very nice example of that — not the word processing — but at John Wylies, who are very big scientific publishers in Chichester, where they had a computer system which the editor — he's the person who deals with the author, puts the book together — set about ordering the book, the orders and that information went into the computer, when the thing was printed it went into the warehouse and the computer then organised the storage of all of these things in the warehouse.
[3462] Orders came in, and that helped the warehouse unpack the boxes and despatch them.
[3463] The information got fed back to the editor to tell him what the sales were.
[3464] It was a continuous process, and all of the people tended to see the computer as working very much for them rather than for the other department next door.
tb (PS5TC) [3465] And presumably if you wanted to revise a book at all and you had the book on your floppy disk or in your computer in some form, you could again use your word processor to bring it up to date in a revised version?
sb (PS5TF) [3466] Well that is ... I think everyone who's ever worked on computers, editing or word processing, has been very fascinated by the change of attitude that they've had, that somehow it isn't finished, it's never finished.
[3467] Previously you could ask someone to type up first draft, second draft, maybe a third draft, but how far can you drive your secretary — and now they can be wholly in charge of this.
[3468] They can change the layout of it as much as the words within it.
[3469] They can ask colleagues to come in and comment and you can add a little bit.
[3470] Could you revise paragraph ten, Fred?
[3471] That sort of thing goes on continuously.
[3472] The thing is moulded under your eyes, and a recent book which has been very popular in the university Gödel Esher Bach which is on some of the aspects of artificial intelligence and ideas, has in its preface got quite a long article on how the author actually organised all of the processes, right through to the final printing of that book, and indeed even wrote the programs for formatting the text, and it has obviously been very stimulating for him.
[3473] He could organise the final output of everything that he had thought right from beginning through to end.
tb (PS5TC) [3474] Well thank you very much, Peter, that most interesting.
[3475] That's all that we have time for today.


sb (PS5TF) [3476] Hello.
[3477] In our Ideas in Action programme I shall be talking to Dr Mike King about teaching science to very young children in schools.
[3478] I shall be asking him questions such as‘Is it a good idea for parents to encourage their children to become interested in science by buying them toys, such as a chemistry sets, for Christmas’.
cd (PS5TG) [3480] Well they're a lot of fun and kids love them, and as I commented a little earlier to somebody I still haven't quite forgiven my mother-in-law for the chemistry set she bought my seven year old.
[3481] He is absolutely amazed by it and spends lots of time in the garage and the back, which actually means that I spend an awful lot [laugh] of time in that garage in the cold too.
sb (PS5TF) [3482] There is an exhibition of science carried out by children in first schools in Brighton and Hove at the Booth Museum, Dyke Road, this week.
[3483] It's open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. [recorded jingle]
sb (PS5TF) [3484] Hello.
[3485] Science is thought of as a subject that is difficult both to teach and to learn.
[3486] The folklore in school terms is that you have to be a relatively ancient teenager to appreciate physics and chemistry and biology.
[3487] Is this true?
[3488] Today I have with me Dr Mike King, who's made a study of science teaching in schools.
[3489] Mike, how early can science be taught to children?
cd (PS5TG) [3490] Well I think that rather depends on saying fairly concisely what it is we mean by science.
[3491] If in a sense it means how early can you teach children facts and contents and very straightforward knowledge, then I think the answer is not very early at all because it may be fairly meaningless that you could teach a child to repeat Newton's law, perhaps the same way as you could teach him to repeat the eleven times table, but without a good concept of number or what Newton meant.
[3492] It's probably something they could learn off parrot fashion, but doesn't have any actual meaning for them.
[3493] But if you look at science as a way of exploring their world, a world they can structure their curiosity about aspects of the physical world, about aspects of the environment, then I think we can do it very early indeed, probably from the time children can come to school at the age of five and from reception classes onwards.
[3494] In fact, we do run a project which looks at the ways science can be taught in the first school, which has been very surprising to me and many of my colleagues by what can actually be done with children in the ages of five to seven.
[3495] For most young children in that age group, the world's a magic place and we traditionally like to teach them nature study and flowers and cuddly hamsters and rabbits in school, and that's the nature table syndrome, and that's great and I'm not knocking that at all.
[3496] There is so much opportunity for children to look at the nature of the physical world around them which isn't taken advantage of, and which could be, and I think that may have something to do with the attitude of teachers as much as the attitude of children.
[3497] But erm they're tremendously curious about the nature of the world around them and they're certainly capable of, if not understanding why, exploring what.
sb (PS5TF) [3498] I took my godson, Dominic Robinson, round my laboratory the other day, which is a physics laboratory, and he enjoyed it immensely and asked a number of questions, and was absolutely intrigued and fascinated by the various bits of wires and plugs and so on like that, and he asked me the sort of questions that I don't think I would expect sometimes my [laugh] undergraduates to ask.
[3499] They were perhaps stemmed from innocence, but they were very searching and very real questions, and he was obviously very excited to ask them and to listen to some of the answers.
[3500] Do you think we perhaps put kids off an interest in science by our sort of insistence that they have to have a solid understanding of Newton's laws and all sorts of principles, and we lose the magic too early?
cd (PS5TG) [3501] Yes, I'm sure we do, and I think that's to do with our notions of what science is.
[3502] There's a mystique which has built up about it.
[3503] Anybody who's worked in graduate or postgraduate level in science likes almost to continue that mystique.
[3504] Yes, we do put children off by being rigid because a child, I am sure, doesn't see the world in a rigid way.
[3505] What's out there is all out there.
[3506] Bits of his universe are to do with art and colour and drawing.
[3507] I mean if you watch a child, and I have a seven year old boy, playing stacking cards or dominoes is the current thing in our house, watching them stack them and then knocking them off and watching them fall and the way they fall, the amount of work which is involved there in structures and forces and the nature of gravity and the way things behave under gravity fascinate them.
[3508] The problem, of course, is most of us couldn't give a sensible reply to the very searching questions they ask, so we tend to say something like ‘that's a fascinating questions, but you'll have to wait till you're older and ask a scientist’.
[3509] That's not the children's mistake, that's ours, because we couldn't actually for the best part respond in a meaningful way.
[3510] And in another sense what we don't do often is to actually recognize the significance of the child's question because of the language he puts it in.
[3511] He asks something which, you know, I mean the way they do, what is life, and you wouldn't know — unless you're perhaps trained or awake to the significance of what the child is actually asking — you wouldn't know how to respond to that, so you tend to put it off.
sb (PS5TF) [3512] You mentioned that schools are quite good at biology, that they have guinea pigs and they have growing plants and so forth, and I think you hinted at the fact that they perhaps are not quite so good at maybe the harder sciences, we might [laugh] call them, of physics and chemistry.
[3513] Is that the case and, if so, what can we do about it at an early stage?
cd (PS5TG) [3514] I believe that is the case, and I believe that again is a reflection of us as adults erm and not an indictment of teachers.
[3515] They show great pedagogic skills in almost every aspect of school life.
[3516] Most of us, as people who live in this world, are interested in our environment, and even if not young we certainly grow to appreciate it and to learn a bit about flowers and the way animals live and work in our garden and watching David Attenborough on television and erm we have a genuine interest because as part of this world we know it and come to understand it, and probably feel, therefore, if even if you're not a biology specialist, which you certainly don't have to be by any means, when a child asks a question about, you know, ‘where do the flies go in winter?’ and ‘why's the hamster gone to sleep for three months?’we feel more capable of answering it because we're closer to it ourselves and those are the sorts of questions that people told us.
[3517] When a child asks a question about something dropping from a height — does it get faster and it falls for longer and longer?— that probably is a question that most teachers who are not trained in the physical sciences just cannot answer.
[3518] What can we do about it?
[3519] I think at the end it must come down to two things; one basically a change in attitude — we have to come to recognise that we live in a very, very technological society, that most of us were born before man walked on the moon, but the kids in school were born in an age when man had walked on the moon ten years ago and they live in a world which is very scientific, and we have to recognise that — and the other one is practical sense, I think, where we really have to look seriously to in-service training of teachers, a) and b) we have to look carefully at the way we train teachers now.
[3520] In many institutions which train primary and first school teachers, the teachers themselves have an option as to whether they can do a science course or not and then even if they do it it's usually very biologically biased erm towards the natural sciences.
[3521] At Sussex we actually make a third of the time they spend on the university component of their courses compulsory work in science — that is to say every student does it — so we can actually do something about it practically by looking at our processes of initial training and coming to realise what an important section of the world this is and training teachers accordingly, and not to leave it at that but to continue with erm progressive and planned in-service training of teachers.
[3522] Our own experience from several of the projects that we've been looking at which are in-service type projects, is that when we do train teachers and when we do put an investment in it, we see the pay-off in the schools that physical science does get done in schools, it is fun and it is exciting.
[3523] It's when the teachers think this is a boring, mundane, difficult thing to do, then that tends to be put over to the children and of course the disaster is that the children will believe it, and it if the children will believe it then we grow up in a highly technological society producing very few technologists or scientists.
sb (PS5TF) [3524] What you describe does sound a little bit like a chicken and egg situation from the point of view that I think you were saying that erm many teachers are ill-equipped, actually, to teach erm physics, perhaps, and chemistry, whereas they are a little bit better able to get across fundamental ideas in biology, and in a sense because of this they are going to produce another generation who perhaps have very ill-founded ideas of these basic sciences and so on and so forth, and somehow one's got to cut into this cycle and actually improve it, improve the output somehow.
cd (PS5TG) [3525] Yes, the chicken and egg syndrome is interesting because ... and I agree it is a vicious circle, but in fact you don't make new omelettes unless you do break some eggs, and I think the time has come to break some eggs and I think that's what I'm advocating is that it will come from the teacher because the teacher is the guiding light of what happens in the classroom, and if the teacher has it in the back of their mind there will be no science, then there will be no science.
[3526] If, on the other hand, the teacher has it in the back of their mind always to be aware of the possibility of bringing into the work that's going on in the classroom and bringing all they're usually very excellent pedagogic skills to bear on it, aspects of the physical sciences, so that the children can get an early and meaningful introduction to it, then it will happen.
[3527] The question is how do you break into the cycle and make that happen, and I think the answer is, as I said, in two ways — one by making teachers more aware during their period of initial training, either at college or at university or polytechnic, and secondly by looking very carefully at the amount and type of in-service training erm that goes on for teachers once they've left college and are in the schools.
sb (PS5TF) [3528] Essentially what you're saying is that a teacher who's actually teaching you ought to be able to say to that teacher ‘look, here's a package, if you like, that you can insert into your range of skills, and these are of things that you can do with children which are worthwhile doing and fairly easily for you to acquire skills yourself, and they will be very good and helpful for the children’.
cd (PS5TG) [3529] Well I'd only say that initially erm because then what you end up with is a sort of lucky dip which every now and then somebody will remember the bag of science tricks that somebody's taught them and dip into.
[3530] Now I think that's better than nothing, but I think one has to take it a stage further than that and say that erm the concepts and the processes in science do build logically one upon the other, in a coherent and meaningful way, and that's important for teachers to appreciate what that meaningful sequence is and that, you know, the lucky dip idea is, as I have said, better than nothing, but it's so much inferior to the notion that teachers should be aware that there is a progression in science and that they can teach children progressively from a very early age onwards and build meaningful knowledge upon meaningful knowledge.
sb (PS5TF) [3531] Is there anything that parents can do?
[3532] Christmas is coming up and there are chemistry sets in the shops.
[3533] Do these make good gifts from a scientific point of view?
cd (PS5TG) [3534] Well they're a lot of fun and kids love them.
[3535] As I commented a little earlier to somebody, I still haven't quite forgiven my mother-in-law for the chemistry set she bought my seven-year-old.
[3536] He is absolutely amazed by it and spends lots of time in a garage at the back, which actually means that I spend an awful lot of time [laugh] in that garage in the cold too!
[3537] Yes, they are good sets and they do ... they are exciting for children.
[3538] They do enjoy them and they do make good use of them.
[3539] Quite often they need a lot of erm time spent by the parent with the child, and if the parent's happy with that they're fine.
[3540] None of them, or very few of them, if you buy a good quality one is dangerous.
[3541] It's very important, I think, that erm you match the age of the child to the age which is written on the box, because then the child will actually be handling materials that he can physically handle and ideas that he can physically cope with or intellectually cope with.
[3542] So they are probably very useful erm toys, educational toys, to have in the home, but I think for the child to get the maximum from them they do ... he often does require an adult with him.
sb (PS5TF) [3543] How about electronic kits and circuits?
[3544] Are they worthwhile, would you say?
cd (PS5TG) [3545] Yes, they are; they are very much.
[3546] Again, it's a question of matching the kit to the age of the child because some of them erm — the one we have at home, for example, plugs into the mains and although it only pushes out six or nine volts at the end the child actually does have to plug it in and, well I don't think I'd be happy if my six or seven year old was doing that, although my nine year old could cope with it quite happily.
[3547] So they are useful erm children can learn a lot.
[3548] What I like about them and where I think their strengths are is that they do put science, the physical sciences, in that bracket of activity which is fun, excitement and leisure and enjoyment and that it moves away from the notion that it's something you do on a wet Friday afternoon at school.
sb (PS5TF) [3549] Thank you very much, Mike.


tb (PS5TC) [3550] In our series on education we've talked about many aspects of school life, including the extent to which they are open or closed societies and various features of the curriculum.
[3551] But so far we haven't said much about schools as organisations.
[3552] Today I have with me Tony Bailey from the university; Bob Glover, who is Principal of Portslade Community College; and John Werner, who is Head of Stanley Deason High School.
[3553] Tony, are schools today very different from the schools of the past?
a (PS5T8) [3555] Well I'm not sure I'm a very competent person to answer that question Brian, but I hope erm Bob and John might move to that.
[3556] My research interests are just in schools today.
[3557] I think perhaps one difference is they've become much larger and more complicated and I certainly think that parents in particular tend to expect far more of schools now than they used to.
[3558] Schools are very large and complex organisations.
[3559] I mean there are over a thousand people, sometimes two thousand people there, and in this erm complex organisation I think headmasters are very important people; they're responsible for developing a style of organisation which is, I think, very significant.
[3560] They influence the education of children in enormously important ways, not just in terms of how many exams they pass, what results they get at O level or C S E, but on important issues such as education for democracy, the kind of climate that schools create for young people is very important in the way they see society and they see their role in it.
[3561] So from my point of view it's very important to have contact with head teachers and to talk with them about these things, and to create a situation in which they can talk to each other.
tb (PS5TC) [3562] Bob, are you erm head teacher in any classical sense, or are you more a manager?
gc (PS5T9) [3563] Well I think of myself, probably arrogantly, as an educational leader, but that certainly would include management as well as being an academic.
[3564] If I can just say something about the management to start off with.
[3565] I think sometimes people who don't actually work in schools imagine that the schools are managed, in the financial organisational sense, by the Local Education Authority, and that in some way the head of the school is merely concerned with discipline, curriculum and so on, but one has to bear in mind that the sheer size of some of these schools now makes the head a manager in a very real sense.
[3566] I mean I have to cope with about five thousand different individuals each week erm at Portslade Community College, erm fifteen hundred full-time eleven to eighteen year olds, and the rest adults from the community coming in to use the college.
[3567] Now if I don't exercise some management skill, and of course more and more recently financial erm acumen as well, one's going to have a situation approaching chaos.
[3568] I think the first point to make is erm that schools, and particularly community colleges, are now very complicated places, and it would be quite wrong for a head of an establishment like that to think of himself as an academic in an ivory tower, because if he did erm the organisation would become entangled, the money would run out, and in fact he wouldn't have the kind of institution he wants.
tb (PS5TC) [3569] Do you have the same views, though, John.
tn (PS5TB) [3570] Well I agree with what Bob has said.
[3571] When parents come round the school, what they sometimes say is ‘My goodness we never had all these facilities’, so at a very superficial level you could say that is a big change.
[3572] After the War, I suppose, and in the Fifties, when schools were seen as places preparing young people for a very different world, different kinds of resources were put in.
[3573] One can read about, and see on television, schools which are pioneering and really are genuinely different, but I think they're very much the exception.
[3574] And while it's very reassuring that schools haven't changed too much — I don't think we want everything to change overnight — I think you could say that schools are open to the same criticism as of British industry at the moment, that they are institutions which perhaps are changing too slowly for the demands of the modern world.
tb (PS5TC) [3575] Tony Bailey, when he was talking just now, talked in terms of schools perhaps having an element of democracy within them.
[3576] Is that actually possible in a school?
[3577] Can a school be a democratic organisation in any real sense?
a (PS5T8) [3578] Well I'm probably regarded as being of a point just to the right of Ghengis Khan on these matters.
[3579] erm a great deal is talked about democracy in schools and you very often have all kinds of organisations allegedly which take democratic decisions.
[3580] In fact, if anything goes wrong at Portslade Community College it's my fault, and therefore I'm not going to be in a position where I don't feel able to take responsibility for any decision made.
[3581] Any true democracy of the sort that you might have in a university, if you do, is really impossible in schools and that ... one reason because of what the law says, the other reason of course is the age of the people you're dealing with.
tb (PS5TC) [3582] In the old days, life was simple in schools in the sense that if pupils didn't do what they were supposed to do you thrashed them, or made them stand in the corner, or expelled them.
[3583] How do you actually make pupils do things?
tn (PS5TB) [3584] Well I think I must take issue with you when you talk about the old days.
[3585] erm I doubt if it really was like that ... come on!
[3586] And I think that the question of making people do things, that's something in all societies which doesn't change too much.
[3587] There's a question of how much force you use and how much persuasion you use.
[3588] I remember when my school opened, or just before it did, erm I got the staff together for a conference for a day, and got another East Sussex Head, James Quinn, who came along and talked to them, and one of the things he said was now for the next week or two, whatever John Werner says goes.
[3589] If he says stand on your head you will, but after that he's got to do it all by persuasion.
[3590] The question of democracy is a very difficult one and it operates on different levels.
[3591] On one level you can ask, not so much democracy within the school, but the question of accountability to the community it serves — who should run the school, how much should parents be involved, what's the role of Governors?
[3592] There's that side of things, and I hope that that is changing, alas again too slowly erm I think the Taylor report, which firmly came down on the side of more lay control of schools by parents and members of the community, put up and unanswerable case.
[3593] I've never seen it answered, but erm that didn't prevent the professionals from shelving it.
[3594] But nevertheless, quietly, the community is getting more and more involved and having a bigger say at that level.
[3595] When you come to internal democracy and how much, say, the pupils have, I agree with Bob that is a very tricky one and certainly you can't just transplant erm democracy onto what is really a rather authoritarian system, you'd have to prepare and train pupils much more than we do and what I think is the most dangerous thing is playing at democracy which I am sure we should not do in schools.
tb (PS5TC) [3596] I think that some people may not realise fully too is that in order to make a decision you have to be full informed, and teachers are very busy people and a teacher really is spending nearly every moment of his day either teaching or preparing to teach, and it's impossible, therefore, to establish in a school or a community college the faculty committee structure that one might have in a university, where people do probably spend some time informing themselves before debate.
[3597] erm it's a very great problem.
[3598] One would like very often to have more erm people involved in decision making, but they simply don't have the time to inform themselves and one or two experiments in the kind of democracy you might ... Brian might have had in mind, came to horrible grief where decisions were taken simply uninformed and where the small number of people present who were informed weren't able to persuade the majority and the history of education is littered with them ... most unfortunate examples of this.
tn (PS5TB) [3599] I think the approach of parents is very often really quite a simple one erm that they have a number of very well defined expectations of the school and that is as far as one individual parent is concerned, that the parents wants the child to go to the school, he wants that child properly controlled, provided that it's done in the way in which he particularly approves, and if you have fifteen hundred different parents there might be fourteen hundred and eighty five different techniques at work here, and then he wants the child simultaneously to be successful and happy.
[3600] And traditionally, I find, British parents tend to erm say on the one hand we'll let the school get on and do their professional job — I find it quite depressing they don't ask for more say in the organisation, but they do demand, quite rightly, the right to criticise when things go wrong.
[3601] Now this may be because we're on the way from one position to another, or it may be a traditional British approach, but I find this personally a great source of pressure because on the one hand I recognise as a parent myself one's going to have a crucial interest in the education of one's child, on the other hand how one reconciles those hundreds of different philosophies and then superimposes upon it a professional approach is, I suppose, the greatest single source of strain I find running a large secondary school, particularly, as I said before, in the end the responsibility in law is mine.
tn (PS5TB) [3602] I would say you could defend the British position because what it seems to me to be based on is first of all the idea that the institution itself should make the decision, and that surely is a democratic start, that you don't lay down a rule from Newcastle to John O'Groats, or wherever, and that the people in the institution have a certain chemistry together.
[3603] What may suit one place won't suit another.
[3604] I think secondly erm whichever country, and you do look back to your roots, and we for better or for worse here look back to the great public school headmaster of a century ago and I still think people want that kind of dynamic drive, that entrepreneurial drive, and who's to say they're wrong?
[3605] And I think what we're looking for is a kind of situation where everyone can play their proper part in the decision-making, but allow the person with the energy and drive to play their part as well in giving a lead, and I'm not sure that's such a bad thing.
[3606] Equally, I think we like to set up experiments first before plunging for something, so you have got in Countess Thorpe , or the Stantonbury Campus, experiments in a fuller kind of democracy which appear to be very successful if a little controversial.
[3607] On the other hand, there are many places which are moving far more cautiously.
[3608] But at least people feel secure in those places and move gradually towards something.
[3609] So I think we could be too pessimistic about this.
[3610] I also feel, Brian, we may be avoiding the question that ... or the part of this question which some of our listeners may be particularly interest in, and Bob did touch upon it, which is have things changed much in democracy in the classroom, is there a change?
[3611] I think there are some significant ones.
[3612] Michael Marland has talked about the disappearance of deference and I think that's the biggest change really that the kind of instant erm response to authority has gone and that has good and bad sides in it, so more is demanded of the teacher because his authority has to be earned, much more even than in the past I think.
[3613] So if you handle it well, we'll move forward.
[3614] If we don't learn how to handle that particularly well, we won't, but I think we should assure ... reassure parents that schools are full of good disciplinarians and that, democracy or no democracy, classrooms are in control.
gc (PS5T9) [3615] I think you've always got to be aware too that what goes on in schools does, and should, reflect what's going on out of schools.
[3616] One of the things that I think is most unfortunate is that parents sometimes say to their youngsters ‘You need to go to school in order to learn how to behave’.
[3617] I would respond with some vigour that they need to go home to learn how to behave, so that the present themselves at school in the situation where we can exercise our professional job of teaching them.
[3618] The unfortunately British idea that at school, as well as a place of learning and a place where you grow from a child into an adult, is a kind of military disciplinary academy, I think is most unfortunate.
[3619] erm I have two children and I have found that it was quite a full-time job persuading them of the virtue of certain old-fashioned ways of going about things.
[3620] I would not, for one moment, pretend erm that it is my job to inculcate those virtues in fifteen hundred.
[3621] I hope, though, there are fifteen hundred families in Portslade who are doing that job, not for me but for them, so that we can carry out the important educational processes that go on within the college.
tb (PS5TC) [3622] And so, parents that may be listening, it sounds as if it's up to you to provide the basic training to enable the schools to do their part.
[3623] That's all that we have time for today.
[3624] Thank you very much, gentlemen.


nm (PS5TE) [3625] Michael, you're interested in evaluation in education.
[3626] What do you mean by evaluation?
dw (PS5TA) [3629] Well I think of evaluation as the process by which a person or a group of people have a fairly careful look at something they're doing in order to try and decide whether it's going well or badly, whether there are things in it they might wish to improve, and how valuable they think it is ... whether they might want to make changes in it in any way.
nm (PS5TE) [3630] So you're interested in, for example, teaching of subjects such as history or mathematics in schools and the evaluation in a total sense of this?
dw (PS5TA) [3631] Yes, well I don't particularly limit the area of what I'm interested, but if someone who was particularly interested in seeing how history was going over in this school, then I'd be very happy in discussing with them how they might try and find out how successful history teaching was in that school for example.
[3632] Or perhaps one might just narrow it a bit further than that and say well let's see how history is going in the first two years, or the O level history course, or something like that, and we would discuss well given that all these different people are involved in history or have a stake in it in some way, or are interested in it, and given that you're only going to have a very limited amount of time to do anything in, how can you do something that would be genuinely useful to the school in looking at the history teaching and something that would have the support of the people involved so that it wasn't threatening anybody but they felt there was something being genuinely helpful.
nm (PS5TE) [3633] Could you give me an example of one or two erm evaluation exercises you're engaged in at the moment?
dw (PS5TA) [3634] Well I get involved in it in [laugh] so many different ways erm this is a difficult one, but one of the things that happens is that a number of teachers, both from the area and elsewhere, erm do advanced courses at the university and as part of these courses we have a unit on evaluation, and for this they will choose some area of their school work which they and their colleagues — and I emphasise that this is something they do have to involve [laugh] their colleagues back at school in very much — erm feel it would be useful to look at and then they try and discuss with their colleagues what aspects of it are important and significant and what ought to be seen, and they bring this discussion back and we all discuss together ... there'll be different teachers working on different problems ... the different ways in which they could approach this problem and how they might most usefully be able to do it and at the end of the exercise they will have found out quite a lot about this particular area of teaching and very often we find that the people they've consulted have themselves got quite interested in it and begun to realize that it's not being done in a way that's there to threaten them, they're not sending a report to the headmaster or the Chief Education Officer or anything like that — it's for the benefit of the people doing the work themselves.
[3635] And very often erm discussions take place, changes may happen in the school as a result of this work.
[3636] So although they also may submit it to us as part of their assessment for a project, I mean we're at least as interested in the work being useful to the schools and to the students involved.
[3637] So that's one major area of involvement.
[3638] The other one erm is within the university itself because we do have a support organisation here for teaching within the university, and it is possible for groups of teachers in any part of the university to ask for some help and support in looking at one of the courses they're involved in teaching.
[3639] So we get involved quite a lot in looking at teaching in various parts of the university where people want us to, very often involving the students as well as the other teachers in looking at a particular course and seeing if there are ways in which perhaps it might be taught differently or in a way that worked better.
nm (PS5TE) [3640] So when you're setting about setting up an evaluation project you consider it very important to get the co-operation of the teachers and staff involved.
dw (PS5TA) [3641] I think this absolutely vital because in my mind the object of doing an evaluation is to create some kind of improvement in the situation that is being evaluated.
[3642] Those ... I'm not interested in producing reports and publications out of evaluation studies, I'm interested in affecting the situation and affecting it to the mutual satisfaction of the people involved in it, and in fact when we're ... when I'm working with people on an evaluation, or discussing evaluation in general, one of the major items of our discussion always is how can you consult other people, how can you get them involved?
[3643] And I say to them ‘Look, don't start planning this whole thing on your own from the beginning, go round and talk to the various people you know that are interested and say to them ‘Look, I'm planning to try and do this work, or we agreed at such and such a meeting that I would do this work, but I don't just want to do this on my own, I want to take into account other people's views.
[3644] Now for example if I'm looking at O level history, what sort of things do you think might be important, or what kinds of evidence do you think I ought to collect, or what issues do you think I ought to take into account?’.
[3645] So one tries to build up a kind of agenda of all the things that different people involved think might be important before one tries to produce a plan as to how one's going to work, and even then there may be a chance for you actually to discuss the plan with various people as well.
[3646] Obviously there is a very delicate balance between erm demanding too much of people's time in consulting and talking with you, and not involving them at all, and you have to be very sensitive to how much time people are prepared to give and how much they want to be involved in something.
[3647] But often I find if you ask people these questions they get very interested erm and this interest is important.
[3648] If people aren't interested in an evaluation of something that concerns them, then nothing will happen at the end of it.
[3649] I mean there's no earthly use doing a beautiful piece of evaluation erm which no-one wants to know about at the end, or publishing something that has no affect.
[3650] People have to be involved in something if they're going to want to do something at the end.
[3651] I mean if the evaluation suggests that something or other needs changing, then you want people to be already so interested in the evaluation and perhaps looking for useful things to come out of it, that they are already half committed to the changes.
[3652] One doesn't want them to sort of follow it blindly, of course, one wants them to discuss it carefully [laugh] , very carefully, but it has to sort of fit into the ongoing life of the institution and not be a kind of little game that someone is playing on their own somewhere because they happen to be linked with the university or doing a degree or something.
nm (PS5TE) [3653] So you're very careful to avoid imposing your own values on the evaluation process?
dw (PS5TA) [3654] Well I think it is impossible for anyone to totally avoid bringing in their own values into work that they're doing to some extent, but I think it is possible to deliberately set out to involve the values of other people in the way that you carry out the work.
[3655] If you do that, then I think that even though your own values are bound to be in it a bit, they won't be in it in a way that makes the work useless or makes it appear hopefully prejudiced to someone else.
[3656] You see traditionally people used to think of an evaluation as something that was very convergent and first people gathered lots of evidence, and then they wrote a set of recommendations or conclusions, and you were supposed to agree them or follow them afterwards.
[3657] erm unfortunately life isn't really quite as simple as that.
[3658] I mean people don't always agree on what evidence means; they don't always agree on what is the best thing to do, erm and I've developed the idea that it's possible to do an evaluation that I like to call divergent in the sense that there might be several different things that one might do as a result of it.
[3659] For example, if one has found out something about a course, about what's happening on it, how well the pupils are learning, how interested they are in it and what different members of staff think of its value and so on , then you've got a certain amount of evidence about it.
[3660] Now the next question is what does this evidence mean and what does one do with it.
[3661] Now here it depends on people's values, where their educational priorities are, what one might do.
[3662] Now I'm suggesting that an evaluator might, instead of just concentrating on one set of values, deliberately try and look at several, so they might, for example, identify that there were a group of people who felt that history should be taught in a certain particular way for a certain purpose.
[3663] Now they could then say well that particular group of people, if they looked at this evidence that I've got, would want to say this about it and they would want to change it in such and such a way, and there's another group of people who perhaps have rather different views on what history might be doing and they would view the evidence and argue about it in this way.
[3664] So one might develop two, three, even four different attitudes towards the evidence, according to what one thought was important.
[3665] Now my feeling is that in doing an evaluation one ought to try and develop each of these different viewpoints, then leave it to the people concerned that have to make the decisions to pick up each of these and to make the decisions, but at least the evaluation itself is not sort of ruling out of court any of the viewpoints that could be important in that situation, so any person who's involved, even if they're in a minority of one, at least feels that his views are there in the evaluation somewhere and they're made legitimate by it.
[3666] Well he knows that his views may not necessarily be the majority and count in the end, but at least they're being taken into account and being considered to be important.
[3667] So I see evaluation as a very democratic activity, which allows people perhaps to appreciate each other 's viewpoints a little more than might otherwise be the case erm and doesn't pretend that people all feel the same about things, but at the same time it doesn't attempt to sort of countermand the realities of the situation that, you know, each person can't go their own sweet way, there have to be quite a lot of collective decisions and people have to recognise where the majority opinion is, but at least they do it from a standpoint that erm where they feel their own value still has some worth and is still being recognised.
nm (PS5TE) [3668] If you're involving all those concerned with an evaluation exercise, how can you be objective?
[3669] How do you know you are not distorting the situation totally because everyone know they're taking part in an evaluation exercise?
dw (PS5TA) [3670] Well there are two sides to that.
[3671] I mean I think the first is that the kind of evidence one picks up, none of it on its own can be considered, I think, to be totally objective or totally valid, but what it does is it builds up a part of a picture and gradually different sorts of evidence build up a rather more complicated, rather more perhaps accurate picture of a situation, and it's really the cross-checking of different kinds of evidence that in the end gives the thing some kind of validity.
[3672] The other aspect of the question you raised is really that do you change a situation by the very fact that you're doing an evaluation?
[3673] Do people sort of artificially put on their best behaviour, as it were, or something like that, and thereby give a sort of rather distorted impression as to what's really going on.
[3674] Now obviously this can happen a bit, but I don't think, on the whole it happens very much, at least certainly not in a way that matters erm I don't think it does matter if people change things a little bit, because erm ... but on the whole people are doing things in the way that they're doing them erm because they've got accustomed to doing them that way and that's the way that they've planned it, and that's the way that it comes out as a result of all of those pressures that there are on them.
[3675] Most professional people are subject to an enormous range of presses and constraints.
[3676] Even in a school one has to think of a very large number of different pupils with their own different characteristics and strengths and weaknesses, and one has to operate in a classroom and to a timetable and with given resources, and so on and so forth, and the combination of all these pressures and the ways that one has got used to handling them, on the whole, is what makes a person teach the way they do.
[3677] That, combined with their own personality.
[3678] And they're not really going to change this very much because someone says well we're involved in an evaluation now.
[3679] I don't think it's ... it's not going to change the situation that much.
nm (PS5TE) [3680] Supposing you have taken part in an evaluation exercise and some conclusions have been mutually agreed, do you find that on the whole people are prepared to change their habits ... presumably in some cases habits built up over many years?
dw (PS5TA) [3681] Ah well that's a difficult question.
[3682] I mean there are obviously some aspects of a school's policy that are relatively easily changed.
[3683] There are other things that emerge from evaluation that perhaps suggest that at least, not necessarily universally, but for that particular school, with those particular children, with those particular aims, if they want to achieve what they're trying to achieve, then they're going to have to make some rather more ... or at least some of the people are going to have to make some rather more fundamental changes in the way that they, say, handle children in the classroom, than might otherwise be the case.
[3684] Now if you get a situation like that ... I mean the key question is do people actually want to change in this kind of way, or would they at least like to sort of experiment a little bit in the way they handle a group of children?
[3685] And this is a very, very difficult thing to do because a teacher, I think, sort of maintains control in a classroom and is able to handle the situation because they've developed working routines over a period of years.
[3686] In a sense this is what it is to become and experienced teacher rather than a novice.
[3687] One has to develop routines to cope with the situation because it is far too complicated a situation to be handled in any other way.
[3688] You just cannot pay attention continuously to all the different variables [laugh] in a situation and remain sane at the end of the day, you have to develop routines and techniques for handling it.
[3689] Now if anyone asks if you feel for any sense that perhaps some of these routines have perhaps got a bit of ... become inappropriate in some way, perhaps because you're teaching a different type of child, or perhaps because you've got rather different educational aims, they've changed for some reason, then it's like asking someone to go back to being a novice again in some senses to change.
[3690] Now this is a very, very difficult thing to ask anyone to do.
[3691] Now I think it says a lot for teachers as a profession that I think many of them are in fact prepared to have a go at this.
[3692] But it's something that I think someone can only have a go at if they have a great deal of support and a chance to experiment in a way that still gives them the option erm not to change if they feel that they can't handle it any other way erm so I think there are a lot of difficulties associated with this kind of problem.
[3693] Now I mean I am interested in this problem, and I have been involved in situations where teachers have sought help in trying to change their teaching style in the classroom, but in all these cases this help ... the initiative has been very much from the teachers themselves and they've wanted to do it, they've wanted to experiment with it and have been given a lot of support and help with it.
[3694] But I think I would be giving you the wrong impression if I suggested that most of the evaluation studies with which I've been concerned have involved this kind of conclusion, or this kind of result.
[3695] Most of them it's been questions of rather less fundamental changes in the actual teaching style in the classroom and sometimes it's been a question of concentrating on rather different kinds of things or giving more time to one kind of activity than another, or changing the pattern of assignments that they gave children, or things that were still well within the capacity of teachers to change without involving sort of fundamental changes in teaching style.
[3696] So I wouldn't like to give the impression that there aren't very many improvements that can sometimes be found erm that don't involve that kind of fundamental change, I mean I think there many improvements of that kind.
nm (PS5TE) [3697] What about the effect of examinations on creative teaching staff?
[3698] Don't you come across many teachers who say something along the lines ‘I'd love to try this experiment’, or ‘I'd like to try this in a different way, but I have C S E or O level or A level coming up for my children in a term or a year and I can't possibly afford to do other than cram them for these examinations’.
dw (PS5TA) [3699] Oh I think many teachers say that an even more parents say it.
[3700] erm this is, I think, one of the dilemmas we have in our society at the moment.
[3701] In fact one of the things that's most disturbed me about some of the recent discussions that have taken place in the great debate has been that on the one hand people have talked about educating people for adult life and learning more about the way people earn their living, learning more about industry, more about productive things, and on the other hand they've been talking about maintaining standards.
[3702] Now it's one of those unfortunate things that when people talk about maintaining standards, the only sort of, in an sense, external sort of guidance they've got to go for are things like examination passes.
[3703] Now I don't think many people realized that asking for the maintenance of standards, rather than perhaps the changing of standards, was asking for something that was almost diametrically opposed to asking for an educational system that was more geared towards preparing children for adult life and productive work.
[3704] erm until some of the people who are putting a lot of pressures on schools to do different things are prepared to resolve some of these contradictions, I think the teachers feel that they're being continually criticised by different groups for not doing different things, many of which are mutually contradictory, erm and not surprisingly they feel a little defensive in this situation.
nm (PS5TE) [3705] And lastly on the subject of evaluation, a question about the extent to which you think evaluation should take place.
[3706] Do you think there's enough of it in the educational profession, or do you think that one ought to go in for much more evaluation?
dw (PS5TA) [3707] Well I think a lot of evaluation does go on.
[3708] I mean I think part of being a proper professional means that one does attempt to evaluate what one is doing, and I think that most teachers do do this.
[3709] I think that the issue really is erm are there ways in which perhaps they could be helped to do this more productively, and are there ways in which they could be helped to do this rather more collaboratively than perhaps they have done so in the past?
[3710] Now my concern is not really with trying to erm get outside people or people in universities to sort of be involved in evaluations necessarily, it's with helping people within schools to acquire more skills in the area of evaluation, so that schools, whenever they feel it would be useful to them, have got enough professional expertise among their own members to be able to perhaps rather more the quality of their evaluation and to see that it gets put perhaps to rather more purpose.
[3711] In other words to see that they get more benefit for the effort that they put into it.
[3712] Another aspect of it, I think, is that a lot of evaluation is very intuitive and instinctive.
[3713] I think this is rightly so, but there is an advantage to knowing ... to being slightly more explicit about how you're doing it, and I think that if a lot of the evaluation that already went on in schools became a little bit more explicit and a little bit more open, it would be much easier for people outside the schools to realize the extent at which schools were themselves already engaging in evaluation.
[3714] I think a lot of the current concern about schools being accountable is partly because things that in fact are being done are not being seen to be done, and I think if many of the things that we already done were more obviously being seen to be done, and perhaps also thought through rather more carefully as to how they were being done, the public would feel generally erm happier about what was going on in their schools than perhaps they are at the moment.
nm (PS5TE) [3715] Michael, thank you very much.


a (PS5T8) [3716] Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
[3717] It's once again my very pleasant task to welcome you to this, which is the thirty eighth in the series of great centenary lectures, that were inaugurated in this hall in nineteen seventy on a very noteworthy and somewhat stormy occasion.
[3718] The lectures are part of a larger programme, designed to bring members of the university and of the local community, to bring them together in serious consideration of great issues, great ideas and great people in the sciences, the humanities and the social sciences.
[3719] And looking round the hall tonight, I think I would be inclined to say that this occasion seems to have been successful in doing that.
[3720] It is very pleasant to see a full hall on an inclement evening.
[3721] And I would like in consequence to offer the very warmest welcome to those of you who are visitors to the university.
[3722] I know there are many, and I know that quite a few of you are students in the classes run by the Centre for Continuing Education.
[3723] I will not yield to the temptation to reflect on the problems that face this university and the Centre for Continuing Education as part of it, but I think that it's fair to say that in the future we will be hard put to maintain the volume and variety of the contribution we have been trying to make to adult education in the community.
[3724] Personally, I sincerely hope that we will be able to continue with these open lectures, which I think have been a significant feature of the university's life and of our relationships with the community.
[3725] In the meantime, it is very pleasant, and indeed it's salutary, to remind ourselves, as we are doing this evening, of what a university is actually about.
[3726] Among other things, the examination of the nature and impact of scientific theories and research, and to engage in a re-assessment of the status of these theories and the status of their creators in the light of new knowledge and a new climate of thinking and feeling.
[3727] Now we had no doubt about the inclusion of Charles Darwin's centenary in this series at this point; certainly one of the half dozen most influential figures of the modern world, in reshaping our perceptions of ourselves and of the rest of the world.
[3728] We couldn't get the centenary of the Origin of Species into our programme — that was nineteen fifty nine and we hadn't started then — but I did persuade tonight's speaker to deliver one of our early centenary lectures on the subject of Darwin's subsequent book, that is the book on the Descent of Man, which appeared in eighteen seventy one, and I am sure that those of you who were there on that occasion in December eighteen seventy one will remember it as a stimulating and ... [people laughing]
a (PS5T8) [3730] lecture.
[3731] None of seems to have grown much older ... [people laughing]
a (PS5T8) [3732] and I'm certainly show that few of us have grown any wiser in the intervening decade.
[3733] In the light of all that, ladies and gentlemen, the choice of a speaker for the Charles Darwin centenary was not difficult, and indeed I know that he welcomed the opportunity to give this lecture, not least I'm sure because of the controversies and the general noise that have erupted once again over the issues of evolution, both in the academies of the civilized western world, and even in deepest Arkensaw [people laughing]
a (PS5T8) [3734] John Maynard-Smith is our Professor of Biology.
[3735] He did, in fact, start in an other area of expertise — he took a degree in engineering at the University of Cambridge and worked during the War as an aircraft engineer.
[3736] I must say that it sheds some light on the state of some of the aircraft that I had to fly in then. [people laughing]
a (PS5T8) [3737] He then entered the University College, London, to study zoology and stayed on to work with a very distinguished man, J B S Halldane on the genetics and behaviour of the fruit fly.
[3738] In passing I have reflected its natural selection and our God had not created the fruit fly, it would have been necessary for biologists to have invented it. [people laughing]
a (PS5T8) [3739] In nineteen sixty five, which was rather after I came here, he moved to the University of Sussex, where he became the first Dean of the new School of Biological Sciences, and that was the beginning of a very distinguished contribution to scientific work in this university.
[3740] John is the author of numerous scientific articles and books, including the Theory of Evolution, which has gone into its third edition — I mean the book. [people laughing]
a (PS5T8) [3741] The Evolution of Sex and the Evolution and Theory of Games.
[3742] I'm delighted that he has accepted the invitation to return after a decade to lecture to us on Charles Darwin.
[3743] John Maynard-Smith.
tn (PS5TB) [3745] Just over a year ago, over a thousand biologists gathered at an international meeting in Vancouver.
[3746] It was, in fact, the second international conference on Evolutionary Biology, not that it's anything to do with what I'm now saying, but the next one is actually going to be right here in 1985 and that'll be nice.
[3747] But anyway, this was the first ... we have such a conference every five years, but over a thousand of us sat around for a week and talked about evolution, and there was one rather curious fact about Vancouver, or the media of Vancouver, during that week.
[3748] I watched the newspapers with a good deal of interest.
[3749] I could discover no mention whatever of the fact that this conference was going on in its city erm but there was one mention of evolution.
[3750] There was a full page article announcing Darwinism is dead, which turned out as a matter of fact to be a reprint of an article which had appeared some months earlier in the Sunday Times of this country, erm which in fact was based very largely on some work by a young man called Steele, which none of us, I think, believed at the time, and which was since turned out clearly to have been mistaken.
[3751] erm it is a little odd that this should have been so.
[3752] It illustrates something that those of us who work in the field of evolutionary biology sort of grow to live with, which is that anything which casts doubt on Darwin will get a good blow up in the press, on television, and so on.
[3753] Let me give another very recent example while these rather alarming, in some ways, events were going on in Arkensaw, the London Times — not the Sunday Times now — had as a centre page article by a distinguished cosmologist, Fred Hoyle, announcing to a startled world that he'd suddenly acquired some doubts about evolution.
[3754] Now the Times has never asked me to write a leading article announcing that I have some doubts about the quantum theory [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3755] And I do have such doubts but, being a modest person as you know [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3756] I have always put it down to my ability to understand the subject [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3757] erm but no such modesty ... erm it's just another illustration of the same thing.
[3758] If somebody can be persuaded to say something which is critical of Darwin he can get his name in the papers or on the box.
[3759] Now erm in some ways actually this makes it rather nice to be an evolutionist because it means that people care, you know, people are actually interested in what you're doing and that's fun.
[3760] People clearly are interested in what Darwin had to say erm and they mind about whether he was right or not, and I think that many people, I dare say many people in this room, have a wish which they may be conscious of and they may not, sometimes quite a strong wish, that he'll turn out to be wrong.
[3761] And I think one has to ask themselves why should this be so?
[3762] I mean they don't feel that way about quantum theory as far as I know.
[3763] But I do — I'm sure it's wrong [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3764] But, you know, I know that that's a personal idiosyncrasy.
[3765] I think the reason why it is so is that Darwinism is, in essence, a theory about the origin of man — a lot of things as well, but it includes a theory about how we came to be here.
[3766] But it's a theory which doesn't give us an special or privileged role or position in this origin.
[3767] I mean okay so we're here, but so are elephants and fruit flies and centipedes and tape worms and things erm nothing special about us. erm we're rather successful right now, but we don't play any very special role.
[3768] People expect of a theory of origins that in some way or other it gives them some quite privileged and special position, and they feel undermined and threatened by a theory of origin which doesn't say something really rather special about them.
[3769] And it's for this reason, I think, that people quite properly are interested in Darwin's theory of evolution, are worried about it and so on.
[3770] Now, having started in that light, I may be going to disappoint you by saying that I'm not in fact going to spend the next erm fifty minutes or so talking about the moral, political, philosophical implications of Darwinism.
[3771] I mean I could do ... I think they're fascinating and important — but I would prefer instead actually to talk about Darwinism ... Darwin as a biologist, rather than Darwin as a philosopher or as a influencer of morals and religious beliefs and so on.
[3772] erm and I want, in fact, to ask, you know, is there in fact a challenge to Darwinism among scientists today — among serious scientists today, I mean scientists who actually know something about the subject — and the answer to that question is yes there is.
[3773] What's the nature of this challenge? erm what's the evidence for and against it?
[3774] What's it's likely fate?
[3775] Of course you will appreciate that I am in no sense unbiased on these matters — I have strong and, I believe, correct opinions on these matters [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3776] which I shall not attempt to conceal from you, but before I come down to the details let me say that Darwinism occupies such a central position in evolutionary biology — in biology as a whole, not just in evolutionary biology but in the whole of biology — that any important, new idea in biology has to be, to some extent, judged by its compatibility with, or its contradictions of, the Darwinian position.
[3777] I mean to give an earlier example, when at the beginning of this century, Mendel's laws of genetics were rediscovered and an enormous growth of genetics took place and indeed is still taking place, initially Mendelism was seen by it's practitioners and by biologists as a whole as a challenge to Darwinism, as an alternative to Darwin, and great fights took place for twenty years or so between the Darwinians and the Mendelians.
[3778] I mean in retrospect, looking back on it, it seems crazy — since they were clearly both right, what were they arguing about? erm but it took a lot of time to see that these two sets of views could, in fact, be made compatible as we now think they can be.
[3779] Well what's the nature, then, of the challenge to Darwin today.
[3780] There are a number of such challenges, but the interesting and I think significant one comes from a group of Palaeontologists, of whom Stephen Gould, now of Eldridge, erm and Stephen Stanley are probably the best know.
[3781] Who had ... Stephen Gould has asserted that, as a result of the work of this group and others, a new, as he calls it, paradigm of evolutionary biology is in the making and the so-called near-Darwinist paradigm in which I was raised, and in which my students are raised [laugh] I suppose if I'm honest is, you know, due for the dustbin.
[3782] erm well, what is it that this new paradigm attacks first of all?
[3783] Essentially it attacks Darwin's view that evolution is in its essence a gradual process.
[3784] erm in a very interested book called Darwin on Man recently by a psychologist called Gruber, Gruber has argued that Darwin had a conviction which could be expressed by saying that things which are natural are necessarily gradual, and things which are sudden are miraculous and not natural, that he had this equation in his mind erm long before he erm became and evolutionist, long before he abandoned his belief in religion which he largely did later, and Gruber traces it back, interestingly enough, to the arguments of a theologian, Sumner, who later became an Archbishop, who ... Darwin took notes on his ideas when he was a student at Cambridge erm which are still extent, and what Sumner had argued, among other things, was that a good argument for believing in the divinity of Christ, that Christ was divine rather than simply being a gifted teacher, was the suddenness with which the beliefs of the ancient world were transformed by Christ's teaching.
[3785] Now Darwin got from this this idea that somehow sudden things are miraculous, are natural, erm but admittedly they may happen but I mean there is a miraculous element about sudden things, whereas things that are natural should happen gradually, and he retained this view in spite of changing his ideas about all sorts of other things, and let us now see why the gradualism was so important a component of his theory of evolution.
[3786] I mean we're all, I'm sure, basically family with what Darwin's theory of evolution is, and I don't really want to labour you by reminding you of it, but I think it's important to appreciate first of all what his problem was erm and I think that it's fair to say that for Darwin the problem was that as a naturalist he was aware of the fact that animals and plants are adapted to a quite extraordinary degree to their particular ways of life, and indeed many of his books on orchids and earthworms and so on have a great deal to say about the details of these adaptations.
[3787] His explanation of adaptation in a sense was that it occurred as a result, as he said, of the natural selection of variations which were in their origin non-adapted in some sense, random.
[3788] And he felt that it would be in a sense a miracle to produce a detailed adaptation to a particular way of life, a kind of adaptation to being fertilized by bees that you see in an orchid, by a single a large jump.
[3789] If I can use erm an analogy of my own rather than of his, to produce erm a detailed adaptation of an organism to a specific way of life, if only large steps, large mutational changes were possible, would be a little like trying ... a surgeon trying to remove erm an appendix with a scalpel mounted on some kind of trolley clamp with the rule that he couldn't move it less than a foot at a time.
[3790] I mean he might occasionally want to move it a foot, but there would be no way he'd be able to make the nice adjustments in that way.
[3791] erm let me introduce you to — perhaps in a rather more quantitative way — let me introduce what is the sort of hoariest paradox about evolution.
[3792] It's one that, you know, comes up year after year.
[3793] It is indeed actually the paradox that Fred Hoyle has just rediscovered erm which is [...] for those of us who have been teaching it to our undergraduates for thirty years.
[3794] But the paradox goes like this — I mean any form of it is as follows: proteins, as most of you know, are strings of amino acids and we make a whole series of quite specific proteins.
[3795] Imagine a rather short one, a small one, a hundred amino acids long.
[3796] There are twenty possible kinds of amino acid, so the number of different proteins a hundred amino acids long is twenty raised to the power of a hundred.
[3797] Now that is a fairly large number.
[3798] Somebody calculated that if the surface of the earth was covered with a layer of protein molecules a metre thick, right over the whole surface of the earth erm each one, each protein different from every other one, and let us suppose furthermore that each of these proteins had been changing once as second, uniquely, into some different kind ever since the formation of the earth, we would still have tried out only quite a small fraction of the available possible proteins a hundred amino acids long.
[3799] [...] you know [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3800] erm the paradox then says how can evolution possibly lead by natural selection to the selection of just that protein which best performs some function if, just by a random process of mutation it might never happen in the first place.
[3801] That's the paradox.
[3802] The answer is, of course, that that's not the way it happens.
[3803] Any old string of amino acids a hundred amino acids long will have some kind of enzymic activity pretty well, or at least a very great many of them will.
[3804] If you just make random proteins a hundred amino acids they have some kind of catalytic activity — not much, but some.
[3805] We think evolution took place not by sort of hitting in one bang the right answer — that would be like the surgeon moving his scalpel a foot and hitting the right point, but by successive changes, changing one amino acid at a time, each change being a slight improvement on what was there before.
[3806] And then if you do the sums there's no difficulty whatsoever in imagining the evolution of a specific optimal protein, one amino acid at a time, not in millions of years but even in thousands of years — it's not a serious mathematical problem.
[3807] But it's essentially, therefore, that natural selection is only going to produce adaptations if it can do so gradually, that's basically the guts of Darwin's position.
[3808] erm now what then is the position ... what is the nature of the criticism or the claims being made by the group of palaeontologists whom I'm going to refer to, for reasons that will become apparent, as the punctuations — because I mean they would call themselves punctuations.
[3809] In effect, they are making two claims, one of which I want to call the minor and the major claim, which are not logically necessarily following one from the other.
[3810] The minor claim is simply that if you ... it's an empirical claim ... it says if you look at the fossil record, and you look in detail at the changes in the fossils, what you observe is not continuous steady change, but you see what they call stasis — that is nothing much happening for long periods of time, perhaps for millions of years, and then rather suddenly changes taking place.
[3811] erm whether that's true or not, I'll discuss the data on that in a moment, but that's a claim about what you actually see if you look at the fossil record.
[3812] Stasis and then sudden change, which for reasons which do slightly defeat me, are called punctuational changes.
[3813] The major claim is a claim which has been expressed as the claim of de-coupling.
[3814] The claim is that because of this feature of the fossil record the major features of evolution, the sort of trends that you see over hundreds of millions of years, are not merely a kind of adding together of the changes which go on by natural selection within populations and which we can study today, but that some quite different kind of process must be responsible for the major features of evolution, other than natural selection of variants within populations.
[3815] erm that then is the minor and the major claim being made erm let's now discuss whether there's any evidence for it erm or any evidence against it.
[3816] erm let me consider first of all the minor claim, and here I think it's only fair to tell you that I'm not a palaeotologist.
[3817] What I know about palaeotology isn't too much ... I mean I obviously have to try and know a bit, but it's not my field — erm in order to test the minor claim, you have to be able to get your hands on some rock which actually consists of continuous sedimentation over long periods of time.
[3818] You don't want a bit of sedimentation and then a gap when nothing was being laid down and then a bit more being sedimented, because, you know, you don't know then whether the jumps you see in the record are simply there because there was a gap in deposition, or whether they really reflect the sudden change in the population.
[3819] erm the best candidate for that kind of deposit are deep see cores — I mean there's a continuous rain of stuff falling from the surface of the sea to the bottom of the sea and forming a great sort of ooze on the bottom and gradually compacting down into rock — cores of this stuff are now available and palaeontologists can look and see what happens.
[3820] The fossils that they can see in such cores are mainly the fossils of single celled organisms, radiolarians, blobigurina , things of that kind, and the data I've seen published on this actually are pretty gradualist in their interpretation.
[3821] Changes do seem to occur remarkably steadily.
[3822] They don't occur at a uniform rate, but there's nothing in Darwinism which implies that they should, but I was looking at some data on radiolarians recently in which about every sixty thousand years there's a population sample — I mean you can estimate and see the rate at which this stuff is building up — and in no occasion in a period of sixty thousand years did the population change by more than about half a standard deviation.
[3823] Now that's the kind of change that you can produce in the lab in five generations by artificial selection.
[3824] So even the most rapid changes in these things were going very, very slowly compared with the kinds of rates which we're accustomed to seeing in the lab. erm so on the whole so far deep sea cores seem to me to suggest that really at least those beauties are really pretty gradualistic in their behaviour.
[3825] Let me now describe some work erm which points the other way.
[3826] It's work I have some familiarity with because by accident I happened to be the external examiner of the lad who did it, Peter Williamson.
[3827] It's an admirable and exciting piece of work, I think, although I don't, and I must make this clear, altogether share Peter Williamson's interpretation of his own data.
[3828] But what he has done has been to study twenty one species of freshwater molluscs — that means snails, clams, things of that kind from the Lake Tocarno region of Africa.
[3829] The reason why people are willing to spend money and time looking at the geology of Lake Tocarno of course is that some of our ancestors are lying around in the rocks and people are therefore very keen on getting accurate dating of the fossils and one way of doing that is to get erm accurate datings of changes in other fossils that you can co-ordinate with them.
[3830] Williamson's got five million years of more or less continuous deposit, which he can date pretty accurately erm and he's got twenty one species of mollusc fossilised in that material.
[3831] erm he, although it's twenty one, fifteen do really damn all.
[3832] I mean they are more or less the same at the end as they were at the beginning.
[3833] You certainly wouldn't want to put them in a different species, at least as far as you can judge from their shells.
[3834] Of course that's all you can see.
[3835] And [...] they certainly demonstrate [...] .
[3836] The other six species erm all simultaneously show at one point in the record really rather sudden change.
[3837] What seems to have happened is that at that moment the water table in the Rift Valley fell, Lake Tocarno became isolated from the rest of the rift.
[3838] Probably conditions in the lake changed, which is reasonable that they should have done.
[3839] Anyway, whether that's the reason or not, over a depth of about a metre of deposit there is really quite rapid changes in these populations.
[3840] erm at the end of ... a metre is difficult to be sure, but it's somewhere between ten thousand years and fifty thousand years in these deposits, to give you a rough idea of the kind of length of time we're talking about.
[3841] And at the end of that fifty thousand years, if that's what it is, the populations are sufficiently different that I'd think you'd want to put them into a different species if — I mean how are you to know, but I mean it's a reasonable judgement.
[3842] erm then they stopped changing.
[3843] A little later erm the erm level of the lake rose again, became continuous with the rest of the rift, and almost instantaneously these new forms disappear and are replaced by the original form.
[3844] All that means is that the original form was present in the rest of the Rift Valley during this period, never went extinct, and has now come into the lake again and has either made extinct, or in some other way swamped out the local form.
[3845] Now this is a very clear case of [...] punctuation.
[3846] Nothing happening and then something happening, really pretty rapidly.
[3847] So it's admirable evidence for what I call the minor claim of the punctuationalist school, of the empirical claim.
[3848] It doesn't prove that it's always true, but it's a jolly good case where it clearly, I think, is true.
[3849] erm I cannot see, and this is where I part company with Peter Williamson to some extent, I cannot see any reason why his data should be regarded as showing that when the sudden change did take place it took place for any reason other than natural selection within a single population.
[3850] It's important that, for those of you sort of who are more into the sort of detailed [laugh] arguments that are going on, it's significant that whatever else was the case, this did not happen as a result of a single major mutation which was then established by selection, because Williamson's got lots of intermediate populations.
[3851] He's got the original population, then he's got a whole series of intermediates, then he's got an end population, so there is nothing ... there are no hopeful monsters about.
[3852] I'll talk about monsters in a minute.
[3853] Secondly, there's no reason to suppose it happened in a small population.
[3854] Indeed it cannot have done if he can lay his hands on enough fossils just in a single surface exposure erm to be able to erm measure the properties of populations, it's clear there must have been millions of specimens of these beasts present at any one time in the lake.
[3855] So we're not talking about small population either.
[3856] So it seems to me that what Williamson has shown in one particular case is clear evidence of [...] punctuation, but no reasons at all that I can see for supposing that the mechanism of change was any other which Darwin described over a hundred years ago.
[3857] erm just a word or two about the erm question of erm changes of rate and what was Darwin's attitude himself towards this issue.
[3858] erm Darwin says in the origin, and I'm sorry I can't read it to you, but I was desperately looking for the quotation in the origin before I can and I couldn't find it but [laugh] I assure you it's there erm in which he remarks that in all probability the periods of time during which species are not changing is probably very large compared with those periods when change is taking place.
[3859] In other words, hopefully, [...] expects punctuation to be the case anyway.
[3860] So there's particularly unDarwinian about this finding.
[3861] erm what would be unDarwinian would be if there was, so to speak, a sudden break between one species and another, without any intermediate having existed.
[3862] erm now the strongest reason, I think, for believing that that is not the case is that it doesn't come from the fossil record, it comes simply from looking at organisms today.
[3863] If you look at sexually reproducing organisms, and you don't move about too much — erm I mean you just sit in Sussex and look at the birds — then by and large you don't have any doubt at all to what species any particular belongs.
[3864] I mean blue tits is blue tits and great tits is great tits and you don't see any intermediates.
[3865] erm so species are, in a sense, real things out there, they're not an artefact of taxonomists who've tried to force some classification onto organisms which don't really have that nature.
[3866] If, on the other hand, you travel about this ceases to be true.
[3867] It ceases to be true of the great tit as a matter of fact, because if you follow populations of the great tits westward across Europe, the Middle East and Northern India into Southern China, they gradually change and become smaller and darker.
[3868] If, instead of following them that way you follow them a bit further north and follow them north of the Himalayas, then get smaller and greyer and paler, and the two ends of the loop meet in China and behave as distinct species.
[3869] They don't hybridize.
[3870] I mean if one was talking about great tits in China, you'd have to say there are two kinds of great tits.
[3871] So you've got a continuous series of forms erm but at the ends of the ring the erm two species are behaving as good species and as distinct, and at what point could you say there's been a sudden break.
[3872] Well clearly at no point.
[3873] In case this surprises you, and I'm sure it doesn't surprise those of you who are biologists, we have in Britain two terminal links with such a chain, which we would never regard as anything other than perfectly good species.
[3874] Those are the herring gull and the lesser black-backed gull, which are two terminal links in a series of forms which sort of form a ring around the pole.
[3875] So, geographical variation doesn't lead one to have any kind of impression that the boundaries between species are sharp and distinct if you move about.
[3876] If you stay in the same place then the whole process of sexual reproduction means that indeed there are uniform populations which are hybridizing with one another and then barriers to other hybridizing population, but not if you move about.
[3877] And one of the most ironic features of the present debate as a matter of fact is that Steve Gould, who's been the most vocal exponent of the punctuationist view, and indeed of the view that there's something really quite special about the specification of them, his own field work is concerned with a mollusc snail called serin erm from the West Indies, which, when it was first described by anatomists, was classified into several genera and several hundreds of different species.
[3878] That's what you'd think about it if you look at it as a piece of morphology, the shell shape — it turns out to be all one species with gene flow, hybridization right across the lot.
[3879] Now how a man who works [laugh] on [...] can think there's anything funny about species I just can't understand erm but there it is. erm well, suppose, however, that in my view wrongly one did suppose that there was something erm in this sort of idea of the decoupling between the processes which we observed in single populations and erm the sort of mechanisms leading to large scale evolution, what kinds of processes are held to be important when it comes to large scale evolution events?
[3880] Well I want, very briefly, to mention three.
[3881] And first I want to discuss this idea of hopeful monsters, which is a phrase which goes back to Richard Goldsmith, the geneticist, who argued that occasionally a single — well he was vague about what kind of mutation he had in mind, because he had really rather odd ideas about what genes were and so on but he held occasionally that some genetic change gave rise in some sense in a single dialectical leap to organisms strikingly different from their parents and that speciation consisted of the establishment of such hopeful monsters or macro mutations.
[3882] He didn't say all large mutations were hopeful, but that just occasionally one would be.
[3883] erm I must confess I've always had rather a soft spot for macro mutations, I don't know why, it may have had something to do with Goldsmith's prose, which is sort of rather moving when you get into it, erm and partly, and this is an [laugh] interesting comment as an aside, that I knew as an undergraduate that to argue in favour of Goldsmith would make my teachers in general, and Professor J B S Halldane in particular , exceedingly angry and making one's teachers angry is, after all, one of the activities into which undergraduates should occasionally go. [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3884] So I used to support Goldsmith's views, perhaps rather more strongly than I actually should of done.
[3885] Anyway, I've always had a soft spot for this, there's no problem about the existence of large morphological changes due to a single mutation.
[3886] I mean any visit to a gesopholar laboratory will persuade you some very, very striking differences, you know, like having four wings instead of two, or even four legs instead of six I've had in the lab — you know, really quite striking differences can be due to a single Mendelising gene, no problem about that.
[3887] The question at issue is not whether macro mutations take place, but whether they form the basis of evolutionary novelties erm and that's an empirical question which is not easy to answer.
[3888] It seems fairly clear, for example, that in domestic animals macro mutations of this kind have quite often been made the basis of new breeds of dogs or of cattle and things of that kind.
[3889] I'm thinking of polled cattle or dogs with very, very short muzzles or dwarf legs and so on.
[3890] What tends to happen is you pick up a large mutation and then you modify it further, further modifying selection.
[3891] So there's nothing erm sorry, ... I mean, I wouldn't regard erm, you know, the acceptance of hopeful monsters in any sense as an occasional event in evolution is any sense particularly strange.
[3892] The question is does it actually happen?
[3893] And that's, of course, very hard to decide.
[3894] The only way I can think of, or I think as far as anyone else can think of, deciding whether it has in fact been important in speciation, is to look for pairs of closely related species which differ in some striking morphological trait, but are still sufficiently similar genetically for you to be able to carry out a genetic analysis, i.e. to cross them, to get offspring, to get F two's and it's then possible, it's obviously not — I'm not going to explain the details of the technique to you now — but it's possible to work out whether the difference is due largely, or in part, to some single large gene, or whether it's on the whole due to quite a lot of small ones.
[3895] And when species differ in colour pattern, for example, it not at all infrequently turns out that it's just one gene, or perhaps a couple erm I mean trituris marmaratis , which is rather a nice green newt, christatus , which is rather a nice black and yellow spotted newt, you can hybridize them and the difference is due to a single gene as far as the colour is concerned [...] gene.
[3896] But when you're thinking about an morphological traits, shapes, characters and so on, what evidence we have — and it's nothing like enough, it would be nice to have more — what evidence we have suggests that, as a matter of fact, the differences are not due to hopeful monsters.
[3897] The nice investigation recently of a erm pair of species of gesophola , these are Hawaiian gesophola , in which one species, the males, have sort of eyes like crabs stuck out almost on stalks.
[3898] I don't want you to imagine a great big long stalk, you know, but I mean they really do have a big projection from the side of the head in gesophola hetroinura , whereas in the known ancestor of that, gesopholis ulvestris , it's head is just the same shape as any other sensible fruit fly.
[3899] erm you can hybridize these two, you can second generations, backcrosses and so on, the analysis has been made, and we know that there isn't a single large gene producing that effect — we know that there are quite a number of genes of reasonably small effect, we don't know exactly how many but certainly it doesn't look like a hopeful monster.
[3900] But of course one case doesn't prove anything; we'd like more.
[3901] erm secondly, I want to say just a word about an idea that Gould, in particular, and Stanley had been fond of, namely the idea of species selection.
[3902] erm the idea of species selection is basically this.
[3903] The idea is that species originate by the sudden events, whatever they may be, and they have new characteristics, which [...] randomly related to the characteristics of their ancestral species.
[3904] erm they're rather like sort of mutations are randomly related to the gene from which the mutation took place, but now we're talking about a whole species suddenly arising with a new randomly arranged set of traits, and then the wholesale direction of evolution erm is determined by selection favouring some species in competition with other species.
[3905] So the unit of evolution ceases to be the individual who survives and reproduces in competition with another individual that becomes a species as a whole which survives in competition with other species.
[3906] erm I think that this is unlikely both on quantisation and actually also on ... curiously enough actually on logical grounds.
[3907] Let's consider first of all the quantitative ground, erm and let's talk about one of the major transitions, one of the major origins about which we have some information, and that is the origin of the mammals from the reptiles. erm we have quite a lot of fossils erm erm from the permian up to the triassic erm of mammals and their reptilian ancestors, and we know pretty well what went on.
[3908] erm some of the changes that took place were concerned with learning to chew.
[3909] You see mammals can chew and reptiles can't, erm we can chump away, you know? erm and let me just list some of the changes that took place which help us to chew.
[3910] The most critical one in some ways is a change in the structure of our lower jaw, so instead of having a lot of bones in our lower jaw we have just a single bone in our lower jaw, the dentory , which articulates with a bone called the scremosal , whereas in reptiles the quadrate and articular for the articulation and those bones have now got stuck into our inner ear and do some stuff about conducting sound impulses.
[3911] And one can follow those changes step by step through the fossil record erm including some rather nice fossils we now have which have both jaw articulations in parallel.
[3912] They have both the reptilian one and the mammalian one, both sort of functional.
[3913] erm at the same time, the bones on the side of the skull got sort of gradually disappeared, so that when you clench your jaws there's got somewhere for the muscles out to bulge out to, supposing you've got big muscles.
[3914] Then, very important for people like me, we developed a secondary palette, who's function is to allow you to eat and talk at the same time [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3915] but it also enables to you to eat and breathe at the same time.
[3916] You see you can't go chewing away, it ... unless you've got a bony ridge between the bit you're chewing and where the air pipe is, which a reptile doesn't have — most reptiles don't, crocodiles do.
[3917] Then we evolved a single tooth replacement, so that first of all you have milk teeth and then you have adult teeth, instead of them dropping out all the time.
[3918] That's bad when you run out of teeth, like me, but [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3919] but it's erm it does mean that you can, so to speak, design your teeth as a sort of decent engineering job and make them fit with one another and slide over one another and grind and so on.
[3920] So, along with single tooth replacement, you get differentiation of the tooth rap , so that you get canines and incisors and molars and all sorts of different nicely [...] and complicated teeth.
[3921] Then there are a lot of changes that went place ... took place in locomotion. erm mammals, in other words, learnt to gallop and their elbows rotated backwards and their knees rotated forwards.
[3922] Their backbone changed so that it would bend in a vertical plane erm the limb girdles changes and a whole number of other things changed associated with locomotion.
[3923] Then a number of things we can't follow in the fossil record, but we know must have happened.
[3924] They became homoiothermic, erm warm blooded, the developed hair and so on.
[3925] They developed a double circulation — they changed the method of circulating the blood round the body.
[3926] erm some of us, but not all of us, started lactating [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3927] and feeding our young that way, and some of us [laugh] but again not all of us, became volviferous and actually brought forth our young alive.
[3928] All those changes must have been happening in parallel with these other ones.
[3929] Now that's a lot of changes.
[3930] If you try to do the sums and ask could you do all those changes simply by sort of species [laugh] going one way and the other relative to these changes erm in their origins and then those species which happen to be in the right direction being selection by some kind of species selection, I think the answer is you just can't make the sums add up right.
[3931] I mean there just weren't enough species extinctions to enable you to produce that number of changes and a number of independent traits in that length of time.
[3932] Quantitative arguments of that kind are always hard to pin down solidly, but I don't think it's numerically plausible that you could produce a set of changes of that kind by species selection.
[3933] Also, it sort of there's something wrong with it logically.
[3934] Ask yourself who chews, who gallops?
[3935] A species does not chew or gallop.
[3936] The species horse doesn't chew or gallop or jump or bring forth its young alive.
[3937] Individual horses chew, gallop, etc.
[3938] If anybody ... if anything survives because it can chew better or gallop better or bring forth it's young alive or has a better circulation, it's not the species.
[3939] I mean it's the individual animals that have these properties are the ones that survive.
[3940] I mean there is a real sense in which species selection just doesn't make sense in this kind of context.
[3941] Now, as a matter fact I do think that there are contexts in which species selection does make sense.
[3942] I mean let me mention one — the chairman mentioned that I was a rash enough to write a book on the evolution of sex.
[3943] Now one of the things that sex ... one of the consequences of sex is that a population which reproduces sexually can evolve more rapidly than a population erm which reproduces asexually.
[3944] Now that trait could well be favoured by species selection, because what is it that evolves — individuals do not evolve — we are born and we die, but we don't evolve.
[3945] Populations and species evolve.
[3946] So sex and the capacity to evolve rapidly is a property of the species, not of an individual erm and consequently once can visualize erm species selection being responsible for it's evolution, so I don't actually have much taste for species selection.
[3947] I can't see the point.
[3948] The last set of ideas which I want to discuss, which is not ... which are only partly related as a matter of fact to the erm ideas of the punctuationists, are the ideas, which, as a matter of fact my colleagues here Brian Goodwin and Gerry Webster have been particularly clear and eloquent advocates, which say in effect that if you really want to understand evolution, merely thinking about the adaptation of organisms to some kind of environment is not really an adequate way of thinking about it, because when you look at organisms, look at vertebrates for example, you'll find an astonishing range of kinds of ways of life.
[3949] They have an underlying community of pattern.
[3950] erm the ... I mean we have a pentadactyl limb, whether we climb or run or fly or swim, you can recognise an obvious deep anatomical resemblance between the limbs of organisms behaving as differently as that, and therefore that if we really want to understand evolution we have to understand these erm, I don't know whether one wants to call them [...] plans or archetypes, or structures, call them what you will.
[3951] And the theory of evolution which doesn't properly understand the nature of these structures is really a jolly incomplete theory.
[3952] Now, let me say there's one component of what Brian and Gerry have been saying, which I most passionately agree with as it happens [laugh] — get that bit off my chest first — and that is that until we have a clear understanding of the mechanisms and processes of development, the processes whereby an egg turns into an adult, our theory of evolution will, indeed, be very imperfect, and we do not have such a theory, erm it's exceedingly important that we should work on such a theory, and such a theory it isn't sufficient simply to say ‘Oh well, there's a genetic programme for development’ and [...] imagine that in other ways actually said something, because you actually haven't.
[3953] You haven't said anything very useful anyhow.
[3954] erm however, what about these [...] ? erm let me read you what Darwin had to say erm about [...] and this in fact is erm erm the end of chapter six of The Origin of Species.
[3955] He wrote ‘It is generally acknowledged that all organic beings have been formed on two great lines, unity of type and the conditions of existence.
[3956] By unity of type is meant that fundamental agreement in structure which we see in organic beings of the same class, and which is quite independent of their habits of life.
[3957] On my theory, unity of type is explained by unity of dissent.
[3958] The expression of conditions of existence, so often insisted on by the illustrious Cuvier, is fully embraced by the principle of natural selection.
[3959] For natural selection acts by either now adapting the various parts of each being to its conditions of life, or by having adapted them during long past periods of time’.
[3960] And he finishes ‘Hence, in fact, the law of the conditions of existence is the higher law, as it includes, through the inheritance of former adaptations, that of unity of type’.
[3961] Now it's jolly difficult to follow an argument of that time when it's read — I appreciate that — but what I think Darwin is actually saying is this, that it's true that vertebrates, for example— all vertebrates, from fish to ourselves — have a common pattern of a rigid rod down the middle of the back, segmented muscles either side of it, a mouth at the front, a hollow nerve chord on top, two pairs of fins or legs derived from them, but not three pairs or one pair, but two pairs and so on .
[3962] It's true that that is a common feature really from the time of ... for the last five hundred million years, from the time of the earliest fish to ourselves and to the birds and everybody else, but it's like that not because there is some kind of profound law of form, which says that's the kind of organism which is in [...] permitted by the laws of development to arise, erm I mean the law form would be something like erm a law of physics which says that if objects move round the sun they're going to do so in ellipses with the sun at one focus.
[3963] That's a kind of law of the form of movement of planets.
[3964] Now, could there be comparable laws which say certain kinds of organisms are possible? erm and among those possible kinds of organisms are organisms built on this vertebrae pattern.
[3965] And there are other kinds of organisms which really just aren't possible, and that's why you don't find them.
[3966] Darwin's in effect in this passage is saying no, I don't think that's so at all, I think that this common pattern that all vertebrates have is simple the adaptive features of the common ancestor of the vertebrates, and I think he's got a jolly good case.
[3967] I mean why do you want to have a rigid rod down the middle of your back and segmented muscles down either side?
[3968] Well every biologist knows why you want to do that, it's so you can swim sinusoidally like a fish.
[3969] You [laugh] may say I don't swim sinusoidally like a fish — you're quite right, but it's not why you have them, it's why your ancestors had them.
[3970] And you may say well why do I have two pairs of fins, you know, one in front and one behind, instead of, say, three pairs of fins, or one pair of fins, or eight pairs of fins — why do we all have two?
[3971] Again perfectly good adaptive reasons — they have two pairs of fins for the same reason that sensible aeroplanes, i.e. the aeroplanes that I used to design before people went crazy, have a wing in the front and a tailplane behind, and basically they do so because two surfaces — one in front of the other like that — is the minimum number of surfaces needed if you want to produce a vertical force through any point along your body.
[3972] You can't do it with one, it's too few, and you don't need three, so you do it with two.
[3973] erm to go to another famous bio-plan, I pondered for a time about why does the bio-plan of insects insist on having six legs, after all we don't have six legs, why do insects have six legs?
[3974] Well, the reason why they have six legs, if you think about it, is exceedingly simple, and it's again a perfectly good adaptive reason.
[3975] It's nothing to do with laws of form.
[3976] It's simply that six legs is the smallest number of legs you can have such that you can take exactly half of them off the ground and not fall over. [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3978] And if you look at an insect walking, that's exactly what it does.
[3979] It's not clever like us, falling over all the time.
[3980] I mean when we're walking we are actually falling the whole time, but insects are not like that, they don't stand on three and pick up the other three.
[3981] When I first thought of that I suddenly got in an absolute panic — nothing to do with Darwin, but, you know never mind — and I thought what about those erm [...] , preying mantises and things, which ... who have adopted their front legs for sort of seizing prey like that ... they've even got four legs to walk on — what do the poor things do?
[3982] So I went rushing round to a friend of mine who fortunately had some and I said I want to see your [...] walking, and I was much comforted to discover that they do actually use all six legs.
[3983] They walk on their knees and the front legs like this, so they stand on a knee and then those two legs, and then that knee and these two legs, so they [people laughing]
tn (PS5TB) [3984] The basic point I am making is I, you know, and this is quite unfair.
[3985] Next week we must have Brian or Gerry telling [laugh] you why I'm wrong and they'd be as persuasive, or more persuasive than I'm being, but I can't see the case for such a thing as a law of form.
[3986] I think that animal forms could be almost infinitely varied and the actual forms you see are the forms which Darwin led us to see, namely the forms which are adapted to particular and specific ways of life.
[3987] Of course it leaves a problem unsolved.
[3988] It leaves it unsolved, but all right, given that our ancestors had this because they wanted to swim sinusoidally and eat, you know, filter feed and do things like that, we don't swim sinusoidally and filter feed ... why on earth do we ... are we so conservative?
[3989] And I've no doubt at all that the answer to that question has to lie in an understanding of the mechanics of development.
[3990] If it wasn't that we had to develop from an egg in every generation, I don't think that kind of conservatism would be observed.
[3991] So I do think the development at that level has something pretty profound to say.
[3992] erm I'm conscious of the fact that I've been going on for perhaps too long and I may not have said quite enough about Darwin, but let me just finish by saying this ... that it's not possible today, I believe, to discuss any important problem in biology without Darwin's thought being absolutely central to what you're saying all the time.
[3993] I mean biologists [laugh] , when they're talking to one another, are, by and large , talking about Darwin and that's what I've been trying to do.
a (PS5T8) [3994] Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think you'll agree that some of John Maynard-Smith's early engineering training showed through, as it were, in reverse order, if that's not too heretical a statement to make in this context, in the gentle good natured demolition job that he did on the main current critical attacks on Darwin's mechanism, and particularly on the rhythms of change that Darwin adumbrated within his own time scale.
[3995] I think that with John Maynard-Smith around — and I hope he'll be around for some time yet in the University of Sussex, and I hope the University of Sussex will be too [people laughing]
a (PS5T8) [3996] In these circumstances I think that Darwin can rest quietly in his grave, that is to say of the acidulous palaeontologists haven't already been trying to dig him up to prove something. [people laughing]
a (PS5T8) [3997] As John Maynard-Smith knows, I've always been, in a less expert way than he, a Darwinist and I've always felt, and you exemplified that tonight, I think, John, the beauty if the situation was that these profound theories corresponded with what a man of good sense, rationality, unswayed by prejudice and emotion, would be bound to belief when faced with the evidence. [people laughing]
a (PS5T8) [3998] And I think as far as the critics are concerned, John Maynard-Smith may allow me to adapt erm the critical misjudgement of all time, which was made by a Dublin Professor when The Origin of Species first came out, which you will remember no doubt
a (PS5T8) [3999] when she said ... when she said that what was new in the theory was false, and what was true was old.
[4000] I think that John has suggested that much of what the critics are now getting up to, where it's new it's false, and where it is true, it's already subsumed in Darwin's theory as modified by John Maynard-Smith.
[4001] Thank you very much, John.


tb (PS5TC) [4002] Hello.
[4003] We're always being told that what this country needs is more scientists, but often something seems to go wrong at school.
[4004] When children are thirteen or fourteen instead of being excited and stimulated by subjects such as physics and chemistry, they're bored by them, and many of the brightest minds turn away to history or english, the arts and humanities.
[4005] Sandy Grassie is physicist at the university — an enthusiast who likes to share his keen sense of adventure in physics with young people.
[4006] Sandy, tell me about your physics master classes for young people.
tb (PS5TC) [4008] Well to a certain extent these are a development of master classes that were running in mathematics across the country.
[4009] The Royal Institution had tried this and they would have a set of Saturday mornings where they had mathematicians talking to children of about thirteen or fourteen.
[4010] They felt it would be a good idea if they extended these ideas to the subject of physics, and we were asked at the university to try for the very first time to run a set of these master classes for children aged thirteen to fourteen in physics, to see if we could transmit some of the excitement and pleasure of doing physics to children at that crucial stage in their scientific development in schools.
tb (PS5TC) [4011] Where do the children come from?
tb (PS5TC) [4012] The children come from East and West Sussex, although to my astonishment there's one who comes from the far reaches of West Sussex, right away over erm the other side of Chichester.
[4013] She travels in every Saturday morning.
[4014] The parents bring her in, and the catchment are Horsham, Worth Abbey, Crawley, Oldbourne.
[4015] Going eastwards into East Sussex, not so far out, mainly Lewes, Newhaven, Brighton area.
tb (PS5TC) [4016] And they are put forward by the schools themselves?
tb (PS5TC) [4017] They are put forward by the schools through the local authorities, except that of course there are a large number of independent schools in East and West Sussex, and these schools have ... I wrote to these ones asking if they had any children that they wanted to nominate.
[4018] Roughly speaking, there are thirty six children in the class — what is it, it's thirteenish from East Sussex, thirteenish from West Sussex and nine from the independent sector spread across the county.
tb (PS5TC) [4019] And what are you trying to do with these children?
tb (PS5TC) [4020] Quite simply, give them an exciting perspective of what the ideas of physics are.
[4021] We're trying to do things which ... on many occasions we're actually doing things which are done at university with them, in a simplified form, of course, but just to give them this perspective, this view of physics.
[4022] It happens that what we've done is we've taken it and hung it on the starlight, the magic of starlight — how wonderful it is, how much you can tell from just looking at a star through a telescope and measuring the light that comes out of it, and this takes us into realms of why a star shines; what do you mean by time when you go back millions of years into the universe lifetime; what do you mean, why do stars shine with different colours.
[4023] These kinds of things.
[4024] It's not an obvious cumulative line through O level, it's more an impression of probably things that they will come across over the next seven years just to transmit the fun and the excitement.
tb (PS5TC) [4025] They get lectures each Saturday morning?
tb (PS5TC) [4026] Every Saturday morning there's a lecture, yes, a lecture which is given by a member of the university faculty, one of my colleagues.
[4027] A rather unusual lecture, because in devising these lectures we've actually worked with local school teachers in working out what we can say to these thirteen to fourteen year old kids, because of course in university circles usually one's dealing with pupils, students, eighteen, nineteen, twenty and post-graduates.
[4028] We haven't that much experience of working with thirteen to fourteen year olds, so we have been collaborating closely with the teachers in devising what could go into each lecture.
tb (PS5TC) [4029] They do practical work?
[4030] Experiments?
tb (PS5TC) [4031] They do experiments, not experiments to find out about things, but experiments to demonstrate things.
[4032] They're not really finding out about the uttermost regions of the hydrogen atom.
[4033] What we're doing is showing them the colour of light, the hydrogen spectrum that's given off and asking them to make some measurements on it which give a clue to the nature of what is happening in hydrogen.
[4034] They are experiments, for instance, that our undergraduates do in their first year here, tailored down very, very severely to act as demonstration experiments for these children.
tb (PS5TC) [4035] How could these children possibly do undergraduate experiments at the age of thirteen?
tb (PS5TC) [4036] Well from the hubbub when they're doing it, they're obviously enjoying it.
[4037] Handling apparatus, that's also fun.
[4038] Handling apparatus is good fun for them — unusual apparatus, doing the experiments, taking readings, plotting graphs is fun.
[4039] We have written very carefully descriptive material of what is really happening in the experiment and then a very succinct set of instructions — do this, do that, turn the left hand knob.
[4040] Of course that isn't all that's involved in doing physics, not at all— there are other aspects of actually having ideas about physics, but in the time they will see some pattern emerging within that experiment.
[4041] They're not doing it on their own, they're doing it in groups of three on each experiment — three people will be arguing, working together on one experiment.
[4042] There will be around in the room when they're doing this any six research students who have experience with the equipment, and a lecturer, and the school teacher who was involved in planning that day's work.
tb (PS5TC) [4043] You set the a great egg race type topic to work on for three weeks.
[4044] How did that work out?
tb (PS5TC) [4045] Well it was great fun.
[4046] We certainly set it because if the kids do spend all their time doing these demonstration experiments they're sure to get bored — life is like that.
[4047] The great egg race experiment was something to break into the Midlands, something to ask them to have opinions about puzzles, because there's an awful lot of science in schools which precludes you from having an opinion.
[4048] You carry on learning, and somewhere somebody knows the answer to it so you learn how they go the answer to it, and then perhaps later on you have a chance to have an opinion in science.
[4049] We thought it would be a good idea to give them a chance straight off to have an opinion, and we set them a nice problem, which was that they put a marble into something and another marble comes out thirty seconds later.
[4050] They had a large box of miscellaneous bit and pieces of sticky tape and straws and wood and drawing pins and all sorts of things, and we essentially just left them for two weeks to do this — and they came up with some superb ideas.
[4051] There was some problem that one of them went back and talked to, presumably dad, perhaps mum though, erm and came back with a lovely engineered solution, but that didn't matter — they had fun doing it and they had fun trying these things and, believe me, the answer were ever so close to what the design ... I was amazed with what they produced.
tb (PS5TC) [4052] Yes, I was there erm and saw them working, and I think you were looking fairly amazed that the answer came out to be almost the correct answer on several occasions, with quite different bits of apparatus.
tb (PS5TC) [4053] Quite, it's amazing.
[4054] It hadn't thought.
[4055] I had honestly not thought how you would solve that problem in advance, and I'm glad I did because my amazement ... certainly I wanted it to show with the kids when I said ‘Goodness, what, you know, how on earth are you going to do it that way?’.
[4056] It really was ... I was quite astonished to see some of the solutions.
tb (PS5TC) [4057] One of the nice aspects of a task such as that is that I think we, as professional physicists — and I'm a physicist too ... erm we, as professional physicists, feel there's a right way of doing something because it's the way we learnt and we've got used to, and we tend to instil this idea into other people.
[4058] And I think it was really rather refreshing to see the kids not know what was the right idea and actually dream up all sorts of fantasies for themselves, many of which were ... had their own validity.
tb (PS5TC) [4059] They really did.
[4060] I think this is an extremely important point in the teaching.
[4061] I think one of the difficulties of science — you talked at the beginning of switching people off science — is there are some golden opportunities when you can argue science, you can argue politics, you can argue English Literature with your teacher — it's very hard to argue mathematics with your teacher.
[4062] It's hard also to argue physics and chemistry with your teacher.
[4063] I'd like to find some examples of that and to give the kids chances to talk and to argue their ideas where there isn't some mammoth answer stacked up on the shelves of a library somewhere.
[4064] There are a lot of simple problems where kids can actually have opinions.
tb (PS5TC) [4065] Sandy, are you finding any difference between the boys and girls in the way they're reacting to your experiments and course?
tb (PS5TC) [4066] No, no difference whatsoever.
[4067] All of them enthusiastic — questions are coming think and fast, not at the end of a lecture — I think we actually slightly dominate them because we're not school teachers, but quote with a big U ‘University lecturers’, but get them down in the laboratory and the questions come thick and fast from boys and girls — no difference whatsoever.
tb (PS5TC) [4068] So it's too young at the moment for the girls to feel that they can't do science.
[4069] They haven't been put off science, they haven't decided that it's unwomanlike, or unladylike to be a scientist?
tb (PS5TC) [4070] You're right.
[4071] This group, however, are slightly specially selected.
[4072] These are selected children from the schools — often perhaps the best in the class — that have been put forward.
[4073] They're very determined.
[4074] Further down the line the rot may have set in.
[4075] These are people who are enthusiastic about science that we're transferring more enthusiasm to, to reinforce their interest in science.
[4076] I am a bit worried about the ones further down the line, how we influence them.
tb (PS5TC) [4077] Sandy, what's going to happen to these kids when they go back to their dull, boring school laboratories and classes after having seen the vision of your course and what physics can possibly be in the future?
tb (PS5TC) [4078] Well we know, from talking to some of the school teachers involved, they go back and ... the kids go back and talk to the other kids in the form.
[4079] They may have a slight perturbation on the behaviour of the school teachers, because they're going to come back with some ideas which the school teachers will find slightly foreign to them.
[4080] For instance, in one of the lectures we were talking about how you know how heavy an atom is, and my colleague, Mike Pendlebury, was describing how you can actually do this by weighing a crystal and counting the number of atoms in it, erm this is certainly not the traditional way, it's a way that's been developed over the last few years.
[4081] It's a beautiful, simple way of doing it.
[4082] It's not at all in the general knowledge of the sixth form science teacher, or certainly not of the O level science teacher.
[4083] Some of them are going to have to puzzle a little bit hard.
[4084] I do worry slightly that if some child answers this in an O level exam paper in, what, let's see, two years time, that they may get marked down.
[4085] I don't think that's a serious problem, but it nonetheless is the fact that this is now the method of measuring ... of weighing atoms.
[4086] You don't hurl them through space and put them through an electric field and a magnetic field and the rest of it.
[4087] The accuracy comes from literally counting the number of atoms in a single crystal of silicone and weighing it.
tb (PS5TC) [4088] Sandy, this is the first of these courses that you've run, and I deliberately said first of these courses — do you have any plans for running future courses?
[4089] It seems a great idea and it's a shame only to have one of them.
tb (PS5TC) [4090] I think that'll depend on where the money comes from.
[4091] It always looms large.
[4092] These courses are funded by Shell, and we're very grateful for their help.
[4093] They're quite expensive at the outset because what we've got to do is pay the lecturers to put a lot of work in on those lectures — it's not a simple thing writing this lecture for a thirteen year old ... and we also pay the school teachers for coming along and helping the lecturers.
[4094] Provided Shell were willing, we probably would go ahead next year, although the question you could ask is, having helped a group of thirty six kids in Sussex this year, shouldn't Shell, if they were going to run these master classes, help a group of kids in Westmorland next year, rather than another group down in Sussex next year.
[4095] It's very much up in the air about the continuation of these classes.
[4096] Remember this is the very first class.
[4097] Between Christmas and New Year, sitting writing the notes for this course, I was very twitchy about how successful it would be, and now quite happy talking to the children and school teachers and listening to the hubbub of questions and pleasure as they do it, that the thing is working.
tb (PS5TC) [4098] It seems to have worked very well, and congratulations Sandy.
[4099] Thank you very much for talking to us about it.
[4100] That's all that we have time for today.


sb (PS5TF) [4101] My guest today is Sir Richard Attenbrough, or Dickie to his many friends.
gm (PS5TD) [laugh]
sb (PS5TF) [4103] Actor, film maker, entrepreneur, he's a many of many parts, including, for example, an association for the past seventeen or eighteen years with the University of Sussex.
[4104] I think it was Oh What a Lovely War that I first remember seeing you round about the university.
[4105] Was that your first contact with us?
gm (PS5TD) [4106] Yes, it was.
[4107] What I can't actually remember is whether Lovely War preceded ... my son and daughter came to Sussex.
sb (PS5TF) [4108] I remember Michael.
gm (PS5TD) [4109] And I can't remember — I think Michael must have come after A Lovely War, or maybe contemporary with it, I'm not sure.
[4110] But it was about then — you're absolutely right — about that time, about nineteen sixty nine, nineteen seventy.
[4111] It was simply that we were shooting the picture down in Brighton on the front to a large extent and on the rubbish dump, I remember, which we turned into the fields of northern France, and we needed that terrible phrase from the First World War, cannon fodder.
[4112] We needed young men who were dragooned into the services in the fourteen/eighteen war and erm who never came back, and we needed a lot of them.
sb (PS5TF) [4113] And we provided them.
gm (PS5TD) [4114] [laugh] And the university provided them, greatly goosed on, I might say, by the then Vice Chancellor Aisa Briggs, who was very excited by the project, and that's really how I came to be connected with the university.
sb (PS5TF) [4115] And not many years later than that you were involved with the Gardener Centre in one of its previous incarnations, if I could put it that way.
gm (PS5TD) [laugh]
sb (PS5TF) [4116] Chairman of the Board, weren't you?
gm (PS5TD) [4117] Yes I was.
[4118] It was again Aisa Briggs who said now come on, you know, we've helped you with the movie, come and do some work for the university, and I didn't need any encouragement.
[4119] I mean it seemed to me that the whole concept of an Arts Centre of that stature and calibre on campus was simply marvellous — not unique, but of a very remarkable concept — and I became, as you say, Chairman of the Gardener Centre through Aisa Briggs' persuasion.
sb (PS5TF) [4120] A very persuasive man.
gm (PS5TD) [4121] Oh very, oh very, yes.
sb (PS5TF) [4122] And since then you've gone your own way and the Gardener Centre's gone its own way and it's, to be honest, gone down and up and down and
gm (PS5TD) [4123] mhm
sb (PS5TF) [4124] it's up now — did you know that?
[4125] It's
gm (PS5TD) [4126] Well I gather it is, yes.
[4127] The awful thing is that the movies that I've been involved with in the last erm few years have entailed my being abroad a great deal, and I ... [...] was made in New York entirely and I was there for six or seven months, and the difficulty is that when you then make the movie and you take it round the world, you're away for another three or four months and so you end up being out of the country for quite a long time, so I've been nothing like as active with the university.
[4128] I'm rather ashamed.
[4129] I'm a very absentee Pro-Chancellor I'm afraid.
[4130] That was Aisa, too, I might say, who persuaded me into that quite strange position [laugh] for an old ham actor to be in, but erm
sb (PS5TF) [4131] Well you may be an old ham actor, but I note you've picked up about five or six, I think, honourary degrees now.
gm (PS5TD) [4132] erm have I?
[4133] Yes, well, yes.
sb (PS5TF) [4134] So somebody must think something of you.
gm (PS5TD) [laugh]
sb (PS5TF) [4135] You very humbly describe yourself as an absent Pro-Chancellor, but you have taken a considerable interest in this university over the years, and we've been grateful for it.
[4136] How do you perceive the flavour of Sussex?
gm (PS5TD) [4137] It's unique, there's no question about that.
[4138] I don't know any university that's quite like it.
[4139] I think it's disciplines are extremely interesting.
[4140] I love them.
[4141] The whole concept of the various courses here and schools here, I think they work marvellously and I think they're stimulating and I think, from my own point of view, admirable in this breadth of examination and erm investigation and enlightenment, which personally I think is desperately erm important in our current erm communities and that to ... specialising too soon erm really can be almost counter-productive.
[4142] I think that Sussex in a way perhaps isn't quite as identifiable as it was and I think this doesn't necessarily cause by any particular circumstance or group of individuals or individual or whatever.
[4143] I think to a large degree fashion has something to do with it — the innovatory concept of Sussex was very exciting in the Sixties, it's a bit old had not.
[4144] I think Sussex has got to find a new, new hat, and got to express itself and demonstrate that it is in no sense relying on twenty five years of erm of erm fairly high reputation that the next twenty five years and the next twenty five years after that are just as challenging, perhaps even more so.
[4145] Again, I repeat with this problem of unemployment and so on, and the really obscene level of unemployment in this country at the moment — absolutely shocking I think — and I think the universities have to address themselves to that problem.
sb (PS5TF) [4146] Thank you for that.
[4147] I'm all in favour.
[4148] All I can say is Amen in respect of what you were saying there.
[4149] All right, let's go and talk about films now.
[4150] You've done your bit for the universities.
gm (PS5TD) [4151] Oh no, I'd much rather not [laugh] .
sb (PS5TF) [4152] Oh What a Lovely War is a very favourite film of mine still.
[4153] I get very emotional when I see it.
[4154] I don't think I can still yet watch it without weeping — it's such a powerful film of a powerful time, and a terrible time really.
gm (PS5TD) [4155] Yes.
[4156] I was bitterly disappointed.
[4157] I saw it erm ... I ran it — I can't remember why I was running it, oh I think I wanted to look at an actor erm, oh no, it was at a festival and I had to sit through it and I was very disappointed in it, I found it slow and rather obvious and erm a little lacking in bite.
[4158] On the other hand its subject matter I found overwhelming.
[4159] One or two sequences worked quite well, but I hope I'm a better director now than I was then.
[4160] Oh some marvellous performances in it, but really it was Joan Littlewood's intrinsic concept which was miraculous really, that's ... and really I don't know whether the movie lost a lot as against the play — I think it lost something — the important thing was that millions of people who would never have seen it, had it remained purely as a theatre production, did see what Joan Littlewood had to say, saw her perceptions, her wit, her humanity, and therefore I think it was well worth making.
sb (PS5TF) [4161] And of course Ghandi was your big success, so far, in a sense.
[4162] I mean you got every award going in the universe, just about, for that one.
[4163] How do you feel about that now looking back, are you beginning to get a little bit critical of yourself.
gm (PS5TD) [4164] I hope so, yes.
[4165] Ghandi came at the right time, you know.
[4166] There was a ... we need another feeling now, it seems to me.
[4167] I'm so sickened by the erm cynicism and scepticism and terrible jingoism that emanates to a large degree from the United States.
[4168] It seems to me that our leaders somehow or another have simply got to be persuaded that we are prepared to sacrifice a very great deal erm to secure erm a new attitude.
[4169] That it is inconceivable that after this number of centuries man still believes that ultimately the only way in which problems are solved is by blowing the other chap's head off, which is so lunatic now.
[4170] We've only seen what we've seen just recently in Russia,
sb (PS5TF) [4171] mhm
gm (PS5TD) [4172] but I'm digressing.
[4173] Ghandi, I think, in the early eighties epitomised, to a large degree, and attitude of concern about erm violence, and I think that in some large measure the sort of recognition that it gained, particularly in the awards and so on, had a lot to do with its subject matter as against it's actual execution, and I think that if it had been at another time, or if the subject matter hadn't been erm quite as powerful as that old genius's life was, I don't think it would have won the awards.
[4174] I think it was a combination of ... it was an okay movie, but it was also a wonderful subject, a wonderful subject.
sb (PS5TF) [4175] I was a very [laugh] good movie too, I must say.
[4176] Those two movies had messages, very clear messages coming through.
[4177] Now how about A Chorus Line?
[4178] It was a challenge.
[4179] I mean many people wrote disparagingly about your attempt, your nerve in taking on a gem of the New York stage and turning it into a British directed movie.
gm (PS5TD) [laugh]
sb (PS5TF) [4180] But erm did that have a message, or was that just a fun thing for you to do?
gm (PS5TD) [4181] Oh in large measure it was just a fun thing to do.
[4182] erm I mean I think if you dragged it in by its heels there is a message there, in that erm the struggle, again coming back to the university, that young people face in a competitive society, in an attempt to express themselves, to demonstrate that they have something to give and that no matter how difficult the whole economic circumstances are, and how problematical the question of employment is, young people are entitled, or society ought to see that they're entitled, erm to some manner of expression, some form of expression, to express themselves.
[4183] If they don't have that opportunity erm then what are we all doing.
[4184] I mean what is the purpose of all this, bringing the cost of living down — I don't know, a thousand things that politicians pride themselves on doing — it seems to me that they all should be taking second place to the lives that up and coming generations are going to live.
[4185] So I think that it's desperately important that people are conscious of that now.
[4186] In that little crucible of the theatre that story was demonstrated, that here were people of phenomenal talent, with an enormous amount to give, with the tremendous burning desire to express their feelings and their attitudes, and to the enhancement of other people's lives, and how cruel it was that it was so few that got through.
[4187] So, if you drag it in, yes there is, but it really was a marvellous piece of entertainment, you know, it's a wonderful show and I absolutely adored it.
[4188] I mean I had the most profound admiration for the kids in New York.
[4189] I mean they're unique
sb (PS5TF) [4190] This came over very clearly from what you said.
gm (PS5TD) [4191] They're gypsies.
[4192] They call themselves gypsies.
[4193] They sing and they dance and they act, and they do not believe unless they are profoundly proficient in all three that they're entitled to be considered gypsies.
[4194] I've never met a more dedicated, resilient group of people in my life.
sb (PS5TF) [4195] Many people, as they approach their prime of life, look for easy options.
[4196] You see to be going for bigger and better challenges.
gm (PS5TD) [4197] [laugh] Lunatic really, yes.
[4198] My whole family background has been responsible, in a way, for, by virtue of the example of my parents, for my distress at witnessing prejudice, whether it be colour, or religious, or whatever, and intolerance, and so on, and I've wanted to do a subject about South Africa for a long time, and this was enhanced erm obviously when I made Ghandi because, as you know, the first twenty odd years of Ghandi's life
sb (PS5TF) [4199] Indeed.
gm (PS5TD) [4200] adult life was spent in South Africa, and erm I found a couple of years ago two books written by a remarkable while English-speaking South African called Donald Woods, who was a newspaper editor, who befriended and then championed a remarkable young black South African called Steve Beeko, who was killed in police detention.
[4201] And the movie is the story of their friendship and Donald Woods' conversion, in a way, to the erm cause that erm ... called black consciousness which Steve Beeko erm promoted and so on, and it ends up with a sort of James Bond escape from South Africa in a way, in that Donald and his wife and his five children, harassed and threatened by the erm South African Government, finally escape.
[4202] It's an unequivocal condemnation of the obscenity of apartheid.
[4203] The great problem we face is that obviously the authorities in South Africa don't want the picture to be made, and we're shooting it in Zimbabwe, where we've been made very welcome, and erm the difficulties is the creation of South Africa in Zimbabwe, which means you have to go all over the place.
[4204] It's a very costly business, you know, but it must ring true because of course the actuality's on our televisions screens every other night and if it doesn't have an authentic ring to it then people won't accept what the picture has to say.
sb (PS5TF) [4205] So, a man of many parts.
gm (PS5TD) [laugh]
sb (PS5TF) [4206] And film maker, and associated very much with this university I'm glad to say
gm (PS5TD) [4207] Thank you.
sb (PS5TF) [4208] And long may it last.
[4209] Thank you very much for talking to me Dickie.
gm (PS5TD) [4210] Oh it's [laugh] a pleasure, Brian.
[4211] Lovely to see you again.


a (PS5T8) [4212] Once again, good evening ladies and gentlemen, and once again I'd like to offer an especially warm welcome to this centenary lecture to those of you who've come from outside the university.
[4213] If you were with us at the last occasion of this sort, the last centenary lecture on Gerter , given by Professor Corby, you will remember on that occasion erm he provided a focus of illumination in a period of power cuts, economic gloom and all the rest of it.
[4214] I am not very sure that things are very much better now, but at least the days are longer and we probably won't suffer a power cut tonight.
[4215] But in many parts of the world, and some of them not very far away from here, upheavals and agonies are going on, not unlike some of those experienced within the lifetime of the subject of tonight's lecture.
[4216] This, incidentally, is the fifteenth in the series of great centenaries, held under the auspices of the Centre for Continuing Education, and it is to celebrate the death, and by that token the life and achievements, of the great English poet John Milton, who died in erm sixteen seventy four.
[4217] I have very great pleasure in introducing our lecturer, my friend and colleague Professor Learner, who is professor of English in this university.
[4218] He was born in South Africa and he studied at the universities of Cape Town and Cambridge, and has taught in universities in Britain, in America, in West Africa and France and Germany.
[4219] He joined this university shortly after it was founded, in fact in nineteen sixty two, and he became Professor of English in nineteen seventy.
[4220] As many of you know, Professor Learner is a frequent broadcaster, and contributor in prose and in verse to such journals as The New Statesman and The London Magazine.
[4221] He's published three books of poetry, and two novels, and several works of literary criticism, the last of these, The Uses of Nostalgia, appeared in nineteen seventy two, and I understand, since this is a privileged occasion and puffs are in order, that his next book of poems, Arthur, will appear some time this year.
[4222] [laugh] In addition to all this, Professor Learner has been involved at various times in university adult education, and he takes English Literature courses regularly for the Centre for Continuing Education students, usually, but not invariably, at Friends Centre in Brighton, and I am sure that like myself he is happy to see so many adults from outside the university with us tonight.
[4223] Professor Learner on Milton.
nm (PS5TE) [4225] The one thing that John Milton knew from the moment when he first began to reflect on his destiny, was that he was going to write a great poem.
[4226] In one of his earliest pamphlets, called The Reason of Church Government, he said this about himself: ‘After I had for my first years, by the ceaseless diligence and care of my father, whom God recompense, been exercised to the tongues and some sciences as my age would suffer, by sundry masters and teachers, both at home and at the schools, it was found that whether ought was imposed me by them that had the overlooking, or be taken to of mine own choice in English or other tongue, prosing or versing but chiefly by this latter, style by certain vital signs it had was likely to live.
[4227] But much latelier, in the private academies of Italy, wither I was favoured to resort, perceiving that some trifles which I had in memory, composed at under twenty or thereabouts, for the manner is that everyone must give some proof of his wit a reading there, met with acceptance above what was looked for, and other things which I had shifted in scarcity of books and conveniences to patch up amongst them, were received with written incomience which the Italian is not forward to bestow on men of this side the Alps.
[4228] I began thus for to assent both to them and diverse of my friends here at home and not less to an inward prompting which daily now grew upon me, that by labour and intent study, which I take to be my portion in this life, joined with a strong propensity of nature, I might perhaps leave something so written to aftertimes as they should not willingly let it die.’
[4229] That is obviously the summary of a long story of consistent dedication, overlaid with constant hesitation and changings of mind and alternations about what the actual plans were going to be about the work that would be left to aftertimes.
[4230] We know more about Milton, his personal concerns and his literary plans than we do about any other poet of his time, and indeed it may be that we have to come right up to the nineteenth century before we learn so much about the inner life of any poet.
[4231] For instance, at the age of twenty one, Milton wrote a Latin poem, sixth of his Latin elegies and it's therefore just called Elegia Sexta.
[4232] He wrote it to his friend, Charles Diodati and it's an answer, in Latin verse, to a letter from Diodati apologizing that his poems were not as good as usual because he was leading too much social life.
[4233] Milton replies with a twofold statement.
[4234] He begins: ‘I, with my empty belly, send you good health, which you, whose belly is bulging, may perhaps need ’ and then the [...] falls into two halves.
[4235] The first half is in praise of feasting and drinking.
[4236] Bacchus ... song loves Bacchus and Bacchus loves songs, says Milton, and he gives us a whole stream of classical precedents, Ovid, Anacreon , Pinder, the whole lot to show that a poet naturally will love the good life.
[4237] It includes a good bit of flattery of Diodati and a celebration of the erotic lyric.
[4238] Then he says ‘But he who tells of wars and heaven, under the sway of grown up Jupiter, of pious heroes and semi-divine leaders, who at one moment things of the holy assemblies of the gods on high and then of those deep kingdoms where a fierce dog barks, let him live in the frugal manner of Pythagoras and let herbs provide his harmless diet ’.
[4239] And then of course he gives classical precedence for this Tireseus, Orpheus, those poets who had magical powers, Homer, who [...] suggests not only frugal diet, but chastity will be the best preparation for the poet who has this task in hand.
[4240] It's quite clear of course that though Diodati may belong to the first class, Milton belongs to the second.
[4241] He is the poet dedicated from the beginning to a high heroic task.
[4242] Hence that opening line.
[4243] It is appropriate that he should be the one with the empty belly addressing his friend.
[4244] And he finishes off this poem with a description of what he's now writing.
[4245] It is, in fact, the Nativity Hymn, Milton's first important poem, and he concludes ‘I am now singing’, or actually he says ‘We are now singing the peace bearing King sprung of celestial seed’.
[4246] This is one of the earliest references we have in Milton to his own dedication to the task of preparing himself for leaving something to aftertimes that it would not willingly let die.
[4247] The plans change.
[4248] You'll see his interest here in heroic material.
[4249] A little later we find him interested in the creation story and reading the now more or less unread epic on the divine week of creation by the French poet Du Bartas.
[4250] Then a little later we find a great deal about romance.
[4251] He seems to be taking Spencer and Ariosto as his models.
[4252] We also find him toying with the idea of writing an arthuriad , choosing his subject from English history.
[4253] Well being Milton, and being very thorough, he gives us long lists, of course, of dozens of possible subjects that he had in mind, but he seems to have taken the King Arthur story very seriously.
[4254] In another Latin poem, for instance, called Mansus, written to a distinguished old man and patron of the arts, that he met in Italy, Giovanni Battista Manso, a friend of Tasso and Marini, Milton hopes that he too in his turn may find such a good friend and patron.
[4255] ‘If ever I succeed’ he writes ‘in bringing our native kings back to life in my songs, and Arthur who waged wars even under the earth, or if I tell of the splendid heroes of the table rendered invincible by their bond of comradeship and, oh if inspiration would but come to me, if I smash the Saxon phalanxes beneath the impact of the British.’
[4256] If ever he manages to do this, he concludes, he hopes he will have a patron of similar eminence.
[4257] None of the this got written.
[4258] What happened instead was that Milton got caught up in politics and when the Civil War began he devoted his energy to pamphleteering.
[4259] Well in a way it's not surprising that none of this got done, if you reflect how common it is that poetic plans don't get fulfilled.
[4260] But of course it did in a sense get done, but when Milton did write his great poem, as we'll see, it came out very differently.
[4261] Why have I begun with this story?
[4262] Well, of course, because I want ... in talking about Milton I want to stress his dedication.
[4263] Indeed, I suppose, I even want to raise in passing the thought how single-minded should a poet be.
[4264] Do we think of the young poets with the young literary man?
[4265] This is not a purely historical question.
[4266] Do we think of the young literary man as choosing, in a sense, to be a student of literature and to turn his energies to nothing — except perhaps earning his bread — to nothing except fitting himself for the poems we are going to write, or do we think of poetry as in a sense the bi-product of a life seriously dedicated to other matters?
[4267] And for this, I suppose timeless question, Milton does seem to me to offer a particularly interesting answer.
[4268] Of course he belongs to the class which dedicates itself from the beginning, single-mindedly to literature, but yet not in the way we would think of.
[4269] First of all, for instance, the preparation which Milton felt it was necessary for him to give himself, was neither technical nor introspective.
[4270] I mean by this it was not the sort of preparation which on the one hand Elizabethan erm critics and writers of rhetoric books, or on the other hand Ezra Pound in the twentieth century would advise to the poet that he must learn to turn a good sonnet or write in all the metrical forms, or accomplish himself deftly in the technical devices.
[4271] Nor was it in the romantic tradition that the cultivation of your own emotional development, the habits of seasoned and trade introspection, are really what the poet needs.
[4272] The preparation in Milton's case was learn.
[4273] I am sure he would have considered that both technical accomplishment and, though not perhaps in the modern sense, introspection, were valuable for the poet, but the labour and intense study which you'll have noticed he referred to in that passage I've read, consisted of course of learning large numbers of languages, which he clearly did with great fluency, and reading inordinately the whole of human literature.
[4274] Milton, I say it with confidence, even in the presence of my friend Peter Burke, was the most learned — was more learned than any man in this room. [people laughing]
nm (PS5TE) [4277] Second, the special quality of erm Milton's preparation is that it was perfectly compatible with an act of life.
[4278] Of course he complained when he entered political writing instead of preparing himself for his poem.
[4279] He felt, in fact, that he was giving up his career.
[4280] His self defence, and I now read from actually only a paragraph or so earlier than my opening passage, his self defence in the reason of Church government is quite interesting erm ‘If I hunted after praise by the ostentation of wit and learning, I should not write thus out of mine own season, when I have neither yet completed to my mind the full circle of my private studies, although I complain not of any insufficiency to the matter in hand, or were I ready to my wishes it were a folly to commit anything elaborately composed to the careless and interrupted listening of these tumultuous times.
[4281] Next, if I were wise only to my own ends, I would certainly take such a subject as of itself might catch a clause, whereas this’— he is of course writing about the vexed question of erm Church government and the possible disappearance of episcopy —‘whereas this hath all the disadvantages on the contrary, and such a subject as the publishing whereof might be delayed at pleasure and time enough to pencil it over with the curious touches of art, even to the perfection of a faultless picture, whereas in this argument the not deferring it is of great moment to the good speeding.
[4282] That, if solidity have leisure to do her office, art cannot have much.
[4283] Lastly, I should not choose this manner of writing, wherein knowing myself inferior to myself, led by the genial power of nature to another task, I have the use as I may account that of my left hand.’
[4284] The reasons he feels uneasy at the task he's given himself, of pamphleteering, are first that he's not ... he's had to interrupt his studies and is not get learned enough for his poem, though you will have noticed he considers himself quite learned enough for ecclesiastical politics.
[4285] Second, that he objects to the topicality of the subject that he's chosen, and finally that he's not, of course, at home writing prose.
[4286] But I also began by raising the question of Milton's sense of dedication because I want to talk a little bit about the egoism of creation.
[4287] You might feel, you perhaps did feel, is it not astonishingly self-centred, is it not even offensively self-centred, this concern with his own greatness, his own importance, what I am writing now, what I shall achieve.
[4288] His passages do, after all, occur, many of them, in political tracts, in which he stops and talks about himself.
[4289] Of course he's answering accusations when he stops and defends himself.
[4290] Of course we can talk about the standard of controversy in the seventeenth century and habits of erm arguing ad hominem more than, I suppose, would normally be acceptable today.
[4291] All the same, what would you think of these reasons for inserting a piece of autobiography into the second defence of the English people, a defence of course for cutting off the head of Charles the First.
[4292] But [...] in which he says that he's talking about himself ‘That so many good and learned men among the neighbouring nations who read my works may not be induced by this fellow's calumnies to alter the favourable opinion they have formed of me, followed by the assertion that the people of England whom fate, or duty, or their own virtues have incited me to defend may be convinced from the purity and integrity of my life that my defence, if it do not redown to their honour, can never be considered as their disgrace.’
[4293] Well I have to establish my own virtue and distinction.
[4294] Why?
[4295] Because I am, after all, the defender of the English people.
[4296] You could suspect that this is a way of making it more rather than less egoistic, couldn't you?
[4297] Indeed, there is — and we must confess it — there is no doubt about Milton's egoism as a man.
[4298] I suppose the most striking illustration of this would be the story of the divorce tracts.
[4299] Milton gives us his own account of why he wrote his divorce tracts by saying ‘When the Bishops could no longer resist the multitude of their assailants, I had leisure to turn my thoughts to other subjects.
[4300] When therefore I perceived that there were three species of liberty which are essential to the happiness of social life, religious, domestic and civil, and as I've already written concerning the first, and the magistrates were strenuously active in obtaining the third, I determined to turn my attention to the second, or the domestic species.
[4301] Nobody would guess from that admirably impersonal account that Milton settled to write his first divorce only a few weeks after the bitter disappointment of his marriage.
[4302] Nor, I think, would you guess that in the divorce tracts there is an intensity of disillusion and indeed a self-pity.
[4303] Well, I'll give you a specimen.
[4304] It is not less than cruelty to force a man to remain in that state as the solace of his life, which he and his friends know will be either the undoing or the disheartening of his life.
[4305] We know from external evidence that Milton is clearly talking about himself at this point.
[4306] It does not, however, prevent him from saying that now, in this tract — this is from the doctrine and discipline of divorce —‘The duty and right of an instructed Christian calls me, through the chance of good or even report, to be the sole advocate of a discountenanced truth.
[4307] A high enterprise, lords and commons, a high enterprise and a hard, and such as every seventh son of a seventh son does not venture on.’
[4308] This can cast us back to that sense of aestheticism and dedication that we saw in the sixth elegy.
[4309] I don't suppose there's much doubt that Milton approached his marriage a little late in life with an intensity of idealism that must, to some degree, have derived from the high conception of the chastity to which he had up till then dedicated himself, and poor Mary Powell, just like Desdemona, becomes a victim of male idealisation and the unreasonable demands that it makes.
[4310] Now I've not mentioned this not totally creditable episode in Milton's life, I've not mentioned it simply to make him unlikeable to you, but to go on and say that the kind of egoism which issues in this way in his life issues in a rather different way in his worth.
[4311] There it issues in a way which seems to me not only acceptable but poetically extremely valuable.
[4312] ‘Yet once more, oh ye laurels, and once more ye myrtles brown, with ivy never seer , I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude, and with forced fingers rude shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
[4313] Bitter constraint and sad occasion dear compels me to disturb your season dew.
[4314] For Lucidas is dead, dead 'ere his prime, young Lucidas and hath not left his peer.
[4315] Who would not sing for Lucidas.
[4316] He knew himself to sing and build the lofty rhyme.
[4317] He must not float upon his watery bier unwept and welter to the parching wind without the mead of some melodious tear.’
[4318] It is in a way saying the same thing as the preface to The Reason of Church Government.
[4319] ‘Reluctant as I am, I must lay aside other tasks and do this one.’
[4320] I presume that the ... before the mellowing year, the premature moment at which he's dedicating himself is of course a personal reference concerning his own youth.
[4321] But the difference is that the degree to which Milton is speaking in his own person seems so much less in the poem, doesn't it?
[4322] It's almost a kind of professional remark.
[4323] He's writing as the poet.
[4324] If I do it for Edward King, somebody will do it for me.
[4325] Indeed, it's not only the writer who is depersonalised, but also the subject.
[4326] It's not Edward King, the man who was actually drowned and whom, as it happens, Milton hardly knew, it's Lucidas, the figure of the young poet, priest, put to some extent on a classical model that he is writing about.
[4327] Lucidas, I suppose, more than any other poem of Milton's, and indeed I suppose more than any other poem in English, Lucidas shows us that there doesn't have to be a conflict between personal involvement and formal rhetoric.
[4328] Though ... the very fact that it is so traditional and so formal a poem in the pastoral tradition, held in the tightness of all the conventions that it employs, not only allows, but in some strange way makes possible, the intensity of personal feeling that it contains.
[4329] For instance, erm when he speaks the fact that the young man was cut off in his prime, perhaps the most famous passage of the lot ‘Alas what boots it with incessant care to tend the homely slighted shepherd's trade and strictly meditate the thankless muse.
[4330] Were it not better done as other use to sport with Amaryllis in the shade, or with the tangles of Nayera's hair.’
[4331] Writing poetry is presented in the wholly artificial diction of tending the shepherd's trade, or in a Latinism that is not even correct, colloquial, normal English in meditating the thankless muse.
[4332] The lures of sex, relaxation, all the things that distract you from your high heroic task, are in the form of nymphs with Latin names.
[4333] It's hard to imagine anybody writing more artificially, but I hope you feel, as I do, there can hardly be a piece of poetry in which the distress of the poet and the feeling that he may be wasting his time comes through in a more anguished fashion.
[4334] And since I am raising this question of the universalizing and the depersonalizing of egoism as it becomes poetic dedication in poetry, I'd like to do this by offering you a contrast, and I choose as my contrast Alexander Pope, another poet who was obsessively concerned with his own role as a poet — in his satires in this case.
[4335] He spent a good deal of time in his satires, presenting himself as a satirist — unplaced, unpensioned, no man's heir or slave he proudly describes himself as he tells us that he's willing to lash out at even the most eminent public figures.
[4336] It's impressive, in a way, as an assertion of poetic independence.
[4337] But it's almost impossible to separate it from thinking of Alexander Pope the man.
[4338] ‘I will or perish in the generous cause.
[4339] Hear this and tremble, you who scape the laws.
[4340] Yes, while I live, no rich or noble maid shall walk the world in credit to his grave.’
[4341] I'm not very sure it's prudent if you're indicating your own incorruptibility as a poet to put it in the future tense in the first place, and when you continue as Pope does ‘Envy must own, I live among the great’ as he starts to describe his own life and you realise he's bringing in touches about himself which really have very little to do with the particular role as poet, it becomes quite clear that that depersonalisation process has not taken place in the case of Pope.
[4342] erm I suppose the very extreme of such self-satisfaction is in the epilogue to Pope's satires, where he actually tells us ‘Yes, I am proud.
[4343] I must be proud to see men not afraid of God afraid of me.’
[4344] Hence rhyme, you can see, is a two-edged weapon in the hands of a poet.
[4345] Now, as I say, poetic boasting is, in a way, something that is common to both Pope and Milton.
[4346] I think once more, but now for the last time, I'm going to turn back again to the preface to The Reason of Church Government and ... whoops ... and read you one more sentence erm in which he is apologizing once more for having entered the fray, the political fray ‘But although a poet, soaring in the high region of his fancies, with his garland and singing robes about him, might without apology speak more of himself than I mean to do, yet for me, sitting here below in the cool element of prose, a mortal thing among many readers of no imperial conceit, to venture and divulge unusual things of myself, I shall petition to the gentler sort it may not be envy to me.’
[4347] And he then actually goes on and writes the passage I began by reading of straight autobiography.
[4348] Well you'll see that in that apology Milton appears to be conscious of the very point that I am trying to make, that is to say it might be considered out of place in this prose work to speak of myself in direct factual terms, although a poet — a poet intending to write of things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme — a poet soaring in the high region of his fancies, with his garland and singing robes about him, in other words where we can't or aren't really invited to make out his individual identity very clearly because it is his role as poet that concerns us, there he clearly feels it would be proper.
[4349] When he came to write Paradise Lost, Milton on four occasions deliberately spoke in his own person in a way very close to the opening of Lucidas, or to the programme which that last sentence suggests to us.
[4350] These are the four exordia or openings to books one, three, seven and nine.
[4351] The most is the invocation to light in book three, in which Milton speaks out of his blindness, uses that to place himself in a tradition, and again without foregoing his intensity of personal involvement.
[4352] Indeed, I think that probably is the rival to Lucidas as the demonstration of how the depersonalizing is compatible with the most intense personal involvement.
[4353] But I'm going to read you something much shorter from one of the ... from I suppose the least well known of the exordia, that is the one to book seven.
[4354] erm the ostensible subject of this passage is that he's now finished with hell and heaven as the setting for his poems, and he's coming down to earth for what is left.
[4355] ‘Standing on earth, not wrapped above the pole, more safe I sing, withe moral voice unchanged to horse or mute, though fallen on evil days, on evil days though fallen and evil towns, in darkness and with dangers compassed round and solitude.
[4356] Yet not alone while though visits my slumbers nightly, or when morn purples the east.
[4357] Still govern though my song Urania and fit audience find, though few.
[4358] But drive far off the barbarous dissonance of Bacchus and his revellers.
[4359] The race of the wild route that torn the Thresian bard in rodderpee , where wood and rocks had ears to rapture to the savage clamour drowned both harp and voice.
[4360] Nor could the muse defend her son.
[4361] So fail not though who thee implores, for thou are heavenly, she an empty dream.’
[4362] Once again I think we have a great intensity of personal feeling.
[4363] He speaks directly to us in the first person and he expresses something very like fear and even self-pity, the distress of the poet, seeing himself as a kind of natural victim, and it may be the distress of the puritan living on after the Restoration and afraid of the wild route, which is Charles the Second's court, though I think we can be a little sceptical of this and we certainly don't know with sufficiently accuracy when Paradise Lost was written.
[4364] It is the context of the poet, inspired but misunderstood, humble in front of the muse.
[4365] It is intensely personal, but again one can detect in it mechanisms used to control the feeling and turn it from a mere discharge of personal feeling into a genuine expression of emotion.
[4366] Primarily, I suppose, the rhythm, the very moving strange erm playing of sentences against blank verse, unchanged to horse or mute, though fallen on evil days, on evil days though fallen and evil tongues.
[4367] And also, of course, the reference to Orpheus, a figure who clearly haunted Milton's imagination as that of the poet of enormous power but somehow also the natural victim.
[4368] erm this passage, of course, about the savage clamour drowning both harp and voice, refers to the legend of Orpheus being torn to pieces by the Thrashian women, which Milton also uses in Lucidas.
[4369] So, my perhaps trite point in conclusion is that there is no tension, or rather there is a tension, but there is no incompatibility or contradiction between formality and personal involvement in the case of Milton.
[4370] And now, clearly, it's time I turned to the poem itself, having spent most of my hour on the question of how Milton got there.
[4371] When he finally found his subject, it was, as you all know, the Fall of Man, the eating of the apple, taken from Genesis.
[4372] And it was the right subject — he got there in the end — because it enabled him to use everything that was most important in his own experience.
[4373] For instance, it enabled him to use the very struggle for a subject, which had occupied so much of his line, since we can partly see that struggle as a struggle within Milton over his own humanist heritage.
[4374] That is the struggle between Milton the poet and Milton the puritan.
[4375] This is a constant dilemma.
[4376] Suppose somebody read to you, without telling you the author, but telling you the date — the early seventeenth century ... lines like this ‘But let my due feet never fail to walk the studious cloisters pale and love the high embowered rough with antique pillars and [...] and storeyed windows richly dyked, casting a dim religious light, there let the pealing organ blow to the full-voiced choir below in service high and anthems clear, as may with sweetness through mine ear dissolve me into ecstasies and bring all heaven before my eyes.
[4377] And may at last my weary age find out the peaceful hermitage, the hairy gown and mossy sill where I may sit and rightly spell of every star that heaven doth show, and every herb that sips the dew, till old experience do attain to something like prophetic strain.’
[4378] Well, you would say attractive poet, fertile imagination, lover of the sense, likes organ music, likes stained glass windows, is sympathetic to the idea of monasticism retiring into a hermitage, probably a Roman Catholic.
[4379] And you were then told that he was the great propagandist of those who went around a dozen years or so later breaking down these storeyed windows, richly dykes, because it was of course profane and idolatrous to have that dim religious light in your churches.
[4380] You could hardly deny that there's a certain tension between poet and puritan.
[4381] Indeed, if we want a puritan poet at that time, we would do far better to turn to that good, upright Anglican priest George Herbert, than we would to John Milton.
[4382] George Herbert addresses his own conscience, ‘Peace prattler, do not lower, not a fair look, but though dost call it foul; not a sweet dish, but though dost call it sour.
[4383] Music to thee doth howl.
[4384] By listening to thy chatting fears I have both lost mine eyes and ears.’
[4385] And we discover the doctrine that conscience reprimands you for every one of your pleasures erm sweet dishes, music, everything, because they are all the product of depraved and sinful human nature.
[4386] The doctrine of the fall, the all pervading fall, of man through all man's faculties, the good Calvinist doctrine is held clearly with much more intensity here.
[4387] Now when it came to Paradise Lost, this tension, which is simply excluded from Il Penseroso, is actually inserted into the poem.
[4388] It's inserted into the poem in two ways: first the devils are identified with the pagan gods — they are introduced, indeed, with a great fanfare in the first book and given all sorts of classical erm and oriental names, and Milton explains to us that of course it was the devils themselves who managed to disperse this tradition that that's who they really were; and second, and though less central and less impressive in its poetic results, is perhaps the second device which is more interesting when we think of the poem in terms of Milton's personal involvement.
[4389] Second he tells us that the classical paradises, which you can read about it in ancient authors, none of them are as fine as the Garden of Eden.
[4390] ‘Not that fair field of Enna where Prosepene , gathering flowers, herself a fairer flower by gloomy diss was gathered, which costs series all that pain to seek her through the world.
[4391] Nor that sweet grove of Daphne Biorontes and the inspired Castilian spring might with this paradise of eden strive.
[4392] William Emser has resurrected for us a brilliantly stupid comment by the eighteenth century classical scholar Bentley on these lines.
[4393] Bentley says of them ‘With a silly thought in the middle and a sillily conducted in its several points.
[4394] Not Enna says he, not Daphne, nor Fonds Castalus , nor Beaser , nor Mount Amera could compare with Paradise.
[4395] Why, who would suspect they could, though you had never told us.’ [people laughing]
nm (PS5TE) [4396] And says Emser ‘A man who had given all his life to the classics might easily have suspected it’.
[4397] Here we have, of course, the explanation why these lines are so enormously moving.
[4398] Milton is paying to Eden the highest compliment in his power.
[4399] He is throwing away for it a lifetime's dedication to classical studies.
[4400] It is my little pet theory about religious poetry that the greatest religious poetry is an act of renunciation and therefore what you have to do is put in what you're giving away.
[4401] You write the same poem over and over again and tell us what you're no longer going to do.
[4402] ‘Nothing in this marvellous list’ says Milton ‘was as fine as Eden’and of course it hurts him to say it, and I don't think it's far fetched to detect that hurt and pain of that great sacrifice that John Milton is making in the rhythm when we read ‘Might with this paradise of Eden strive’, or in the fact that he can't stop there, because I didn't — as you will have realized from Bentley's comment — I didn't read you the whole passage.
[4403] He goes on ‘Nor that niceanile girt with the River Triton, where Old Cham , whom gentiles Annan call and Libian Jove , his [...] and his florid son, young Bacchus’, sorry ‘hid’— gracious me, there's a misprint. [people laughing]
nm (PS5TE) [4404] [...] Milton [laugh] ‘Where Old Old Cham , whom gentiles Annan call and Libian Jove , hid [...] and her florid son, young Bacchus from his stepday Maria's eye, nor where abasin kings there issue guard Mount Amara, though this by some suppose true paradise under the Ethiope line by [...] head enclosed with shining rock a whole day's journey high, but wide remote from this Asyrian garden where the fiend saw undelighted or delight.’
[4405] You can see Milton can't stop.
[4406] He's got to go on for another ten lines, piling on more and more out of the way references to classical paradises so that he can give it all away for God.
[4407] So far from being, as you might at first glance suspect, a wanton display of Milton's monstrous learning, it's a piece of triumphant relevance.
[4408] The more he can find to dazzle us with the greater is the compliment that he pays to Eden.
[4409] Indeed, this very struggle that I find so fascinating in the writing of Paradise Lost, you know, [...] a rather intimate way I feel I can see it in eleven words that come just a little earlier in the fourth book, in which he tells us ‘Seeing the apples growing on the trees, that they are hisperian fables true, if true here only and of delicious taste’.
[4410] I like to think that Milton originally wrote hispearian fables true and of delicious taste.
[4411] It's metrically quite plausible.
[4412] That would be a gesture of supreme eloquence by Milton, the humanist.
[4413] That would be an extravagance of classicallly based compliment and then Milton the puritan comes along and says to himself that won't do, we need a footnote, and in goes the footnote if true here only — don't forget that these classical legends are all lies. [people laughing]
nm (PS5TE) [4414] Paradise Lost, like Colmris is a poem with a thesis, but the counter position of the thesis is so powerful that the poem, both these poems, have to be described as the enactment of a conflict, rather than the giving us of the result.
[4415] The thesis, of course, is quite simple.
[4416] The poem sets out to justify the ways of God to men, and what little time is left me will be devoted to justifying the ways of god to men, and we must begin this, sorry ... we must begin this by a word on on the fall — the way of God ... the ways of God to men of course are punishing men for the fall.
[4417] If the circumstances of this crime — that is the eating of the apple — are duly considered, it will be acknowledged to have been a most heinous offence and a transgression of the whole law.
[4418] For what sin can be named which was not included in this one act.
[4419] It comprehended at once distrust in the divine voracity and a proportionate credulity in the assurances of satan, unbelief, Side B graditude , disobedience, gluttony, ‘In the man excessive uxoriousness, in the woman a want of proper regard for her husband, in both an insensibility to the welfare of their offspring and that offspring the whole human race.
[4420] Parasite, theft, invasion of the rights of others, sacrilege, deceit, presumption in aspiring to divine attributes, fraud in the means employed to attain the object, pride and arrogance.
[4421] That comes from Milton's Latin Treaties on Christian Doctrine, and you can see he certainly must have felt he'd found his subject. [people laughing]
nm (PS5TE) [4422] It clearly implies a world order in which the prime virtue is obedience, not a world order that's exactly to our twentieth century democratic taste, but then after all not a world order altogether to Milton's taste, as we can remind ourselves by thinking of his plea for unlicensed printing the Areopagitica.
[4423] Obedience is, of course, to God and not to man.
[4424] Well, I am alas going to have to leave out my discussion of God in Paradise Lost, the question of whether, by presenting the obedience to God you can somehow make it more palatable to the readers' tastes than you could if it was entirely thought of as a secular morality.
[4425] And the answer of course is that it depends how much you make God like yourself, and that's a test that Milton doesn't come altogether well out of.
[4426] But I want really, in conclusion, to jump straight to the central part of the poem in which the ways of God to man, got to me are most clearly ... justification's most clearly involved, and that is the actual process of the fall.
[4427] Milton's task, of course, is to convince us of the sin involved.
[4428] Just to convince us that all these things that he tells us about are somehow present, to convince us of the heinousness of what he's done.
[4429] In a word, I suppose I think he succeeds better with Eve than he does with Adam.
[4430] But I'm going to put the evidence in front of you and ask you to decide for yourselves.
[4431] Immediately after the climax of the poem — the tremendous lines in which no so saying ‘A rash hand in evil hour forth reaching to the fruit she plucked, she ate’.
[4432] Immediately after this big moment the earth is convulsed with horror we have Eve's first speech, presumably after the fall ... the first speech in a state of sin, and this is it ‘Oh sovereign virtuous, precious of all trees in Paradise, of operation blest to sapinense hitherto obscured in famed and thy fair fruit let hang as to not end created, but henceforth my early care not without song each morning and dew/due pray shall tend thee and the fertile burden ease of thy full branches offered free to all.
[4433] Till dieted by thee I grow mature in knowledge, as the Gods who all things know.
[4434] Though others envy what they cannot give, for had the gift been theirs it had not here thus grown.
[4435] Experience next to thee I owe, best guide, not following thee I have remained ignorance.
[4436] Thou openest wisdom's way and gives [...] no secret she retire.
[4437] And I perhaps am secret.
[4438] Heaven is high, high and remote to see from thence distinct each thing on earth.
[4439] Another care perhaps may have diverted from continual watch our great forbidder safe with all his spies about him.
[4440] But to Adam, in what sort shall I appear?
[4441] Shall I to him make know as yet my change and give him to partake full happiness with me?
[4442] Or rather not, but keep the odds of knowledge in my power without co-partner, so to add what wants in female sex the more to draw his love and render me more equal and perhaps a thing not undesirable sometimes superior, for inferior [...] .
[4443] This may be well, but what if God has seen and death ensue, then I shall be no more and Adam wedded to another Eve shall live with her enjoying I extinct a death to think.
[4444] Confirm then I resolve, Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe [laugh] , so dear I love him that with him all deaths I could endure without him live no life.’
[4445] Well that shows us what a dramatist was lost to the English stage when Milton finally decided to write it as an epic and not as a play.
[4446] Eve starts with an extravagance.
[4447] Well we might consider frenzied and suspect —‘Oh sovereign virtuous, precious of all trees’, though we must be careful of course because in the formal style of Paradise Lost such opening addresses are common.
[4448] Well we can have no doubt when a moment later she turns to idolatry and assures the tree that her early care ‘Not without song each morning and due/dew praise’— a little excessive for a tree, perhaps. [people laughing]
nm (PS5TE) [4449] That's what she's going to devote to it.
[4450] And, indeed, as befits someone who's hovering on the edge of idolatry, even her vocabulary has gone a little pagan ‘Till dieted by thee I grow mature in knowledge as the Gods who all things know’, and then what I think is a brilliant touch on Milton's part, the very next line says to us ‘Though others envy what they cannot give’.
[4451] Now the others she's referring to there must be God, but she cannot immediately go on and so bluntly say, in the very next line anyway, you know, it was only the serpent who showed it to me, God is going to be envious of me.
[4452] So it's this kind of vague offstage ‘others’ who seem to have the power in that case.
[4453] Well, you'll also have noticed I am sure that as she went on touches of uneasiness began to appear.
[4454] For instance, after she had said I would have remained in ignorance, the tree opens wisdoms way though secret she retire, the word secret catches up almost by a mechanical verbal train of association the thought and on it perhaps [...] secret and then all these uneasy feelings that perhaps God's so far away, or he wasn't watching, or in some way or other he didn't actually see.
[4455] erm then when it comes to Adam, the first thought in relation to Adam is of course that she's improved her own position, isn't it?
[4456] It's only after that that once again she begins to be worried at possible consequences ‘What if God hath seen and death ensue, then I shall be no more and Adam wedded to another Eve’ and therefore, of course, ‘Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe’.
[4457] C S Lewis, a little unkindly, describes this as murder [people laughing]
nm (PS5TE) [4458] in which he says that erm the more convinced that she is that it's going to be fatal in its operation, the more determined apparently she is that Adam shall share.
[4459] Whether she is consciously twisting logic, or just, poor girl, confused, I'm not sure, but at the end it's quite clear ‘So dear I love them that with him all deaths I could endure, without him live no life’, that she's got into a world of fantasy because the one thing that is of course not in question is that Adam should die and that she should live on, which appears to be what she's referring to here.
[4460] Now I think this is a brilliant speech, but I have to admit that it is a speech which, in showing the egoism, the confusion and the self-deception of Eve, assumes a valid order which is being destroyed.
[4461] That is to say, it assumes the hierarchical erm conception of God's world and the ethic of obedience, which, as we saw from that prose passage, underlies the conception of the fall as the central sin.
[4462] And this point is even more clear-cut with Adam.
[4463] The last passage I'm going to have time to read comes in the erm speech of Adam erm, not actually speech, the inward soliloquy to Adam, the first thing that he says ... he says his case is not yet fallen when he sees Eve.
[4464] Eve comes to him and tells him what she's done.
[4465] ‘Oh fairest of creation, last and best of all God's works, creature in whom excelled whatever can to sight or thought be formed, wholly divine, good, amiable or sweet, how art thou lost?
[4466] How on a sudden lost, defaced, deflowered and now to death devote, rather how has thou yielded to transgress the strict forbiddance, how to violate the sacred fruit forbidden.
[4467] Some cursed fraud of enemy hath beguiled thee yet unknown, and me with thee hath ruined, for with thee certain my resolution is to die.
[4468] How can I live without thee?
[4469] How forego thy sweet converse and love so dearly joined, to live again in these wild woods forlorn.
[4470] Should God create another Eve and I another rib of [...] , yet loss of thee would never from my heart.
[4471] No, no, I feel the link of nature draw me.
[4472] Flesh of flesh, bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.’
[4473] In a way, the most important word in the whole of that speech is probably ‘nature’—‘I feel the link of nature draw me’ because here now Adam is using the word nature as, I suppose, he would not have used it at any earlier point in the poem.
[4474] It is being used as something contrasted to God's order.
[4475] He's already feeling that there is a counter movement in him which he is prepared to call nature, which links him to Eve and which will lead him to join Eve in her defiance of God.
[4476] We have of course got here a speech about a human bond versus a larger loyalty.
[4477] About a link of nature versus accepting your place in God's universe and obeying God's instructions.
[4478] Milton, we could say, is here showing us the price of following God's command.
[4479] What, once sin has entered the world, it can cost you to obey all those injunctions in the new testament about ‘I am thy father and thy mother, [...] sell all and follow me.’
[4480] And of course he's showing us Adam's failure to follow [...] .
[4481] You could even say that Milton's rejecting the future in this speech and saying I label sin what is going to become, if you have prophetic powers, new kind of ethic.
[4482] And to justify the ways of God to men with such honesty, that is to say with such a complete account of what the price is which would have to be paid, is of course no longer to justify but to enact the actual conflict.
[4483] It is no longer to come down on one side or other of the fence as the entire poem was so clearly designed to do, but to say following the ways of God will mean this.
[4484] And that, of course, is why in the end, though we can all read Paradise Lost alike, and we can all in a certain sense respond to Paradise Lost alike, we must come to our final conclusions about the poem in terms of our own values.
[4485] And for the humanist reader, for this reason Paradise Lost is really the greatest reputation of Christianity that's ever been written.
[4486] Thank you.


tb (PS5TC) [4487] This is the second in our new series of twelve programmes on opportunities in education, in which we're looking at some of the ideas in action in schools today.
[4488] Contributors are largely from the Education Faculty at the university, and today I have with me Dr Johanna Turner, who is a Developmental Psychologist and the person who is particularly interested in development in young children.
[4489] Jo, at what stage do you think that formal education ought to start for a child?
sb (PS5TF) [4491] As you know, at the moment it starts and five, but ideally perhaps it could start younger, but obviously there are financial considerations as well.
tb (PS5TC) [4492] Perhaps a development of nursery education on a much greater scale, bigger scale than has hitherto been the case
sb (PS5TF) [4493] Well, be careful what you're committing me to say.
[4494] I mean you asked me about formal education and immediately we're talking about nursery education.
[4495] Now I don't want necessarily to equate the two of them.
[4496] I do think some formal education could start sooner, but I wouldn't want you or the listeners to think that nursery education and formal education are one and the same.
tb (PS5TC) [4497] What is the difference, basically?
sb (PS5TF) [4498] Well I think one of the advantages of a nursery schooling is certainly a considerable amount of social interaction for the children, which very often they won't be obtaining, either if they're living in high rise flats, or at the other end of the social spectrum if their parents are living in large houses with large gardens and no other children within the vicinity.
[4499] So I think it has a social function, as well as a formal educational function.
tb (PS5TC) [4500] Do you think that the social function comes before the formal function, or do you think they both go together?
sb (PS5TF) [4501] I think it would depend on the child.
[4502] For some children they are more socially deprived, and yet they may be getting considerable ‘education’ in inverted commas within their home environment.
[4503] For other children they probably are getting enough social interaction, there may be plenty of children around, but educationally, in terms of the sort of basics for education they may be extremely deprived.
[4504] I think there are many functions that it serves.
tb (PS5TC) [4505] Do children develop at roughly the same rate?
[4506] Can you say that all three year olds are roughly the same?
sb (PS5TF) [4507] You can say that three year olds are more like other three year olds than, say, thirty year olds would be like other thirty year olds, and the younger the child the more true that is, so that would be much more true at age a year, assuming that there aren't any physical defects or mental defects, than say at three.
[4508] So by three, yes, there is some variation, but they are certainly ... there is less variation than you would get at the end of the secondary school or university.
tb (PS5TC) [4509] And are there quite specific stages that one can recognise perhaps as a developmental psychologist which take place at roughly particular times in a child's development?
sb (PS5TF) [4510] Very broadly.
tb (PS5TC) [4511] Could you give me some idea of what these might be in the very early years perhaps?
sb (PS5TF) [4512] Perhaps I could, but whether I should is a different point.
[4513] I feel that once parents begin to become too aware of norms, they worry, and therefore unless a child is grossly out of sync, if you like, with their peers, I wouldn't say it would matter, but yes, one would expect a three year old to be talking at one extreme.
[4514] If there is no speech by three, indeed if there is no speech earlier than that, it might be very important to check that the child is not deaf.
[4515] I think also you would expect children who are really quite young, well before the first year, to be showing social interest in other adults around, and if they're not it might be worth checking that there isn't some problem with the child.
[4516] But generally speaking I'm not very happy about norms.
tb (PS5TC) [4517] Oh well we won't press you on that [laugh] particular point then.
[4518] There's been a lot of publicity recently about parents teaching their own children, rather formal things.
[4519] There have been one or two stories about youngsters who've become ... reached a very high level in mathematics, for example.
[4520] Are you in favour of parents teaching their own children?
sb (PS5TF) [4521] Well can I come to that in a minute, because you said something I'd like to pick up.
[4522] You said the child may not be developing in the way the parent expects the child to develop, and I think that it's very important for parents to check out their expectations.
[4523] If they are expecting something that they haven't got, it may well be that their expectation is wrong.
[4524] What is important is the child that they have in front of them, and to learn to understand that child.
[4525] It's not it's brother or sister, or their brother or sister, it is unique, and it's pattern of development, although of course it will be broadly similar to other children, exactly like no other child, and in a sense I would feel that the parental job is to judge very carefully the needs and the developmental cycle of their own child, and then stimulate to the extent that that child needs.
[4526] Now having said that, of course, I've almost answered the other question, that I just do not believe there are any rules.
[4527] I mean maybe you're thinking of the sort of publicized cases of a nine year old, I believe it was, who's got A levels in mathematics.
[4528] I would not want to say that I could criticise that parent, because I don't know the background of it.
[4529] I would very much hope that other parents would not feel that they ought to be doing to the same thing, unless their circumstances were very similar.
[4530] If you have a child who appears to show a talent at one thing, then of course it's natural to let the child do what it enjoys doing, but that might be the very moment for saying well what is this child not talented at and ensuring that this child gets some experience of the kind of world that it not part of its own talents, so I would feel, from my own point of view and as a psychologist, that if you have a child who is very talented in mathematics, then fine, it's going to be quite good at mathematics one would assume, now's the time to say well is it as equally talented in music?
[4531] Are there other things that could develop?
[4532] Has it got erm a wide social relationship with other children?
[4533] So that at the end of the day one has a much more rounded individual with of course specific talents.
[4534] I'm not for holding back children.
[4535] I think parental anxieties are something with which one must have great sympathy because very often the anxiety is not so much an anxiety about the child, it's an anxiety about the parent.
[4536] If they have had difficulty in school they will worry that their child is having difficulty in school.
[4537] Now of course it may be that the child has caught a worry about schooling from the parent, but I think that's the first thing to sort out — is this really a problem in the child, or is it a problem in the parent's mind?
[4538] And secondly, I mean obviously parents are more worried if they feel that their child is not doing as well as somebody else's child, and we're back to this question of expectation again — where did they get the expectation that this other child is, as it were, some sort of norm that they ought to be living up to , and parents should talk to teachers and to other people who know their child and have got experience of their child as against other children to find out really whether their worries are truly grounded, or whether they are just groundless.
[4539] I think to come back to an earlier question of what should you teach them, and what is normal, is that ideally a child wants to grow up in an environment where his or her parents enjoy here, where the relationship is enjoyable on both sides and not shot through with anxiety about how well this child is developing, providing the development is within the normal range.
[4540] If the child has a special skill or the parent has a special interest and they enjoy together exchanging this skill or interest, like teaching a child to swim very young, teaching it to play or listen to music, or play very simple rhythmic sounds, then as long as it is done within a relationship that is, above all, a loving relationship, great.
[4541] But if it's done as a way of accelerating the child's development, in order, as it were, to give it the edge over its peers, that doesn't seem to me to suggest a relationship in which parent and child are enjoying each other ; it is much more a relationship in which the child is being prepared for competition with its peers and this, I feel, probably is going to turn out badly, because almost inevitably the child will not reach the levels that the parent has build up in fantasy in its own mind.
tb (PS5TC) [4542] How do you feel about parents teaching children how to read?
sb (PS5TF) [4543] I think it comes to the same thing.
[4544] If the parent feels they know a system that they have heard or read is successful, and if they try it out on the child and the child obviously enjoys it, if it becomes part of a game, then I can't see any harm in it, but I think the parent has to be scrupulously honest as to whether the child is enjoying it.
[4545] If there's any hint that the child isn't enjoying it then I don't think it should happen.
[4546] If parents really want to help their children, with reading specifically, I feel that Margaret Donaldson, who is and educational psychologist in Edinburgh, is correct when she points out that one of the greatest difficulties children have when they go to school is that many of them don't understand what kind of activity reading is.
[4547] For instance, they don't understand, as she quotes in her book, what somebody is doing when they're reading a newspaper, or what it means when the postman looks at a envelope.
[4548] Now if parents, through playing games with their children that are based on words, could alert the child to the fact that print is a convention and that we can translate print into reality, obviously not as abstract as that, but just get the child used to knowing what print is, knowing what reading is, so that perhaps when they go to school they may well know this is a skill that they don't have, like they don't know, perhaps, how to ride a bike, they may not know how to swim, they certainly don't know how to drive a car, but they do know what sort of a thing driving a car is.
[4549] In that way, I think they'd be much more prepared for learning the skill than if they go completely unprepared and see children looking at books and saying things and it makes no sense to them.
tb (PS5TC) [4550] My last question is ... is really again about making children do things, as opposed to encouraging or helping them to do things.
[4551] You say that so far as you're concerned, it's all right for children to learn if in fact they're enjoying it and if in fact they want to and they're not being coerced.
[4552] Surely that makes the transition between home and school a rather traumatic one?
sb (PS5TF) [4553] Having worked and been around the Brighton first schools for many years, I would very much hope that the transition is not traumatic.
[4554] Certainly, the ... most of the infant teachers I know take great pains to make sure that it is not traumatic and that the move from home to school is as easy as possible.
[4555] Now having said that, often the trauma, which goes back to my original remark, is the sheer number of children, the sort of social impact that a reception class can have.
[4556] Now if a parent can have introduced the child via nursery school to that amount of other children, then I think there should be very little trauma, but that isn't to say that as the child gets older they don't have to do things.
[4557] But if a child has to do something because they can understand the end a which they're aiming, in the way that a footballer has to train, or a boxer has to train, then it becomes easier to do the equivalent of training.
[4558] One of the difficulties is that the end state is so far removed from the average child that it is very difficult for them to see why they have to learn to read, but if they can realize that if they learn to read in those houses where they have it they'll be able to read the Radio Times and know what the television programmes are, that at least is motivating.
[4559] I mean reading as to be put in a context and a context that is, in fact, enjoyable to the child, not something that just happens at school that they have to do, hence one they go to school the value of parents hearing the children read, because then the parent is also involved and one doesn't get this split between home and school.
tb (PS5TC) [4560] Well thank you very much, Jo.


[recorded jingle]
nm (PS5TE) [4561] Hello.
[4562] This is another programme in which we explore the boundaries of science, limits to what we know, or can possibly discover.
[4563] Today we look at the start of it all, the creation of the universe.
[4564] John Barrow is an astronomer at the university.
[4565] John, how long ago was the universe created?
tn (PS5TB) [4567] Well I think all we can say with any confidence is that the patterns of evolution and behaviour going on within it today indicate that it has an apparent beginning between about fifteen and eighteen billion years ago.
nm (PS5TE) [4568] You say an apparent beginning, does that mean there's a great deal of uncertainty associated with it?
tn (PS5TB) [4569] There is an uncertainty in the sense that we today observe the universe to be in a state of expansion, that is the most distant galaxies and clusters and galaxies are all receding from one another at a high speed, which actually increases as you look farther and farther away from us.
[4570] If we sort of reverse things in our minds eye, and look backwards into the past history of the universe, we can come to a time where apparently all the material in the universe would have been on top of itself, that it would all have been squeezed into a point, and this moment sometimes people call the big bang, or the initial singularity.
[4571] And it's that moment which, when we trace the expansion backwards, will have occurred between about fifteen and eighteen billion years ago, but we can't say what, if anything, may have happened before that, whether the universe bounced out into another state of expansion, so we have a sort of a cut off in our ability to retrodict , or extrapolate backwards into the past.
[4572] The uncertainty in the number that I gave you, about fifteen to eighteen billion years, is not in any sense an error due to inaccuracies of measurements of the rate at which the universe is currently expanding, but there are systematic differences of opinion about how one should calibrate the expansion rate, because people have different means of measuring the distance from us of the most luminous objects.
nm (PS5TE) [4573] When one calculates, for example, the beginning of the universe, using the methods you described, surely you're making great assumptions about the laws of physics not having changed?
tn (PS5TB) [4574] Yes, that's certainly the case.
[4575] One doesn't always have to make those assumptions, of course.
[4576] One thing worth remarking about this is cosmology and astronomy in general is very unusual science in the sense that when we observe very distant objects in the universe we are observing the universe actually as it was in the past, because the light that's coming towards us from a distant galaxy or cluster of galaxies actually left that object maybe millions or billions of years ago.
[4577] When we see a distant galaxy we're not seeing it as it is today, we're seeing it as it was a long time ago.
[4578] So when we say we want the laws of physics perhaps to stay constant in time, when we observe these objects a long way away we're observing the laws of physics as they were a long time ago.
nm (PS5TE) [4579] But not close to several billion years ago?
tn (PS5TB) [4580] Almost, but erm one could certainly arrive at a situation of the sort you're imagining that we want to be sure that when we look at some very exotic phenomena in the past of the universe, which has no parallel on earth, erm or in our vicinity, how can we be sure that the laws of physics that we've deduced on earth really apply?
[4581] How do we know that the laws of nature are not really like laws of a game of chess, but played on a chess board where the laws change as you go from place to place on the chess board, which is a very more complicated situation than an ordinary chess game where the laws are the same no matter where the pieces are.
[4582] And I think all we can say is that we can't be sure that that isn't the case.
[4583] There is no evidence that the laws are different in the past than they are today, that they're different in different places erm, but one can investigate the possibility.
[4584] It's possible to formulate theories of very simple aspects of physics where the laws or the strengths of different forces, say like gravity, actually change from place to place and make predictions as to what the observable consequences should be, erm and to a very degree of accuracy one concludes that the strengths of the forces of nature and the laws and the rules of the game are not changing from place to place.
[4585] They may be of course, but we may not have looked in the right place yet to find that.
[4586] I think it would be very exciting if they were changing, but I'm afraid one has to be a reluctant revolutionary at the moment — there really is no evidence for that view.
[4587] I think really what happens when you go into the past is not so much that the laws that we now use change, but we just find that there are many more new rules and particles and things that can happen, so the things that we know are the same, but there are many, many more different types of interaction and particle in nature which we have no experience of, which we have to take into account.
nm (PS5TE) [4588] If we go back to the first few minutes, or maybe even the first few seconds, there must have been an incredibly high density of matter near that point?
tn (PS5TB) [4589] Yes, today the density of the universe is remarkably low.
[4590] If you were to smooth out all the material there is in the universe into a uniform sort of sea of particles, you would find that the density was just about one atom in every cubic metre, which is far better than the best vacuum that you can ever make on earth by artificial means.
[4591] As you go backwards in time, to say the first minute of the universe's life, the density is not absurdly high, it's only a little more than that of water, but the density of radiation is much, much higher — it's a million times higher — and the temperature is like the inside of a nuclear reactor, so one of the interesting things is that when we get back to just a minute, say, after the apparent beginning of the expansion, we're not yet dealing with any bizarre physics, we're dealing with conditions that we know and understand on earth.
[4592] However, if we keep on going, extrapolating backwards into the past, when we get to about a tenth of a second, or a hundredth of a second after the beginning, if we want to push earlier than that we've got to start using physics which we cannot test directly on earth.
[4593] We reach densities approaching that of the atomic nucleus, so it's about one hundredth of a second after the start that there is a real threshold.
[4594] After that we use ordinary physics that we know and love and understand, but before that time we're working with uncertain physics and uncertain cosmology.
[4595] But there is a bonus to that in that people hope that by testing their ideas about the uncertain physics, by building models of that early stage, that those models will have consequences for the things that get left behind in the universe for the present, and so they might be able to test their ideas about how matter behaves at very high density by using cosmology, and that's very important because we have no other way of doing it.
[4596] Also, it's worth adding, it's a very, very cheap way of doing it.
nm (PS5TE) [4597] John, what's the chance of finding intelligent life out in the universe?
tn (PS5TB) [4598] Low, I think.
[4599] I think one can put forward fairly persuasive arguments that there are no life forms a good deal more advanced than ourselves in our galaxy, simply because I believe that social and environmental and sort of curiosity value factors would have led them to reveal their presence in various ways.
[4600] It would be very easy for an advanced civilization to produce self-reproducing space probes, which would very quickly explore a large fraction of the galaxy.
[4601] There could, of course, be many civilizations similar to our own.
[4602] It would be very difficult to detect them.
[4603] I have rather perhaps eccentric views about this, I don't feel that we ought to be advertising our presence to external civilizations.
[4604] Our experience of what happens one earth when very superior culture groups meet very inferior culture groups is rather alarming.
[4605] Perhaps we ought to be spending time developing camouflage, rather than advertising our presence.
[4606] It's always an assumption that intelligence goes hand in hand with benevolence and high moral values.
[4607] I think there's probably a strong argument against that in human history, and I think we shouldn't naively expect these very intelligence creatures to be benevolently disposed towards us.
[4608] Another interesting idea that has been suggested is that there are extra terrestrials who are very intelligent.
[4609] They haven't revealed their presence because our solar system is being treated rather like a nature reserve — that they don't want to interpose themselves and spoil a very classic example of study of a lesser civilization growing up.
[4610] But I think this is ... it's very close to science fiction — it's very hard to think of any biological argument which makes the probability of intelligent life evolving high.
[4611] Astronomers tend to always think the probability is high because they think there are so many sites on which life could develop, but the biologists take completely the opposite view, that there are so many evolutionary pathways that lead to biological dead ends, that this outweighs the number of sites on which life could develop.
[4612] So I think the biologists would tend to say no, there is no advanced intelligent life probably in our galaxy.
[4613] Astronomers probably lean towards the idea that yes there is, and there are currently searches, I believe, in the United States erm beaming signals with characteristic wavelengths, erm in the hope that extra terrestrials will see them.
nm (PS5TE) [4614] Lastly, John, one of the observations I would make is that a lot of astronomers I know are people who seem to have quite strong religious convictions.
[4615] Is there anything about astronomy which makes people inclined in that direction?
tn (PS5TB) [4616] Yes, it's an interesting point.
[4617] I erm haven't done a survey of this, but from my experience of meeting people in different universities I do get the impression that there tends to be many people of a religious persuasion, whereas in the sciences of the very small, biology and so on, there is not.
[4618] Of course the problem is whether erm people enter those subjects because of their religious interests, or erm whether their religious interest develops as a result of studying those subjects, but I think certainly in this country there are a large number of people who are Christians and have a religious interest who are in the astronomical sciences.
[4619] This may also be because those subjects appear to offer fewer possible problems with regard to reconciling our behaviour, or everyday life, our origins perhaps, with other beliefs.
[4620] One is not going to run into any social or economic or moral consequences of quasars, but you will, if you work in DNA replication erm and other areas of the physical sciences.
[4621] But I think, looking back in history, there has always been a erm strong erm religious motivation behind many of the past great scientists, like Newton, erm Boyle, Maxwell, Calvin — these are all people who had a very strong religious motivation erm behind their investigations, and if you look back in history still further, there is a strong case to be made that the reason why science was so dramatically successful in the west was because there was a strong belief in monotheistic religion, that people believe that the world had been created in an ordered way by a deity and so there really were laws of nature to be discovered, whereas if you study what happened in the Far East, for example, in China, the Chinese, you remember, were well ahead of the west in science at about the tenth century.
[4622] They had gunpowder and very sophisticated engineering devices well before the west, but one can document the fact that the Chinese gave up science, rather dramatically, erm in subsequent centuries, simply because they lost faith that there was any underlying order in nature to be discovered, that it was their background religion and philosophy which led them to give up the idea of unravelling the structure of the universe.
[4623] They didn't think there was any law and order to be unravelled.
[4624] And then when you look back to the Greeks, for example, here you have a culture that was dramatically successful in mathematics and logic and philosophy, but actually very unsuccessful in science, and there again you have a society which has nature guards erm and so nature is not a valid object for study.
[4625] You can't study botany if you believe in erm flower got [laugh] .
nm (PS5TE) [4626] John, thank you very much.
[4627] Next Sunday we shall be exploring another important boundary in science.


a (PS5T8) [4628] Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
[4629] On this occasion I can, without any distortion, offer you a very warm welcome [laugh]
a (PS5T8) [4631] to this, which is the thirty ninth in the series of great centenary lectures, which we inaugurated in nineteen hundred and seventy, which was very early in the life of the Centre for Continuing Education.
[4632] As some of you will know by this time, the Centre provides custom-build courses, day schools, residential schools and other projects, for thousands of adult students in this region — mainly at locations scattered throughout the area, towns and villages of Sussex, but some here on the campus — and by so doing it tries to provide a strong functional link that helps to keep the university in touch with the community.
[4633] Some might be tempted to say in touch with reality, but I think I'd prefer on this occasion to say in touch with another dimension of reality.
[4634] And we hope that the influence and the benefits are reciprocal.
[4635] Now as part of all this, the Centre is responsible for almost all the public lectures in the university, and we have been glad to make the open to the public at large, and therefore a very special welcome to those of you who have come in from outside.
[4636] Now in planning the series of centenary lectures for this session, I was very delighted to discover that this was James Joyce's centenary year, and therefore had the chance at last to promote a lecture on him.
[4637] Personally I can almost ... almost remember the days when erm Ulysses was a bound book only to be read in plain cover after having been smuggled through the customs at Folkestone, Dover or Newhaven.
[4638] These, you might say, were the days of innocence, hypocrisy and prejudice.
[4639] I don't know whether they've gone.
[4640] I can even remember when Finnegans Wake was thought to be incomprehensible and the gentleman sitting on my right, George Craig, is almost, but not quite, my contemporary at this university and I was genuinely delighted when he agreed to take on the herculean task of giving a lecture ... a centenary lecture on James Joyce.
[4641] George, not unlike his subject, has spent about half his life in Ireland ... west, north and south he tells me ... I said why not Dublin and he says that's what I meant [laugh]
a (PS5T8) [4643] and the rest of his life in France and England, although I'm not sure whether what drove him from Ireland was like that which drove his subjects from Ireland — no doubt we shall see.
[4644] He has taught in schools and universities in Ireland and in France, and is now Reader in French in this university, having been here since nineteen sixty six.
[4645] I have it on unimpeachable authority that his abiding interest is the human voice — whether the one we hear when we speak, or the one that informs and sustains us whatever we read.
[4646] His specific professional concern is to have been with Aspects of Modernism, which is says is a loose name which covers the creative disruption of all certainties about what reading is, what writing is and what words can do.
[4647] He has written on Malarmie , on Puste , on Beckett and on reading itself.
[4648] George Craig on James Joyce.
[4649] Thank you George.
gc (PS5T9) [4651] Thank you [...] .
[4652] The subjects of the great centenaries lectures are, unsurprisingly, as diverse as human achievement, but in at least one respect they can, by and large, be spoken of together with widespread, if not indeed universal, recognition of their greatness.
[4653] To adapt a famous phrase, ‘We may not know much about their art, but we know what we're supposed to like’ and the lecturer, quite properly, both confirms and extends this recognition, so that what we find is, again quite properly, something like celebration of unity.
[4654] It is a very good base to talk from and I would love to have it.
[4655] What I have to recognise by contrast is that even now James Joyce, born a hundred years ago, brings not unity but division, nor does this division merely reflect some such crude opposition as highbrow and lowbrow, or even informed and uninformed.
[4656] It is, of course, normal that any artist who breaks with the patterns of the past should find a sharply divided response among readers at large .
[4657] The very words ‘modern art’ still carry by themselves a charge strong enough to disturb, dishearten, or even repel, some before they've read a line or listened to a note of whatever work has been given this label.
[4658] It is worth remembering too that the reactions of those who accept to go further and try the new are not always quiet indicators of preference.
[4659] Here we may meet, may ourselves have felt anger, revulsion, even hatred.
[4660] ‘You've got to draw the line somewhere’ runs the old phrase.
[4661] And so with Joyce we might talk, say, of the manageable stories of Dubliners and the still acceptable mixture of poignant retrospect and startling surges of feeling that mark the portrait of the artist as a young man.
[4662] But then we have to move with Ulysses to a huge spinning-top of words which defies such judgements and leaves us clutching at apparently familiar images which so sooner appear than they are gone.
[4663] And finally we would come to Finnegans Wake, apparently mocking our very attempt to read by calling in question what is, I suppose, the most basic of all assumptions about writing, that whatever form it takes it will be made up essentially of recognisable words.
[4664] If then we have uneasy feelings about modern art, it looks as if Joyce must confirm them a thousandfold.
[4665] Yet, even here, there is a puzzle, a strange, unplaceable something which doesn't quite fit with that account of the gradual driving out of the reader and the suggestion of a steady shift towards the rare and the difficult, for I would guess that anyone not put off in advance by suspicion or hearsay, anyone that is who has got as far as dipping into Ulysses, say, will have come hard up against things that are startlingly, even discomfortingly, recognisable.
[4666] Words, of course, phrases, images, sequences, which connect with the very core of our inner experience, whether at its humblest or at its grandest.
[4667] And then again if agonisings about modern are seem to take us in one direction, the banning of books as [...] reminded us, takes us in quite another, and we have to remember that for all practical purposes it was indeed a banned book for nearly fifteen years, from the Twenties into the Thirties.
[4668] We are not, we think, so easily shocked now by the naming of the ways of need and desire, and that label too will be a poor guide to the kaleidoscopic experience which Ulysses draws us into.
[4669] Here it would be tempting to assume, whether modestly or angrily, that there is another group of readers — the sophisticated, the expert, the professional, for whom such problems simply don't exist, or have long since been left behind.
[4670] These readers, the assumption might run, are at ease with the complexities of rhythm and vision, pattern and play, and united by this ease are free to discriminate more and more finally the detail of the smallest fragment or the structure or the entire work.
[4671] You may well think indeed that I'm wasting your time in calling this an assumption rather than recognising it as a plain fact.
[4672] The critical and biographical studies already written to Joyce and his work would stop a sizeable bookshop.
[4673] More are appearing all the time, and nineteen eighty two will be no more than a particularly rich year for them.
[4674] And nor is it simply a question of numbers — among these studies are some of the subtlest, most ingenious and most penetrating essays written in our time, and the factor common to almost all, the naive or the clumsy as well as the brilliant, is the conviction explicit or implicit that Joyce is an outstanding, indeed for some the outstanding, modern writer.
[4675] The status of his work for some approaching that of the sacred book.
[4676] Surely here is, after all, that unity of celebration which earlier I claimed as missing.
[4677] Not so.
[4678] I suggested a second or so ago that the ordinary reader, unsure of what to make of the shifting realities of Joyce's writing, might defensively assume that no such hesitations would trouble the experienced reader, but that is far from being a homogeneous class.
[4679] Among experienced readers, including those most passionately concerned with modernism, there are some for whom Joyce occupies nothing like so central a position, some for whom the whole drift of the later work is radically misconceived, even a colossal mistake.
[4680] We are back again in disputed ground.
[4681] In the bewildering tracery formed by the work and by the claims and counter-claims that it has provoked, there is matter for a hundred lectures, and what follows is neither and attempt to summarize, nor a rival undertaking.
[4682] I want rather, by focusing on a small number of closely related questions, and simple ones at that, to suggest something of how all this came about and why it matters.
[4683] What I have to say would bear essentially on the four works named, and would be grouped round three notions which I shall call language as rescue, language as screen, and language as replay.
[4684] First rescue.
[4685] One sense of that is obvious enough.
[4686] Everywhere in the stories that make up Joyce's first major work, Dubliners, we come across a double reality, an invariable focus on the precise detail of place and person, class and bearing, speech and gesture.
[4687] The kind of attention that we usually associate with love or hate, and at the same time an acute awareness of limits, of closed worlds, of helplessness, of traps of unsatisfiable longing — the sort of awareness that we associate rather with pity or fear.
[4688] Even as we admire the sharpness, the delicacy, of the delineation, of this self-sacrificing old maid, that lowly and tormented man, this uncertain child — even as we admire, we see too the hopelessness that these so powerfully suggest.
[4689] But because it is a writer who is giving us this, and a writer at the beginning of his career, what more natural than that we should see him as writing his way out of all this, as ‘getting it out of his system’ as we say, clearing the ground for work that will enact triumphantly his escape, his liberation, his hope.
[4690] And again and again in the stories comes the hint of separateness, of difference, as if to confirm this.
[4691] Say, from the first story, The Sisters, a little moment like this one ‘It's bad for children’ said Old Cotter ‘because their minds are so impressionable.
[4692] When children see things like that, you know, it has an affect.’
[4693] I crammed my mouth with [...] for fear I might give utterance to my anger.
[4694] Tiresome old red-nosed imbecile.’
[4695] Or again that difference seen the other way round, as in these lines from the last great story, The Dead.
[4696] ‘He stretched himself cautiously along under the sheets and lay down beside his wife.
[4697] One by one they were all becoming shades.
[4698] Better pass boldly into that other world in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.
[4699] He thought of how she who lay beside him had locked in her heart for so many years that image of her lover's eyes when he had told her that he did not wish to love.
[4700] Generous tears filled Gabriel's eyes.
[4701] He had never felt like that himself towards any woman, but he knew that such a feeling must be love.
[4702] The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree.
[4703] Other forms were near.
[4704] His sole had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead.
[4705] He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence.’
[4706] The beauty of these words cannot entirely hide a sense of suggested differentness, of an essential something so far held back but pushing now to get out.
[4707] It is this sense which seems to be given the clearest possible confirmation in those moments of the portrait of the artist, where the brooding Stephen, Stephen Daedalus , suddenly emerges from his vigilance in a lightening display of strength.
[4708] Here, from the portrait, are two of them.
[4709] ‘It's a curious thing, do you know’ Cranley said dispassionately, ‘how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelief.
[4710] Did you believe it when you were at school?
[4711] I bet you did.’
[4712] ‘I did’, Stephen answered.
[4713] ‘And were you happier then?’
[4714] Cranley asked softly.
[4715] ‘Happier than you are now, for instance?’
[4716] ‘Often happy’ Stephen said ‘and often unhappy.’
[4717] ‘I was someone else then.’
[4718] ‘How someone else?
[4719] What do you mean by that statement?’
[4720] ‘I mean’, said Stephen, ‘that I was not myself as I am now, as I had to become.’
[4721] ‘Oh this again.’
[4722] Stephen walked on alone and out into the quiet of Kildare Street.
[4723] Opposite Maples Hotel he stood to wait, patient again, the name of the hotel a colourless, polished wood, and it's colourless quiet front stung him like a glance of polite disdain.
[4724] He stared angrily back and the softly lit drawing room of the hotel, in which he imagined the sleek lives of the patricians of Ireland, housed in calm.
[4725] They thought of army commissions and land agents.
[4726] Peasants greeted them along the roads in the country.
[4727] They knew the names of certain French dishes and gave orders to Jarveys in high pitched provincial voices, which pierced through their skin-tight accents.
[4728] How could he hit their conscience?
[4729] How cast his shadow over the imaginations of their daughters before their squires beget upon them that they might breed a race less ignoble than their own?
[4730] And under the deepened dusk he felt the thoughts and desires of the race to which he belonged flitting like bats across the dark country bogs.’
[4731] And I've still not quoted the best known of those displays of otherness — these we shall come to later.
[4732] For the moment let me repeat that what all this seems to point to as natural is the self-imposed exile which will allow the artist figure, whether Stephen or Joyce himself, to create a new world, with the language of the writer as his ticket, his lifeline, his rescue.
[4733] But strong though that thrust is, it is not rescue in that sense that I want to argue for here.
[4734] Bear with me for a moment more as I come towards it, while I read you yet more lines from another moment of the portrait, and keep in mind, if you will, from a moment ago, Stephen's contemptuous review of the holders of wealth and power in Ireland.
[4735] ‘Often as he sat in Davin's rooms in Grantham Street, wondering at his friend's well made boots that flanked the wall pair by pair, and repeating for his friend's simple ear the verses and cadences of others which with the veils of his own longing dejection, the rude pheoboric mind of his listener had drawn his mind towards it and flung it back again, drawing it by a quiet inbred courtesy of attention, or by a quaint turn of Old English speech, or by the force of its delight in rude bodily skills, for Davin had sat at the feet of Michael Cussack the game, repelling it swiftly and suddenly by a grossness of intelligence, or by a bluntness of feeling, or by a dull stare of terror in the eyes, the terror of sole of starving Irish village in which the curfew was still a nightly fear.
[4736] Side by side, with his memory of the deeds of prowess, of his Uncle Matt Davin , the athlete, the young peasant worshipped the sorrowful legend of Ireland.
[4737] His muse had taught him Irish — his nurse had taught him Irish, beg your pardon [laugh] — and shaped his rude imagination by the broken lights of Irish myth.
[4738] Whatsoever of thought or feeling came to him from England, or by way of English culture, his mind stood armed against in obedience to a password, and of the world that lay beyond England he knew only the Foreign Legion of France in which he spoke of serving.
[4739] One night the young peasant, his spirit stunned by the violent or luxurious language in which Stephen escaped from the cold silence of intellectual revolt, had called up before Stephen's mind a strange vision.
[4740] The two were walking slowly towards Davin's room.
[4741] ‘A thing happened to myself Stevie, last autumn, coming on winter and I never told it to a living soul.
[4742] And you are the first person now I ever told it to.
[4743] I disremember if it was October or November — it was October, 'cos it was before I came up here to join the matriculation class.’
[4744] Stephen had turned his smiling eyes towards his friend's face, flattered by his confidence and won over to sympathy by the speaker's simple accent.’
[4745] Now there is more to this passage than either the story that it heralds, poignant and memorable though that is, or the condescending tone of the last sentence, for the innocence Davin embodies brings to Stephen as a brute fact from the real world the missing half of a truth which Stephen has known but so far been unable to admit even to himself, and which will go on mattering to Joyce for many years.
[4746] For as long as a Stephen, in his moments of strength, has been able to despise the arbiters of fortune and culture — the English and the Anglo Irish — as degenerate and unworthy inheritors of the language of Shakespeare, he has done so from somewhere, from a somewhere intimately known, and yet never entirely placed, from what might loosely be called Irishness.
[4747] Standing on that base, felt as solid but as yet unexamined, he can look ahead of him at the task, which is writing, in possession of the means to carry out that task, which is his language, but suddenly that vision is revealed as fantasy.
[4748] Stephen cannot stand alone facing the task and the world, quietly, unassumingly, Davin has appeared behind him.
[4749] Davin , whatever his limitations, is standing on and in an Irishness which can be and is described and mapped, which is not a neutral zone, and which feeds and is fed by a language.
[4750] The world is in front of Stephen and behind him, as in some terrible children's game he is caught in the middle of a circle, in a kind of nowhere.
[4751] He has no language, only an awareness of the languages of others.
[4752] erm anyone who has read the Portrait of the Artist will know the dizzying swings of feeling that chart Stephen's progress from arrogance to abjectness, from despair to hope, from self-sufficiency, to the craving for comfort, or the voluptuousness of renunciation.
[4753] And they can all be tied to episodes or events, sexual experience, hurt pride, felt guilt, ecstatic awareness.
[4754] I want only to suggest that however closely those match, however complete they are, therefore, in the pairs they form, they all also work as imagines of the writer's relation to language, now confident, now uncertain, now lonely, now roistering and so on.
[4755] And this is something more than a literary point.
[4756] Indeed, it is because it can't be a literary point for Joyce or for anyone from Ireland who's business is words, because language forever figures urgent and personal issues of belonging, of debt, of loss, of freedom and of dependence, because it is and does all this.
[4757] The very notion of making a literary point about the writer's relation to language, however true, will have a cruelly mocking echo.
[4758] What then can this Stephen, who is so piercingly aware of these things, and yet who proposes to be a writer, what can he do?
[4759] If he is to write at all he must, in the final irony, turn to language.
[4760] Something of that strange ... that strangeness and that irony lies behind the famous claim ‘I will try to express myself in some mode of life for art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile and cunning.
[4761] Among the many things we hear in that oracular phrase is, against the odds, a bitterly won conception of language as rescue.
[4762] I suggested a little time ago that the surface indications offered both by Joyce's life and by his writing up to including The Portrait — he does leave Ireland to live with his Nora in Triest, in Switzerland, in France, in Switzerland again, until his death in nineteen forty one, visiting Dublin for the last time in nineteen hundred and twelve — he does give us in Dubliners and The Portrait a sharp sense of the traps he feels he must escape from, the church tentacular, pervasive, the seedy provincialism, the narrowness, the philistine complacency.
[4763] I suggested that the evidence seemed, in the context of language as rescue, to promise a whole new set of preoccupations, to a point where even those undertakings Stephen had given to rework the stiff clay of his race, even these can seem unduly influenced by his still being among them.
[4764] But if it makes easy sense when we learn that after the ground clearing achieved in the early publications Joyce sets to work on an enormous new fictional venture, guesses about new preoccupations and the leaving behind of old collapse in face of the reality of Ulysses, for in it we read, among a thousand turnings and an wanderings, of a single day, the sixteenth of June nineteen hundred and four, in Dublin, and how two characters, separately and together, live out that day among the welter of their acquaintance, their needs and deeds and thoughts, their places of refuge and of risk, and if one of these two, Leopold Bloom, is new, the other is Stephen Daedalus, and Dublin is everywhere in the novel, almost to the point where everywhere is Dublin.
[4765] Is Joyce then moving back, rather than moving on?
[4766] Both the terms and the meaning of that question are less simple than they seem.
[4767] It is time we took up the second of my headings, language as screen.
[4768] There too there is no straightforward unchallengeable meaning, but let's see how far we can get with one immediately obvious sense of screen — that it is a something, noticeable in itself, behind which other things happen.
[4769] And the language of Ulysses is noticeable in countless ways, taking now to the staccato bursts of signal flickering half thoughts, or the ebb and flow of daydream, now to extended disputation, now to pastiche, now to grotesque imaginings, now to the flattest or the sharpest of conversational exchanges.
[4770] The shifts in pace, in tone, in level, come at us without warning, so that even as one part of the brain tries to grasp at this or that, to make sense of it before moving on, the rest responds to the exhilaration of being swept along the verbal equivalent of a ghost railway.
[4771] For among the effects is one that is new, and that nothing that I've said so far could have suggested this very exuberance, as well as the things it plays on, can make us smile or laugh.
[4772] Take this tiny sample: Leopold Bloom, the Dublin Jew, with his touching mixture of timorousness and courage, has looked in for a few moments at a church as a Mass is ending.
[4773] We grasp the occasion only through the disjointed reflections.
[4774] Some of that old sacred music is splendid, mercadante , seven last words, Mozart's Twelfth Mass, the glory in that.
[4775] Those old popes were keen on music, on art, and statues and pictures of all kinds.
[4776] Palestrena , for example, too.
[4777] They had a gay old time while it lasted, healthy too, chanting, regular hours, then brew liqueurs ... benedictine, green chartreuse.
[4778] Still having eunuchs in the choirs that was coming it a bit thick. [people laughing]
gc (PS5T9) [4779] What kind of voice is it?
[4780] It must be curious to hear after their own strong bases — connoisseurs.
[4781] I suppose they wouldn't feel anything after [people laughing]
gc (PS5T9) [4782] Kind of a placet, no worry.
[4783] Fall into flesh, don't they?
[4784] Gluttons, tall, long legs — who knows.
[4785] Eunuch — one way out of it. [people laughing]
gc (PS5T9) [4786] Well consider again this brief moment, where we're given a new glimpse of someone last seen surrounded by a God-like power, the rector of Clongoes , where the young and impressionable Stephen had been to school.
[4787] ‘He walked by the tree shade of sunny winking leaves, and towards him came the wife of Mr David Shehee MP.
[4788] ‘Very well indeed, Father.
[4789] And you Father?’
[4790] Oh Father Conmey was wonderfully well, indeed.
[4791] He would go to Buxton, probably, for the waters and her boys would be getting on well at Belvedere.
[4792] Was that so.
[4793] Father Conmey was very glad indeed to hear that.
[4794] And Mr Shehee himself?
[4795] The house was still sitting — to be sure it was.
[4796] Beautiful weather it was, delightful indeed.
[4797] Yes it was very probable that Father Bernard Vaughan would come again to preach.
[4798] Oh yes, a very great success.
[4799] A wonderful man really.’
[4800] And from such moments as these we will be whirled to the uproarious, the piercing, the magdalen, the strange and the voluptuous.
[4801] Our screen, then, is no colourless obstacle, but a bewilderingly decorated surface that constantly draws our attention, tempting us with the thought that here is all.
[4802] That to read the novel is to attend exclusively to the detail of a patterning.
[4803] And there are many readers, quick and subtle ones, for whom that is so, and for whom, of course, the sense of screen, which I have been suggesting, can serve no purpose.
[4804] At the same time, this screen, these games with and in words, can even now frighten off those readers who feel they must always know where they are when they read, or irritate those who see the games as a form of deliberate teasing or provocation.
[4805] But since it is part of my intention to suggest how and why the work of Joyce provokes exceptional division among its readers, I shall, for that reason and for others which will emerge, keep the notion of screen in front of you.
[4806] And that takes us to the question of what it is that might be going on behind the screen — a question which leads not only forward and to Ulysses and beyond, but backwards, into a reconsideration of Dubliners and The Portrait of the Artist.
[4807] For if, as I suggested, the enormous vitality of the language of Ulysses can, among other things, make us smile and even laugh out loud, that fact alone will underscore how little room there is for laughter in the earlier texts.
[4808] Is this, then, the rescue that I spoke of?
[4809] That certainly would fit very well with the familiar notion of a writer shaking off the anguished preoccupations of childhood and adolescence, free now in his maturity to put ironic distance between himself and that world, but it won't do.
[4810] Let me catch up here some points left in suspension.
[4811] There is first the fascinated attention we find in the stories that make up Dubliners.
[4812] I suggested that the insistent gaze, the awareness of detail, were of the kind we associate with love or hate, while the persistent emphasis on traps or limits that can never be crossed belonged rather with the very different forces of pity or fear.
[4813] Now these don't just add up or cancel out.
[4814] The common claim the that the stories are remarkable for their even tone seems to me to miss the point.
[4815] Love and hate are violent.
[4816] They get things done.
[4817] Pity and fear slow us down, or send us away.
[4818] But there is one kind of feeling that can hold them all together — desperation.
[4819] Not despair, not that last wild flailing about before we disappear into the pit, but desperation.
[4820] In it we cannot go to any of the extremes because we are aware of them all.
[4821] We are pulled this way and that, but the effect of these contradictory pulls is to leave us fixed in the middle.
[4822] Now of course the stories are about people caught in this way.
[4823] Such a one as Evelyn, who has the chance to escape with her Frank from the life of drudgery she has with her awful father.
[4824] Frank, going ahead of her to the boat, turns for her.
[4825] ‘She felt him seize her hand.
[4826] ‘Come.’
[4827] All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart.
[4828] He was drawing her into them.
[4829] He would drown her.
[4830] She gripped with both hands at the iron railing.
[4831] ‘Come.’
[4832] No, no — it was impossible.’
[4833] And Evelyn stays, and Frank is gone, and the story is done.
[4834] Evelyn and the others are, indeed, with greater or lesser urgency and awareness, immobile in desperation, but I want to suggest that for Joyce it is not the dispassionate artist's gaze which alone allows that strange steadiness commentators have called and even tone.
[4835] It is not just the characters who know desperation.
[4836] It confronts and surrounds Joyce too.
[4837] Now he it is, of course, who creates them, and by that very fact can claim to have moved triumphantly beyond immobility — the overall achievement of Dubliners, and within the stories the hints of differentness of which I spoke.
[4838] But what is for the most part in these stories a quiet desperation, is achieved at the cost of suppressing part of his own awareness, part of his own truth, and how bad that was we begin to see with The Portrait.
[4839] Something else I've left hanging rather dangerously in the air is another and rather different hint, and because of the close correspondence of their careers, the milestones along their way, Stephen Daedalus is merely another name for James Joyce, so that the portrait itself would be a blow by blow account of its author's story so far, with the relevant identities politely concealed under pseudonyms.
[4840] Neither the one nor the other is the case.
[4841] And this we come at not through consulting Joyce's biography, but through attending to the forces at work in his writing.
[4842] The space of desperation is a wide one, and if there is room in it for little stunted people, there is room too for figures that are a mile or an inch high.
[4843] Stephen will be both.
[4844] If immobility is one of its effects, the swinging between the extremes that bound it — love and hate, pity and fear — is another, and that is how Stephen will move.
[4845] And if given to us as actual temptations, the rather lure of the church, the Reverend Simon Stephen Daedalus SJ, and the lure of the flesh ‘He closed his eyes, surrendering himself to her body and mind, conscious of nothing in the world but the dark pressure of her softly parting lips’.
[4846] If these are given to us as actual temptations, there is no less of temptation in the resounding sentence that is the last but one of the portrait.
[4847] ‘I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.’
[4848] There, indeed, is Stephen hero, a young Titan, who is about to topple the gods.
[4849] The serene and powerful artist figure, who remains within or beyond or above his handiwork.
[4850] Invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his finger nails.
[4851] But Joyce, his creator, is watching him as one of his own timorous school boys might watch a particularly daring companion, admiring, fearful, disapproving, conscious of unresolved guilt, above all divided.
[4852] Irishness and Englishness framed one difficulty from which language had to provide the rescue.
[4853] Stephen has gone through confession, and is, he declares, ‘Ready to forge that language’, but he declares it in a language that will not yet take Joyce out of desperation.
[4854] What language will allow his confession to be made and yet not heard will by itself bring absolution and so release hi, yet all the while create his novel.
[4855] It is as part answer to that question that I have put forward the notion of language as screen, the dazzling play of words and tones, fragments, sequences, movements this way and that — calls constantly to the eye and ear of the reader.
[4856] But even as eye and ear follow the darting changes here and there, as if they were the only reality, even as that happens we are made aware that the great screen is showing some sharply outlined human scene — the easy or awkward coming together of acquaintances in this pub, that cemetery, this newspaper office, that maternity hospital, library or brothel ... the making and the unmaking of friendships and hopes — the experience of solitude.
[4857] And then the scene itself divides.
[4858] In one version it is the highly particularized action of networks of people in the network of streets that is Dublin on one day and another, suggested to us as early as the title and continued through innumerable associations and hints, it is a vast and teeming world through which and erratic journeying is taking its course in space and time, inner and outer.
[4859] These intimations of universal and particular timeless and now reach readers whether or not they have learned to call the sections of Ulysses by the names of episodes, characters, or places taken from the Odyssey.
[4860] Granted all that richness and diversity, to talk of language as screen may well seem simply perverse, even ungrateful, but just as we can't attend to the patterning without also seeing the patterns, the scenes, so the whole virtuoso performance is counterpointed by a performance of a different kind, the intricately woven language screen.
[4861] Looked at from another angle is the grill of the confessional.
[4862] There is a murmur of many voices about it, but the one that comes through is not that of Stephen Daedalus, a little older now, but still recognisably kin to the Stephen of The Portrait, not his voice, but that of Leopold Bloom.
[4863] Bloom is physically unimpressive, is incapable of Stephen's fierce intellectual of aesthetic leaps.
[4864] He lacks social adroitness, or any kind of personal magnetism, as he struggles to hold down a charmless job which depends on the goodwill of others.
[4865] He is Jewish — that is condemned to be an outsider in a world which knows only the Catholic many and the Protestant few.
[4866] He is a husband who recites with dull pain the continuing succession of his wife's lovers, while he must comfort himself with fantasies — his own, or the kind printed on cheap paper.
[4867] How can he matter?
[4868] In the screen of language the words that make him up are no more than some amongst many, a detail in the pattern, as a grotesque might be in early painting, or the straight man in a comic duo.
[4869] But in the novel of which that screen is part, in the total enterprise, he matters very much and in different, crucial ways.
[4870] To start with, there is separate screening mechanism for Bloom himself.
[4871] He is presented to us in the first instance, and decisively, but his failures, his weaknesses, his inadequacies.
[4872] The small, sad, trapped figures we met in Dubliners were, for the most part, you might say, given a quick deliverance, each firmly located within his or her narrow circle and then left.
[4873] It is as if the economy, the restraint of much of the writing passed over onto them to give them a curious accidental dignity.
[4874] With Bloom the most secret stirrings of bowels or brains are exposed.
[4875] The defeats and backslidings are not only those forced on him by others, or by circumstances, but those too, less pitiably, which come from within him.
[4876] It is as if he were all The Dubliners rolled into one.
[4877] He is everybody's butt, not least that of his wife, Molly.
[4878] Yet, too keenly aware of his own different failings, to be able to outface them all.
[4879] Such aspirations as he has are short-lived, stick almost in the throat, as the notes of the song might in the throat of an unconfident would-be singer.
[4880] And so gently, uncertainly, yet doggedly, he makes his way along through this day as, we must suppose, through the whole of his life thus far.
[4881] Why then, given all this, do we see and hear so much of him?
[4882] If he can be put in his place by anyone, young or old, male or female, why do we come across him everywhere?
[4883] Can the great Odysseus , strong and decisive, have shrunk to this Ulysses?
[4884] Well the obvious explanation is that that is the point that our modern hero, the connecting thread that runs through the whole design, can have none of the grandeur of the ancient one.
[4885] But again, and in more than one sense, we see too much of Bloom for that to be the whole explanation.
[4886] We can get a little further by remembering that the affect of the screen is to present him by way of his weaknesses and limitations.
[4887] So unambiguously marked are these, that they draw attention away from other features of his — his odd stock of knowledge and his quiet eagerness to increase it — his unassuming inclination for the arts, and particularly music ... something different from the practical awareness that comes from being married to a singer — his compassion — his steadfastness.
[4888] We do not always laugh when all or any mock him.
[4889] We do not always dismiss him when he is left trailing by the brilliant or the powerful.
[4890] I have suggested already that he is all The Dubliners combined — the lost child, the resigned girl, the lonely or frustrated man, the seeker of false comfort — now I want to come at his importance from a different angle.
[4891] The Stephen of The Portrait also knows intermittent humiliation — the brutality of school fellows, or teachers, the sole grinding slide into poverty, the self-revulsion at sexual indulgence, the after effects of surrender to the embodied authority of priests, the awareness of cultural isolation.
[4892] But however low he is brought, the urgent forward and upward drive of the writing gives us such moments as stages on the way to eventual triumph.
[4893] The humiliations may show us the strength of the opposition which the world, temporal and spiritual, sets up against him, but they promise too the kind of imaginative and moral strength which will raise him about it.
[4894] They herald those final reverberant sentences in The Portrait.
[4895] But I suggested too that the resolution — this resolution — was something that Joyce saw and wrote, not something he yet new.
[4896] Stephen can confess his weaknesses, but he can go on to say ‘You talk to me of nationality, language, religion.
[4897] I shall try to fly by those nets.’
[4898] He can break out of the space of desperation.
[4899] For Joyce there is unresolved business.
[4900] There is first the admission of cravings, sexual and other, felt as unspeakably ignoble, and there is the unappeased fear that the very gifts on whose existence all rescue depends might be mere fantasy, delusion.
[4901] That he may be destined to drift helplessly, tormented by unrealisable and therefore useless dreams.
[4902] A bit of a singer, a bit of an artist, a bit of a man.
[4903] If Bloom is every kind of Dubliner it is because it falls to him to transact the unfinished business, to enact it and to get beyond it without dazzling gifts.
[4904] As he makes his way along within the quiet desperation of his life, he must reveal himself to us as cuckold, fetishist, masochist, outsider, victim, inferior, loser.
[4905] Only that order of revelation of confession will permit recognition.
[4906] Bloom is not, and will not become, a hero.
[4907] He is not Joyce any more or any less than Stephen is, but Stephen can only fly by the nets of nationality, language, religion and artistic mediocrity because Bloom cannot.
[4908] Bloom must accept a particular life so that Joyce need not, and Stephen must be shown in his byronic self-deception so that Joyce need not.
[4909] The stories of Dubliners are not only disturbingly sharp representations from outside, they are fed too from inside by an intuitive closeness, an awareness that comes near to identification with these and those victims, male and female.
[4910] Stephen and Bloom are brought together in the final stages of Ulysses so that at last the space of desperation can be closed, the vertical pull of Stephen's iron ambition, set against the downward sucking force of Blooms ordinariness.
[4911] The new writing can go forward without being founded on a central lie.
[4912] The most famous of all the sections of Ulysses, Molly Bloom's final soliloquy is above all a celebration of that freedom, and the freedom thus won.
[4913] Molly is not every woman, or indeed any woman.
[4914] She is, above all, Joyce's central recognition, exultant recognition that yearning is not defeat and identification is not a proof of some fatal inner yielding to the pull of mediocrity.
[4915] The vivid renderings of human prisons that we find in Dubliners are intensified, I have argued by secret sharings.
[4916] And the deepest of those secret sharings are with the child figure, the earliest stories of course, and with the women.
[4917] Evelyn, or Maria, in the story Clay, or the nameless girl in Two Gallants, or Greta Conroy in The Dead.
[4918] For these above all, the culture insists, must hide their wound beyond the receiving end of experience, whatever their gifts or desires.
[4919] The issue of identification takes off, we have seen, in a different direction in The Portrait.
[4920] For here the emphasis is on the emergence of Stephen's strength from the very depth of his own weakness.
[4921] But as we also saw, that strength comes too soon, denies too much.
[4922] It is indeed still there, to be built on, in Ulysses in the further elaboration of Stephen, but it cannot be fully achieved unless the wounds are acknowledged.
[4923] And now it is a man of sorts who carries that acknowledgement.
[4924] A man who is a new kind of victim, Bloom the Jew, the semi-talented outcast.
[4925] But I said too a man of sorts, for the acknowledgement now includes crippled masculinity, and with that Joyce is free to embody and enact a different fear hinted at before in, for example, The Dead, but masked by the victim's status of the woman thrust on so cruelly by the culture.
[4926] But the culture can be not only cruel but stupid.
[4927] What if real sexual freedom, real potency, real power, belonged in fact with the woman?
[4928] Molly's mixture of self-loving languor and irrepressible vitality is a splendid realization in its own right, but it also conjures a profound fear.
[4929] And so it comes about, at the end of all the wanderings, that we find under one roof, in decaying Echo Street, that strangest of couples, Molly and Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedalus.
[4930] Now at last dream and reality, part and whole, strong and weak, art and life, active and passive, can be confronted.
[4931] Joyce has pulled together the separation representations of his inner world, achieved his rescue and finished his novel — cause indeed for celebration.
[4932] But there is a world of difference between celebration and victory.
[4933] If there is any one awareness common to the great modern writers, it is that language will not do our bidding, that good or bad intentions do not so much pave roads, as poke up odd coloured weeds through the roadway.
[4934] That something actually achieved in writing gives no assurance, to reassurance for any writing still to be done.
[4935] It is a version of something we all know now, and largely thanks to them.
[4936] For if, as ordinary people, we are acutely aware that when it most matters the words we say are not thunderbolts from heaven but hostages to fortune, ways in which we reveal ourselves in our limitedness and imperfection.
[4937] If we are aware of this, we at least know that it must always have been so.
[4938] What in their different ways a [...] , a [...] , an Eliot, a Kafka or a Beckett — what they have had to come to terms with his the death of a tenacious pervasive yet curiously imprecise myth that somehow writing was different, that the masters of the past could in some way overcome this limitedness, that writing carried its own justification.
[4939] With the myth gone, they were faced rather with what Eliot called the intolerable wrestle with words and meanings, or, as Beckett was to put it, nothing to express, nothing with which to express nothing, from which to express, no power to express, no desire to express, together with the obligation to express.
[4940] In this perspective to set up as a writer at all is an extraordinary act, while artist becomes a word only to be invoked only of others, never about the self.
[4941] Yet it is just this act which Joyce accepted to do.
[4942] The energy and the single-mindedness with which, following on the achievement of Ulysses, he carried it through can still amaze us.
[4943] For if, as I have argued, the dual difficulty of Englishness versus Irishness and of the divided self had lent and existential urgency to aesthetic ambitions and convictions, that urgency had surely gone.
[4944] Dublin and the past had been exorcised, even as the new fiction had been created.
[4945] But creation and the means of creation had thrown up a new an utterly unexpected difficulty.
[4946] If Joyce's energy had been concentrated in the forging of a language adequate to resolve all that had been, then that language, whatever else it had done, had achieved something for him.
[4947] Something remained out there which had not been subjected to the same refining fire.
[4948] That something was language itself.
[4949] It is to the netting of that protean reality that Joyce now bends all his energies, and my mixing of metaphors can give no more than the faintest hint of what that strange act entails.
[4950] It is this that I had in mind in proposing at the outset my three notions and calling one of them, the last, language as replay.
[4951] Replay — somewhere between re-run, the taking up again of a game, return match, and revenge — somewhere in that space is the verbal world called Finnegans Wake.
[4952] Within the frame that we have never left, Dublin, and which we meet again in the opening sentence, is to be enacted strange as the dreaming that permeates it, Joyce's relation to his languages, to language.
[4953] Past, present, future, here, there, inner, outer, self, other, quotation, allusion, portmanteau word, syllable, letter and grunt — all whirl about two poles, their names forever changing, their enduringness graspable only by initials, A L P — the river, the Liffey, the woman and H C E, the man.
[4954] And as in Dreams separate realities can fuse in a single image or sequence, so here words fuse as Joyce attempts to cast in a single form the body of his culture, the depth, variety, the body of his feelings — the feelings of his body.
[4955] Here indeed is the [...] assault on the gods, Stephen's boast unimaginably extended.
[4956] In view of this, it would be no more than proper and right for me to talk in some ... in great detail about it, but I am not going to, and not just because I have an eye on the clock, or an ear for the protest of stomachs.
[4957] Perhaps I can explain, and in order to explain I'll tell you a story, a literary story.
[4958] When we read Eliot's The Wasteland, we know we can never hope to speak it aloud satisfactorily.
[4959] Even as the siren voices in the poem call us towards speech, we're aware that our own one voice can never hope to carry all these as we would want it to.
[4960] But they do call us towards speech, so that at least in the urgency and the felt inadequacy of our attempt to speak, erm to speak those words and lines, we can act out something of the quality and kind of our response, our shadowy awareness of what these incomparable and shrieking voices meant to the Eliot who was fighting for his own voice.
[4961] Such attempts as we can make are essential.
[4962] Catching up, however badly, our recognition of the decisive tension between eye and ear.
[4963] I can conceive no response, no criticism which does not include the practical recognition of that tension, but such is the nature of Joyce's last venture that I cannot, without cheating, read to you from it.
[4964] It is to the eye that you must turn if you are to read Finnegans Wake.
[4965] Here in the final work, the shaping of a total unity, there returns a crucial division, and because I cannot read from it, even badly, I will not talk about it, which leaves intact your freedom to go and read it.
[4966] Read this proliferating, surging, skipping, mocking, smiling, looping torrent — what an enterprise it is — a man taking on human language.
[4967] And not just some great abstract notion either, for the assault bears also on that aspect of language which embodies authority, the rules of language, those terrible received truths, which at least the older ones amongst you will remember.
[4968] That a preposition is a bad thing to end a sentence with, or that you can't have a sentence with out a verb.
[4969] That certain words are less acceptable than others.
[4970] Above all, that the word is the irreducible, the minimum unit, itself enshrined for every in the silver columns of the dictionary.
[4971] Division then returns, for this is a struggle to the death, or life.
[4972] The very notion of struggle will, of course, trigger widely varied responses among readers, quickening some, frightening others, bewildering yet others again.
[4973] But if writing is not done in neutral ground, neither is reading.
[4974] Let us therefore remind ourselves of the huge distances, inner and outer, that Joyce has travelled, and take one final look at his total undertaking.
[4975] There is a famous line by another Irishman, Yeates, a line too often thought to be transparent ‘Romantic Ireland's dead and gone’.
[4976] Don't you believe it.
a (PS5T8) [4978] Thank you, Hercules.
[4979] I am very sure that you will agree with me, if I may borrow a phrase from Joyce, that we all hope that it's not at all unlikely that George Craig will come again to preach.
[4980] His preaching was an outstanding success, and whatever exceptional divisions Joyce's work may continue to provoke among his readers, and whatever perhaps less exceptional divisions George Craig's lecture may create among some of the audience in