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Of Seas and Ships and Scientists:

The Remarkable History of the UK's National Institute of Oceanography, 1949–1973

By Anthony Laughton, John Gould, 'Tom' Tucker and Howard Roe (editors)

Of Seas and Ships and Scientists

Of Seas and Ships and Scientists:

The Remarkable History of the UK's National Institute of Oceanography, 1949–1973

By Anthony Laughton, John Gould, 'Tom' Tucker and Howard Roe (editors)

A fascinating inside account of the founding, the history and the discoveries of the UK's pioneering National Institute of Oceanography.

Trade Information: LPOD
Available as: Paperback

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Print Paperback

ISBN: 9780718892302

Specifications: 234x156mm (9.21x6.14in), 352pp

Illustrations: b&w

Published: June 2010


This is an exciting account of a formative phase of UK science. It begins with scientists working at Antarctic whaling stations prior to World War Two, exploring the biology of the vast icy Southern Ocean in Captain Scott's Discovery. During the war, a small group of young scientists was brought together under the inspirational leadership of Dr (later Sir) George Deacon, to study how the movements of the waves affected amphibious landings. These groups were to form the core of the UK's first National Institute of Oceanography when it was founded in 1949. NIO's discoveries in the 1950s and 1960s underpin much of our modern-day marine science, including the complex connections between oceans and climate.

Written by NIO scientists who took part in this crucial period in the development of British marine science, Of Seas and Ships and Scientists is the facinating story behind the discoveries which changed our preconceptions of how the oceans 'work'. Their accounts convey the atmosphere of working at sea in an age before portable computers and satellite navigation.

The book is a useful introduction for students of marine and environmental science to the history and development of their subjects. It will appeal to scientists and the general public, to those interested in science and innovation during and after WWII and of course to many living in Surrey who always wondered what went on in the leafy lanes that were home to NIO and its successors for almost 50 years.

Preface and acknowledgements
Introduction / Margaret Deacon

The Historical Context
1. Marine science in the UK before World War II / Margaret Deacon
2. Steps toward the founding of NIO / Margaret Deacon
3. The founding director, Sir George Deacon / Anthony Laughton and Margaret Deacon
4. Group W at the Admiralty Research Laboratory:
     Personal reminiscences by some of its members / compiled by Michael Longuet-Higgins

Life in the Oceans
5. Ocean ecology / Peter Foxton and Martin Angel
6. Whales and whaling / Howard Roe

The Discovery of a Turbulent Ocean
7. Ocean currents – entering the modern age / Jim Crease
8. Exploring ocean variability / John Gould
9. I