Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of; Keith Gordon Cox FRS; (1933-1998), geologist

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This record is held by Oxford University: Museum of Natural History

Details of Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of; Keith Gordon Cox FRS; (1933-1998), geologist
Title: Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of; Keith Gordon Cox FRS; (1933-1998), geologist
Reference: NCUACS 96.1.01
Description:

SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL NCUACS 96.1.01/A.1-NCUACS 96.1.01/A.25

 

SECTION B RESEARCH NCUACS 96.1.01/B.1-NCUACS 96.1.01/B.74

 

SECTION C OXFORD UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF EARTH SCIENCES NCUACS 96.1.01/C.1-NCUACS 96.1.01/C.62

 

SECTION D LECTURES AND CONFERENCES NCUACS 96.1.01/D.1-NCUACS 96.1.01/D.9

 

SECTION E PUBLICATIONS, EDITORIAL AND ADVISORY NCUACS 96.1.01/E.1-NCUACS 96.1.01/E.54

 

SECTION F SOCIETIES AND ORGANISATIONS NCUACS 96.1.01/F.1-NCUACS 96.1.01/F.16

 

SECTION G CORRESPONDENCE NCUACS 96.1.01/G.1-NCUACS 96.1.01/G.73

 

SECTION H REFERENCES AND RECOMMENDATIONS NCUACS 96.1.01/H.1-NCUACS 96.1.01/H.27

 

SECTION J NON-TEXTUAL MATERIAL NCUACS 96.1.01/J.1-NCUACS 96.1.01/J.104

 

The material is presented as shown in the List of contents. It covers the period 1951-1998. Preponderantly, however, it dates from Cox's time at Oxford from 1972 to his death. There are no direct remaining records of his work at Edinburgh, and only his doctoral thesis commemorates the Leeds period.

 

Section A, Biographical and personal, includes Cox's incomplete autobiographical account of his career, his doctoral thesis at Leeds, and correspondence showing his concern with the life, work and gardens of Jesus College Oxford where he was Senior Research Fellow and Garden Master. The account of his death and the many tributes received from school friends, research students and senior colleagues give insights into his friendliness, dry humour, unpretentious charm and integrity, as well as the scholarly achievements throughout his career.

 

Section B, Research, covers Cox's work on volcanic basalts in diverse regions of the globe. Beginning with Southern African and the Karoo basalts, Cox extended his field work to Aden, Yemen, the Deccan, Brazil, Scotland and the Falklands, while his research students contributed work in Siberia and Italy. The material includes correspondence, research proposals, plans and results, data, analyses, calculations, and drafts for papers (though these are few). Diagrams, charts and maps have been left in place when closely related to the work, although additional non-textual material, maps or photographs are in Section J. The interpretation of results promoted the devising of techniques such as x-ray fluorescence and the computerisation of complex experimental data at whose elucidation Cox was an acknowledged master.

 

Section C, Oxford University Department of Earth Sciences, includes teaching and lecture material, which follows the development of Cox's research interests and methodology. The importance he attached to accurate geological mapping can be seen in the material for student field trips, his own introductory information for participants, and the detailed maps provided.

 

Section D, Lectures and conferences, is a scanty section which does not adequately record Cox's activities. He was a lively lecturer to conferences but virtually never wrote or delivered a prepared text.

 

Section E, Publications, editorial and advisory, is also deficient in drafts or manuscripts for Cox's own publications, but gives quite a full picture of his extensive involvement in editorial and refereeing work. He had a long association with the Journal of Petrology of which he was Managing Editor from 1972 and where many of his papers were published. He was also highly regarded as a prompt and careful referee and reviewer by many other journals in the UK and overseas.

 

Section F, Societies and organisations, is another somewhat thin section. Cox did not actively seek out participation in the public life of science or in general advisory work. There is documentation of his Chairmanship of the Scientific Advisory Board of GEOMAR (the Research Centre for Marine Geosciences at Kiel) and some of his appointments and work at the Royal Society.

 

Section G, Correspondence, often provides a useful complement to the research material, being almost entirely concerned with research and publications, though it is mainly confined to the Oxford period. Cox adopted electronic communication enthusiastically in his later years, leaving 18 disks of miscellaneous outgoing material from which the correspondence of the 1990s has been assembled. Cox appears not to have retained all his incoming letters.

 

Section H, References and recommendations, deals with academic or institutional appointments.

 

Section J, Non-textual material, comprises transparencies, maps, diagrams and photographs, the latter including a famous photograph of the Deccan Traps which was frequently borrowed and reproduced. Cox was a talented amateur water-colourist and several of the maps and diagrams show his skill.

Date: 1951 - 1998
Held by: Oxford University: Museum of Natural History, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Extent: ca 500 items
Custodial history:

The papers were received from Mrs Cox and from the Oxford University Department of Earth Sciences via Professor W.J. Kennedy, on various dates June 1999 - October 2000.

Administrative History:

Keith Gordon Cox was born in 1933 in Birmingham where his father Ernest Gordon (later Sir Gordon) Cox was Reader in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham. In 1940, after the outbreak of the Second World War, and along with other children of Birmingham University families, he and his sister Pat were evacuated to Canada and spent the next four years in Toronto. Returning the England in autumn 1945. Cox went to King Edward VI School, Birmingham, and subsequently to Leeds Grammar School on his father's appointments as Professor of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry at the University. In 1950 he was awarded a Hastings Scholarship at The Queen's College Oxford. At this time, the National Service Act was still in force and Cox served in the Royal Engineers in Hamburg and Berlin, acquiring a useful knowledge of German. He took up his scholarship at Queen's in 1952 and graduated with First Class Honours in geology in 1956. His postgraduate work was at the Research Institute of African Studies at Leeds University, where he was the first Oppenheimer Scholar.

 

In 1957 his field season took him for the first time to Southern Africa (Northern and Southern Rhodesia), mapping the igneous complex of the Nuanetsi River, which became the subject of his thesis and began his main research interest, basaltic lavas. This is the Earth's most abundant volcanic rock. Cox's studies on basalts took him from the Jurassic 'flood basalt' lavas of south-east Africa to the late Cretaceous sequences known as the 'Deccan Traps' in north-west India. His research developed to encompass the source of basalts in the Earth's mantle, the ascent of mantle plumes and the evidence of continental break-up. In his work Cox extensively studied kimberlites, intrusive rocks from the Earth's depths which carry with them samples of the Earth's mantle.

 

In 1960 Cox married Gillian Palmer and in 1962 moved to the Grant Institute of Geology at Edinburgh University as University Lecturer, spending 1971 on a Royal Society European Fellowship at Ruhr Universität Bochum, Germany. In 1972 he was appointed Lecturer in Geology at Oxford (Reader in Petrology 1990) and in 1973 was elected to a Senior Research Fellowship at Jesus College. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1988.

 

In 1997, after many years of full participation in all the teaching, research and administrative activities of the Department and university, Cox had indicated his intention to resign with effect from 30 September 1998, and his retirement had been marked with parties and celebrations at the end of his last Trinity (summer) term 1998. On 27 August,during a sailing holiday with his wife, he was lost at sea in an accident off the coast of Mull in the Hebrides. The shock of the event, and of the heroic attempts at rescue by his wife, herself injured in the accident, elicited many tributes at memorial services and in a special issue of the Journal of Petrology, vol 41 (2000).

Subjects:
  • Geology
Creator Names:
  • Cox, Keith Gordon, 1933-1998, scientist and geologist
Conditions of access:

NOT ALL THE MATERIAL IN THIS COLLECTION MAY YET BE AVAILABLE FOR CONSULTATION. ENQUIRIES SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN THE FIRST INSTANCE TO:

 

THE LIBRARIAN

 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

 

PARKS ROAD

 

OXFORD OX1 3PW

Note:

Catalogued by Jeannine Alton and Timothy E. Powell

 

The work of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and organisations:

 

The Biochemical Society

 

The British Crystallographic Association

 

The Geological Society

 

The Institute of Physics

 

The Royal Society

 

Trinity College Cambridge

 

The Wellcome Trust

 

We are grateful to Mrs Cox for making material available and for her advice and encouragement and to Mrs P. McNiff (Cox's secretary) for much helpful information.

 

Thanks are due to Professor W.J. Kennedy, Dr J.D. Bell and Mr K. Walsh for help in identifying and describing documents, photographs and maps. Mr R. Hall has given expert help in the care and storage of sometimes fragile material.

"
Related Material:
  • Mrs Cox retains letters and memorabilla.

     

    Miss P.A. Cox (Cox's sister) retains letters relating to early days and to Cox's early expeditions.

     

    An extensive collection of 25 boxes of rock specimens assembled by Cox from various locations is held in the Oxford University Department of Earth Sciences, catalogue ref: MUG 0611-0635.

     

    A smaller collection of geological specimens, mainly of African rocks, is held in the University of Leeds.

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