Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of JOHN WILLIAM SUTTON PRINGLE FRS (1912 - 1982)
|Title:||Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of JOHN WILLIAM SUTTON PRINGLE FRS (1912 - 1982)|
SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL & PERSONAL A.1-A.17
SECTION B CAMBRIDGE B.1-B.32
SECTION C OXFORD C.1-C.184
C.1 -C.26 Lectures & teaching material
C.27-C.50 ARC Unit of Muscle Biophysics and Insect Physiology
C.51-C.184 New Zoology Laboratory
SECTION D RESEARCH D.1-D.57
SECTION E LECTURES & PUBLICATIONS E.1-E.144
E.1 -E.97 Lectures
E.128-E.131 Book reviews
E.132-E.144 Correspondence with publishers and editors
SECTION F SCIENCE IN THE THIRD WORLD F.1-F.262
F.1 -F.239A International Centre for Insect Physiology & Ecology (ICIPE)
F.240-F.262 Serengeti Research Institute (SRI)
SECTION G SOCIETIES & ORGANISATIONS G.1-G.28
SECTION H VISITS & CONFERENCES H.1-H.16
SECTION J CORRESPONDENCE J.1-J.148
The material is presented in the order shown in the List of Contents. Additional explanatory notes accompany many of the Sections, sub-sections and individual entries in the body of the catalogue. The following paragraphs aim only to draw attention to matters of particular substance or interest.
The surviving collection is almost exclusively concerned with Pringle's scientific career, and includes almost no documentation for his unusually wide range of outside interests. His university teaching and administration at Cambridge and Oxford are well documented in Sections B and C respectively. Section C is particularly rich in its full account of the protracted struggles over the siting and design of the new Zoology department; many of the files were prepared by Pringle himself and reflect his own awareness of the historical interest of the documents. There is also material here relating to the ARC unit of which Pringle was Honorary Director and which was the focus of his principal research interest on insect flight muscle, including research notes, ideas for seminars, and the 'internal memoranda' circulated by the team. Regrettably, there is no surviving material here for Pringle's active contribution to the establishment of the multi-disciplinary Honour School of Human Sciences at Oxford.
The development of Pringle's research is well illustrated by the notebooks, notes and correspondence assembled in Section D, covering the long span 1934-82 (as well as an even earlier school exercise-book of 1928). They include his early 1934 expedition to the Atlas Mountains, his important 1953 expedition to Ceylon to study cicada song, drafts for lectures and publications, notes of discussions with colleagues, talks at conferences and the like.
Section E brings together drafts and scripts for lectures and publications covering a period of over thirty years, 1949-82, and also including a talk given as an undergraduate to the Cambridge University Natural Science Club.
Section F, Science in the Third World, is of interest for its full record of Pringle's involvement with the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) at Nairobi, especially as a member of the Governing Board from 1972 (Chairman 1973) to 1978, and a director of research on a major project from 1973. Here too Pringle's sense of history prompted him to assemble his own file of 'early history' as well as a full general record.
Sections G and H are relatively slight and probably do not reflect Pringle's participation in learned societies or symposia. Similarly, Section J, Correspondence, is chiefly of interest for its documentation of the careers of many of the members of the ARC unit at Oxford.
Drafts for published work found in all Sections of the collection have been linked wherever possible to the Bibliography compiled for the Royal Society Memoir and appear in the form (Bibliog. ...). A copy of the Bibliography is reproduced with permission on pp.119-121.
Items at E.101, E.110, E.111 represent material published or intended for publication which is not listed in the Bibliography.
|Held by:||Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections, not available at The National Archives|
OUTLINE OF THE CAREER OF J.W.S. PRINGLE
Pringle was a scholar of Winchester and later of King's College, Cambridge, where he took first-class degrees in both parts of the Natural Sciences Tripos. His research career began in Cambridge in 1934 and he was University Demonstrator in Zoology 1937-38 and Fellow of King's 1938-44. After war service on airborne radar with the Telecommunications Research Establishment (T.R.E.) and later with the Ministry of Transport, Pringle returned to Cambridge as lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Fellow of Peterhouse. Much of his most important research, on the physiology of cicada song, proprioception in insects, and insect flight muscle was conducted in the Cambridge years to 1961. To this period also belong Pringle's marriage (1946), his many college duties at Peterhouse, his election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society (1954) and his appointment as Reader in Experimental Cytology (1959).
In June 1961 Pringle accepted the Linacre Chair of Zoology which had been offered to him in December 1960, and moved to Oxford where he remained for the rest of his life. His period at Oxford, though not always smooth, was marked by notable achievements such as the building of a large new laboratory housing the Departments of Zoology and Experimental Psychology and the subdepartment of Molecular Biophysics, a major contribution to the founding in 1970 of the new Honour School of Human Sciences and the establishment of his own ARC unit for research in muscle biophysics and insect physiology. From the late 1960s he also developed on active interest in the problems of science in developing countries, and he was especially involved with various research institutes and universities in East Africa.
Pringle retired as Linacre Professor in 1979 and died in 1982.
A fuller account of Pringle's career and research can be found in the Memoir by V.B. Wigglesworth in the Royal Society series, 1983, which has been drawn upon in compiling some of the entries and is referred to in the form (Memoir, p...).
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NOT ALL THE MATERIAL IN THE COLLECTION IS YET AVAILABLE FOR CONSULTATION. ENQUIRIES SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN THE FIRST INSTANCE TO:
THE KEEPER OF WESTERN MANUSCRIPTS,
Compiled by: Jeannine Alton
The work of the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and institutions:
The Biochemical Society
The Charles Babbage Foundation for the History of Information Processing
The Institute of Physics
The Institution of Electrical Engineers
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers
The Nuffield Foundation
The Rhodes Trustees
The Royal Society of London
The Wolfson Foundation
We are grateful to all those who helped to assemble material for the collection, and especially to Dr. Belinda Bullard for advice, information and encouragement over. a period of several years.
We are grateful to Dr. C.E. Phelps and Dr. R.H. Abbott for help in identifying some of the material."
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