Catalogue of the papers and correspondence Of SIR EDWARD CRISP BULLARD, FRS (1907-1980)
|Title:||Catalogue of the papers and correspondence Of SIR EDWARD CRISP BULLARD, FRS (1907-1980)|
SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL CSAC 100.4.84/A.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/A.261
CSAC 100.4.84/A.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/A.14 Biographical, autobiographical, bibliographical
CSAC 100.4.84/A.15 - CSAC 100.4.84/A.47 Diaries
CSAC 100.4.84/A.48 - CSAC 100.4.84/A.123 Career, honours and awards
CSAC 100.4.84/A.124- CSAC 100.4.84/A.205 Family and personal
CSAC 100.4.84/A.206- CSAC 100.4.84/A.257 Photographs
CSAC 100.4.84/A.258- CSAC 100.4.84/A.261 Tape recordings
SECTION B CAMBRIDGE CSAC 100.4.84/B.1- CSAC 100.4.84/B.92
CSAC 100.4.84/B.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/B.88 Department of Geodesy and Geophysics
CSAC 100.4.84/B.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/B.4 Early history of the Department
CSAC 100.4.84/B.5 - CSAC 100.4.84/B.29 Postwar organisation and research, 1943-48
CSAC 100.4.84/B.30- CSAC 100.4.84/B.73 Research and administration, 1956-80
CSAC 100.4.84/B.74- CSAC 100.4.84/B.88 Lectures
CSAC 100.4.84/B.89- CSAC 100.4.84/B.92 Other Cambridge departments and institutions
SECTION C CALIFORNIA CSAC 100.4.84/C.1- CSAC 100.4.84/C.43
CSAC 100.4.84/C.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/C.11 Administrative and personal
CSAC 100.4.84/C.12- CSAC 100.4.84/C.28 Research and academic
CSAC 100.4.84/C.29- CSAC 100.4.84/C.43 Lectures and teaching
SECTION D RESEARCH CSAC 100.4.84/D.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/D.651
SECTION E COMMITTEES AND CONSULTANCIES CSAC 100.4.84/E.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/E.231
SECTION F SOCIETIES AND ORGANISATIONS CSAC 100.4.84/F.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/F.120
SECTION G PUBLICATIONS, LECTURES, BROADCASTS CSAC 100.4.84/G.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/G.268
CSAC 100.4.84/G.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/G.110 Writings on scientific topics
CSAC 100.4.84/G.111- CSAC 100.4.84/G.135 Biographical writings
CSAC 100.4.84/G.136, CSAC 100.4.84/G.137 Reviews
CSAC 100.4.84/G.138- CSAC 100.4.84/G.175 Lectures
CSAC 100.4.84/G.176- CSAC 100.4.84/G.192 Radio and television broadcasts
CSAC 100.4.84/G.193- CSAC 100.4.84/G.268 Correspondence re publications, lectures and broadcasts
SECTION H VISITS CSAC 100.4.84/H.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/H.34
SECTION J CORRESPONDENCE CSAC 100.4.84/J.1 - CSAC 100.4.84/J.206
The following paragraphs aim only to give a brief guide to its substance and interest; additional explanatory notes accompany many of the Sections, sub-sections and individual entries in the catalogue.
The surviving papers cover almost every aspect of Bullard's career. The chief lacunae in this collection are his wartime papers (see CSAC 100.4.84/J.7 where Bullard expresses his regret at having destroyed these in 1945) and his official papers at Toronto and at NPL. Despite efforts to assemble as full a collection as possible, there are probably also gaps in the correspondence files, deriving from frequent transatlantic migrations.
Section A includes (CSAC 100.4.84/A.9) Bullard's own autobiographical notes of his family, childhood and schooldays, written in 1973 and updated in 1980, as well as many tributes by others, some of which have been drawn upon in compiling the catalogue. The material on his career, though incomplete, yet includes offers of many posts which he declined and which are not always generally known. The 'personal' material includes several items on Bullard's antiquarian book collection (CSAC 100.4.84/A.185- CSAC 100.4.84/A.189). Section B is mainly concerned with the Department of Geodesy and Geophysics at Cambridge and includes the original correspondence leading up to its foundation in 1921 (CSAC 100.4.84/B.1, CSAC 100.4.84/B.2), and Bullard's efforts to re-invigorate it after the Second World War (CSAC 100.4.84/B.5- CSAC 100.4.84/B.29).
Section C records his connection with the University of California, chiefly the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Some of the items deal with his lecturing, teaching and examining there at the end of his life (CSAC 100.4.84/C.29- CSAC 100.4.84/C.43); for all his experience as a lecturer he admits in his letters of resignation (CSAC 100.4.84/C.11) that direct contact with undergraduate work was new to him and he must have been gratified by the unmistable warmth of response he met (CSAC 100.4.84/C.31, CSAC 100.4.84/C.34).
Section D (Research) is the largest Section and documents almost all of Bullard's many research interests, some more comprehensively than others. It is remarkable to see the extent of manuscript notes, calculations, diagrams, site descriptions, drafts and, later, computer programs all in Bullard's hand whether written in the African field, as Director of NPL or as Professor of Geophysics at Cambridge. Especially full are the records for gravity measurement including the famous 1933-34 expedition to East Africa, for heat-flow research including the 1938 Atlantic expedition, and for the work on dynamo theory and on computing applications. His last research, on energy sources and nuclear waste disposal, is also documented, and includes drafts for a book on the subject on which Bullard was working right up to his death. Less fully represented in the surviving papers is Bullard's contribution to the theory of continental drift and plate tectonics. Of more general interest is CSAC 100.4.84/D.273, Bullard's detailed account of (it seems) every penny spent on the 1933-34 expedition in East Africa. The famous story of his being treed by lions, however, is not recorded: there is a reference to his 'experiences with lions' in a letter (at CSAC 100.4.84/D.366) but this is dated January 1939 and refers to a later trip to South Africa to study terrestrial heat-flow. In sum, this Section provides an impressive record of Bullard's distinguished research career; he may have borne his learning lightly but its presence is irrefutable.
Sections E and F document Bullard's public life as consultant, committee member and adviser on science policy. Because of the confidential or official nature of much of this work, the surviving material is sometimes sparse. Section G includes several unpublished, or unlisted, works, among them substantial drafts for a book on optics, in collaboration with P.B. Moon, commissioned by Cambridge University Press in 1934 (CSAC 100.4.84/G.2- CSAC 100.4.84/G.18). There is also a rather full record of Bullard's joint editorship with N.F. (Sir Nevill) Mott of the International Monographs in Physical Science for the Clarendon Press (CSAC 100.4.84/G. 194- CSAC 100.4.84/G.230). The sub-section on 'Lectures' (CSAC 100.4.84/G.138- CSAC 100.4.84/G.175) is of interest in showing at once Bullard's mastery of his subject and the temperamental poise, even panache, which enabled him to lecture with rivetting success on the basis of half a page of notes.
Both Sections H and J are somewhat disappointing in that it is unlikely that they represent more than a selection of Bullard's visits and conferences (H) and correspondence (J). The latter Section contains a high proportion of material dating from his later years when he was frequently consulted by historians of several disciplines for his recollections and opinions.
Bullard's historical interests were not confined to the events of his own career, though it is true that he was at pains to collect material about the early history of the Cambridge Department (Section D) and Bushy House his official residence as Director of NPL (Section A). But he was a respected collector of scientific books, with a special interest in Newton and Halley; he played an important role in the Royal Society's Halley Tercentenary celebrations (Section G), advised the Institute of Physics on the disposal of its historical book collection (Section F) and presented a scion of Newton's apple tree for planting at the new buildings of the Cambridge Department (Section B). He wrote several biographical tributes and accounts of colleagues; the most substantial of these is perhaps the memoir of W.M. Ewing, while a more 'light-hearted' (his description) account of Rutherford published originally in NATURE was selected for quotation in L. and H. Fowler, Cambridge Commemorated, 1984.
|Held by:||Cambridge University: Churchill Archives Centre, not available at The National Archives|
The collection, which is very extensive, was received at various dates 1981-84 from Dr. Belinda Bullard (Bullard's eldest daughter) who had assembled it from several locations: Bullard's homes in Cambridge, England, and at La Jolla, California, where he died, his office at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (also at La Jolla) and the Department of Geodesy and Geophysics, Cambridge University, where a laboratory now bears his name.
In addition, Lady (Ursula) Bullard made available the sketchbook at CSAC 100.4.84/A.140; Dr. D.H. Matthews added the photocopied account of the pioneering seismic expedition of 1938 at CSAC 100.4.84/D.350. The photocopies of the article on Bullard's work on marine heat-flow (CSAC 100.4.84/A.4) and of his correspondence on the subject with R. Revelle (CSAC 100.4.84/D.415A) were sent by the Archivist of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, where the originals are housed.
Bullard was born in 1907 into a comfortable family of Norwich brewers who provided him with relative affluence and a dash of eccentricity. He was educated at Repton and Clare College, Cambridge; his first graduate research was at the Cavendish Laboratory when its Director, from whom he says he learned much, was Rutherford. Bullard himself worked under the direction of P.M.S. (later Lord) Blackett and in collaboration with H.S.W. (later Sir Harrie) Massey, on electron scattering in gases. In 1931, partly because of the economic depression, he accepted a post under Sir Gerald Lenox-Conyngham at the Department of Geodesy and Geophysics in Cambridge; here he worked with great energy and success on a variety of projects: geophysical instrument design and development, gravity determination in Britain and Africa, explosion seismology including the first British expeditions to study the Atlantic seafloor, and heat-flow in South African bore-holes.
During the Second World War Bullard was seconded to the Admiralty, again working on various tasks, including anti-mine protection, operational research and intelligence; at the end of the War he was Assistant Director, Naval Operational Research. Elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1941 he was a member of the Society's Post-War Needs in Geophysics Committee and instrumental in organising the allocation of surplus equipment and apparatus to universities at the end of hostilities. Returning to Cambridge, he put much effort into re-establishing the Department and its several lines of research, including gravity measurements, heat-flow and deep sea seismic refraction.
In 1947 he accepted a post as Professor of Physics at Toronto, a sudden and many felt an unwise decision which Bullard himself attributed to frustration at the lack of administrative and research facilities at Cambridge. While there, but on a summer vacation visit to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, he did some of his most important work on the design of equipment for the measurement of heat-flow at sea (in collaboration with A.E. Maxwell), and in 1950 returned to Britain as Director of the National Physical Laboratory. His tenure of this essentially 'establishment' post, which brought him a knighthood in 1953, was remarkable in the amount of research he continued to pursue undistracted - or minimally distracted - by administrative and official duties. He continued to work on marine heat-flow, building apparatus and taking part in sea-going expeditions, and also developed his dynamo theory of terrestrial magnetism.
In 1956 Bullard returned to Cambridge and to the Department of Geodesy and Geophysics as Assistant Director of Research (Reader in Geophysics 1960, Professor 1964). Once again, his research interests proliferated, in collaboration with many gifted students (the 'Cambridge Mariners') to include continental drift and plate tectonics as well as continuing work in seismology and geomagnetism, and a very practical interest in the development of computer programs for processing large amounts of observational data.
During this period too, Bullard was increasingly in demand as consultant and adviser to Government Departments (notably the Admiralty, Foreign Office, Ministries of Defence, Science and Supply), to professional and learned societies such as the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society and the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, and to industrial firms principally Shell and IBM UK of which he was a director for ten years. He was a founder member of the Natural Environment Research Council, played a part in attempts to negotiate a test-ban treaty and was joint chairman of the Anglo-American Ballistic Missiles Committee.
Bullard had always enjoyed his contacts with America where he had many friends. He paid regular visits to various research institutions and was frequently offered tempting appointments. Most of all, he admired the personnel and facilities at Scripps; he accepted from 1963 a Visiting Professorship to spend three months there each year, and on his retirement from Cambridge in 1974 he and his second wife became American residents living at La Jolla. He continued research in geomagnetism and plate tectonics and took part in Scripps expeditions as well as in its teaching and lecturing programmes; and he added a last topic of interest - energy sources and nuclear waste disposal - in his capacity as consultant to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Caltech. Despite failing health he remained occupied in writing and research until his death in April 1980.
Bullard was held in almost universal esteem and affection, which transpires throughout the collection, whether in the flood of requests to visit, lecture, or advise on technical matters, the many offers of influential posts in Britain and America, the trust placed in him as adviser, referee and consultant at every level from national academies and government ministries to junior employees and sixth-formers, or the more 'objective' criteria of 'Course and Professor Evaluation' (at Scripps) and BBC audience research panel reports. One can see why. Bullard - known and addressed by all as 'Teddy' - seems to have grown younger and less formal as his age and honours increased. Even without his voice and living presence, his personality emerges unmistakably in all he wrote: serious without pomposity, forthright without animosity, loyal without prejudice. He rarely lost contact with old friends and colleagues and often intervened quietly to help them or their families left unprovided for by death or inadequate pensions (a topic on which he felt strongly). He appears never to have written a routine letter; he may (as he often claimed) have never quite mastered English spelling conventions, but his thought and his wit are immediately accessible.
|Conditions of access:||
NOT ALL THE MATERIAL IN THE COLLECTION IS YET AVAILABLE FOR CONSULTATION.
ENQUIRIES SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN THE FIRST INSTANCE TO:
In view of the very full and frank nature of some of the documents it will readily be understood that they are not all currently available for consultation. Material of this kind occurs in Sections A, C, E, F, G and J.
Compiled by Jeannine Alton and Peter Harper
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
Our main debt is to Dr. Belinda Bullard for her initiative in assembling material, her encouragement, and her comments on the draft catalogue.
We are also indebted to:
Dr. H.C. Jenkyns and Dr. C.E. Phelps for information, and for their patience.
Dr. D.H. Matthews, for information and for additional material.
Mrs. D.C. Day, Archivist of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, for information and additional material.
Lady Phillips, for help with indexing.
Mrs. M.M. Edwards, for patiently typing various drafts of the catalogue."
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