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Purchasing Details
Errors Noted

Rutherford - Recollections of The Cambridge Days
Mark Oliphant

Elsevier 1972
ISBN 0-444-40968-8
158 pages. Hard Cover.
20 black and white plates.

Purchasing Details.
Out of Print

My Comments on This Book
This is the best book of a personal nature about Ern.

Mark was a plain-speaking Australian so gives a warts and all account of someone he loved. He was very close to Rutherford, in fact he was almost the adopted son that Rutherford never had. Both were antipodians and both knew what it was to loose an off-spring.

Mark was inspired to want to work with Rutherford at the Cavendish after hearing him speak in Adelaide during the 1925 tour. Mark arrived in 1927, rising to be an Assistant Research Director and leaving to run a show of his own at Birmingham just before Rutherford's untimely death in 1937. After Cockcroft and Walton had split the atom Mark and Ern built another accelerator to accelerate heavy hydrogen and discovered the heaviest isotope of hydrogen (tritium, H3) and the light isotope of helium (He3).

That's about as much as I need say on the book which I highly recommend. But I would like to say a little about Mark, who, in my opinion, was a much underrated person. At Birmingham, Mark had his team develop techniques for short wavelength RADAR which culminated in Randle and Booth inventing the cavity magnetron which allowed airborne RADAR for night-fighters, submarine detection and bomber blind-navigation. After working on uranium isotope separation at Los Alamos he returned to Birmingham to build a proton syncrotron before patriotically going back to Australia to establish the Research School of Physical Sciences. After retirement he became Governor of South Australia.

Mark died 14 Jul 2000, aged 98. He had obituaries around the world (eg The Times (London) p21 18 Jul 2000). I had the privilege of writing one for the Annual Yearbook of the Royal Society of New Zealand, of whom Mark was an Honorary Fellow. He is the subject of an out of print biography Oliphant Cockburn and Ellyard, Axiom Books, (Australia) 1981. David Ellyard has some limited edition copies left.

Errors Noted.
The only defect is the lack of an index and a list of illustrations.

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Foreword James Chadwick vii
Preface viii
Contents x
Introduction 1
1 The Cavendish Laboratory 18
2 Counting, Money and Mass Spectroscopy 35
3 Radio, Junk, Tea, Visitors 47
4 Injustice, History 57
5 Chadwick and the Neutron 67
6 Cockroft and Walton 78
7 The Crocodile 90
8 Working with Rutherford 104
9 Home, Holidays, Politics 119
10 Rutherford and Nuclear Energy 135
11 Directing Research, DSIR, Science and the People 144
12 The End 152

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