More family business

Just a quick heads-up that my dad has posted an extended comment (or I’ve posted it for him) on the previous blogpost about his 7th decade of scientific publication.

The comment has some links to more early 60s x-ray crystallography / Elliott history, and also to an interesting book review Gerald wrote of Georgina Ferry’s excellent biography of Max Perutz.

The comment was almost long enough for a post of its own (!), but for continuity I’ve left it with the original post, hence the alert here.

While we’re on the subject, I do often get asked what it is like working in the family trade. I wrote something about this in another comment on the last post.

One thing I DIDN’T mention there was that, when I was a young academic, Gerald used to contrive to come along to any conference talk or research seminar I did that was within reasonable range of Oxford. [I think I may even have sometimes had to tell him not to sit in the front row.]

One such seminar that I particularly remember was in the Department of Human Anatomy in Oxford at the tail end of the 80s. My hosts had, somewhat unfortunately, scheduled my talk at the exact same time that there was a compulsory meeting for all those who were involved in teaching medical students – which basically meant everyone who might have been interested in my seminar.

I therefore had to do my piece to an audience of seven people, of whom one was the person who had invited me, another was my dad, another was my mother’s next door neighbour (a distinguished biologist, I should say), and another one was fast asleep and snoring audibly.

I like to think this is something like the rock ‘n’ roll folklore about doing gigs to one or two bored punters (or even overtly hostile ones) in an empty hall. I dare say Senor Crox/Henry, OT’s resident King of the Mighty Hammond Organ, knows the kind of thing I mean.

Anyway, while I was always pleased (mostly!) to see my dad at my talks, on that particular occasion I was really very happy that he showed up.

One should never dismiss family solidarity.

About Austin

Middle-aged grouchy white male. Hair greying but hasn't all fallen out yet. Spreading waistline ill-concealed by baggy jumper.Semi-extinguished physiology researcher turned teacher. Known for never shutting up. Father of two children (aged 6 and 2) who try to out-talk him. Some would call that Karmic Revenge.
This entry was posted in Family business, History, Humour, Procrastination, The Life Scientific, Uncategorized, Universities. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to More family business

  1. stephenemoss says:

    Neither of my parents, who met as Chemistry undergrads at UCL in the early ’50s, ever heard me give a science talk, but my mother did come to several of my gigs when I was playing in a rock band in Edinburgh during the mid ’80s. I admired her fortitude at having her ears blown off and know that, given her strong preference for classical music, this was a true example of family solidarity.

Comments are closed.