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It was thus in early 1952 that Harry Godwin, who had recently formed the University Sub-Department of Quaternary Research in the Botany School, applied for a grant from the Nuffield Foundation of eight thousand pounds over five years to create the Cambridge Laboratory.
Harry secured the enthusiastic advice of Alfred Maddock, a radiochemist by avocation and a walking encyclopaedia by nature, to steer the technical side.
Generally speaking, it was the sounder and more confident heads in the community who sought grants to start the early Radiocarbon Laboratories.
It was customary to then prevail on some well known physics or chemistry professor to supply the technical expertise, and he in turn would select some unsuspecting graduate student to build it.
This then is a tale of the early days of the Cambridge Radiocarbon Laboratory from the 'worm's eye view'.
But this worm, even in his wildest dreams, could not begin to envisage that these beginnings would lead directly to arms control talks and a treaty with the Soviets in Moscow, or defending a .8 Billion energy budget before the United States Congress. The camaraderie was enormous - I was fortunate to belong to two cultures, the Quaternary Group under Harry Godwin in the Botany School and the Radiochemistry Group under Alfred Maddock in the Chemistry Department.
Yet the first and most terrifying challenge is the one that they are least prepared to solve; how do we get scientists to show up? Thank you for all the kind messages, and for those of you with an interest in science communication I'm trying to take things a step further with my newest project; The Peer Revue.
He was always churning with ideas which flowed from him like an open fire hydrant.
One of the better ones was of course Radiocarbon Dating itself, and thoroughly deserved the Nobel Prize.
It was the 'brave new world', 'the new frontier', and every other clich Zˇ one can think of - so if one word could be used to describe it, it would be 'excitement'.
It promised to create an absolute chronology where speculation had been rife; it promised to vindicate imaginative theories and their champions; and it threatened the cherished beliefs of distinguished authorities which, through much repetition, had been endowed with gospel-like qualities.