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My grandparents and visiting their old house


My mother and school
Richard Gregory Scientist
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My mother was absolutely sort of standard English lady, rather a good family. Great-uncle was a viscount and the whole bit, you know, she was quite an established sort of person really in that sort of way and she found it pretty embarrassing too, I think. So I lived really with a mixture of fear of my father, embarrassment, fondness of my mother but she was a bit feeble and wouldn’t stand up to him. Anything you did, she’d say- oh, marvellous, darling, you know, she didn’t have any criticism at all which meant that one had no guidance. On the other hand, my father never really approved of anything at all, whatever one did, so that was a strange sort of vice, so to speak, to be squeezed within. Then I went to this rather zany school, King Alfred’s in Hampstead, which was a sort of experimental school where there was really no discipline at all. If you didn’t want to do anything, you didn’t, but one could make things and I made things. I made an electric clock and a calculating machine and all sorts of things, which was great. I rather liked it actually, I must admit.

The late British psychologist and Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Bristol, Richard Gregory (1923-2010), is well known for his work on perception, the psychology of seeing and his love of puns. In 1978 he founded The Exploratory, an applied science centre in Bristol – the first of its kind in the UK. He also designed and directed the Special Senses Laboratory at Cambridge which worked on the perceptual problems of astronauts, and published many books including 'The Oxford Companion to the Mind', 'Eye and Brain' and 'Mind in Science'.

Listeners: Adam Hart-Davis Sally Duensing

Born on 4 July 1943, Adam Hart-Davis is a freelance photographer, writer, and broadcaster. He has won various awards for both television and radio. Before presenting, Adam spent 5 years in publishing and 17 years at Yorkshire Television, as researcher and then producer of such series as Scientific Eye and Arthur C Clarke's World of Strange Powers. He has read several books, and written about 25. His latest books are Why does a ball bounce?, Taking the piss, Just another day, and The cosmos: a beginner's guide. He has written numerous newspaper and magazine articles. He is a keen supporter of the charities WaterAid, Practical Action, Sustrans, and the Joliba Trust. A Companion of the Institution of Lighting Engineers, an Honorary Member of the British Toilet Association, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Society of Dyers and Colourists, and Merton College Oxford, and patron of a dozen charitable organizations, Adam has collected thirteen honorary doctorates, The Horace Hockley Award from the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators, a Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Medal from the Institute of Incorporated Engineers, and the 1999 Gerald Frewer memorial trophy of the Council of Engineering Designers. He has no car, but three cycles, which he rides slowly but with enthusiasm.

Sally Duensing currently is involved in perception exhibition work and research on science and society dialogue programmes and is working with informal learning research graduate students and post-docs at King's College, London. In 2000 she held the Collier Chair, a one-year invited professorship in the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Bristol, England. Prior to this, for over 20 years she was at the Exploratorium, a highly interactive museum of science, art and perception in San Francisco where she directed a variety of exhibition projects primarily in fields of perception and cognition including a large exhibition on biological, cognitive and cultural aspects of human memory.

Duration: 1 minute, 13 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2006

Date story went live: 02 June 2008