Some sad news I need to pass on...

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Richard Haselgrove Project Donor
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Message 1655374 - Posted: 21 Mar 2015, 13:27:48 UTC - in response to Message 1655095.  

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts and good wishes. They're much appreciated.

What an amazing woman your mother must have been.

To me, she was simply my mother, the same as any other mother. After that first flourish of extraordinary creativity, she settled down to a more traditional academic role - primarily in teaching, rather than research. I learned my first programming by sitting in at the back of her Algol 60 class for the KDF9 at Glasgow University during my school holidays - it must have been easier to arrange than a baby-sitter!

I've known about the early research work all my life, of course - I was there at the time, though far too young to have any direct memories. But it's only in the last few years, since the preparation and publication of those URSI bulletins, that I've tried and failed to visualise what those early years must have been like for her.

Firstly, the country as a whole was still suffering the after-effects of WW2. That didn't affect my mother too badly - she was a teenager at the time (age 15 when the war ended - now there's a thought), and spent most of the war years safely in rural north-west England. And Cambridge was also spared the worst effects of wartime bombing: there is a suggestion that the English cities of Oxford and Cambridge, and the German city of Heidelberg, were all spared by the combatants out of mutual respect for their universities. But food rationing was still in place when my mother started her research - it was only lifted days before my second birthday, just in time for the birthday party (if I had one - I don't remember).

Secondly, it must have been an extraordinary time academically and scientifically. Scientists were returning (or had already returned) to universities from the pressure-cookers of wartime research, with freedom to communicate and develop their ideas with most (but not all) of the secrecy lifted. Alan Turing was working on similar computing facilities at the same time, first with ACE at the NPL, and later with the Manchester Mark 1. There must have been intense excitement, and rivalry, in all the teams racing to make these new machines run for the first time.

And last, but not least, I wonder what it must have been like for women in science and academia in those days. Women had played a major role during the war, working in factories and construction, but much of that was reversed after demobilisation. Academic life seems to have been different, and women continued to play an increasing part: Cambridge University first granted full and equal degrees to women in 1948 (so my mother wasn't quite in the first cohort), and I was surprised to see so many women (8 out of 20) in the 1949 photograph of the Maths Lab team:



The ratio reduced as the lab expanded over the years, but women were still well represented in 1956, my mother's last year at Cambridge:


(she's fourth from the right in the front row, wearing a patterned skirt - my father is next to her)

Shortly after that photograph was taken, the whole family (father, mother and I) flew to California, where my father had a four months sabbatical at Caltech, working with Fred Hoyle to model stellar evolution using computers. But that's a whole different story.
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Message 1655401 - Posted: 21 Mar 2015, 15:32:02 UTC - in response to Message 1655374.  

Shortly after that photograph was taken, the whole family (father, mother and I) flew to California, where my father had a four months sabbatical at Caltech, working with Fred Hoyle to model stellar evolution using computers. But that's a whole different story.

Which I, for one, would love to hear..........
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Richard Haselgrove Project Donor
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Message 1655408 - Posted: 21 Mar 2015, 15:54:55 UTC - in response to Message 1655401.  

Shortly after that photograph was taken, the whole family (father, mother and I) flew to California, where my father had a four months sabbatical at Caltech, working with Fred Hoyle to model stellar evolution using computers. But that's a whole different story.

Which I, for one, would love to hear..........

My father died very young, when I was just 11, so my knowledge of his side of the partnership is less vivid. When I need to check statements like that, I refer to his online biography.

As that says, we lived for most of those four months in Pasadena. I do remember that given the state of air travel in those days, we travelled slowly, via Shannon (Ireland), Gander (Newfoundland) and New York, in a propeller-driven plane - no jets.

I have an uncertain memory that we may have travelled home via San Francisco and visited the Golden Gate bridge. The timing makes it possible, although I can't confirm it from the single box of slides which is all I have to hand to reinforce my memory. No doubt I will discover more history and photographs as I go through the rest of my mother's papers in the weeks and months to come.
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Message 1655411 - Posted: 21 Mar 2015, 15:57:23 UTC

From Myself and My Family, our prayers and condolences on your loss, Richard.

Regards
Mark
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Message 1655414 - Posted: 21 Mar 2015, 16:01:23 UTC - in response to Message 1655408.  

No doubt I will discover more history and photographs as I go through the rest of my mother's papers in the weeks and months to come.

I am sure it shall prove to be a treasure trove for you, Richard. Please do pass along anything amazing you may discover.
My body may be here, but my mind is in a galaxy far, far away.

Have made friends here.
Most were cats.
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Message 1655450 - Posted: 21 Mar 2015, 17:18:49 UTC
Last modified: 21 Mar 2015, 17:55:05 UTC

I realise I ought to have shown the lady herself in this thread.



This was taken in June 2008, in the gardens of her residential care home in Wasdale, Cumbria - one of a number I took for the URSI Bulletin. The hills in the background are The Screes, leading up to Scafell - very similar to the view from her own cottage nearby (inherited from her father), a view she'd loved all her life.

Edit - no 'w' in Scafell, although you'd think so from the pronunciation. What was I thinking?
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Message 1655477 - Posted: 21 Mar 2015, 18:32:44 UTC

I don't want to be cliche' but I am sorry for your mom's passing.


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Message 1655478 - Posted: 21 Mar 2015, 18:33:01 UTC

Thank you so much for all the background information Richard, and I send my most sincere condolences to you on the passing of your mother. Wow, I never knew that your family was so famous, we can see where you got your expertise from!

Thank you for sharing all that with us.

Chris S
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Message 1655562 - Posted: 21 Mar 2015, 22:13:05 UTC - in response to Message 1655374.  

Richard,

As many others have said, your mother must have been an amazing woman, and I'm very sorry to hear of her passing.


Regards,

Brian
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Message 1655576 - Posted: 21 Mar 2015, 22:48:50 UTC

Sorry to here that Richard . She sounded like a great mum so i'm shore you will miss her .She also was a piononeer also and you must be very proud . Thank's for the info seti is just full of interesting or be it sad news .

R.I.P she is with God now and all those questions she may have had will be answered
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Message 1655655 - Posted: 22 Mar 2015, 3:56:15 UTC

I'm sorry to hear that your Mother passed away recently Richard, My condolences.

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Message 1655879 - Posted: 23 Mar 2015, 1:02:19 UTC

So sorry to hear about the sad loss of such a wonderful lady.

Thank you for sharing her story with us.
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Message 1655884 - Posted: 23 Mar 2015, 1:18:06 UTC

Thank you for sharing Richard. My condolences to your loss.
Pluto will always be a planet to me.

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Message 1655887 - Posted: 23 Mar 2015, 1:30:37 UTC

Richard, my condolences for your loss.
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Message 1656012 - Posted: 23 Mar 2015, 12:43:47 UTC

Again, my deep felt condolences.

every word said to the last syllable
every thought followed to its final conclusion
every breath taken
every song sung

every love given
every tear cried

I move on

into Thy light
A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. (Mark Twain)
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Message 1656282 - Posted: 24 Mar 2015, 6:19:42 UTC

Richard, may warm memories of your mother sustain you during this difficult time. Wishing you peace.

Angela & Eric
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Message boards : Number crunching : Some sad news I need to pass on...


 
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