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.Prior to this time a geophysicist, for instance, was looked upon as an indifferent geologist and a lousy physicist who had taken a soft option.
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 $3.8 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.
The Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory is involved in research projects around the globe, which cover a diverse range of radiocarbon dating topics/areas.
Current projects involve researching the history of Arnhem Land ancestral sites in northern Australian, surveying and excavating shell mounds across Cape York Peninsular, studying the high-resolution store of information about past environmental conditions from sub-fossil kauri logs and identifying how Asian civilisations emerged.
I had met Alfred at a Radiation Chemistry Conference in Leeds in April of 1952, and was as impressed with his capacity then as I am forty-four years later.
Alfred had spent the War working on secret atomic matters in Canada, and his moment of glory had come when he recovered the entire stock of Canada's plutonium from the sawn-up pieces of a laboratory bench top - how it got there in the first place is a matter which the faithful never discuss.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.The SUERC Radiocarbon Laboratory is involved in archaeological, forensic and environmental research, additionally using stable isotopes (13C and 15N) for dietary reconstruction.As well as undertaking its own in-house and collaborative research, the SUERC Radiocarbon Laboratory also provides a radiocarbon dating service to national and international museums, universities and archaeology units.Our research takes us all over New Zealand and the world to areas such as southern China, northern Australia, and Southeast Asia.