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.The Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory is involved in research projects around the globe, which cover a diverse range of radiocarbon dating topics/areas.
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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.
The next step of the two Wise Men was to recruit the 'Third Man': the graduate student who would toil away like a troglodyte in the basement to make it all happen.
A basement was thought to the most prudent place because the Botany School floors were no match for the five tons of metal required to shield the radiocarbon detection system, or counter.
One of these was a particularly gifted fellow student called Richard West with whom the term brotherhood has taken on a lifelong meaning.
Richard and his cohorts gave me my first taste of inter-disciplinary science.We were nothing if not cosmopolitan: South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, America, Canada, Brazil, Argentina - we even had some fellow all the way from Yorkshire.These were people who worked together and did things together.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.Graduate students were among the few at that time who could even spell the magic words 'nucleonics', 'electronics' and 'vacuum lines' born of hush-hush wartime technologies.