SPENCE, Robert v1

Published: 20 November, 2023  Author: admin


CSAC 108/5/85 CONTEMPORARY SCIENTIFIC ARCHIVES CENTRE British National Committee for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology under the guidance of the Royal Society’s Catalogue of papers and correspondence relating to ROBERT SPENCE CB, FRS (1905 - 1976) Compiled by Jeannine Alton and Peter Horper 1985 (Special Collections) Deposited in the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds All rights reserved R. Spence CSAC 108/5/85 The work of the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and institutions: The Biochemical Society The Charles Babbage Foundation for the History of Information Processing The Institute of Physics The Institution of Electrical Engineers The Nuffield Foundation The Rhodes Trustees The Royal Society of London The Institution of Mechanical Engineers The Wolfson Foundation R. Spence CSAC 108/5/85 DESCRIPTION OF THE COLLECTION The material was received via the Records Officer, AERE, Harwell. There are a few items relating to Spence's early career; they include (Item 1) a copy of his 'Final report to the Commonwealth Fund' on his three-year tenure of a Harkness Fellowship at Princeton, 1928-31, which is an interesting account of his views on Britain and America. Most of the material, however, consists of letters, narratives and addresses assembled by E. Glueckauf for his memoir of Spence (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 23, 1977), often containing recollections of or information about Spence additional to those directly quoted in the published text. Some of the documents are original letters or typescripts, some are photo- copies; many bear Glueckauf's pencil annotations or editorial indications for use in the Memoir. R. Spence CSAC 108/5/85 BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE Robert Spence was born and went to school in South Shields. He graduated from the University of Durham in 1926 and began his research career there on oxidation reactions. A formative event was the award in 1928 of a Commonwealth Fund Fellow- ship which took him to Princeton for three years (see Item 1). He was appointed lecturer in physical chemistry at Leeds University in 1931, and served during the Second World War as Chemical Warfare Adviser to the R.A.F. on various projects. In July 1945 he joined the atomic research team in Montreal to lay the foundations for plutonium and fission product separation processes, becoming the team leader in January 1946, playing an important part in the design of a chemical separation plant for the U.K. atomic energy programme and preparing staff and buildings for the opening of the research division at Harwell. Spence was the head of the Chemistry Division from from 1964 to 1968. Projects with which he was especially associated at Harwell include research on polonium and proactinium, the attempt to extract uranium from sea water, and the development of a rotary extractor. College. He retired in 1973. of Kent at Canterbury to go there as Professor of Chemistry and Master of Keynes In 1968 Spence resigned from Harwell and accepted an invitation from the University 1946, and was appointed Chief Chemist in 1948, Deputy Director in 1960 and Director elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1959. Spence was appointed as a Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1953 and R. Spence CSAC 108/5/85 ltems 1-3 SPENCE'S EARLY CAREER ‘Final report to the Commonwealth Fund’, ¢.1931. 9pp. typescript. Fund of New York. Photocopy made available by the Commonwealth Reference for Spence, for an unnamed university professorship, from Hd: Tévie,. 1935. Spence worked with Taylor at Princeton during his tenure of a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship, 1928-31. (Memoir, p.502.) Three letters from Spence to J.D. Cockcroft, August-September 1947. Written from Chalk River, re research in progress, and plans for Harwell. Items 4-19 LATER RECOLLECTIONS OF SPENCE Items 2 and 3 are photocopies from Spence's personal file at AERE Harwell. 1p. only. Work on polonium (Memoir, pp.516-517). polonium compounds indicating those produced at AERE, Harwell. On the 'Oyster Project’, to extract uranium from sea water (Memoir, pp.515-516). Bagnall, K.W. Cinneide, $.O. Includes a table of 1976 n.d. R. Spence CSAC 108/5/85 Crabtree, D. 1976 On Spence's period as Professor of Chemistry and Master of Keynes College, University of Kent. Letter and account, both annotated and edited by Glueckauf for use in Memoir (pp.522-524). Also enclosed here is @ copy of a published ‘Tribute to Professor Bob Spence' on his retirement as Master, by Keith Carabine. Grainger, L 1976 On Harwell Directorate (Memoir, pp.519-522). Hinton, C. (Lord Hinton of Bankside) 1976 On design and engineering of chemical separation plant at Harwell (Memoir, pp.507-509). Jackson, R.F. 1976 On Harwell Directorate (Memoir, pp.519-522). Jones, R.G. 1977 Lane, E.S. 1976 With annotations and editorial indications in pencil by Glueckauf. Recollections of Spence as Professor of Chemistry, University of Kent (Memoir, p.524). (Memoir, p.516). 3pp. ms. account of 'Spence and the Oyster Project’. copy (Memoir, pp.515-516). Photo- App. typescript ‘Recollections around the Oyster Project, 1952-65'. Includes a photograph of 'The first gram' of uranium from sea water Mellroy, R.W. n.d. R. Spence CSAC 108/5/85 13: Maddock, A.G. Nicholls, C.M. 1976 1976 Ip. and 4pp. notes, made after discussions with Glueckauf, recollecting Spence's service as Chemical Warfare adviser, Middle East Headquarters, R.A.F., and later in Canada and at Harwell. Roberts, L.E.J. 1977 On conference on Technology of the Sea and the Sea-bed, and setting up of ‘Marine Technology Support Unit ' (MATSU) at Harwell (Memoir, p.522). Searby, P.J. On Harwell Directorate. Streeton, R.J.W. Wild, W. Wright, J. 1976 1976 3pp. typescript note on various research projects at Harwell, including rotary column and Oyster Project. llpp. typescript address at presentation for Spence on his leaving Harwell for Canterbury, 1968 (transcript of a tape made and sent by F.J. Stubbs). Mainly on CO9/graphite reaction.