History of National Institute of Oceanography

The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) was a predecessor of today's National Oceanography Centre.

In 2010 some of the institutes leading scientists were reunited at the publication of a history of the NIO.

Of Seas and Ships and Scientists 

This book captures the excitement of a formative phase of UK science during and immediately following WWII. It links back to scientists working at Antarctic whaling stations and the complimentary voyages of Captain Scott's Discovery that explored the vast icy Southern Ocean, funded by a tax on whale oil. In the depths of WWII a small group of young scientists were brought together under the inspirational leadership of Dr (later Sir) George Deacon, and shortly after the end of the war, the UK's first National Institute of Oceanography was formed. The discoveries from 50 years ago underpin our modern-day science. The book's chapters are all written and edited by NIO scientists and convey the atmosphere of work at sea in a bygone age before small computers, satellite navigation and easy communication. The book is A useful introduction for students of marine and/or environmental science. It will appeal to many scientists and the general public , to those interested in science and innovation during and after WWII and of course to many living in the Surrey who always wondered what went on in the leafy lanes that were home to NIO and its successors for almost 50 years.

  • Title: Of Seas and Ships and Scientists
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Lutterworth Press (24 Jun 2010)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0718892305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718892302

Just in the nick of time!

Of Sea and Ships and Scientists book launch














When almost 100 former employees and friends from the National Institute of Oceanography at Wormley gathered at NOC (Southampton) for the launch of the book Of Seas and Ships and Scientists, only one thing was missing – the book.

The people from Lutterworth Press were stuck in traffic. They arrived with only minutes to spare before Ed Hill gave a welcome to NOC and the story of the book was told to the assembled company by two of its editors, Tony Laughton and John Gould, who were assisted in their mammoth editorial task by Rory Howlett, and Rob Curry produced a display and projections of archive images from the book.

Jane Stephenson and Adrian Burkett had assembled photographs and memorabilia from the archives showing both the scientific and more domestic life of the Wormley lab in the days long before PCs, satellite navigation and H&S regulations.

Almost 200 books were sold and signed, old acquaintances renewed, memories exchanged. There were tours of NOC, and Jane was soon tracking down new sources of archive material. 

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