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It was customary to then prevail on some well known physics or chemistry professor to supply the technical expertise, and he in turn would select some unsuspecting graduate student to build it.

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.

Today, such interdisciplinary research is not only taken for granted, but has proven to be the vital synergism for some spectacular advances.

I have been impressed how frequently this seems to happen in science, where the genius rank prove the point and the next wave improves the technique and fills in the detail.

Other of Libby's ideas were sometimes more entertaining than practical, and picking the winners was quite impossible.

I used to stay at his house in Santa Monica, watching the sun go down over the Pacific and arguing furiously well into the night with generous doses of libation.

He was always churning with ideas which flowed from him like an open fire hydrant.

It was in this firmament of hope compounded by confusion that rewarding careers began and lifelong friendships were forged.

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.

Of the generous Nuffeld Foundation grant, £475 per annum were to be my share, quarterly in arrears.

This then is a tale of the early days of the Cambridge Radiocarbon Laboratory from the 'worm's eye view'.

Richard and his cohorts gave me my first taste of inter-disciplinary science.

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.

These were people who worked together and did things together.

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