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David Rooney, Curator of timekeeping at Greenwich and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers is a guest on BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live programme this morning (at the beginning and again throughout the programme, listen out for Motorhead's Ace of Spades on a ukelele). It's worth a listen, a nice start to Saturday for some of you.

BBC Radio 4, Saturday Live

The listen again link should be `live' later today and will link to the broadcast for a week.

Oh yes, he wears a radio controlled watch, someone who works with time uses the proper tools ;-)

There's an interview with David Rooney at the National Maritime Museum's website (with download and transcript):

National Maritime Museum podcasts

It's worth a listen.
 

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Hi Roba,

As an aside to your post I some personal dealings a while back with David Rooney and found him to be a helpful and very unassuming gentleman. I was visiting the observatory to have a good look at their Fedchenko clock and asked to have a chat with someone about it. (A friend and I were thinking of building a half scale version of what was probably the last high precision pendulum clock) So a few minutes after my request up pops David who happily proceeded to discuss the workings of this fascinating clock together with the new Harrison gallery, he then promised to send me some further information. Sure enough a few days later an interesting description of the Russian marvel arrived together with a signed note. It was only sometime later when reading his articles on the new time galleries in the BHI Journal that I realised who he actually was.

Sadly I didn’t catch the programme.
 

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Cool story, Gino. Such occurrences are truly among life's special surprise gifts.

I've had similar situations, a few of which come right to mind. It's a bit OT, but these are special memories for me so I hope no one objects if I share them. The first was during a cross country flight. I noticed that my "seat mate" was reading physics literature, which intrigued me. In introductions, he gave his name as Ken Wilson. I knew that a Ken Wilson had won the Nobel Prize in physics a few years earlier, so I asked if he was the same. It turned out that he was. He was immensely pleased, as I suspect that few would have made the connection. We then spent the flight having a wonderful conversation about his current work. As it turns out, it was in an area (statistical thermodynamics) that had always intrigued me, so I was able to follow him at an amateur's level, which also pleased him greatly and kept the conversation flowing. One of the more memorable and inspiring conversations of my life.

Another occasion was when my wife and I were visiting a maritime museum in Nova Scotia. We went on a tall masted sailing ship that had worked out of the area as a fishing ship until 1969. I noted a old, very salty looking gentleman who was on the ship as a volunteer. I wondered if he had been associated with the ship when it was still active, so I asked him a few questions about navigation and similar matters. His response was a terse denial of any knowledge of such matters. In fact, he was quite taciturn in general, which made me wonder why he was volunteering there. Later, in the galley, I was looking through the recipes of meals cooked for the men. I saw the man again, and made a comment about cod cheek stew. Well, as it turns out, he had been the cook for last few years of the vessel's operation, so he gave me an enthusiastic and informative response. That led to at least an hour of talking about his experiences at sea. No possible interpretive literature could have equaled that conversation.
 

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Ken teaches here in town. We share several friends. He is very active in trying to improve science education in US schools... a worthy effort.

But I don't know if he wears a watch... but the next US president does!
 
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