Sunday, 23 July 2017

Another Companion Leaves the Time-Space Continuum

It was sad to hear of the death of Deborah Watling, who played Victoria alongside Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines in the 1960s.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Martin Landau has died

Here he is as the commander of Moonbase Alpha in Space:1999, in which he starred with his wife Barbara Bain - though I first knew him as a member of the Mission:Impossible team. He was Rollin Hand, the master of disguise. He also appeared in films like North by Northwest, so he had quite a varied career over the years including, apparently, turning down the role of Spock in Star Trek!
His daughter is Juliet Landau, who played Drusilla in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

New Doctor!

I've just seen the news on Twitter, and it's very exciting! Jodie Whittaker will be the next Doctor!
I haven't seen Broadchurch, but she had a leading role in that series.
Colin Baker tweeted "Change, my dear, and not a moment too soon!"

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Trowelblazers - Katherine Routledge and Easter Island

Katherine Routledge was an anthropologist and archaeologist, born in 1866. She was educated at Somerville Hall in Oxford, where she gained a degree in Modern History in 1895.
In 1906, she married William Scoresby Routledge, and went with him to live among the Kikuyu people in South Africa. In 1910 they published a book about their experiences called With A Prehistoric People.
They next decided to mount an expedition to Easter Island. They had a schooner built which they called the Mana and, with the support of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the British Museum and the Royal Geographical Society, they recruited a crew and borrowed an officer from the Royal Navy. They set out for Easter Island in 1913, arriving at the beginning of 1914. Although Katherine had no formal training in either anthropology or archaeology, she was given notes and instructions to follow by the Oxford scholar Dr Marett. They excavated statues, and collected oral history and legends from the Easter Islanders, doing a lot to preserve the traditional culture of the island. For instance, she recorded tattoos on the backs of older inhabitants which corresponded to carvings on the backs of some of the statues - tattooing had been suppressed by European missionaries, so this information was not available to later scholars except through her records.
Then the German East Asia Squadron, including armed cruisers and light cruisers, rendezvoused off the island, and landed captured French and British merchant seamen there. It soon became clear that World War One had started, and Katherine complained to the local schoolmaster, as the representative of the neutral country of Chile (Easter Island was within Chilean waters) while her husband sailed the Mana to Valparaiso to complain to the government officials there. The Germans did leave the area after that.
In 1915, they left the island, and in 1919 she published a book called The Mystery of Easter Island. Objects that she and her husband found are now in the Pitt Rivers Museum and the British Museum, and her notes are held by the Royal Geographical Society.
Sadly, she suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, which got worse in 1925 - she was institutionalised in 1929 and died in the mental institution in 1935. Her husband left some of her field notes to the Royal Geographical Society, but other papers continued to turn up later in the family papers.
A book about her life was written by Dr Jo Anne Van Tilburg, a prominent archaeologist on Easter Island, or Rapa Nui. It is called Amongst Stone Giants: the Life of Katherine Routledge and her Remarkable Expedition to Easter Island.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Black Women in Science - Mary Jackson, NASA engineer

Mary Jackson was the engineer featured in the film Hidden Figures. She became the first black female engineer in NASA in 1958, encouraged by Kazimierz Czarnecki, who she worked for at the Supersonic Pressure Tunnel. She co-authored several scientific papers with Czarnecki over the years she worked with him.
In the 1970s, she helped the children at the science club in Hampton to build their own wind tunnel, to get them interested in science and show them that there were black scientists out there. She started off her working life as a teacher in 1942. Away from her work, she was a Girl Scout troop leader for thirty years.
She rose through the ranks at NASA to the most senior position available in the engineering department over her 34 year career there, and then agreed to accept a demotion in order to work as an administrator in the Equal Opportunity Specialist field, where she worked to assist talented women to gain promotions and achieve the recognition they deserved.
She retired in 1985 and died in 2005.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Trowelblazers - Jale Inan, Turkish archaeolgist

Halet Çambel wasn't the only Turkish woman archaeologist - the first woman to work in archaeology in Turkey was Jale Inan.
Her father was the director of the Izmir Archaeology Museum, and she was born (the second daughter of the family) in 1914. He encouraged his daughter in her interest in archaeology, and managed to get her a scholarship to study in Germany, at the German Archaeological Institute. Jale remained in Berlin during the war, completing her doctoral thesis in 1943, sometimes studying in a bunker with bombs falling. Then she returned to Turkey, working at the University of Istanbul. She married Mustafa Inan in 1944, and the following year gave birth to a son.
In 1946, she began work on the Temple of Artemis at the site of Perga, having spent the preceding two years organising the archive at the University and setting up a chair of archaeology with Arif Mufid Mansel. She spent the rest of her career working on sites around Turkey and publishing in both German and Turkish. She died in 2001.
In 1980, at Perga, the bottom half of a statue of Hercules was discovered. No-one knew at the time that one of the workmen on the site had stolen the top half of the statue, which turned up later in New York. In 1990 Özgen Acar, a Turkish journalist, visited the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, and spotted the top half of the statue, a 2ndC AD copy of a statue known as Weary Herakles, by Lysippos. When Jale Inan learned of this, she worked to re-unite the two halves of the statue, having a plaster cast of the bottom half made so that it could be shown that the two halves fitted together. The Americans resisted the calls to return the statue to Turkey until 2011.