A PERSONAL HISTORY OF
THE ROYAL GREENWICH OBSERVATORY
AT HERSTMONCEUX CASTLE, 1948-1990

By George A. Wilkins

CHAPTER 5   S.R.C. TAKES CONTROL : 1972-1981

The Science Research Council decided that the title of Astronomer Royal should no longer be associated with the RGO. Moreover, the SRC decided that its primary purpose should be the provision of facilities for university astronomers. In particular, the RGO was given the responsibility for the construction and operation of the Northern Hemisphere Observatory on La Palma. During this period there were three Directors: Margaret Burbidge (1972-1973), Alan Hunter (1973-1975) and Graham Smith (1976-1981). The Tercentenary of the founding of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich was celebrated in 1975 and this was followed up by provision of a public exhibition in the Castle. Reviews of the periods of each of the directors are followed by sections on the wide range of the activities of the departments, which for management purposes were grouped into divisions.

5.1 Introduction
5.2 The Burbidge period, 1972 to 1973
5.3The Hunter period, 1973 to 1975
5.3.1   The Northern Hemisphere Observatory
5.3.2Celebration of the Tercentenary
5.4 The Graham Smith period, 1976 to 1981
5.5 Departmental matters 1972 to 1981
5.5.1Engineering and technology: The La Palma Division; Engineering Division; Instrumental Science Division
5.5.2Astrophysics and astrometry: Research teams; Meridian Department; Photographic Astrometry Department
5.5.3Developments in computing The central computer facilities; On-line and other computer facilities; New facilities for document preparation; Changes of staff and new developments
5.5.4H. M. Nautical Almanac Office: Retirements of Donald and Flora Sadler; Other NAO staff matters; NAO publications; Occultations; Dynamics; Lunar and satellite laser ranging; Other international activities
5.5.5Solar Department and meteorology
5.5.6Time Department: Introduction of the new definition of UTC; Atomic time and related activities; Earth rotation and geodesy; Satellite laser ranging
5.5.7Libraries and archives: Archives; Information retrieval
5.5.8General matters: Administration Division; Conferences and education; Public exhibition; Training; Public Information; Miscellany; Scientific societies
5.6 Overview

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