Reference numberPB/3/2
TitleWork on Rock Magnetism, Continental Drift and Magnetic Field Reversal
DescriptionThis work, begun at Manchester, was continued at Imperial College, London, when it became Blackett's chief research interest. There is some overlap between the later work at Manchester (see C.39-40) and its continuation at Imperial college, where some of Blackett's research students and collaborators followed him (see especially the letter from J.A Clegg, December 1952, in C.221).

Blackett made contributions to the study of continental drift and of magnetic field reversal, through his own researches, lectures and publications, through his initiation and encouragement of research teams in UK and abroad, and by the devising of improved instruments and techniques of magnetic measurement. All these activities can be amply documented from the records below, though Blackett's contribution to the debate on continental drift is more widely known through lectures and writings, while his work on field reversal is more extensively displayed in the data and working notes than in published work.

The high proportion of notes in his own hand in the folders below indicates his urge to maintain personal involvement in scientific research during a period when much of his time was occupied with heavy public and political commitments in Britain and overseas (see Sections E and G0, and his presidency of the Royal Society. His interest in rock magnetism continued to the end of his life; see especially C.125-188 for the extensive data on magnetic field reversal and drafts for unpublished papers on the subject, and the correspondence with R.L. Wilson (C.182) and C.W.F. Everitt (C.268).

Attention is drawn to C.72 (1954) and C.125 (1967), which contain particularly clear expositions of Blackett's thought on the subject at the dates in question and, with more specific reference to magnetic field reversal, to C.170-171

The material is presented as follows:

C.72-124 Working notes and data, 1953-1973

C.125-188 Work on Magnetic Field Reversal

C.189-220 Lectures and papers

C.221-268 Correspondence

See note to C.221 on the presentation of this material.
Access statusOpen
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