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Oral History Transcript — Dr. Gleb B. Udintsev

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Interview with Dr. Gleb B. Udintsev
By Lynn Visson
August 2, 1997

 
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Gleb Udintsev; August 2, 1997

ABSTRACT: Family background and early education; military service (1941-1945); Moscow University (1940-1941, 1946-1949); Moscow University graduate school (1949-1952); Institute of Oceanology (1946-1976); International Geophysical Year (IGY); Institute of the Physics of the Earth (1976-1986); Geological Institute (1986-1992); V. 1. Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry (1992- ); life in Soviet Russia and after perestroika; funding sources for his research; problems with development of technology in Russia; political and ideological influences on research and publication; problems with his visa and travel restrictions; interaction with foreign colleagues, including W. Maurice Ewing, Roger Revelle, John Ewing, Bruce Heezen, Marie Tharp, Russell Raitt.

Transcript

Session I | Session II | Session III | Session IV | Session V | Session VI

Interviews conducted in Russian and translated by Dr. Lynn Visson. All text is translated from the Russian unless otherwise indicated.

Visson:

(In English): Continuation of interview with Gleb Udintsev, August 2, 1997, by Lynn Visson. (continued in Russian) When we stopped yesterday you were saying that you had moved to the Vernadsky Institute, and there you were not only the head of a laboratory but also had another post or title?

Udintsev:

It wasn’t another post. I continued to be the head of the laboratory, because I had moved with my laboratory, though it was smaller. This time, when I moved from the Geological Institute, my laboratory divided. Half of the people decided to stay in the Geological Institute, and half decided to move with me. In the V.I. Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry (to use its full name) I continued to head the laboratory and to conduct the same work, but shortly before the move, a few months before, I was elected a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences. That was very important for me, because Academy Members — whether Corresponding or Full Members — i.e. Academicians, have the right to work for life in the Academy of Sciences. They cannot be fired. After I’d been twice fired from the Geological Institute I was very apprehensive that I could be dismissed. I seem to have spent more time in my life trying to overcome obstacles than in achievements. In Russia we say in such cases, I’m working not “thanks to” but in spite of.” I couldn't imagine my life without work. The ocean is my life. So I was very happy, and grateful to those who had supported me. I had put forward my candidacy six times before that at the elections, but there’s a great deal of competition. This is because in Russia, to be a member of the Academy means the possibility to work for life, and then it gives some financial benefits. Now they’re fairly small, virtually insignificant, but in the past these were more substantial. In addition it gives a few small privileges.

Visson:

Such as?

Udintsev:

A good medical clinic. A pass to the Academy of Sciences building. More possibilities to publish in the journals of the Academy of Sciences. Very small privileges. I was only elected on the seventh round. I was very pleased when I was elected that one Academician, Academician Sokolov said “Well, comrades, if this time we don’t elect Udintsev, we’ll really have to be ashamed of ourselves.” They understood that I probably had already deserved that, but for a number of reasons I had a number of adversaries, and still do; I don’t hold my tongue. Sometimes I say things that offend people. So that wasn't simple. I was very happy. I’m very grateful to one of the scientists in the Geology Institute, with whom I have rather complicated relations, Academician Pushcherovsky (?)... So in the Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry I just head a laboratory.

Visson:

So, anyhow, you came a long way from accusations of spying for the Americans to being elected a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences!

Udintsev:

It might be more correct to say a long way from being an "experimental worker!" (Laughs). As for that accusation of espionage for America, everyone of course understood that it was totally unfounded, so no one took it seriously. And that was already in the years after Khrushchev had exposed Stalin’s crimes, years when that kind of terror had in fact stopped. There was, of course, the campaign against the dissidents, and they suffered a great deal. That was the time when Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov were being persecuted. But no one took seriously what was being said about me. Of course if that had happened ten years earlier I would absolutely certainly have been arrested. But by 1976- 77 no one took it seriously.

Visson:

To what extent in the 70s did the KGB interfere with scientific work by having an “eye of Moscow” along with delegations abroad, by having people who were more into intelligence than into science?

Udintsev:

Of course, then there was interference by the government and the KGB in science. I recall how Belousov said to me — he was a Corresponding Member, they somehow couldn’t manage to make him an Academician, because he had a lot of opponents, and of course he wanted to be elected — he once said to me, I’ve just understood for the first time how good it is that I’m not an Academician.” I asked him why. "You know," he said, “All the Academicians are obliged to sign the letter against Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov. And I wasn’t an Academician, so they didn’t force me to.” As for KGB interference in our trips, of course — uh — there was something there, I think there was something. Of course it wasn’t paraded, one could guess... that the leaders of delegations who had powers to do that… On the other hand that goes on all over the world. I can cite you one funny example. I went for the first time — with a delegation — to the signing of the Soviet American agreement on cooperation. That was, I think in 1973. That delegation was headed by Academician Brekhovskikh. I was in that delegation, because at that time on the Russian side I was the representative in the deep sea drilling project. We arrived in Washington, and once we all went to sign that protocol on cooperation to the State Department building. It was cold, autumn weather. I was wearing a coat, a rather heavy cloth coat. We were all warmly dressed. We came to the State Department building, and our passes were checked three or four times. We hung up our coats outside the meeting room. We had our meeting. Then, afterwards, I saw that my coat was gone. I was told that it was probably stolen. I said, how could that happen when we’d gone through security so many times? No, they said, it was stolen and that is that. We went out in the street and it was freezing. It was probably November… I was freezing without my coat. I said to our partners, “Well, my coat has been stolen in your government institution, so compensate me." They said, "We’ll buy you a new coat.” They really bought me a new coat. Well, OK, I thought it was stolen and that was that. But then I went back to the hotel, and I saw that my suitcase had been ripped to pieces. The whole lining had been ripped out — I had a very good suitcase. It had simply been ripped out. Then I understood everything. It was American counterintelligence which suspected me of being a spy and was looking to see whether there was something hidden under that suitcase lining. So my coat was stolen — how could it have been stolen in the State Department? It must have been ripped up to see whether I had some secrets there. So that happens in every country. I know that in Moscow, when Bill Menard was at the Oceanographic Congress in the 60s, he later said to me that all the books had been stolen from his suitcase. I said, "They must have suspected that you had some secret documents there, or just wanted to get the books." But who needs that…

Visson:

When you say that the delegations all knew —

Udintsev:

No, they all were guessing that there might be someone. But who, and what...but throughout history, all countries organized intelligence and counterintelligence ...

Visson:

But those people about whom it was thought they might be such ... did they have a scientific education?

Udintsev:

Yes ... Well, I think some people were promised some benefits for that. .. or just out of love for the art ... I don’t know ... It’s very complicated ...The motivation for such activity is very complicated psychologically ... I remember, there is a very good writer on that, John Le Carre...

Visson:

Americans of course thought that every country does that, that’s no secret, on gathering information. But it would be interesting to know in fact, in an area such as geophysics, whether espionage turned out to be useful or of some benefit to the Soviet Union at that time.

Udintsev:

As far as I know, no espionage information ever ended up in my hands. What we did, trying to obtain certain ideas ... it wasn’t the result of any espionage, but the result of exchanges of views. I was surprised, while I was engaged in cooperative work, how ideas make their appearance. And that even in those cases when we were working without direct contacts, we were working totally in parallel. That always amazed me. Such as when I was on the American expedition on the Argo for the first time. That we’re thinking absolutely the same way, although often there were no direct contacts. Why did I become so close to Bruce Heezen? Because he thought exactly the same way I did on many issues. But contacts helped us...for example, I got some advice. I’m grateful to several scientists... Maurice Ewing, Russell Raitt. Of the British ones, Morris Hill, they helped me with advice, how to create instruments for geophysical studies. They weren't revealing any secrets to me, they were simply helping me understand... Bruce Heezen had some rather modest instruments which I didn't have. For example, a pair of dividers, to divide distance, a special ruler, he simply made me a gift of that. We didn't have that in Russia. That was very useful in my work. For depth measurements it's very important to get a detailed profile. Echo sounders produced by firms at large depths produce only very small-scale recordings. On my own initiative, I had figured out how to record on a large scale, using a standard echosounder. Then it turned out that Bruce Heezen had done the same thing, only in a different way. He attached a phototelegraph device to the echosounder, and the quality of his recording was higher than mine. Although the idea was the same, and I had done that before him, but his recording was easier to process. Then I made use of that idea. I couldn't use that type of photo-telegraph, because the ones in Russia were very different. And I had to modify it myself, so that this Russian phototelegraph device could also work as what Bruce called a "precision depth recorder.” But that was the result of an exchange of ideas. The same thing occurred in geophysics. When I started working with just an echosounder and grab and core samplers; in Russia there was no marine geophysics. Under the influence of the publications I read, and those of Maurice Ewing and “Russe" Raitt, Tom Gaskell, and Morris Hill, I felt that to understand the origin of the topography of the ocean floor, and tectonics, it was extremely important to make use of geophysical methods. I read articles, and when I didn’t understand I wasn’t embarrassed; I wrote letters, and particularly when I started traveling abroad, I simply consulted with people as to how to do something. And I received a lot of help. That wasn’t espionage; it was a normal professional exchange of information and experience.

Visson:

You referred to Heezen. What was your impression of Heezen and his work, and of his map — the map he compiled with Marie Tharp?

Udintsev:

What was a very important turning point in doing maps of the topography of the ocean floor was the idea that data about depths had to serve as the basis for the map of the topography of the ocean floor in isolines which are drawn not through formal interpolation, but through interpolation based on the concept of the geological structure of the ocean floor... That was a very important breakthrough. It was very interesting that this idea appeared simultaneously among scientists in many countries, the Americans, British, Russians, Japanese... When we started meeting each other we saw that we were inspired by the same idea. Bruce Heezen very strikingly expressed this idea because he started compiling maps which were not only bathymetric — in which the topography was shown in contouring in counter isolines, but he used a methodology for compiling so-called physiographic maps. This is not a new method for land, it was used earlier; but he used it for the ocean floor. That is, he started depicting forms of the ocean floor topography in perspective, that is, the way, in his concept, based on the ideas of the origin of the topography, should look. That was his greatest contribution — that conceptual approach, the idea... He was rendered great help by his assistant, Marie Tharp. Bruce Heezen was invited to do graduate work at Lamont somewhere at the end of the 1940s-early 50s. Marie Tharp was also a graduate student. They became friends; I think they loved each other, although I think they formally were not married, but they definitely loved each other, and Marie Tharp turned out to be an extremely important assistant, because she was a wonderful artist. She combined a knowledge of the geology of the ocean floor and the ability to draw that geomorphology. They created for the first time — and everyone who tried to imitate it couldn't do it — they were unsurpassed as creators of physiographic maps.

Visson:

How did your colleagues in Russia react to these maps?

Visson:

You were talking about the reaction in Russia to Heezen's map.

Udintsev:

The reaction in Russia was like that all over the world. On the one hand admiration, that the cover had been removed from the ocean floor, that the "invisible face of the earth" had become visible. That's very impressive. It become possible to obtain a closer understanding of what is taking place on the ocean floor. On the other hand, because of a certain kind of jealousy, not everyone was able to do that. There were critics, who said that there were too many hypotheses here, that this was not accurate. So there was a lot of criticism and not only in Russia, but also abroad a lot of people said it was inaccurate, not a map but a picture. Nevertheless it was a very important event. In Russia we even tried to do something similar. My assistants Galina Agapova and Natasha Markova tried to draw like that ... But their results were much weaker. Therefore we didn't particularly continue working in that direction, because in addition to knowledge, this requires talent, artistic talent. Marie Tharp of course played a very important role here, and I like it very much that on the Pacific Ocean floor there is a fracture zone which was named for Bruce Heezen and Marie Tharp. It’s a kind of complex dual zone where these two fractures seem to intersect. So the Bruce Heezen and Marie Tharp fracture zones are linked forever...

Visson:

You had mentioned that prior to that you had arranged for the translation of Bruce Heezen’s —

Udintsev:

Yes, everything started with that, and my friendship with Lamont, too. I participated in editing the translation of that book.

Visson:

When?

Udintsev:

The book The Floor of the Oceans. I. The North Atlantic was published in America in 1959, and came out in Russia in 1962. I edited it and wrote a long introduction, and sent the book to Lamont. The introduction was translated and Maurice Ewing sent me a letter thanking me for having written such an introduction.

Visson:

Was it hard for you to arrange for the publication of that book?

Udintsev:

No, it wasn’t hard. At that time, and for a long period of time, Russia was eager to publish foreign scientific literature.

Visson:

Did you also arrange for the publication of other American works?

Udintsev:

Yes. I arranged for the translation of the book by the British geophysicist Tom Gaskell on work on the Challenger, of Helen Raitt on one of the Scripps expeditions, and I edited Shepherd’s classic work on marine geology. There were a lot of such publications.

Visson:

What was the reaction of Soviet scientists to Heezen’s book?

Udintsev:

High praise. That book was very popular. In Russia, there is often that kind of (laughs) "worship" of everything foreign. Very often people prefer to refer to a foreign publication, rather than to a Russian one on the same subject, because that seems more authoritative. That’s why there was a lot of approval and praise for these works. When there was a possibility to invite foreign guests many people did so, and so did I, to come and give lectures ...I invited Bruce Heezen and Bill Menard, Victor Vaquier, Russell Raitt, Kem Emory, Harold Edgerton, and others.

Visson:

You said that you had gone to Lamont during your first trip to America, but only for one day, and that the next visit was several years later. Before your first visit to Lamont what did you know about Lamont, or Scripps, or Woods Hole?

Udintsev:

I knew a lot. First of all, from their published articles — I’d read all of them. Helen Raitt’s book told me a lot about Scripps and its expeditions. Then there was Shepherd’s book, with a lot about Scripps. And on Lamont I got a lot from Bruce Heezen’s publications, and in my contacts with him he told me a lot about the Lamont observatory. I was very interested in all that, because I wanted to understand what these foreign institutes were. I was also very interested when I was invited by Morris Hill to Cambridge; it was very interesting to get to know that work.

Visson:

Before you got to Lamont l had you already heard about Maurice Ewing?

Udintsev:

Yes, of course. I’d heard about him, and lid met him — met him for that first time at the Tenth Pacific Ocean Conference in Honolulu. He was very outgoing — a very charming person. We told each other about our institutes — he was very glad to talk ... He even said, "You must absolutely come visit us." Later, after I’d already stated working with Bruce Heezen, — Bruce Heezen at first was on very good terms with Maurice, but later they quarreled. Well, (in English), "human being." (Resumes in Russian). I started using geophysical methods in our work. I particularly wanted to start with seismic research, with seismic probes. That work was being developed by Russel Raitt at the Scripps Institute, with the help of radio-acoustic buoys. Morris Hill was working in the same area in Cambridge, and Maurice Ewing was doing that at Lamont on two ships without those autonomous buoys. I had a very active correspondence with them, consulted with them on how to organize them, and Maurice helped me a great deal. The next step was to organize work on so-called continuous seismic profiling. Here the pioneers in this field were Maurice and John Ewing, his younger brother. I was extremely interested in that work, before that work had been begun by Ewing, I had tried to do that with an echosounder. The echo sounder we were using worked at relatively low frequencies. And sometimes I could get a recording of the profile of the sediment cover, but that wasn’t sufficient. Then I learned of the results of the work on the Swedish ship the Albatross. But these were all only the first steps in this direction. When Maurice and John Ewing began publishing their results I was simply delighted, it was so interesting. I asked Maurice to help me with that.

Visson:

That was in what year?

Udintsev:

That was probably at the beginning of the 60s. I then decided to invite John Ewing to our institute, because he was the most active person in this. He came, gave a lecture on that subject, we talked a lot about it. He made great efforts to help me. After weld spent a week or two together in Moscow, he said, "I'll try to arrange for you to come to the Lamont Observatory.”

Visson:

What interested you in Lamont? Why did you want to go there?

Udintsev:

I was interested, on the one hand, in the materials they had gotten; the Lamont ship, the Vema, was always on the move, plying the ocean waters.

Visson:

Did you go on expeditions on the Vema or the Conrad?

Udintsev:

No. Unfortunately I didn’t go on either the Conrad or the Vema. In part because I was very busy with my own work, and in part because of a lack of funds for travel from port to port.

Visson:

What Soviet institutions do you think were most similar to Lamont?

Udintsev:

The Institute of Oceanology came closest But if you take them together — the Institute of Physics of the Earth, of Oceanology — that would be something similar to Lamont.

Visson:

How would you compare Lamont as a research institution with Scripps and Woods Hole?

Udintsev:

Probably Scripps comes closest to Lamont.

Visson:

How?

Udintsev:

On terms of the comprehensive range of its studies, the scale of work. Woods Hole comes close to that. It seems to me that Lamont and Woods Hole have common roots, as I see it at some point that was a single institute. But Woods Hole has a more narrow specialization…

Visson:

How did your colleagues view Lamont?

Udintsev:

All of my colleagues were unequivocally very interested in the work at Lamont. There was always great respect for it. This is one of the institutes which worked most intensively. The Vema — which now no longer operates, there are other ships — was always busy, it had ploughed the entire ocean. think the Vema studied the ocean more than all the other ships.

Visson:

The first time you were in Lamont for only one day, and then you came for a year —

Udintsev:

I’d been back there before that. I was involved in several international projects. One was the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans. Every two years there is a meeting of that group in one of the institutes. Therefore I’d been there at those meetings. I was also linked to a project which has been going on for 39 years now, the project for drawing up international geological geophysical atlases of the oceans. I traveled a lot for that. Then I was involved with the Deep Sea Drilling Project. Therefore I was rather often in Lamont. And Maurice Ewing invited me there, and for a year I worked at Lamont. By that time Maurice had already left. He was a great supporter of the democratization of science. On his initiative the post of director of the institute became an elective post. And he turned out to be the first one who wasn’t elected. (laughs). That was just because held been the director for a long time. They decided to replace him. But it was he who invited me there. I worked there for a year in John Ewing’s laboratory. I arrived in the fall of 1972 and worked until July 1973.

Visson:

During that year, where there any aspects of scientific life there which were unexpected for you?

Udintsev:

It was easy for me to work there, because the style of work was similar to the style of our work, and I was given access to all materials.

Visson:

What were you working on there?

Udintsev:

I chose as my subject the generalization of materials on the structure of the sediment cover of the South Atlantic Ocean. John Ewing made available to me all the materials gathered in the Vema, mostly by him. I turned them into a map, and compiled a map of the thickness of sediments of the South Atlantic. I also read a lot there, a lot of materials were new to me. I saw a lot of people. continued to see Bruce Heezen, and saw a lot of Denny Hayes, who was working on the Antarctic, on geology and geomorphology of the oceans. I knew a lot of people there — Walter Pitman, who was studying the magnetic field, Jim Hertzler, who was also studying the magnetic field; Charlie Drake, Marcus Langseth, who was of particular interest to me, because before that I'd worked on geothermy with Dick Herzen, and here Mark Langseth was doing that. Then there was Jack Nafe, a very interesting geologist and geophysicist. I had a broad range of acquaintances. I tried to talk to everyone. I invited people home — I was given a separate house, so I could invite people in; I tried to impress my guests with Russian dishes. For example, I once baked for them a fish pie. In America they don't make fish pies; that was unexpected for them, and it turned out to be very tasty ...

Visson:

And whom did you invite for the fish pie?

Udintsev:

First of all the director, Manik Talwani, and his very nice and friendly wife Annie; then Mark Langseth, John Ewing, Bruce Heezen; it was a large group. I was glad to go visiting when I was invited.

Visson:

Were you invited often?

Udintsev:

Well, I can't say it was very often. (Laughs). No. And I was amazed that as distinguished from Russian intellectuals, people don't socialize that much. Everybody's locked in to his own family, and only such semi-official receptions (in English:) "party" (laughs: resumes in Russian), take place when everyone brings something, some food, and the party doesn't go on very long — an hour and an hour or a half. There's none of the sitting around the table eating and drinking that takes place in Russia, where people eat and drink and talk a lot,

Udintsev:

Yes, my living conditions in Moscow were unusual, and I also very much like to invite foreigners there. In the 1920s my father built a wooden house at the edge of Moscow — it was almost beyond the city limits. That house has been preserved up to now. We have a large garden, and that’s all very unusual.

Visson:

In Lamont, aside from you research, were you teaching?

Udintsev:

Unfortunately, I don’t very much like teaching. I’m glad to give individual lectures and papers, but that kind of systematic lecturing I don’t find attractive. At one time I gave lectures at Moscow University. But I can’t keep repeating the same things. And the amount of time I was spending on preparing one lecture was equal to that for preparing a large article. It is very wearing. I prefer to write articles. Here, at Lamont, I was the (in English) Vetlesen Invited Professor. (Resumes in Russian). When Lamont was founded, it received a great deal of assistance from a Norwegian, Vetlesen. He was one of the owners of the SAS company. It was a kind of a fellowship. Frankly, I would have preferred to just do research. But the director, Manik Talwani, said to me, “You’re a professor, and a professor has to (in English) “profess,” (resumes in Russian), that means teach. So give some lectures.” I gave lectures to a group of graduate students. It would have been hard for me to lecture on general subjects, because they knew no less than I did. So I lectured to them — in English — on the results of our Russian research, which they didn’t know well, because, unfortunately, the Russians have trouble getting their work translated into English. They mostly publish in Russia. Our Anglophone partners rarely know Russian, and therefore they are not very familiar with our work. So I lectured to them on the results of our work in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, in the Atlantic — what they didn’t know.

Visson:

And how did they react to that?

Udintsev:

They were well brought up; they acted as if all that was of interest to them. (Laughter}. Although in fact, I don't know. Of course, my English is far from perfect, although at the time my English was better than it is now. Daily practice gives you a lot.

Visson:

After the year in Lamont, did you stay in contact with any of the students?

Udintsev:

Yes. And sometimes quite unexpectedly. For example, in John Ewing's laboratory there was a graduate student from Brazil, Marcus Gorini. Later during expeditions in the Atlantic Ocean I often saw him in Brazil. and he helped me a great deal. I have very warm memories of him. Then, after that I was in correspondence with many of them, in particular with Olav Eldholm from Norway. I continued to work a great deal with Manik Talwani because he's a member of the editorial board of those geological-geophysical atlases of the oceans. I continued to correspond with and to meet with Bruce Heezen until his death. He died tragically, during a submarine dive. So I kept up all my contacts. After Lamont, one of my expeditions began from New York. I invited John Ewing, Mark Langseth, John Ewing's daughter, on that, Manik Talwani's son — that was in 1973. Then invited Mark Langseth to our expedition to the Far East, and Jack Nafe.

Visson:

You knew both the late Mark Langseth, and his wife. I remember you told of how she helped you when you were ill.

Udintsev:

Yes, I was on a trip in connection with the Indian Ocean Atlas. I arrived in England, and caught cold. I was in Tony Laughton's house, and there was no heat there, in winter. We stood that whole cold evening with our backs to the fireplace to warm up. It was very cold at night, and I caught cold. From there I went to Canada, where the cold got worse, then to the US where I saw my good friend Ken Emery at Woods Hole, and there I felt really ill. I asked for mustard plasters, and Ken Emery said that had only been done in old times on the farm and that now there were antibiotics. I said that antibiotics wouldn't help me. Then I went to see Bruce Heezen, and then I got seriously ill. I was unconscious for a week. Bruce took very good care of me, and once when I suddenly came to I saw a beautiful young woman next to me. It seemed like some kind of good fairy, who bent over me trying to help me with a cold compress on the forehead. I was amazed by her beauty and kindness. Then I again lost consciousness. Then I asked Bruce who that wonderful woman was, and he said it was Mark Langseth's wife. They had asked her to help because when I was delirious I was speaking Russian, and Lida Langseth is of Russian origin, and speaks Russian, and so she'd been asked to take care of me.

Visson:

During that year in Lamont and during your other trips to Lamont you got to meet a lot of American colleagues. Which ones do you particularly remember, or with whom did you have particularly interesting contacts?

Udintsev:

I’ll start with Lamont. There for the most part it was the group of people around Maurice Ewing and those around Bruce Heezen. One of Maurice Ewing's closest assistants was Joe Worzel, his deputy and assistant. In Bruce Heezen's circle there was Marie Tharp, Denny Hayes, and other people — Walter Pitman. There was Marcus Langseth, in geothermy. I tried to work not only on topography of the ocean floor, but on the whole range of geophysical studies, and that's why I had very interesting contacts with Jim Hertzler, and Walter Pitman who were doing magnetic research. Hertzler even married a colleague of mine. (laughter). Then — though perhaps I wasn't as close to them — there was Dr. Broker, Xavier LePichon, who was then a graduate student and one of the initiators in developing the theory of plate tectonics. I later met him in France and even had a joint expedition in the bay of Biscayne. Then there was Lynn Sykes, one of the authors of the theory of the subduction of the lithospheric plates under the island arcs. Bill Ryan did a lot of studies of the Mediterranean and then now is heading a project on synthesis of the results of Multi-beam echo sounding. I had contacts with him. Alberto Lonardi at one point was an assistant to Bruce Heezen, from Argentina. I didn't keep up contacts with him, but I kept on seeing Marcus Gorini, John Ewing's graduate student, in Brazil. John Jones was a graduate student of Maurice Ewing's, and now he's working at London University and I continue to see him and talk to him on the results of his work on the geology of the Equatorial Atlantic. Denny Hayes specialized in the Antarctic, and so I very much want to work with him now. talked a lot about seismic works with Jack Nafe, and had invited him to join our work on the sea of Okhotsk, and also Mark Langseth. Charlie Hollister helped Bruce Heezen a great deal in his work, and I sometimes correspond with him; he now works at Woods Hole, and there dealt also with marine geology.

Visson:

You saw Langseth shortly before his death...

Udintsev:

Yes, literally a month before his death. That was very sad. We were talking then about how we might meet in spring, but he didn't live till then. He was a very good person.

Visson:

Yes, he said then that despite what the doctors were saying, I’m expecting you in spring.

Udintsev:

Yes, he was very forthcoming. Frank Press was one of Maurice Ewing's first graduate students, and I met him all the time, he always tried to help me and I’m very grateful. In the last few years I didn't see him. Enrico Bonatti was also invited to Lamont, and after I left he lived in that same house. I still have contacts and work with him. Aside from Lamont of course I knew people in other institutes. Roger Revell at Scripps helped me greatly in organizing our work on hygrometry of the oceans. At Scripps I also had contacts with Bill Menard and his associates, Stuart Smith, who is still working there, Jackie Mammerix, who worked on the mapping of the Pacific ocean. I’m indebted to her for the fact that the Udintsev Fracture Zone appeared on the map of the oceans. That was very flattering to me, because on one rather small section of the Eastern Pacific rise there a few fracture zones with the names of people close to me, Bruce Heezen, Marie Tharp, Russell Raitt, Bill Menard, and now, mine. And further south there's the Walter Pitman fracture zone. So my friends are there… Then I also had great respect for the work of — and knew — one of the pioneers of marine geology in the US, Francis Shephard at Scripps. He unfortunately died; he was an outstanding marine geologist. Then I also saw Bill Menard a lot there, and Bob Fisher, who is continuing to work there. I saw him very recently at a meeting on the general bathymetric map of the oceans. Seiya Uyeda worked for a long time at Scripps, and he's now helping me a lot with the atlas of the Pacific Ocean. I've continued my contacts with Manik Talwani, who also helps me a lot. I recently saw Bill Riedel. Now he's gone to Australia - he's Australian. He used to be at Scripps and I was on an expedition with him. Then I had a lot of help in my work from Harold Edgerton, professor at MIT. He repeatedly put me in contact with Cousteau, which was also very important. From Woods Hole there was Ken Emery, one of the pioneers in marine geology who helped me a great deal. Also Allen Vine who was one of the first to create a submersible — it’s called the “Alvin,” after Allen Vine. Carl Bowin, a specialist in gravity, was a very interesting scientist. All that continues, and I really developed a broad range of acquaintances, scientists whom I met not only at institutes but also in a broad range of international projects such as the general bathymetric map of the oceans, the international geological geophysical atlases of the oceans, the Deep Sea Drilling Project —

Visson:

You’re the editor of that series of atlases —

Udintsev:

Yes, it’s a very large series of works that has lasted thirty years. It started in 1966.

Visson:

How many atlases did you have in that series?

Udintsev:

There was the atlas of the Indian Ocean, based on the results of the international Indian Ocean expedition. The next was the Atlas of the Atlantic ocean; each atlas took about ten years of work. Now we are working on the atlas of the Pacific ocean, and I hope that by next spring we will finish it.

Visson:

Did Lamont people participate in these atlases?

Udintsev:

Yes, of course. Bruce Heezen did, and Denny Hayes is now participating, Manik Talwani is very active in it. There are almost 200 authors for each atlas, so of course there was a lot of work with Lamont — also with Bill Ryan. It’s hard to even list all of them.

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