Marie Tharp – Session II

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ORAL HISTORIES
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Interviewed by
Ronald Doel
Location
South Nyack, New York
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Interview of Marie Tharp by Ronald Doel on 1996 December 18,Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,College Park, MD USA,www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/22896-2

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Abstract

Explains why she and Bruce Heezen regarded seismologists as latecomers in turning their attention to continental drift. Mentions Lamont seismologist, Lynn Sykes’ motion studies. Ewing blocks access to the profiler records. The taking of profiler records and the increasing resolution of the records over time described. Explains how the Industrial Associates aided in getting Ewing to share the records. Details how Ewing harassed Heezen and herself; Heezen and Heezen’s students lose access to data, Heezen’s technicians and hired help aren’t given raises or vacations, Heezen has difficulties getting contracts through Columbia University, Heezen’s access to computers at Lamont is limited, Tharp is forced to work out of her home, and Tharp is fired from Lamont by Denny Hayes and employed by the Navy. Recounts Hayes’ development of a stable base platform. Details how tectogenes morph into subduction zones. Tharp describes work conditions at her home. A special arrangement is made with the Navy. Heezen imposes restrictions. She lists who worked with her. Mentions Howard Foster’s work plotting earthquakes. Discusses data reduction and the use of computers. Tharp typically capitulated to Heezen’s interpretation of data when disagreements arose. Examples of difficult interpretative decisions given. Views Charles Drake as an enemy of Heezen and John Nafe as Heezen’s ally. Nafe helps Heezen obtain tenure. The harassment stems in part from controversy at the Second International Oceanographic Congress in Moscow. Heezen receives, and turns down, several job offers. How the harassment affected Lamont explored. The National Geographic, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and the U.S. Navy sponsor Lamont’s earliest voyages and research. Lack of significant contact with Jacques Cousteau. Georg Wust researches at Lamont between 1961 and 1964. Tharp describes Wust’s influence on Lamont. Wust’s anti-Semitism recalled. Explores issues of race and gender. Ewing was anti-black. Her opinion that Indian scientist, Manik Talwani promoted due to affirmative action. Women could not take cruises. She cannot recall any women scientists at Lamont during her time there. In the years following Heezen’s death in 1977, she works with her group on the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans Project. Navy soon assigns the project to other scientists.

Transcript

Doel:

This is Ron Doel and this a continuing interview with Marie Tharp. We are recording this on the eighteenth of December, 1996. This is the second interview in the series that we have done for Columbia University and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory project. A moment ago off tape you were reminding me of Jack Oliver’s new book and the work of seismology. And you mentioned something rather interesting. That in your view and I sense the view of Bruce Heezen as well, that the seismologists were “Johnny come latelies” as far as turning their attention to the problem of the rift and its implications for geotectonics. Is that a fair assessment of how you felt?

Tharp:

Yes. Yes.

Doel:

Why do you think it was that the seismologists who were at Lamont weren’t focusing yet on the material?

Tharp:

Well, one of the principal reasons is Ewing was very anti-drift.

Doel:

Indeed.

Tharp:

It is very hard to work in that atmosphere when the boss is theoretically so violently opposed to your views. So that was one of the reasons. And I think another factor would be that Lamont was so anti-drift because all the people in the whole scientific community were very anti-drift. And we tried to show that with the map, with our south, particularly the South Atlantic map that it looks as if the two continents come apart even on the earth floor below the water. It showed up in the submarine definings as well as coastlines. And so I thought they would accept the drift concept. But for the seismologists, there was too much controversy against drift. And then some of our work couldn’t be referenced because no one would reference maps. Very unusual to reference maps in those days.

Doel:

Without an accompanying interpretive article.

Tharp:

Right. Yes. And I think that it was after 1961 that Bruce was quite adamant that the seismologists wouldn’t reference anything before 1961 that was pro-drift. There wasn’t too much, but they wouldn’t reference anything. And I don’t know. I don’t think so.

Doel:

I’m wondering, Marie, if you remember any particular discussions either at colloquia or other gatherings between those of you, including Bruce, who were on the maps and those at Lamont who were concerned with seismology, Frank Press, Jack Oliver, for instance.

Tharp:

No, I don’t remember the interviews with the people. I wasn’t involved. My only source of information was what Bruce told me. [Interruption: Someone walks in. Person says hi.] Hi, Peter. Here’s our friend. [tape turned off]

Doel:

After just a brief interruption. In the meantime, you’ve gotten a black volume out from one of the shelves behind you.

Tharp:

Well, we’re concerned with why the seismologists were so late in getting into the act. And this is Bruce’s comment.

Doel:

This is a typed document of Bruce’s. Okay.

Tharp:

Would you like to read it?

Doel:

Why don’t you go ahead and read that. And tell what this is. Is this Bruce recalling it, or?

Tharp:

Yes, this is Bruce’s.

Doel:

This is an interview that you had done with Bruce on the matter?

Tharp:

This is an interview that Bruce had done with John Lear.

Doel:

I see.

Tharp:

Well. Bruce is just commenting about people at Lamont who did the pioneer work on the first motion study like Lynn Sykes. The seismologists were criticized for working on something that wasn’t very fruitful and was trivial like the first motion studies when compared to the great work of x-raying the earth. That’s what Lamont was doing — they were x-raying the earth to get the depth and thickness of the core, inner core and mantle. And so somebody finally said, “What can they do to reorganize seismology to make it come in agreement with other fields that were increasing their focus on drift? And so, if drift really happens, seismologists had to get busy, wake up, revise their ideas, and shape up or otherwise they’d be old fogies.” This is Bruce.

Doel:

That’s Bruce. Okay.

Tharp:

And so their papers, particularly in the new global tectonics, were not the ones in which they showed how seismology made all these advances to prove the earth was dynamic. It was showing how these advances had been brought in from marine geology and paleomagnetics. See, it was our maps and then it was paleomagnetism that began to produce solid evidence that drift could occur. And so, the seismologists were still x-raying the earth. They had a prejudice to ignore the real sources of our ideas from these other fields because they were feeling very much of a breach. They were going be in a horse and buggy in the jet world if they didn’t catch up. There had been considerable concern for me and others that they could get seismologists involved in the problem so that they could find evidence from seismology that drift might have occurred. They weren’t thinking about the subject at all — wouldn’t even consider it. Now none of us could do it. We were forced to, we couldn’t do seismology because that’s a field in itself. We’re not seismologists. We just sat around wondering when they were going to get into it. And, so when you’re comparing and contrasting what [Lynn] Sykes, Oliver and Isacks had to say in the late sixties, it’s what we had to say about the evolution of the ocean in the late fifties. It’s one problem, it’s a time thing.

Doel:

Marie, when was this interview going on between Bruce and John Lear? Roughly when is it that Bruce is relating this?

Tharp:

Oh, let’s see. It was in the early seventies. So Bruce died in ‘77 and so this would be pre-’77. And then he [Lear] wrote these letters after Bruce died. But this definitely is Bruce. That’s very helpful, isn’t it?

Doel:

It’s good to hear his own language coming into play here. Do you recall him talking to you about interactions that he had with the seismologists at Lamont? Did he feel frustrated at the time, do you recall, in the early sixties or late 1950s that that community wasn’t paying attention to the issues that you saw as important on the sea floor?

Tharp:

We were so thankful when Lynn Sykes became the first one of the seismologists to make these first motion studies in the equatorial Atlantic and show that the earthquakes plates had moved. This was the first evidence that we had. The first supporter from the seismology was Lynn Sykes.

Doel:

This is the mid-1960s that the first motion studies were beginning?

Tharp:

The late.

Doel:

Late sixties?

Tharp:

Late sixties — 1968. And [long pause] this is quite condensed, these pages, on this.

Doel:

You’re continuing to look through the volume that you’ve got there. And this continues to be the rough transcription from John Lear’s interview on Bruce’s reflections on seismology at Lamont.

Tharp:

Yes, and how it’s related to the people there.

Doel:

Marie, I’m curious how well you came to know people like Lynn Sykes?

Tharp:

I didn’t get to know Lynn very well.

Doel:

In part because by that, the time that Lynn was coming to Lamont you were primarily working out of the house here?

Tharp:

Yes, I worked out of the house here from about 1965.

Doel:

Right.

Tharp:

Partly because of the space problems and partly because of political problems.

Doel:

Indeed.

Tharp:

And so I was about as clearly isolated as you could be.

Doel:

Did you know Jack Oliver better?

Tharp:

Well, I knew him when he was there earlier. I just can’t begin to give you a brief summary of this letter because it encompasses the accompanying fields and changing ideas. It was a very critical time.

Doel:

Yes.

Tharp:

And this is all very well summarized.

Doel:

It might be worth making a reference to this piece.

Tharp:

I don’t know how you would incorporate all of it. But it certainly is.

Doel:

Okay, we’ll make a citation of some kind to that.

Tharp:

It includes the developing attitudes in the other fields that led up to drift being so clearly accepted.

Doel:

One thing, I want to talk more about the harassment years a little bit later today, but I’m curious if Bruce himself found that he was being isolated from other researchers at Lamont as the conflict with Ewing deepened? You were working here, and as you say, you felt very isolated. Did that affect him similarly in his, in his point of view or in yours?

Tharp:

Oh, no. Because he had students. He had graduate students, and he had to supervise their various theses. In fact, oceanography is such a new field, unlike other academic pursuits, it was up to the professor to suggest the area or the subject of their research, and what their thesis topic should be because everything was so new. So Bill Ryan was given the Mediterranean. He’s been in the Mediterranean, in the Black Sea, and in the Nile Valley ever since. Ed Snyder I think went on the eastern coast of America. David Needham worked in the Caribbean. Those were the areas that Bruce would point out to these guys and say, “This is something to do here which would be worthy of a thesis.”

Doel:

Right.

Tharp:

And so he was very much in contact with that. And also because of his students needing data to do his thesis, he had to be in a position to see that they got the data. And that’s where a very serious conflict arose between Ewing and Bruce. Because Ewing as a true archivist, he would lock up the data in his several closets and it was inaccessible to the students who needed it to do their Ph.D. theses. And, you know, it always made me so mad because this data is connected with taxpayers money, and then, it was restricted from the use of students who could further develop it. Ewing seemed to think almost data had been obtained for his own personal use to make him a great man. Not saying he wasn’t a great man to have gotten the data. But there was this reluctance to share the data with the students.

Doel:

You had mentioned off tape earlier, that the PDR, the precision depth recorder data, was part of the stuff that Ewing kept from others.

Tharp:

Not the PDR data.

Doel:

It was not the PDR?

Tharp:

Not the sounding data. That’s the precision depth recorder which is this lovely machine which was developed in 1952 and I put the reprint in. As to the profiler machine, you have to have an awful strong sound source to get through the surface of the mud in the basement. The ping of the PDR would start at the surface and the penetration down and back two times would be something considerable, but not as much as when they threw a half pound charge of TNT. And so that is a whole story in itself when Ewing and Worzel, developed the ocean bottom seismograph. Joe Worzel has described the development with him — Al [Allyn] Vine starting in the 1930s at Lehigh and then developing the buoy off the Atlantis when they got permission to carry, throw, TNT on the Atlantis. And so that’s developed by hearing the whole story. It was in pretty good shape by the time Bruce showed up in ‘47, but it went on to get improved a lot more. But it didn’t improve until they changed the idea that they only had to shoot a charge off closer than one every ten miles. Because they didn’t realize that the ground was so complicated. So they gradually would make shots every ninety seconds and get continuous records of very complicated topography.

Doel:

Right. Which increased the resolution of the profiler records?

Tharp:

It increased the resolution and also the detail shot-to-shot at point-to-point. That would give you more control rather than ten miles apart. You’d miss something. So they did that. And that improved so much that it was later, let me see, they were making continuous profiler records very early, and these records gradually improved greatly in detail resolution. He locked them all up. One of the rules. This is all mixed up. One of the reasons Ewing is a great man, he had collected all this data on all cruises. Even if it wasn’t of any use, or he didn’t know what he was going to do with it, he collected that data anyway.

Doel:

Indeed. That was one of the hallmarks of Lamont’s operations.

Tharp:

It was his philosophy. He came from an oil company. You get all the data you can get, even if you don’t know how you’re going to use it.

Doel:

Interesting. Yes.

Tharp:

And so that is the reason that the Lamont ship was such a great vessel, they got all this data. They kept getting it. And they kept getting these highly improved records. It’s not the PDR records. We got those from being on Vema from cruise one, but the profiler records kept coming and gradually improving. They were always there. And they were so good that he hid them. He hid them from Bruce and his students for ten years. Locked them up. They were not available to any of us to use. And when we did get them, it took a lot of catching up to go through them.

Doel:

When did you finally gain access to them? Was it after Ewing had left Lamont?

Tharp:

Oh, let me see. It was in, let’s see. Ewing left in ‘72. So it would be in the late sixties that we got access. I don’t remember the exact date.

Doel:

Right. But it’s around or after the time that Ewing steps down as director.

Tharp:

Yes. And we got access. It took several years before he left before they broke his power and got those records. And then the thing that helped immensely was Ewing had gotten a contract with the Industrial Associates, a group of oil companies that gave a lot of money, for the privilege of looking at these records where there might be oil. So that supported the reproduction of the records. And they had two or three people working on them, annotating them, photographing them, copying and reducing them in size, and filing in an accessible order.

Doel:

That’s interesting. Right.

Tharp:

That was very, very important. But that happened before Ewing left. And then we could get these lovely photographs, well annotated, of the profiler records to use for our maps. They were great. We could always use the soundings, but the profiler records would reveal the rocks and mud and shape. And then –-

Doel:

Marie, were there other kinds of data that Ewing kept from Bruce and others?

Tharp:

Oh yes. Ewing locked up all the photographs of the bottom of the ocean floor taken from the Vema. And Bruce and Charlie Hollister were working on their book, The Face of the Deep, which was based on these photographs. And they couldn’t get the photographs. And it was so ironic because Bruce’s first paper was taken with the first camera that Ewing had developed and put over the side. He and Joe Worzel did the real good work on that. That’s one of the best inserts, Joe Worzel describing the development of that camera. So it had had a lot of development before Bruce Heezen showed up and joined the group in ‘47, and they were glad to have him go out and use the camera. He took pictures and got samples of rocks on the continental slope. That’s his first paper I inserted, the sediment on the continental slope. Dated picture of it. But then later, as Lamont always had to take pictures, part of the Lamont program, continuous coverage, had been to take pictures. They then had a guy whose sole job was to catalogue them and organize them back at Lamont. And then we weren’t allowed to use them. So when Bruce and Charlie were writing their book in the sixties, they often had to get photos and they could get them easier from the Russians than they could from Ewing. So. And you know, the harassment was so horrendous to restrict access to data like that. And Bruce is very bitter. He was going to dedicate the book to Ewing and write a tremendous acknowledgment and appreciation to him as a mentor, but there was only a very abbreviated letter which he did write. Access was a form of harassment which was harmful. Hollister learned how to finagle photographs from other countries, if not Lamont. So this was one aspect of his education.

Doel:

It’s a way to put it indeed. Who was included in the, in that harassment period? You mention Bruce, of course, and the student, Charlie Hollister. Were there other researchers who were denied data that you recall?

Tharp:

Oh yes, his other students.

Doel:

And you, of course, were denied access.

Tharp:

Yes. And there were his other students, Snyder, definitely. And he got his degree. And he went down to work at Navoceans. I don’t remember exactly who the other students were offhand. But they were probably in some way harassed. As to the hired help, they couldn’t have vacations nor could the technicians. I remember Allan Lourve who was a technician. He was denied a vacation because he worked with us. Or they wouldn’t get raises. The technical staff wouldn’t get raises. And then it got so Bruce couldn’t get his contracts through Columbia University or put his contracts through Ewing because Ewing wouldn’t sign them. Or he’d give the proposal over to someone else who could then submit it under his own name.

Doel:

Were you thinking of a particular example when you mention a grant that Bruce had proposed was actually submitted by someone else? And it was submitted at Lamont.

Tharp:

Oh, if it was submitted at Lamont, then it had to, in those days it had to go through Lamont and then the Columbia University. The only way Bruce could fight it was that his proposal went directly to Columbia University and then it was when the central administration down there was beginning to be aware that things were not all right. So then Bruce would submit his proposals and contracts directly to Columbia, down in New York City, and then they’d go directly to the Navy. And there are abundant documents to support that. I do not have them at my fingertips.

Doel:

No, no. That’s fine. You mention also off tape that Bruce Heezen had very limited access to computers at Lamont during this period.

Tharp:

Oh yes.

Doel:

But it was only after midnight, if I understand that correctly, that he was allowed to use the mainframe.

Tharp:

Oh yes. Yes. Most of our reduction of data was done by hand, warm fingers, body, point, point, point, point, point, point on a map, making a map. And that’s what we did here. But then gradually the computer became accessible, became installed in Lamont, but our people were not allowed to use it except after midnight. But then they bolted that too. So our people didn’t have access. We tried to get the computer for his profiles, but we didn’t. If Bruce — we’re working on an area, you know, some quarter of a particular area of the Pacific Ocean, we would want everything within that area in profile form to do that area. And then when they restricted the computer to only run the latest cruise, flip, flip, flip, and not do areas that we’d already solved. So that’s at least conflict over the schedule of the content. The conflict over the content of the computers and the conflict over the schedule. So we just continued operating with our warm bodies. That’s why I used my house for — plotting out the data that we needed to solve a certain problem at a certain time to get it on the map, to get it over to Heinrich Berann, to get him to put it on his map, and bring it back and start on the next problem area. We were just didn’t fit in with their schedule.

Doel:

You had mentioned and again I believe this is off tape, that you had as many as twelve people who were working on different aspects of the map program here in your house on Washington Avenue.

Tharp:

Well, first I had about one or two assistants. And then it happened I’d have four. And I recall this somewhere. And then I had eight. And no fooling, final go around we had sixteen people here. We had four people in this room, four people in that room, four people up there, and I used the attic.

Doel:

We’re talking about the living room where we’re in here now, and the dining area.

Tharp:

It was all work space.

Doel:

All work space.

Tharp:

And the attic was full of files and the basement was full of files. And I have maps of the disposition of those files and I use them on my income tax for maximum deductions. As making use of my home for space that they didn’t provide at Lamont. Well actually, Ewing fired me and he used his buddy Denny [Dennis E.] Hayes to fire me because I was working at home, or whatever.

Doel:

This was around 1968 as I recall that that came to a head or was it even before that?

Tharp:

Yes, I was fired. And so then I was paid directly by the U.S. Navy for about four years. And I wasn’t a very good employee. I couldn’t keep track of my time sheets. But, and I had all these people here. Gradually some of them had been with us for so long that we could leave them here to run the shebang, and they always had all these profiles to annotate. Put the numbers of the map, give me the map, I would connect the numbers. I would, then Bruce might not like the way I connected them, and then I’d draw the map and Bruce might not like the way I did it. So we used a lot of electric erasers.

Doel:

Electric erasers?

Tharp:

A lot of changes.

Doel:

I can imagine. That raises a lot of really interesting issues. I want to get back to that question of drawing the map and debates that you had with Bruce over interpretations in a moment. But I’m wondering how that felt, when you were fired from Lamont, when things did come to a head?

Tharp:

Well Bruce had anticipated that, and got me transferred to the Navy. Because I wouldn’t have been able to pay the mortgage on the house.

Doel:

How did you feel about it though? You had already been out from Columbia. You had been working at home for about three years at that point.

Tharp:

Yes.

Doel:

How well had you known Denny Hayes to that point?

Tharp:

Oh, not too well, but I knew who he was. He worked for Joe Worzel. And he’s the one who designed the stable base platform so they could take continuous gravity readings at surface sea which was a very important thing, Bruce goes in here to say how important gravity is.

Doel:

And you’re referring to.

Tharp:

The history of gravity at Lamont. I mean Joe didn’t write the book, but his name was on it. But that’s just data. Gravity was very important and Denny Hayes was Joe’s assistant and, you know, in the interest of science the fact that those two developed a stable base platform was important. Bruce goes into how they used to do gravity from submarines after World War II. After World War II, a lot of submarines were available. The war was over. And so they could send their students out to take gravity readings. And the way you take gravity readings, you have to stop every fifty miles or so, every few miles or how often you want the readings, and submerge, let’s see, I believe it’s fifty feet down. This way it’s absolutely still so this pendulum apparatus doesn’t get rocked by the waves. If it’s rocking, you get it mixed up with the ocean waves. And Bruce and Joe Worzel would go out and then he would send his students. He sent Lynn [B.] Sherbet and P.C. Wuenschell out to take gravity readings. They made such good use of their opportunities because they wanted to follow in [Felix] Vening-Meinesz’ footsteps. He was the great man of gravity. He spent his life studying gravity in a submarine. Great big man. And he conceived the tectogene when he found the lack of gravity in Puerto Rico trenches. We were taught in school about tectogenes. So they had to go check that out, and they gave it a different interpretation. They said that the Puerto Rico trench was due to tension. But see they were working on theoretical problems and inventing the instruments at the same time to solve the theoretical problem. And of course in the Puerto Rico trench, I should give you that reprint too, they arrived at the wrong conclusion. They said it was due to tension. It wasn’t. It later turned out that it was due to subduction.

Doel:

Indeed.

Tharp:

But, see that’s an example, an extraordinary example, Lamont trying to solve problems with instruments which gradually got improved. And they did, but they made a mistake in interpretation. The Puerto Rico trench paper, it was a costly mistake, but it was the best they could come up with. And actually we’d all been taught in school that the earth was shrinking. So this tectogene was very logical. But of course when plate tectonics got thoroughly developed, they needed a subduction zone and so they just took the tectogene idea and gave it a new name. So now I guess they get credit for it, but it was Vening-Meinesz who found it before the war. That’s something that should be in the story of gravity. Gravity at Lamont is a whole story in itself. It should be in several chapters.

Doel:

It certainly is an important area. I’m curious.

Tharp:

I told you I’d get off the subject.

Doel:

It’s related to it. But to get to something that you had said a moment ago which was rather interesting I thought. When you were paid by the U.S. Navy, and clearly they understood that you were working here at home, in the house, did this introduce any particular problems? Was this a major issue that needed to be worked out as you continued on the Navy contracts or did that go fairly smoothly outside of the Lamont difficulties?

Tharp:

Oh, we had work to do and you just went on working. And actually Bruce was on very good terms with the Navy because he was always doing classified work for them, as a consultant on the side. And I was just further isolated from Lamont, but as long as Bruce arranged to pay my salary, I had a place to work and people to work for me, I just kept going. And as it turned out, I don’t think I’d have finished the map if I had been at Lamont because there were too many interruptions. I don’t mean, in addition to coffee clubs. I got kicked out of one after another because I wasn’t supposed to waste time. But I liked to go around and gab with the groups. But Bruce wouldn’t stand for it. He made all us people bring our own coffee in a thermos bottle.

Doel:

Is that right? It was Bruce who imposed those restrictions?

Tharp:

Thermos bottle. Thermos bottles. We all got kicked out of our various groups and had to drink coffee at our desk and not stop working. He was a tyrant, let me tell you. But, and of course, when I was home, I had no groups to drink coffee with so I just worked all the time.

Doel:

When you got from the number of assistants, eight and then to the high point of sixteen, were these mostly graduate students who were assisting?

Tharp:

Oh, no. Let me see. They were technicians. Among the first one would have been Jim Casern. He was very good ET man on the Eastward. He worked on the Eastward and took care of the instruments. And he worked for me for a while. He was very careful and accurate reading the records. He has instruments he made, and he went to sea with them, and on the Eastward on the lakes and some other things. He was a good ET [Electronics Technician] man. He worked with me for several years. And then I had another kid who had worked with me. Mostly, what he did was help me take care of Inky, the dog, clean up, and take out the garbage. Gradually we put him on the map work. And then one summer Bruce had some extra money and he hired a lot of summer people who were graduate students in other fields and this was just a summer job. I had several pre-meds and an architect. And this was just a summer job for them to read records and write numbers. Some guy was sitting here writing numbers. Oh there was Howard Foster. We wrote him up in our paper, “Mappers of the Deep.” He was a deaf guy that worked for us continually but who had been given to us by somebody at WHOI [Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute]. Foster was deaf and his parents were the live-in couple for a very wealthy family up there. So they put him through a school. I guess it’s called the Boston School of Fine Arts. They put him through that school and then they still couldn’t get him a job because he was totally deaf. He refused to learn to read lips. He refused to learn sign language. But Joe Worzel got him down here and they paid his salary for six weeks. And we found something for him to do for six weeks. The first six weeks he plotted earthquakes. And he worked in the same room with me, and that’s how we discovered the rift valley. Him plotting earthquakes.

Doel:

That’s very interesting.

Tharp:

And he was with us until the harassment got so bad that he couldn’t stand it. He had a lot of personal problems, but his work was worth it. But we had to let him go or he left, and went to Brown & Root in Texas. He came back and visited us. He’s the one who did all the beautiful profiles that are in the files down at Lamont. He could plot about this much.

Doel:

You’re holding your hands out about two and a half feet.

Tharp:

Three feet.

Doel:

Three feet.

Tharp:

So he could do about three feet by the end of the day. That’s how we reduced the data.

Doel:

And three feet, referring to what, Marie? What do you?

Tharp:

Oh, that’s the distance. Oh, these profiles were graphs of depth versus distance.

Doel:

So from the charts, three feet.

Tharp:

From the data. I sent all those away. They were plotted at a hundred to one vertical exaggeration, exactly. And so. Zero to four thousand fathoms. And zero miles to this part.

Doel:

And that was extraordinarily fast, the rate that he was?

Tharp:

It was not only fast, but beautiful and accurate because he was an artist. Very accurate. So we had him spend two or three years plotting up every damn earthquake in the world on all the maps we had. We exhausted that project when we discovered the rift valley. Then we put him on profiles. So he was a mainstay.

Doel:

Did you find as you look back that there were any advantages in not having the computers in doing the work, or did you find that the absence, the limits on using the mainframe computers at Lamont, really made the work that you did even more difficult? Did it affect the accuracy of it?

Tharp:

Well, actually they set up the computer format in the same way that we had set up the ones that Foster plotted.

Doel:

Interesting.

Tharp:

At a hundred to one and carefully annotated. And this format had been set up by Georg Wust in 1925 and 1927 when he published the Meteor sounding data.

Doel:

Yes. The Meteor data.

Tharp:

Yes. So we just plotted all our profiles in the good, thorough German manner.

Doel:

How well did you?

Tharp:

The German profiles only had one sounding every five or twenty miles and they were very small. But still, they were annotated in distance, and I had to go through and change them all from meters to fathoms and then to corrected fathoms. So every point I used had to be changed three times in pencil on these mini-profiles. And then, when we were doing Vema data, we used the same format and that started on Vema 5 I believe. And we enlarged it so it was easier to use. And we stuck to that all the time because if you’re interpreting topography, it has to be the same vertical exaggeration. You know, for interpretation you don’t want one to vary. We published the one-to one-profile in Special Paper 65 and it was perfectly flat. You have to some exaggeration to see what’s going on. And so then after Vema 5, all of ours were plotted at one hundred to one. The computer profiles which started with Vema 20 were set up with the same scale and same format. They even improved upon the format by picking out points, reading them off, and converting them. We would pick the peaks and valleys and changes of slope, and instead of me having to pick the points I wanted, the computer would pick automatically the highest and the deepest around a certain track. So the computer got so it could be useful. And at that time the orders had come through from abroad that they had to be in corrected meters. So instead of looking up all the depths, reading them off in fathoms, putting them on a profile, and then looking up every number in the book, like a telephone number, and converting them to corrected meters, the computer did this for us.

Doel:

Automatically.

Tharp:

Automatically.

Doel:

That must have been a great help.

Tharp:

Yes, it was. According to the system we set up.

Doel:

When was it that that became more routine, what you just described?

Tharp:

Oh, I don’t know. It started with Vema, the first computerized profiles were from Vema 20, and gradually they improved. The last Vema cruise was 36. Then the Conrad got set up the same way. That was our companion ship.

Doel:

Let me get back to Wust and your relations with him and Bruce’s for just a moment. You mentioned earlier about the electronic eraser that you had bought. This was simply to cover broad areas as the sketches were?

Tharp:

Oh that, for that, you’d use an art gum or something like this.

Doel:

You’re holding one that you’ve got at a table by your side right now.

Tharp:

Nice clean erasers. But there were also electric erasers bought in the size and shape of this pencil, and then you just inserted the eraser into the tube, connected with a rotating motor and erased it to a point and it would keep on going. And it was only meant for small points.

Doel:

Very precise erasing.

Tharp:

For numbers and sketching.

Doel:

When you think back on it now, do you recall any particularly significant instances where you and Bruce disagreed? Where you and Bruce had significant differences in interpreting the data?

Tharp:

Well, I guess the first significant disagreement would be when I started showing him the rift valley off the profile. Showed him this — “Can’t be,” he said. So I just kept on looking. Here’s the peaks. Here’s your gully. Took a whole year to convince him of that. That was a major difficulty. But as work progressed, of course, we had changes in interpretation. But I usually went by his. You know, we started out with a continuous rift valley and then we found it offset here. Then we gradually changed the curves to offset. We developed a rectilinear pattern which before was more linear.

Doel:

When you think back on it, were there ever instances where you had favored a particular interpretation, but yielded to Bruce on it? Or did you find that your resolutions generally were ones you were comfortable with?

Tharp:

Oh, there were puzzling things which I didn’t understand. Like the abyssal plains, they’re the flat ones, and we were so happy with the PDR because our records would show instantly that it was perfectly flat. Because the precision depth recorder was accurate to one fathom in three thousand fathoms. We could draw accurately the boundaries of the abyssal plains with these elements. Then it really got down to the nitty-gritty. There was evidence in these flat plains of small differences where you would find the abyssal plain higher at its seaward edge than its landward edge. And that’s the premise that the formation of the abyssal plains were formed by turbidity currents bearing mud which spread out and the deeper they got it sloped down. And that’s the premise that the formation of the abyssal plains was drawn on. But then in the Bellinghausen Sea, some of the plains were higher at the seaward edge than the landward edge. Because we had a good way to measure them, but didn’t know quite how to explain that. We just mapped it. I don’t think I even showed it on the diagram before it was finished. But the problem was eventually solved as Hollister and Bruce discovered the geostrophic bottom contour currents on the Eastward in 1965. That’s another thing in this paper, the location of the geostrophic bottom currents. They’re called contour currents because coming down hill they were clearly parallel to the contours of the slope. They would create great big drifts of sediments and smooth things out. It was a very good explanation. Very good explanation because you couldn’t figure out the Outer Ridge north of Puerto Rico which was a ridge of sediments resting flat on the rocky basement. The drifts were smooth like a snowdrift, so they used to call them drifts. And so that concept helped a lot. Eventually we found drifts. [Interruption to greet gas meter man.] After the first drifts were identified north of Puerto Rico and the Outer Ridge, then we would look for them in other places. Quite a few drifts emerged on the final map. They were located in Antarctica, the North Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. It was a very big help to identify those. [Interruption to say goodbye to gas meter man]. It was, you see, they were working with their instruments and at the same time they’re developing concepts in gravity, and in ways to use the PDR, and of course, the one thing Jack Oliver mentions in his book is that during the time that they started doing seismology, they kept improving their machines. So they would work better. And that’s the primary reason. One of the other reasons that Bruce never mentioned, but that Jack Oliver mentioned was that they were working on their instruments to improve them for different things that they needed. That was important. And I wasn’t aware that they did so much improving on the seismograph since they first did them. But they improved them a lot.

Doel:

That’s interesting. That wasn’t apparent to you at least in terms of what you were hearing about the instruments in other fields.

Tharp:

That’s true of most every instrument. The gravity meter and the seismometer, precise soundings measured of the PDR. They used them to the limit and as they improved them, it allowed them to get more accurate data, and that would in turn change their basic concepts. I mean it was very important to find the drifts from the PDR. Actually they came from the profiler records and from bottom water measurements and photographs. See they couldn’t have done it without many ocean bottom photographs.

Doel:

No, all of the different parts of the puzzle were very critical in this work. We were talking of this also in terms of the harassment period involving Bruce. I’m wondering if you think back on it, who you felt were the principal supporters of Bruce among the more senior staff members at Lamont? I believe that, that Chuck [Charles L.] Drake, for instance, remained very –

Tharp:

He was our enemy. A real rat.

Doel:

Was he really?

Tharp:

I have no evidence of him being a supporter.

Doel:

That’s interesting. That one bit of archival evidence that I found suggested that he was concerned that a tenures review be set up so that issues like that were not left hanging as destructively as they were in Bruce’s case. But you say that you didn’t regard Chuck Drake as any kind of supporter.

Tharp:

Well I may be wrong. Maybe he had a good side as well as a bad side.

Doel:

Who did you regard as those who were sympathetic to you and Bruce and the work?

Tharp:

Oh, well, of course, most of them had to take their distance or they would be treated as we were. Who was our supporter? Jack Nafe was. Because he also was trying to get Bruce tenured job status which was important because then Doe couldn’t fire Bruce. So Jack Nafe worked very hard on getting him to be a tenured professor. Maybe Chuck Drake was in on that. That whole element of tenured professor was very critical to Bruce not getting thrown out. Because it was a matter that the Association of University Professors would save his job. And they have certain rules that you don’t fire. [Interruption to speak to someone] Oh, maybe Chuck Drake wasn’t so bad. He became a dean. I first called up, when Bruce was at sea, and the harassment started. I called up Chuck Drake for help, but he was no help at all. He said, “Well Bruce brought it on himself.”

Doel:

What did he mean by that do you think?

Tharp:

I don’t know. One of the great periods of distortion was during the Second International Oceanographic Congress held in Moscow in, let’s see, oh what year? 1965.

Doel:

It was in the 1960s as I recall.

Tharp:

Yes, it must have been. Because the mapping program was another bone of horrible conflict and contention. And rivalry. It even hit Time Magazine. Just horrible. It started out as basically Bruce’s students wanted to work on the spinner. And this was a fight that took place at the very beginning of the theory of plate tectonics being supported by the paleomagnetic work. That’s when plate tectonics was serious, taken seriously, and that was one of the first weapons to shoot down the drifters. But a lot of that work was done overseas. Bruce had students on it because John Foster was studying magnetic data in the sediments. See Bruce — the paleomagnetics, a lot of rock work was done by California people. Bruce wanted to get started on magnetic reversals in sediments, and John Foster had built this machine and the students were going to work on it. That was when we started having so many reversals. At the meeting in Moscow it was devastating. They’d give the same paper over and over again on paleomagnetics and drift. Haven’t thought about that for a while. Bruce’s students involvement in it, and they were picking on his students. They wouldn’t let him use the machine that measured reversals in these sediments.

Doel:

This was something in the magnetics lab?

Tharp:

That is a horrible story in itself. They sent the students down to the AGU [American Geophysical Union] to present a paper. Bruce also wanted to send his students down to present a paper. Then the other people would send people down and view Bruce’s students work, in their words. It was a very difficult period. Bruce was in Moscow at this meeting, and he presented the work of all his students as a way to protect them and to protect himself against the varmints. And then there was a lot of unfavorable publicity that even hit Time Magazine.

Doel:

About the goings on at the Moscow meeting?

Tharp:

Yes. And so then they started harassing Bruce. He presented the work of his students himself — and they said he didn’t — because he was protecting his students from their work being pirated by the varmints. [Voice fades out].

Doel:

It sounds like emotionally it was wrenching for all involved.

Tharp:

Yes. Neil Opdyke was the first guy who appeared. He was in favor of drift. And that was an interesting time.

Doel:

You mentioned and this relates again to Bruce and the controversy with Ewing, but you mentioned it off tape, that he had indeed gotten a number of other job offers during this period.

Tharp:

Oh yes.

Doel:

And chose not to take them. But they involved the directorship of the new geophysical institute in Hawaii if I recall correctly.

Tharp:

Yes, I was with him when he got that. He was offered directorship at Hawaii. But he didn’t want to live in Hawaii. He found you had to get permission from the governor, to fly to Washington. And he had so many projects and contacts in Washington that he didn’t want to be director of Hawaii for that reason. It was so isolated. He was also offered a job at Rhode Island. In fact, they offered us both one at the University of Rhode Island. And we went up there, but he didn’t want to go there. They were very good to us and showed us around, but Bruce didn’t want to leave Lamont. And then I think, I’m sure he had an offer from the Navy down in Washington to run their map department.

Doel:

This was the hydrographic office as I recall.

Tharp:

I’m quite sure he did.

Doel:

Yes.

Tharp:

And those were very firm offers.

Doel:

When — the hydrographic office, as I recall your comment correctly, was in the 1960s. Was the Rhode Island offer similarly in the sixties?

Tharp:

I can’t date it, but it must have been.

Doel:

It was during Ewing’s time.

Tharp:

It was from [John A.] Knaus. Knaus was the dean up there.

Doel:

What was the job that you were offered there? Was it?

Tharp:

His assistant. I said yes. Continue making maps.

Doel:

Was this in the geology department? How was it defined in Rhode Island?

Tharp:

Oh, I don’t know. A very firm offer to both of us even to the point of us looking for a place to live. But Bruce didn’t want to go to Rhode Island. Well, one thing that kept us here was Lamont’s soundings and his students. And though he had been cut out — Oh the other elements of harassment, have I told you all the ways and means he was harassed? Have you got those itemized?

Doel:

You mentioned a few. Perhaps if you can briefly mention some of the other ones.

Tharp:

Holding back the data from his students. Holding back the data from him, and holding back the data from me. And then refusal to, you know, give compensation support, vacations, travel time to technicians in our group. And oh, the other important thing, he was restricted from use on the Vema for cruises 18 to 34. He was not allowed to go out on the Vema. And he had been on many cruises before that. But he was not allowed to go. So that’s why he took up riding the submarines and developing contacts elsewhere. He went to sea in Italy with the Italians. He had offers to go to sea with Gleb Udintsev on the Karchartof, a Russian vessel but he couldn’t fit it into his schedule. And I can’t think of any other surface vessels, but he had a lot of opportunity for submarines. And so that’s what was involved in the pattern of harassment. Magnetics were particularly nasty because it involved the data, the profiler records and the photographs specifically. The magnetics were so nasty because it reached from the top down, and involved all aspects of restrictions of data, authorship of papers, and accusing Bruce of stealing his students’ ideas. It was really the other way around. And it was just nasty all the way around because within Lamont you had Opdyke, a drifter, using magnetics to promote drift. I don’t know what the conflict, if any, was between Ewing and Opdyke, It was particularly nasty because it all culminated in the harassment.

Doel:

Do you feel it affected Lamont as an institution? Do you feel that it caused people to begin leaving Lamont or that it poisoned the atmosphere at Lamont sufficiently to have changed this?

Tharp:

Well, let’s see, Bruce had offers to leave, but he didn’t leave though he was the main one being shot at. Some people never came, like [Fred J.] Vine.

Doel:

He had been invited to?

Tharp:

Yes. He never came. [Drummond] Matthews did come, and then they all went back to Madingley Rise and pursued paleomagnetism under more peaceful situations. I wouldn’t know how many people left because of it, or decided not to stay. I’m sure there were some.

Doel:

Yes. I was just wondering if anyone had ever commented to you at the time or later that a reason they had left Lamont was because of the atmosphere and the tensions from that time.

Tharp:

They probably did, but there again, I wasn’t in much of a position being here and then being there.

Doel:

Right.

Tharp:

There are a lot of people who lived through it and stayed there, who could tell you a lot more than I ever could. The secretary knew instantly who liked who and what was going on every day.

Doel:

I’m sure they became very sensitive to that.

Tharp:

And the ones that know all that stuff have all clammed up. I don’t know why. Because they were there, and they were much more observant of those things from the beginning than I ever was. I was just down at the bottom of the ocean. I hardly came up for air. I was there or here.

Doel:

You know, there are issues that I want to still cover with you for the 1960s, but I wanted for just a moment to go back to a few things we didn’t talk about in the 1950s. It was right around the time of your, within the first few years that you were at Lamont. I’m wondering if you remember any of the discussions that were going on between Ewing and Jacques Cousteau when he first acquired the Calypso, prior to the time that Lamont had acquired Vema, to see about the possibility of Lamont scientists doing work on certain legs of Calypso’s voyages? Have you ever heard discussions about that?

Tharp:

I’ve never heard anything like that, any discussions or suggestions. If there were any, Joe Worzel would know. And from the records that he has, that I’ve seen, there was none of that. And also Bruce would have known. We have been talking of the harassment, but remember, that for many years Bruce was the fair-haired child.

Doel:

Indeed.

Tharp:

Ewing and Bruce worked very closely together for fifteen years. In some of his memoirs Bruce talks about the National Geographic Society. They sponsored the first two Atlantis cruises, which I was trying to find the reprint of yesterday. It’s buried.

Doel:

That’s fine.

Tharp:

At that time the National Geographic, Woods Hole and the U.S. Navy were giving them money through Columbia University. Those three groups — WHOI U.S. Navy, and National Geographic — sponsored those first cruises that got written up in the National Geographic Magazine. And when they came back from the second one, they had a big celebration up at WHOI, and the people came there and Bruce showed them, you know, Bruce was there. They had a big exhibition for the head officers of the National Geographic at the end of the cruise. One of the reasons that Bruce said that Doc was very disappointed with the National Geographic was that his second article written with Bruce Heezen turned out to be authored by Robert Sesson who was the National Geographic photographer. NGS wanted to promote their man rather than the scientists on the cruise. [These remarks combine the events culminating in the end of cruise one in 1947, the end of cruise two in summer 1948, and the end cruise 3 winter 1948.] We never were very successful in dealing with the National Geographic in those days, or with Cousteau. We had nothing to do with him except as far as I know, until 1959 when he showed up with the Calypso at the first International Congress and showed us the movies that he’d taken of the Rift Valley. Then we were very happy. That gave us a lot of support when everyone was shooting us down.

Doel:

Indeed. Indeed.

Tharp:

Now that’s the only contact I know of with Cousteau.

Doel:

Yes. There’s just a cryptic reference that I found in one of the archives that Cousteau had actually visited Lamont.

Tharp:

Great.

Doel:

Earlier on. And no further mention was made. So I’ll keep a point to —.

Tharp:

I didn’t even know that he ever visited there. That’s interesting.

Doel:

You also mentioned a moment ago, Georg Wust, who had visited at Lamont between, as I recall, ‘61 and 1964.

Tharp:

He was there for five years. I guess it was on a retiree sabbatical.

Doel:

Yes. I’m wondering how well you came to know him and what influence you feel he had on Lamont.

Tharp:

Oh, he had a great influence on all of us. Particularly on Bruce’s students.

Doel:

In what ways are you thinking about how he influenced them?

Tharp:

Oh, well, his work on the circulation of the water, those deep currents, was great. It was really great. It was well documented. And it was so much against the prevailing theory that oceans were motionless, bottomless. Motionless. Also, the contour currents were in addition to turbidity currents. Contour currents are relentless and ever present. Turbidity currents have a big effect in historical instances. They are not continuous.

Doel:

Indeed. [Interruption]

Tharp:

Where were we?

Doel:

We were talking about Georg Wust [Wusti] and his influence.

Tharp:

Oh Wusti. Yes, he had a lot of influence and we liked it.

Doel:

Who did he interact with most at Lamont? Clearly he dealt with Arnold Gordon.

Tharp:

Yes, he picked out Arnold Gordon to be a graduate student in oceanography. And he actually invited Arnold over to Germany and sponsored his studies there. And so Arnold eventually got his Ph.D. in oceanography.

Doel:

Indeed.

Tharp:

Largely due to him. And one guy he didn’t like was Paul [last name not given] because Paul was a Jewish guy trying to be an oceanographer. He was so mean to him.

Doel:

Wust was mean to?

Tharp:

Paul. Wust spent five years trying to get him fired just because he couldn’t keep his notes separate or the numbers distinct and readable. He considered him dishonest. It was highly emotionally charged, but it didn’t occur to me until quite some time later that it was due to, that it must have been due to, his race. Eventually, Paul went somewhere and then he came back. We hired him again. Then he was out at Scripps and he came back trying to get a job but he couldn’t. He eventually married a black woman from Senegal, and you can imagine how his Jewish mother felt about that. He had emotional problems of his own. But now Ewing and Wust gave lectures on oceanography. Very advanced lectures. This is physical oceanography. Because that’s all they cared about was the water. They weren’t interested in the bottom of the ocean. It was only what held up the water. He would give lectures, and he had students, like Charlie Hollister who worked with him for some time before he switched to Bruce.

Doel:

Right.

Tharp:

Wusti hadn’t recognized the effect of water on the bottom of the ocean. They just had these big circles. But we are the ones — Bruce and Charlie —- that recognized that those circulating waters produced drifts and modified the bottom of the ocean. The drift worked better with mud and sand than they would with rocks. So, you know, when we first started working, why they didn’t know the difference. As Bruce said, the only difference they knew, the thing they knew about the ocean in 1947 was some of it was smooth and some of it was rough. And so they had to — I think it’s amazing it all worked out so fast, so furiously and that we solved the problems.

Doel:

I’m noticing, I’m looking right now at a 1964 paper in which you were the third author, the “Vema Fracture Zone in the Equatorial Atlantic.” Bruce was the first author, and Robert, of course as he’s most widely known, Sam Gerard was the middle author. And there’s a mention of Wusti here. Of the influence in the first part of the work. I wonder if there were others that when you think back that were also greatly affected by Wust’s lectures and availability at Lamont? Were the geochemists particularly interested in what Wust was doing?

Tharp:

I don’t know if he had contacts with them or not. He might have. I don’t know.

Doel:

I was just wondering what you had observed, given your own circle of?

Tharp:

Oh, that would be an interesting question because they were not unaware of the chemistry of sea waters. I don’t know if he and Bruce were joking when once, Wusti said, “Well, the reason I got all the money to run the Meteor expedition, was that I told the German government that I could find a way to extract all the gold in the water. And we could pay out debts to you.” The Germans, being so thorough, had analyzed it. They knew very well what the typical elements were and the percentage of every element which is in typical sea water. Gold is high on the list. So that was a joke, I thought. But that might have been true. They were good geochemists in Germany. They were water people. We weren’t. They’re way — I don’t know if they’re still ahead of us or not.

Doel:

Interesting point.

Tharp:

As to his influence on some of the geochemists, you’d have to ask somebody like Wally Broecker.

Doel:

Indeed, I was simply curious from your own perspective.

Tharp:

Why don’t you ask Wally Broecker?

Doel:

Indeed, I’m going to. One of the, when you raised that question of the interaction, the issue between Paul and Georg Wust, did the race issues, when you think about it, influence any other relations at Lamont? Or by and large was this not an issue that came up within the Lamont community?

Tharp:

It wasn’t an issue. It was just ignored. There were no black people there in any level of employment. Ewing came from Texas, very anti-black. I don’t know. There are some good black girls there that I know of since the civil rights movement.

Doel:

But this is since Talwani’s administration?

Tharp:

Oh, that’s it. The reason Talwani, Bruce said, the reason Talwani got his appointment was he was of a different race, a minority race. And so Columbia University got points for hiring him as director. At that point they had definitely started to promote minorities, of which Talwani would be a shining example.

Doel:

I’m going to get fully into those late 1960s and 1970s issues, and we probably best do this in one of the next interviews. I’m curious what you felt as a woman within the Lamont community during the fifties and early 1960s? There were clearly very few women connected with Lamont. They were the wives, Billy Press for instance and others. Dotty Worzel, who were within the community and —.

Tharp:

They weren’t within Lamont.

Doel:

They weren’t within Lamont?

Tharp:

They were housewives and mothers. Billy Press was a teacher, elementary teacher. I don’t think Dotty Worzel did anything outside her home.

Doel:

I’m thinking for you as a professional and as a woman within the Lamont community. What that experience was like for you as you think back on it?

Tharp:

Well, one thing. The only thing I really objected to was I wasn’t allowed to go to sea until after Ewing left Lamont. But Bruce saw to it that I got to go to sea on the Eastward. He was very — he probably was my one and only chance. So I had nothing to do with anyone else. And so I was very thankful that he gave me interesting projects to work on. It was quite a project to map the whole world. He gave me that and he gave me help to do that and he also finally let me go to sea. But the time I got to go after fifteen years, I was so engrossed in doing what I had to do at home in the office and using the data that all those guys got at sea, I was quite happy not going to sea.

Doel:

Did you regret it though when you were first at Lamont and it became clear to you that you couldn’t go to sea? I’m just wondering how you felt about those restrictions that were upon you as a woman?

Tharp:

Well, I didn’t feel so restricted. I just felt that, “Gee, all these guys are smarter than me. I’m lucky to be here.” I realized that Frank was very smart and nice, but I couldn’t work in his field because I wasn’t that bright. I wasn’t a seismologist. And I wasn’t interested in working on cores. A lot of girls I know are working on cores now — with oil company cores. I also didn’t want to sit and look at a microscope. Neither did Bruce. So that was a field which would have been opened to me, but I wasn’t interested.

Doel:

Do you recall any other female scientists who were at Lamont through about the mid- or late 1960s? And I realize you’re out from Lamont by 1965, but up to that point?

Tharp:

Oh. I can’t think of any that were geochemists. I don’t think there were any geochemists. And I don’t know of any strictly female scientists that there were. I can’t think of any offhand. Partly because I wasn’t there.

Doel:

Right.

Tharp:

But I just can’t remember any.

Doel:

Well, there certainly were very few. And I was just curious if you had had interactions with others.

Tharp:

Well, I thought I was lucky having Bruce as a boss because he gave me such a challenging job. And I didn’t care what my classification was or anything. Assistant, draftsman, computer assistant. I didn’t care what it was. Because I felt that I was working on the same problems he was, and we would lay out the cruises and say, “The cruise has to go here because this is what we think would be there.” And so finally, we would do that for several cruises and then the guys got wise and said, “Well they’re doing that, let’s not let them do it.” And so we didn’t get to do that as time went on. But I thought I was lucky to be there. I didn’t have any resentment.

Doel:

Why don’t I say this, the next time that we talk, I want to concentrate particularly on those very last years when Ewing still directed Lamont and then particularly your experiences during the time that Manik Talwani was director up until 1981. There are a number of issues of that sort that I want to continue to explore with you, but let’s —.

Tharp:

Well after Bruce, after Bruce died.

Doel:

Which is 1977.

Tharp:

Yes. I had no friends to turn to, to support me.

Doel:

At Lamont.

Tharp:

At Lamont. I had our group down there that we worked with to get the map printed. And that was a time when I got involved with them, when they were moving things around, and they were throwing this stuff out in the dumpster. That’s when I got involved and put all the materials in storage. And then I had my group here that was working on the GEBCO [General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans] project. But that was a bootleg project and I didn’t have a program for that, with a contract with money that is. I couldn’t finish this work that Bruce started because after he up and died, they took all his assignments and gave them to other people. And not to me. They came to my house and took the materials away.

Doel:

I’m sorry, took what away from you?

Tharp:

My GEBCO project.

Doel:

Which project was this?

Tharp:

Oh, Bruce had a special project. He had it since 1950 when he got in with the GEBCO people over in Monaco. They’re the ones that published the GEBCO map, general chart of the world, published in 1899 as a memorial to Prince Albert the First of Monaco.

Doel:

And you’re reciting that from memory. You know it quite well.

Tharp:

Yes. It went through several editions, and they produced the best maps I used to sketch on. Bruce was an editor and then he was a member of the guiding committee for the fifth edition. Having been involved with GEBCO most of his life in one capacity or another, we used those sheets as data sheets and as a base map. As soon as we published the panorama, we were going to contour all the sheets that had been assigned to us because our group was still here and we had all the data. They quickly reassigned this to other people who had a different interpretation than I did. And then some of the ones that were left were — [voice fades out.] So that was a very unhappy period in my life.

Doel:

I'm sure it was.

Tharp:

But it was just the beginning of what life was without Bruce.

Doel:

These are all major themes that I want to make sure that we have time to cover them in detail. So let me thank you very much again for this session. We’re going to pick up on those themes when we resume. Thank you.