WHEN I first started on research work under Professor Hopkinson at Cambridge, beyond a few thermometers and pressure gauges, we had virtually no suitable test equipment; we had to design, and with our own hands and the help of a skilled mechanic, to make, such equipment as we needed. In spite, of this handicap—and looking back, I am not so sure that it was altogether a handicap—we managed to cover a great deal of ground in a short time. To‐day, there is available to the research worker, an almost embarrassing abundance of instrumentation which, on the face of it, should make for greater accuracy and speed, but I have learnt how fatally easy it is to be misled, or become a slave to one's instrumentation. Before one can rely upon any piece of research equipment, one must learn by actual first‐hand experience, all its idiosyncrasies, and they may be many and elusive. Again and again I have found that it has taken far longer to get into intimate acquaintance with a new research instrument than to carry out the research without it. This does not, of course, apply so much to home‐made equipment, for, in the course of design and construction, one has foreseen, encountered, or at least been warned of many of the pitfalls. I have, too, a horror of any instrument which cannot readily be calibrated in absolute terms, and in a manner which leaves no shadow of doubt, for I have seen far too many false conclusions arrived at as a result of defects in or faulty calibration of the instruments used.
MCB UP Ltd
Copyright © 1944, MCB UP Limited