Second Part

0:09:07 Experience with Tinbergen and his interest in function still going on in the back of my mind so asking myself what is the function of imprinting; the usual answer is that animals imprint in order to know what their species looks like; I developed the thought that it enables you to know what your mother or father looks like so you can avoid the hazards of responding in a filial way to someone who is not your parent; if you look at ducks you will see that a female will attack a baby that is not her own; sexual imprinting takes place later in development; developed argument that this enables you to identify close kin and when adult you chose a mate who is a bit different but not too different; strikes a balance between inbreeding and outbreeding too much; followed with experiments on a quail colony at Madingley and found they had a very strong preference for individuals who were their first cousins that they had never seen before; whether this goes on in the wild is another matter but it indicated that imprinting provided a standard to offset mating preference against; echoes the preference for cross-cousins in human societies throughout the world; did not like the suggestion that these findings explained the incest taboo which I see as conformist behaviour; another thing I was interested in was the development of mother-offspring relationships in cats and also play in cats as little good systematic work had been done on play; love cats and breed them at home; two interesting things came out of this work, one is that play is heterogeneous i.e. play with each other before play with objects; secondly, there had been idea of parent-offspring conflict which was particularly marked at the time of weaning but I felt this was wrong; found that if the mother was in bad shape the offspring pick this up and wean themselves and go onto solid food; conversely the mother has to be sensitive to the condition of her offspring and if they are in poor shape she will spend much longer looking after them if able to do so; now interested in the ways in which cats develop depending on conditions in the environment; David Barker's work on the life histories of babies recorded in a midwife's notes from the early part of the twentieth century; found that small babies were much more likely to get heart disease as adults; association of a mismatch between the environmental conditions at birth and the subsequent change which meant they were not adapted to deal with them; problem acute in places like India where heart disease and diabetes are at epidemic levels; conversely, big babies are poorly adapted for famine conditions; reflections from demography; effects on subsequent generations spawned whole new field of research, epigenetics, where the mechanisms of transgenerational adaptation are explored; no actual change in the DNA but suppression of some parts of the genome and activation of others which are appropriate for the lived in environment and for their offspring; human migration and adaptation subjects of great interest now because of the health implications

15:00:11 Was critical of Richard Dawkin's selfish gene hypothesis as it misled people into thinking genes actively determined development although he himself did not actually think that; he went on to argue that communication did not involve the transmission of useful information but was merely manipulation; still people who believe in the selfish gene rather than cooperative behaviour but they has been a shift toward the latter

17:29:16 By the mid-eighties I had been in Cambridge for a long time and had seen how refreshed colleagues were by going elsewhere; then it was suggested that I should be a candidate for Provostship when Bernard Williams retired; I was a bit reluctant but agreed; odd election as a lot of the younger fellows wanted a Provost from outside and had I been one I would have agreed with them; found the campaigning uncomfortable and feared it would divide the college; I was just elected by a few votes; there was a lot of ill-feeling afterwards and I quite often had a really difficult time on the governing body which persisted for quite a few years; about halfway through things changed and it became much easier; that said, it was a very interesting period for me as it allowed Dusha, my wife, and I to work together because the job requires a lot of entertaining; she was a marvellous hostess; it also allowed us to meet people we would otherwise never have met; the most startling of these was Princess Margaret; shortly I took up residence in the Lodge, Jack Plumb, the historian, asked me to invite her to the Advent Carol service; when she accepted, Plumb said she would stay for the weekend; she came with entourage; we had to treat her as royalty and she was a little awkward about coming into an academic household; it went well and having done it once, Plumb again asked us to host her; she came about seven times in all; over the years we got rather fond of her and it became quite a nice relationship; on another occasion the Dalai Lama stayed; he was wonderful, with an extraordinary warmth about him; he brought two monks with him and we were told he would not have any food after midday though he did join us when we ate; was very interested in science and quizzed me about my work; talked about Tibet and the Lama system; was not very keen on the latter though thought the culture of Tibet was important; the Lama system was, in fact, fairly recent; interesting that when the Chinese moved up to Tibet their the women had to move down to lower altitudes to have their babies; set me wondering whether there could have been selection over the centuries to allow Tibetans to survive at high altitude; we had a question and answer session with him and our students and he was asked who did he most admire in the world and he said Gorbachev; by that time (c1991) Gorbachev was very unpopular in Russia, but the Dalai Lama thought he had done more for world peace than anybody; later on John Barber invited Gorbachev to come to a conference in King's and he stayed with us; when Bukovsky who had been persecuted in the Brezhnev era and had got out, he became a student here, stayed on in Cambridge and became involved in extreme right-wing movement; he wrote to me saying it was intolerable that I was going to host Gorbachev in the Lodge; told him that what was good enough for the Dalai Lama was good enough for me; found Gorbachev fascinating

30:19:19 Another visitor was Salman Rushdie who was then in hiding but we heard that he wanted to give an address in the Chapel; we agreed; incredible police procedure as they feared for his life; they minutely inspected the Chapel and the Lodge garden; Dadie Rylands complained about rough looking types with dogs in the garden; Salman came for lunch and all the guests were carefully vetted; behind every curtain was an armed Special Branch man; sitting in Provosts stall in the chapel, looking up at ceiling bosses which are Tudor roses, seen from the side, look like the face of an angry man; not sure how intentional it was but once you see it you see it all the time; notion that God scowling at me as a non-believer; think I am an atheist as I really don't believe in a god; was brought up in Church of England tradition and I love a lot of the ceremony; music in the Chapel is wonderful and am a great supporter of the choir and Stephen Cleobury; thought that this was one of the truly great things about this college; I had no compunction about taking part in ceremonies though could have been accused of hypocrisy; predecessor were of similar opinions; coaching for bible reading from Dadie Rylands was just to breath deeply

38:49:47 When I had to take on role of fund raiser that meant quite a lot of travel in the US and meeting absolutely delightful people; there were aspects of the job which I liked very much; also in the second part of my Provostship I instituted the Provost Seminars which were also very good; brought students and fellows together and we had some marvellous speakers; also Dusha and I used to have musical evenings in the Lodge; students would organise the music and we would give them a meal afterwards

40:57:16 One of the changes that occurred during my career as a behavioural biologist was the increasing rigour in the way people worked; had a very bright graduate student, Paul Martin, who came back to Cambridge as a post-graduate for a while; wrote 'Measuring Behaviour' with him which has been very successful; marked a change in the subject where people were getting increasingly careful about how they measured and did experiments; downside was that it is very easy to measure things in a trivial way and stop focussing on the big questions; at the same time I was also editing a series with a man called Peter Klapfer where we were trying to encourage people not to be constrained by tight methodology; we invited essays for this series and sometimes got pieces that were incomprehensible so had to strike a balance; many good students at Madingley, particularly in the 1970's, like Tim Clutton-Brock and Richard Wrangham; also some very good research assistants, one of whom was Pril Barrett now wife of Gabriel Horn and she worked with me on play in cats; Nick Humphrey had been a student of Larry Weiskrantz and gone with him to Oxford; applied for a job at Madingley and he was a delightful and stimulating man, doing interesting work; however he felt increasingly that very few people would actually read his papers and wanted to get at a much wider audience; decided to get involved in television and mistakenly, I thought, gave up his job to make films; in the end the films were not very well done and he had a difficult time getting back into the academic world; in a book that Robert Hinde and I edited celebrating twenty-five years since Madingley was established, Nick wrote a wonderful chapter on the social function of intellects, the most cited chapter in the book which started to become a whole new field on brain development

46:38:23 I had been doing a study for the National Trust on the hunting of red deer by hounds; suspect they thought I would do a whitewash but I decided it was to be done properly; reported to the Trust in great secrecy and on the strength of my report they banned such hunting immediately; I became the object of hatred to hunting people and they did their utmost to ruin my reputation; just at that time I was elected to become Biological Secretary of the Royal Society; I enjoyed the role as it enabled me to encourage the Royal Society to be much more positive in getting science across to the public; Aaron Klug was President when I joined and in his quiet way did a lot; he is a shy man  who doesn't relish a public profile, but a wonderful man; his successor, Bob May, was quite different and very good at projecting science; as Biological Secretary I had to sit on all the sectional committees which deal with biological candidates for the Royal Society; was worried about tactical voting and decided to institute a new procedure which made the voting records transparent and encouraged honesty

51:37:07 When Gabriel Horn retired from the headship of the Zoology Department to become head of Sydney Sussex I agreed to take it over; thought it would not be for very long as we had a candidate from the US, Jared Diamond, who everybody wanted; he wanted to come but the pension arrangements are so much worse here and after a long period of indecision he decided not to; the next candidate also failed to come so my period of headship extended; at the same time I was Provost of King's; the difference between the department and King's was striking; department meetings were businesslike and efficient; at King's there would be long discussions which appeared to be reaching a consensus when someone who had been quiet until that point suddenly lobbed in a hand grenade and shattered the consensus and you would have to start again

54:47:04 Noel Annan was Provost when I was an undergraduate and later became a good friend; an important Provost who got the Research Centre going; Edmund Leach, his successor, was also interesting and we had good discussions on the whole business of nature and nurture; towards the end of his Provostship he was torn about whether he should give up so he appointed a committee of three to give him advice on when he should retire - Bernard Williams, myself and Ross Harrison - three future Provosts; Bernard Williams was totally different in style; very quick and intelligent but could lose patience with people; it was he who persuaded me to take over as Provost

59:45:06 Advice to a young scientist is to enjoy it