Grenoble 1986/7

In 1983, George Batchelor took early retirement (he said he was made an offer that he couldn't refuse, under the Thatcherite early-retirement scheme) and I succeeded him as Head of Department, a position I held until 1991.  However, by 1986, I had earned a full sabbatical year, and John Taylor kindly agreed to stand in for me as Head of Department for that academic year. I arranged to spend the first half at MADYLAM in Grenoble, and the second half at UCSD, San Diego.

 

MADYLAM (the Laboratoire de Magnétodynamique of the Institut Nationale Polytechnique de Grenoble (INPG)) had been founded some years earlier by René Moreau, a leading authority in liquid metal magnetohydrodynamics.  During my stay at INPG, I gave a graduate course on turbulence and dynamo theory; one of my class was Pierre Comte, who was later to become partnered with my younger daughter Penelope.  I shared an office  with Sherwin Maslowe,  visiting from McGill University; I met him again 25 years later at an IUTAM Symposium in Fukuoka, Japan, where we shared happy memories. 

 

We rented a chalet at St Hilaire du Touvet on the Plateau des Petites Roches above Grenoble, from René's  technical assistant, Robert Bolcato, who became a close friend through that cold winter.  He taught us in October how to make cider from a lorryload of fallen apples; it was ready to drink by Christmas when the family came to visit.  Our most lofty achievement that winter was to climb the snow-clad Dent de Crolles!