The Sound of Science

Fridays 9am – Sheffield Live! – 93.2FM

Show 76 first broadcast on 13th November 2009


Grey Wlater

W. Grey Walter and his amazing robots Pt2

This week, in part 2 of the life and times of William Grey Walter, we probe deeper into his life – how he was suspected of being a Russian spy and how his boss had a private eye following him. The historian of technology Rhodri Hayward and Professor Richard Gregory FRS, an old friend of Grey Walter, tell about how he loved the reputation of intrigue and mystery. They tell of Grey Walter’s romances and how he combined his love of women with his science.

At the beginning of the programme, I make a trip to the London Science Museum to see one Walter’s remaining robots from the 1951 Festival of Britain. I talk to Professor Own Holland about how he found the robot.

Contributors to this weeks programme were:

Professor Richard Gregory FRS, Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychology, University of Bristol. A personal friend of the late Grey Walter.

Dr. Rodri Hayward an historian from Queen Mary, University of London, who researches the history of medicine and has written a paper on Grey Walter called The Tortoise and the Love-Machine.

Professor Owen Holland now a Professor at the University of Sussex. Owen actually discovered one of the robots and replicated it. Owen has written about the legacy of Grey Walter.

Science Museum: Special thanks to Rob Skitmore and John Mumford from the London Science Museum for getting one of the original tortoises out of its case and explaining it to us.

Check out more pictures of the robots at the Bristol Robotics Lab in Bristol

There is a lovely old New Reel piece of Grey Walter, his wife and his robots Elmer and Elsie

There is a short biography here


November 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment