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My background for the PLANET TECHNOPOLITANA  idea, in particular  Her Penicillin crimes 
Her Penicillin crimes is a novel of scientific espionage, dealing with a maverick woman's struggle to find believers for the new drug penicillin. It is set against a background of scientific difficulty, commercial chicanery and Anglo-American rivalries. It explores a complex situation in which the USA wanted to take over the essentially British work on the drug/mould only for no investment to come forward and the work get mired in patent issues and inter-departmental secrecy. At the narrative's heart is the complex figure of Nathalie Armstrong, beauty, biochemist and jilted wife. Her narrative in this and its companion Her Thirty Million are told through the eyes the grand daughter who discovers the work and whose own relation to her grandmother is complex. The companion novels are set 1938-1945 and 2016-2018.
Some Background:  J.Frank (Francis) Gladstone -- film maker, writer,  a non-scientist with an interest in science & its consequences.

Francis@gladstonejones.com

By mail: West End, Hawarden, Flintshire, CH5 3NZ -- North Wales, UK.

UK phone: 079-4133-9122 Land line 01244-537267.

Born 1941. Married first to Janet Schumacher (1941-1970).

Married since 1972 to  Josephine Elwyn Jones.

With Jo Elwyn Jones I have an interest in reviving the fabric designs of my mother, Isla Gladstone (1905-87). This has been a project of the last two decades.
 

FILM:

Frank Gladstone has a degree in history and was trained for a short and concentrated time at New York University film workshop in 1965.
He continued training in film craft with the wildlife & ex-Everest cameraman and director Tom Stobart, then in the BBC film department, notably at Ealing film studios.

Ealing had much of the ethos and the craft standards of the actual film studio it had been. These, 1965-67 were days when film was relatively new to British television.
The new 16mm format and new color stock developed by Kodak for tv transmission drove an expansion of documentaries of which I was lucky to be part.

 

War From the Above, centre, filming peregrine falcons for Horizon, 1966, at the time pesticides almost made them extinct

ROBERT REID & HORIZON

Robert Reid was a chemist who had also been an army officer with experience in broadcasting. I think it is fair to say that, until his time, science broadcasting had been somewhat stodgy, confined to articulate scientists talking about their work in a way that belied popularization, not a real word, I know.

Traditionally scientists, notably British scientists, disdained the popularization of ideas they deemed generally too difficult for public consumption.
Robert, or 'Bob' Reid broke this tradition by looking not so much at science itself as at its human consequences, notably in medicine, to a degree when I was on Horizon as a junior producer in environmental issues.

 

FILM:  I worked as a sound editor, assistant editor, production assistant and then producer which, in documentary film making, included being a director and writer.
They were great days.
From a 2018 perspective I view with regret the discipline imposed by the cost of film stock, the relative immobility of cameras and the craft of larger, union based crews.

This is a reflection for something important and lost -- an era in documentary making where budgets were much higher  and outlets narrower and therefore more concentrated.

 

 

WGBH Boston, Michael Ambrosino and NOVA:

In 1972/73 Michael Ambrosino developed and managed to obtain funds for a series dealing with science and science issues that was cloned from Horizon, although with American differences. It relied on a creative synergy between Michael Ambrosino and Bob Reid who had, by now, left the BBC science department. The series title chosen was Nova and it has remained in production through various changes of character over 44 years, 1974 to now.

I was lucky or privileged -- Michael was foolish enough to employ me -- to be one of the first Nova producers.
The series started with a strong 'journalistic' ethos. It examine the light, or bright side of science &, like Horizon, it examined the consequences of science, engineering and medicine.

The author -- Above with my father 1947, aged 6 & 60 -- Right, above Elwyn Gladstone, Matthew Peregrine-Jones, myself, Charlotte Greggains, walking 60 miles in one day (time of my 60th birthday) along the Thames to raise money for Combat Stress. (My father Charles Gladstone had been imprisoned in World War I.) Right: fallen over -- with a broken finger and smiling, hiking in the Pyrenees.

Among My Films For BBC Horizon
1969-73

Something For Our Children (with Michael Andrews) Conservation in the UK at the time of depletion of birds of prey by pesticides.
What Kind of Doctor? (with Brian Gibson)
lack of emphasis on general practice & preventative medicine in a London Hospital.
One Liverpool or Two damage to urban environments by 'scientific' and quantitatively based urban planning.
Do You Remember the Memory Man science & phenomena of memory.
What's So Big About Us? attitudes 'good' & 'bad' to Pygmy populations in West Africa, leaning strongly on the work of the anthropologist Colin Turnbull.
The Shape of Life how genetic messages determine the shape & beauty of life, leaning strongly on the work of developmental biologist Louis Wolpert.

 


 

Among My Films For Public Television's Nova 1973-1979
Strange Sleep dramatized account of the discoveries of anesthesia from ether to cocaine & and the self harm that happened to the doctors who discovered them. Using real doctors as actors and the 'ether dome' in the Mass General in Boston as it was when first used.
War From the Air historical film about the theory (that it would transform war) and reality (that it tended to strengthen morale) of bombing from the air. With remarkable footage for which I thank Elsa Rassbach & Patrick Griffin - film from Walk Disney, Viet Cong sources, etc. Narrated by Richard Kiley.
The Woman Rebel dramatized the life of American feminist & birth control pioneer, Margaret Sanger, with Piper Laurie & Paul Guilfoyle.
Hitler's Secret Weapon how Germany exploited the loophole in the Versailles treaty of 1919 to develop rockets as weapons of war, based on the film archive captured by the US in 1945 along with the German rockets which then made nuclear missiles possible. Interviews with Werner von Braun and others, now US citizens, full of (at that time) previously unseen film, possibly soft on the use of slave labor to construct the rockets. Made with the late Patrick Griffin.
What Price Coal? Made when Jimmy Carter proposed coal burning as the solution to the Middle East oil crisis. A polemical attack on negligence for health (black lung) and safety in deep mines, environmental dereliction in the stripping of West Virginia mountain tops and the abuse of Cheyenne Indian rights in the west. Controversial and nearly pulled from showing, actually pulled in some places, led to Nova loosing Exxon funding. Now considered by Peter McGhee, ex head of programming WGBH, as a milestone in independent broadcasting.
The Road to Happiness based on the extensive film archive collected by Henry Ford to record his industrial and social empire. Both fun and ironical, see the title. The rise and rise of the automobile, the rise and fall of harmonious industrial relations -- the rise and fall and recovery of the Ford dynasty as dominant. Made with the late Patrick Griffin.
Across the Silence Barrier -- an exploration of the importance to the deaf of sign language.

 

My Current Thinking

Where to... Science Reporting?
Are we dealing enough with how science drives the economy? With how the purpose of the economy is economic growth on growth? With the extent to which such growth is counterproductive to other species?
Should humans always come first?
Cure for cancer or cure for species depletion?
Hard question, yes. Except that it is already asked as societies determine budgets for medical research and budgets for environmental protection.

Her Penicillin CRimes  & Her Thirty Million emerged from an interest in the science history question: why, if the British (Fleming, Florey & Chain) won the first post war Nobel Prize for Penicillin did the US charge royalties on most penicillin then sold in Britain?
I found something of an answer. I also found that the people concerned in the delivery of penicillin had disappeared into the mists of history and that what remained was a cache of recently (only 1997) declassified documents.
With an interest in women in science and espionage whom history has not been kind to and having an Anglo-American background (UK born and now resident/ US citizen), I took the steps to ficitonalize this in a way that I hope makes for popular reading.

 

 

J. Frank (Francis) Gladstone -- books published:
The Politics of Planning-- monograph published for Temple Smith 1977. An examination of the use of false science in British urban planning (or anti-urban) in the road and 'redevelopment' schemes of the 1960s & 1970s.

The Cricketer's Guide to Baseball -- done as a bet, a brief monograph on Anglo-American differences as exemplified in the two games -- published by Kingswood Press, imprint of Heinemann, & sold its modest print run.


The Red King's Dream, published by Jonathan Cape 1995 -- a proposal that  real Victorians are satirized  in the Alice books, the scientist Huxley as the Ugly Duchess etc, the King of Hearts Alice's own (pompous) father. The book was savagely attacked by critics who view the Alice books as fantasy. The real people idea is now widely regarded by Alice scholars, the book sold well as did cards & prints we made of its diverse characters, the Hatter, Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit & others.
Both Alice books were co-authored by Josephine Elwyn Jones

Its success was followed by an invitation from Carroll's own publishers as a volume for the centennial his death:
The Alice Companion published by Macmillan & NY University Press, 1998.

 

Earth, Sky, Ocean & Human Development


Planet Technopolitana
is an idea that emerged from the first Nathalie Armstrong/dark side of penicillin book.
Francine Smithson had protested against the excess of antibiotics in the California water system -- this being offset against the dramatic struggle to get penicillin accepted at all in World War II. Francine's worry is that when penicillin was first discovered world population was 2.5 billion and now it is 7.3 billion.
The worry is that -- a worry, not a polemical pronouncement. It led her counterpart in the book, the war and now environmental journalist to worry about whether we have the intellectual mechanism for analyzing these vast changes in the way the earth is treated and populated.

The two ideas are: 1) delving into the underbelly and hows and whys of a great scientific development and 2)a concern about how fast these ideas move -- seventy years only since there were no antibiotics.
They do not entirely mesh -- one is history, the other is to do with the ethics of how we see development. Yet, I would like to justify, through the people concerned in these books they do so. Hence the umbrella idea.

Planet Technopolitana
as my character, Spy Nielsen, sees it, is a way of looking at our planet.
On one side all human progress and development leads to  a benign environment, harmony with nature.
On the other side such progress and development lead to degradation of the environment, over-population and pollution of earth, sky and water.

That is Spy Nielsen's idea.
It is gradually being worked out in emails between himself, me and Francine Smithson.

In Praise of Human Settlement -- New Jersey turnpike west of New York City, December 2018

 

 

 

 

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