Saturday, June 03, 2017

Dr Russell Leslie Cope

I am among the many who marvel that a smalltown fellow could have created such characters who give us so many brilliant (and sometimes frightening) insights into (our) human nature. Shakespeare's characters remain, indeed, both flattering and terrifying mirrors. If we only can take the time and have the sight to look into the mirrors... The mirrors of the bear pit or the latitude trap ...

The CIO of a $114 billion firm explains why all investors should read Shakespeare:

"Read Shakespeare. There's more in Shakespeare about power, decision-making, ambition, and how people are blinded by their own needs that's so incredibly applicable to the investment process. To see it in that context is something that makes it real."

here is the rest of the very brief (too brief?) article

Now for the matter of drive. You observe that most great scientists have tremendous drive. I worked for ten years with John Tukey at Bell Labs. He had tremendous drive. One day about three or four years after I joined, I discovered that John Tukey was slightly younger than I was. John was a genius and I clearly was not. Well I went storming into Bode’s office and said, “How can anybody my age know as much as John Tukey does?” He leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head, grinned slightly, and said, “You would be surprised Hamming, how much you would know if you worked as hard as he did that many years.” I simply slunk out of the office!
What Bode was saying was this: “Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest.” Given two people of approximately the same ability and one person who works ten percent more than the other, the latter will more than twice outproduce the former. The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity – it is very much like compound interest. I don’t want to give you a rate, but it is a very high rate. Given two people with exactly the same ability, the one person who manages day in and day out to get in one more hour of thinking will be tremendously more productive over a lifetime. I took Bode’s remark to heart; I spent a good deal more of my time for some years trying to work a bit harder and I found, in fact, I could get more work done. I don’t like to say it in front of my wife, but I did sort of neglect her sometimes; I needed to study. You have to neglect things if you intend to get what you want done. There’s no question about this.

The most important truth about hard work, and also reading, that you can find - from Richard W. Hamming, invaluable throughout.   The book by Hamming
Russell Cope was born in Melbourne on 21 July 1931. He undertook all of his tertiary education on a part-time basis, graduating BA in 1932, M A (Hons) in 1964, both front the University of Sydney, and PhD (UNSW) in 1975. At that time studying for a doctorate ona part-time basis while in employment was unusual, and required special approval of both university and parliamentary authorities. (As Hollywood irony would have it Buzz Luhrmann has in a odd way been also part of the celebration - 175th anniversary of NSW Parliamentary Library)

"Above - The old parliamentary library became committee and entertaining room in 1980 - Buzz Luhrman was not too keen on fetching UK House of Commons hansard from the gallery areas which had no lifts ...

Russell Cope joined the staff of the Parliamentary Library on 1 March 1949. The library then had a staff of ten. He moved progressively through the ranks, and was appointed Parliamentary Librarian on 5 September 1962, by which time the staff of the library numbered eleven. He was only the seventh (Charter 77 ;-) Parliamentary Librarian to hold office since 1856. He retired from Parliamentary service on 21 July this year, having completed over 42 years in the service of the Parliament, and having held the office of Parliamentary Librarian for over 28 years. At the time of his retirement the library had grown to 33 staff.

In recognition of his contribution to librarianship, the Library Association of Australia made him a Fellow in 1968. He became an Extraordinary Member of the Verein Deutscher Bibliothekare in 1973. He was also the inaugural President of the Association of Parliamentary Librarians of Australasia from 1983 until 1985.

Throughout his professional career Russell Cope has been particularly interested in official publications, and their use in libraries. Another continuing interest was parliamentary librarianship itself.

Russell Cope’s administration of the New South Wales Parliamentary Library saw the introduction of specialised reference and information services for Members of parliament in the 1960s, and the relocation of the library to its modern premises in 1980. His final major achievement has been the introduction of the library’s highly successful automation project, launched late in 1990 as part of the library’s Sesquicentennial Celebrations. His retirement was marked by speeches of appreciation in Parliament, and a farewell dinner was hosted by the President of the Legislative Council The Honourable Max Williss, MLC, and The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, The Honourable K R Rozzoli, MP.

Outside these professional interests Russell Cope is an accomplished linguist, especially in German, (Russian - a bit of Czechoslovak ;-) and Farsi) the subject of his MA and PhD degrees. He has also built up an extensive collection of contemporary Australian (and Japanese) pottery, fine examples of which adorned his office. Some were occasionally displayed in the library’s showcases and a large proportion of it is now housed in the Powerhouse Museum. (and Launceston Art Gallery)

As a librarian, Russell Cope has always been an avid reader and book collector. His retirement will afford him the opportunity to enjoy in a more leisurely way many of the books which he has collected during his working life.
Parliamentary Librarian 1962 to 1991

Google Capturing the Story of Dr Cope
Former staff gathering together at Bohemian place to mark Dr Cope 20th year of retirement in 2011 ... John gets the best shot ;-)

Mary-Lou with the best seat in the city ...