Peculiarly wayward

Perhaps anyone at the center of history exhibits interesting characteristics when subjected to full scrutiny. Many of the reactor pioneers are fascinating beyond their official histories. England’s John Cockcroft was an extraordinary person but decidedly “Delphic,” as in “deliberately obscure or ambiguous.” Brian Austin, biographer of Basil Schonland, captured one aspect of Cockcroft’s style when Schonland came from South Africa in 1954, at the advanced age of 58, to be the first ever deputy to Cockcroft:

That Cockcroft was at last to have a deputy was greeted with relief in those quarters where his manifold responsibilities and peculiarly wayward style of management continued to sow no end of confusion amongst his colleagues and subordinates.

Austin, Brian. 2001. Schonland: Scientist and Soldier. IOP, Bristol, pp. 444-445.