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Science and the Community

Nature volume 140, pages 762763 (30 October 1937) | Download Citation



IN the first Radford Mather lecture of the British Association entitled "Science and the Community" delivered at the Royal Institution on October 22, the Right Hon. J. Ramsay MacDonald paid an eloquent tribute to the value of the scientific method and its broad application to human needs. Science is one of the greatest creative forces of this generation, and the guidance of scientific research is indispensable in treating many of the ills arising in a civilization which is not a static state but one of dynamic energy calling for direction. The most lasting and fruitful of changes are those which arise from the failure or imperfections of existing conditions ; discomfort and unrest in the community, like pain in the individual, are danger signals which call for scientific study and treatment. Such pain and unrest may even be preventable by scientific treatment, and while making no plea for the man of science as statesman, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald indicated a wide field in which the scientific method might assist in the development of a rational and broad policy. Health and the home life of the people are two directions in which fundamental changes and advances may be possible in this way, and he suggested, too, that the example of the scientific worker is in itself of value in steadying and clarifying the popular mind not only to complain eloquently but also to conclude wisely.

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