Letter | Published:

The Course of the Controversy on Freedom in Science

Nature volume 158, pages 796797 (30 November 1946) | Download Citation



OUR attention has been directed to the passages in our recent article on this subject1 in which we stated that the British Association (among other bodies) “began to support and even to take part in the new propaganda”, and that at the meeting of its Division for the Social and International Relations of Science in September 1941, “no one was allowed to speak during the three days of the Conference except those previously chosen by the organisers, and the movement against pure science and freedom in science had free play”. We gladly accept the assurance that the speakers were not selected by the Council of the Association because they held the doctrines we oppose, and that the reason why other speakers were unable to take part in the discussion was that all the time available was occupied by the speakers chosen. The Council no doubt believed that all the chosen speakers could make useful contributions to the subject of the Conference. But the result, we think, was very unfortunate. Naturally, we welcomed the entirely different atmosphere of the British Association's Conference on Scientific Research and Industrial Planning in December 1945, at which there was freedom for anyone to speak. The views that dominated the 1941 meeting no longer dominated that of 1945. On controversial as on all other matters which vitally affect the welfare of science, the British Association should provide an open forum, and we are glad to believe that this is its constant aim.

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  1. 1.

    Nature, 158, 574 (1946).

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  1. University Museum, Oxford.

  2. Grantchester, Cambridge.

    • A. G. TANSLEY


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