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Scientific Research Organisation in Great Britain

Nature volume 159, page 735 (31 May 1947) | Download Citation



IN the first A. D. Little Memorial Lecture, “Science, Industry and Government”, now published in Technology Review (February 1947), Sir Edward Appleton, speaking before an American audience, reviewed British experience in the organisation of research. Success in the organisation of science in the war effort has led the public to conclude that science should play a similar part in solving the problems of peace. Ultimately the provision of work, homes, food, health and safety from aggression for all depend for solution on the maintenance of the same kind of partnership between government, science and industry which grew up during the War ; and, referring to the brilliant team-work during the War, Sir Edward pointed out that the result of the policy pursued was that the research establishments of the Services were strengthened by the addition of many brilliant minds from the universities, while the research teams in industry were left intact and ready to attack, as composite units, the problems allotted to them. One of the most striking results of war-time experience in Britain was the brilliant success of university research workers in solving war problems entirely remote from their peace-time interests. University conditions appear to ensure the maintenance of the mental adventurousness and lively imagination so necessary for scientific progress ; and in planning the future of the Scientific Civil Service in Britain, an attempt is being made to secure conditions that encourage these qualities.

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