The Royal Society and the Rothschild 'Controversy' 1971-1972

Victor Rothschild Victor Rothschild FRS (c. 1953).

Public history of science lecture by Neil Calver.

Event details

In the early months of 1971 the Heath government asked Lord Victor Rothschild to ‘think the unthinkable’ in his investigation into government policy. His subsequent report on research funding proposed something the Royal Society judged to be wholly unreasonable: that politicians were better suited to control the funding and direction of applied research than the scientists undertaking it. The response from the scientific community, driven by fears for their autonomy, appeared at best muted and disconnected, at worst divisive and shallow. However, this talk will show how the Royal Society used the philosophy of Sir Karl Popper to make a reasoned and substantial defence of the unity and autonomy of science.

Attending this event

This event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required. Doors open at 12:30pm and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Recorded audio will be available on this page a few days afterwards.

Enquiries: Contact the events team.

The Royal Society and the Rothschild 'Controversy' 1971-1972 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK

Events coming up

  • The interaction of fire and mankind 14 September 2015 at The Royal Society, London Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Andrew Scott, Professor William Chaloner FRS, Professor Claire Belcher and Dr Chris Roos
  • The interaction of fire and mankind - further discussion 16 September 2015 at The Royal Society at Chicheley Hall, home of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, Buckinghamshire Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Andrew Scott, Professor William Chaloner FRS, Dr Claire Belcher and Professor Chris Roos
  • Open House Weekend 2015 19 September 2015 at The Royal Society, London The Royal Society's building will be open to the public on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September 2015.

For more events please see the events diary.

Share this page