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

  • How to make a weather forecast 02 July 2015 at The Royal Society, London From sunshine to snow storms and big data to big TVs - explore how weather forecasting really works from the┬ámeteorologists who make it happen.
  • Virus Hunting 03 July 2015 at The Royal Society, London Discover how cutting edge technologies are revealing secrets about viruses at a speed we could never have imagined.
  • Invisible: the allure of the unseen 03 July 2015 at The Royal Society, London What would you do if you were invisible? Join author Philip Ball to explore our fascination with the unseen.

For more events please see the events diary.

Share this page