Speaker: Dr Peter Collins, Royal Society Centre for History of Science
In 1945, the Royal Society needed a new President to succeed Sir Henry Dale. The debate about who it should be turned into a clash between competing visions of the Society should be doing in the postwar world. This revealed divisions within the Fellowship, highlighted by a petition organised by Percy Andrade that attracted the signatures of 20% of the Fellowship – a very large number in wartime conditions. In describing how the 1945 President was chosen, this talk will consider the choices facing the Society and explore the delicate process of choosing leaders.