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


Event audio


13:00 - 14:00


The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG


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.

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The Royal Society and the Rothschild 'Controversy' 1971-1972 Public history of science lecture by Neil Calver. The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK
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