Science and Government by C. P. Snow
(The Godkin Lectures on the Essentials of Free Government and the Duties of the Citizen)

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Reading these lively, erudite, witty, deeply informed lectures is to come away awestruck at the intellectual authority and the unique life experience as scientist, civil servant, academic and Cabinet minister, which made them possible.
-Washington Times

Synopsis

Science and Government is a gripping account of one of the great scientific rivalries of the twentieth century. The antagonists are Sir Henry Tizard, a chemist from Imperial College, and Frederick Lindemann (Lord Cherwell), a physicist from the University of Oxford. The scientist-turned-novelist Charles Percy Snow tells a story of hatred and ambition at the top of British science, exposing how vital decisions were made in secret and sometimes with little regard to truth or the prevailing scientific consensus.

Tizard, an adviser to a Labor government, believed the air war against Nazi Germany would be won by investing in the new science of radar. Lindemann favored bombing the homes of German citizens. Each man produced data to support his case, but in the end what mattered was politics. When Labor was in power, Tizard’s view prevailed. When the Conservatives returned, Lindemann, who was Winston Churchill’s personal adviser, became untouchable.

Snow’s 1959 “Two Cultures” Rede Lecture propelled him to worldwide fame. Science and Government, originally the 1960 Godkin Lectures at Harvard, has been largely forgotten. Today the space occupied by scientists and politicians is much more contested than it was in Snow’s time, but there remains no better guide to it than Snow’s dramatic narrative.
 

About C. P. Snow

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Trained as a physicist and at one time a fellow in physics at Cambridge University, C. P. Snow wrote a number of papers on the problems of molecular structure. He was knighted in 1957 for his important work in organizing scientific personnel for the Ministry of Labour during World War II and for his services as a civil service commissioner. Snow's Variety of Men (1967), biographical essays on nine men---including Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, and Joseph Stalin drew upon his professional experience in the worlds of science, literature, and public affairs. His sequence of novels, Strangers and Brothers, occupied him for more than 20 years. Strangers and Brothers, the first to be written in the series that bears its name, was published in Britain in 1940 and released in the United States in 1960. The 11-volume cycle relates the life story of a young British lawyer named Lewis Eliot, who is very much like Snow himself. Science and Government (1961) tells the story of the bitter wartime clash between two eminent British scientist-advisers to the government. The story has a moral and purpose---to show the need for more scientists and scientific foresight in government. Snow's view that society is split into two antagonistic groups, humanists and scientists, is discussed in The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (1959). A violent transatlantic debate resulted when F. R. Leavis wrote a diatribe against Snow as a novelist and thinker for the Spectator. Snow was married to the novelist Pamela Hansford Johnson.
 
Published March 11, 2013 by Harvard University Press. 152 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs, Erotica, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Washington Times

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Reviewed by Martin Rubin on Apr 25 2013

Reading these lively, erudite, witty, deeply informed lectures is to come away awestruck at the intellectual authority and the unique life experience as scientist, civil servant, academic and Cabinet minister, which made them possible.

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