In Our Time

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture, History

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History 16
Society & Culture 64

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas


The Royal Society and British Science: Episode 4

January 7th, 2010

Episode 75 of 515 episodes

As part of the BBC's year of science programming, Melvyn Bragg looks at the history of the oldest scientific learned society of them all: the Royal Society. The horrors of the First World War were a shocking indictment of the power of science. Picking up the thread at this hiatus in scientific optimism, this programme, recorded in the current home of the Royal Society in Carlton House Terrace in London, looks at the more subtle, discreet role the Society played in the 20th century, such as secretly arranging for refugee scientists to flee Germany, co-ordinating international scientific missions during the Cold War and quietly distributing government grant money to fund the brightest young researchers in the land. As ever more important scientific issues face the world and Britain today, the programme asks how well placed the Royal Society is to take an important lead in the future.