Zuckerman Archive: British Association for the Advancement of Science

Scope and Content

Solly Zuckerman's connection with the British Association (BAAS) dates back to at least 1934, when he was elected to a Section D (Zoology) Research Committee To investigate the alleged differences in distribution of rods and cones in the retinae of various animals, under the Chairmanship of Professor H.E. Roaf. Thereafter it appears to have been an on-off relationship.

This is a small series and most of the content is concentrated in sub-files SZ/BAAS/2/1 and SZ/BAAS/2/4, and files SZ/BAAS/3 and SZ/BAAS/4. SZ was active in the BAAS Division for the Social and International Relations of Science during the war years and for a short period thereafter; papers relating to this and other papers on the Association's wartime work are in Series SZ/TQ.

Among the few items in SZ/BAAS/1 is a statement dated 5 December 1949, signed by a group of members that included Dorothy Hodgkin, J.B.S. Haldane, Kathleen Lonsdale, Bill Pirie, and Frank Yates, to which Zuckerman was invited to add his name. The statement protests at the decision of the BAAS Council not to re-elect J.D. Bernal to its membership, on the grounds of its objection to a speech delivered by Bernal in Moscow in August 1949.

File SZ/BAAS/2 Annual Meetings, 1947-1953, 1956-58, contains 10 sub-files. With the exception of the 1947 and 1950 meetings, these hold little more than notices announcing the meetings. Zuckerman delivered two lectures at the 1947 Annual Meeting in Dundee, the first Annual Meeting since 1939 when the meeting, also held in Dundee, was abandoned on the third day. Taxonomy and Human Evolution was given at a symposium of Section D (Zoology), and Operational Research in War and Peace was given at a symposium of the Division for the Social and International Relations of Science. The texts of both, which were subsequently published, are in Series SZ/PUB.

Sub-file SZ/BAAS/2/1 chiefly consists of correspondence concerning the presentation and publication of the lectures, and includes a copy of The Advancement of Science, vol. IV, no. 16, January 1948, in which the proceedings of the Dundee meeting were reported.

In 1950 the Annual Meeting was held in Birmingham, and Solly Zuckerman was a member of the local organizing committee, which was chaired by Birmingham University's Vice-Chancellor, Sir Raymond Priestley. Sub-file SZ/BAAS/2/4 is taken up chiefly with correspondence and notes relating to the hospitality extended by Solly and Lady Joan Zuckerman to certain delegates. Their house party included Sir Henry Tizard and Patrick Blackett, and several drinks and dinner parties were held. The latter were clearly rather grand, as Blackett was asked If it is not too much of a bore will you bring a dinner jacket. There is complementary correspondence in SeriesSZ/GEN, Solly Zuckerman's general and personal corresponence.

File SZ/BAAS/3 Committee on Science and the Economic Crisis, 1947-48, relates to the early months of this Committee which had its origins in the 1947 Annual Meeting at Dundee, and a letter from J.D. Bernal to Professor Sir John Lennard-Jones, a member of the BAAS Council, of 22 August 1947. Likening the critical state of the country to that at the time of the last meeting held at Dundee (1939), Bernal wrote: I feel that an occasion on which so many scientists are gathered together for the purpose of discussing the very subject which has now come even more into prominence [the theme of the Dundee meeting was 'Swords into Ploughshares']... should not be allowed to pass without a serious attempt to translate the goodwill of those present into concrete proposals and offers of help. Lennard-Jones took Bernal's proposal to the Council on August 27th, which promptly set up a Committee To advise the Council on any action which might be taken by the British Association to assist the Country in its present economic crisis [letter, Lennard-Jones to Bernal, 27 August 1947]. The Committee was chaired by Sir Henry Tizard, and its initial membership included both Bernal and Lennard-Jones. The others were the General Officers of the Association, Dr C.H. Desch, Dr H.J.T. Ellingham, Sir Arthur Fleming, Professor Dennis Robertson, and Professor R.G. White. A preliminary meeting was held on 25 September 1947 at which Tizard's proposal that Zuckerman and Patrick Blackett be added to the membership, together with Professor Winifred Cullis and Sir William Halcrow, was accepted. The first formal meeting was held on 30 October 1947 at the Royal Society. Zuckerman is on record as attending the first two meetings only; other commitments kept him from the third and fourth meetings. He was simultaneously dealing with similar issues to those addressed by the Committee in his capacity as Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy and, more particularly, as Chairman of the Committee on Industrial Productivity (to which series SZ/ACSP and SZ/CIP refer). The file contains: minutes of the meeting of 25 September 1947, issued as Committee Paper No. 1, and the first three formal meetings; Committee Papers nos. 1-7; a copy of The Scientific Worker, New Series, Vol. 2, No.5 containing an article by J.D. Bernal entitled The Association [of Scientific Workers] and the Crisis; and a small quantity of correspondence.

SZ/BAAS/4 Science in Schools Conference, 1958, deals with a conference that reflected the deep concern felt by BAAS not only about the supply of scientists and technologists in this country but also about the need for science to be a component of general education...[and] the supply of science teachers and the provision of adequate laboratory equipment in many schools, a problem which is likely to become more acute in view of the expected increase in the school population in the early 1960's [sic] [letter, Sir George Allen, President, BAAS, to Solly Zuckerman, 2 January 1958]. Zuckerman, at the time Chairman of the Committee on Scientific Manpower of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy, was invited to participate in the conference as one of the principal speakers. He spoke on The National Need. The file contains correspondence and the conference programme, and summaries of some of the other papers presented. The text of Zuckerman's paper is in Series SZ/PUB.


  • SZ/BAAS/1 General, 1934, 1947-49, 1951
  • SZ/BAAS/2 Annual meetings, 1947-1953, 1956-58
  • SZ/BAAS/3 Committee on Science and the Economic Crisis, 1947-48
  • SZ/BAAS/4 Science in Schools Conference, 1958

Access Information

Please refer to the fonds-level description for GB 1187 SZ.



Conditions Governing Use

Please refer to the fonds-level description for GB 1187 SZ.