Did you know that in March 1967, the British government bombed an oil tanker stranded on rocks off Cornwall? Dan Sharpe certainly didn’t when he began to dig into the life and career of the Britain’s first Chief Scientific Adviser, Lord Solly Zuckerman. Zuckerman advised prime minister Harold Wilson during this environmental catastrophe and recommended the bombing.
Join Dan as he traces the life and career of one of the most influential British science advisers of the 20th century from arriving in the United Kingdom as a young adult, to observing primates at ZSL London Zoo, to pioneering a novel approach to science policy advice in government via the second world war and much more. Along the way he hopes to answer the question of how science came into the heart of government and what STS scholars can learn by looking back at the history of science about its use in policy decisions.
Dan thanks Jonathan Burt, Professor Jon Agar and Dr Elliot Honeybun-Arnolda who generously provided their time.
This episode was a project in the STSNewsRoom2022.
Learn more about Zuckerman and Torrey Canyon
These articles provide more depth:
- News report about SS Torrey Canyon disaster
- Journal article by Jonathan Burt about Solly Zuckerman’s primatology career
- Book by Professor Jon Agar including Solly Zuckerman as Government Chief Scientific Adviser
Reporter and researcher
- Dan Sharpe, UCL Class of 2022
- Professor Jon Agar, UCL Professor of Science and Technology Studies
- Elliot Honeybun-Arnolda, University of East Anglia
- Jonathan Burt, author and historian
- Professor Joe Cain, UCL Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology
- Andrea Lekare, UCL Class of 2023
- “Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod
- “Ecossaise in E flat 86,” by Kevin MacLeod
WeAreSTS is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, or to leave feedback about the show:
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WeAreSTS producer is Professor Joe Cain.
Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS