Not literally, as they are all dead now, and that would be rather macabre, but there is an exhibition about what the scientists did when alive.

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Churchill had an amateur’s fascination with science and combined with the realities of winning a war, there was a period of time when scientists were given moderately free reign to come up with ideas.

It was, as one notice points out, less a time of how much does it cost, than how quickly can it be done?

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While the British war effort in terms of science is most famous for its computing and wacky bomb design, it was probably the development of Penicillin as a medication that had the greatest effect on people fighting the war.

This was however an era where new electronics were still the size of industrial machines and utterly magnificent in their appearance. Modern electronics are better, but a small plastic box lacks a certain grandeur about its contents.

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As Churchill was twice Prime Minister, once during the Cold War he was also a key figure in pushing the British atomic programme forward.

While the “glory” goes to the Americans, it was the British who started first, and were also the first to develop a civilian use for nuclear power, albeit as a disguise for the weapons division.

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It’s a modest display of nuggets of history as a collection of short stories than an in-depth study, but as a way to show a broad spectrum of historical events, quite satisfying.

But anyone using a handheld smartphone to take a photo should stop to ponder the size of the camera needed to photograph a nuclear explosion.

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The exhibition, Churchill’s Scientists is free and open until the end of next February.

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2 comments on “Churchill’s Scientists at the Science Museum
  1. GT says:

    wacky bomb design
    I would call neither “Tallboy” nor “Grand Slam” wacky, actually.

    I also assume there IS a mention &/or description of the other vital invention …
    2-cm radar via the cavity magnetron?

  2. Clive Page says:

    They are not all dead – Tony Hewish, who in the 1970s won the Nobel Prize for his work in Radio Astronomy is still very much alive. I had lunch with him earlier this year and am sure I would have heard if anything had happened to him recently. But I think he may be the last. Unless someone else knows better…

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