Cold War, Hot Science: Applied Research in Britain's Defence Laboratories, 1945-1990

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Science Museum, 2002 - History - 426 pages
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This book presents an authoritative history of post-war British defence research as related to the establishments that, at the time of writing and first publication, formed part of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). DERA included such well-known centres as the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment at Malvern, and the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down. Collectively these have carried out a very high proportion of all the scientific research conducted in Britain since the Second World War. Study of these vast, but traditionally secretive, institutions is vital to understanding science in post-war Britain. In addition to research towards new weapons, the establishments have maintained high levels of policy-relevant expertise, providing advice to government and even carried out some manufacturing. Until now their contribution has been little understood. This is the first systematic treatment of their history, putting the applied science of the military sector in its technological, military and social context. Developments and areas of work have been selected for inclusion primarily on the basis of their importance to Britain's overall defence capabilities and posture during the period. Also included are cases of significance to civil industry and technology in general, together with treatments of key aspects of defence management and organisation. A substantial introduction puts the research in its strategic context. The book offers a pioneering synthesis, studying science and conventional arms with a focus upon research rather than all aspects of military technology.

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About the author (2002)

Jon Agar is a lecturer at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester Brian Balmer is a lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London Robert Bud is head of Research (Collections) at the Science Museum, London and is also head of Life and Communications Technologies Gradon Carter is a consultant at the CBD Sector of DERA at Porton John Ernsting joined the Medical Branch of the Royal Air Force in 1954 and was posted to the RAF Institute of Aviation where he conducted and later directed research in aviation medicine over a period of 39 years, during the last five of which he was Commandant. After retiring from the Royal Air Force, having attained the rank of Air Vice-Marshal, he undertook teaching and research as Visiting Professor in Human and Applied Physiology at King's College London. He is now Head of Human Physiology and Aerospace Medicine within the GKT School of Biomedical Sciences at King's College London Eric Grove is deputy director of the Centre for Security Studies at the University of Hull Philip Gummett is professor of government and technology policy, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, at the University of Manchester Jeff Hughes studied at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Since 1993 he has been a lecturer at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester Richard Mills has held several posts in the defence industry and academia before taking up his current position as research fellow with the Defence Engineering Group at University College London Andrew Nahum is senior curator of the National Aeronautical Collection at the Science Museum, London Richard Ogorkiewicz is a graduate in mechanical engineering of London University and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and currently visiting professor at the Royal Military College of Science where he has been lecturing for 20 years on armoured fighting vehicles Ernest Putley joined TRE in 1942 and began working on infrared in 1948. With W.D. Lawson he began research on the preparation and properties of single crystals of infrared-sensitive semiconductors. He was a member of the team which discovered cadmium mercury telluride. He was the first to observe free electron photoconductivity in indium antimonide and also initiated the British development of pyroelectric devices, used in the fire brigades' thermal imagers, and the widely used intrared intruder alarms. Stephen Robinson was a fighter control officer in the Royal Air Force in 1950 and studied physics at Cambridge. He then joined the Philips Laboratories to carry out microwave defence research. He became product director of MEL Ltd and managing director of PYE TVT Ltd before transferring to the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment in 1985 and retiring as director in 1991. He received an OBE in 1971 for work with the Navy on electronic warfare Graham Spinardi is senior research fellow in the Research Centre for Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh Stephen Twigge works in the Records Management Department at the Public Record Office, Kew. Matthew Uttley is senior lecturer in the Defence Studies Department, Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC) and director of the JSCSC Defence Technology Research Group Tom Wright is a senior research fellow of the Science Museum, London

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