26 March 2007

Slaves to science

One of the delights of the Royal Society is its historical archive. It must be one of the oldest repositories of scientific history.

It is also good that the RS takes this part of its activity seriously. Hence its efforts to buy up important documents when they become available, even when they were previously "liberated" from the RS's own collections by dubious means.

The latest entry on the history front is the piece on Slavery and the Royal Society. There is also a short video by Professor Lisa Jardine, whose dad, Jacob Bronowski, was also a fine commentator on the history of science.

The piece points out that certain prominent members of the RS were themselves involved in companies that were active in the slave trade.

Now, of course, the only form of slavery that the RS supports is that of lab grunts who are chained to their test tubes and petri dishes in the pursuit of yet more publications.

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