JD Bernal: Science, Peace & International Collaboration

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John Desmond Bernal (1901-1971) was one of the most eminent scientists of the twentieth century whose research had a ground-breaking impact across the medical humanities, from x-ray crystallography research, to the impact of war on human life. He was a passionate socialist and visionary of the beneficial role of science in society and a driving force in world-wide peace campaigning.

His archives and library were divided between the Marx Memorial Library, where he was President 1950-1971, which holds his political papers, and Cambridge University where he studied and worked, home to his scientific archive.

In October 2019 the MML launched a new online catalogue of his archive comprising writings, photographs and printed material searchable on our catalogue here and browseable here.

His writings examine the ethical role of science, how the work of scientists can transform society for the better, and the importance of international diplomacy and collaboration. Needless to say, these lessons resonate today. 

Needless to say, these issues resonate today.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the MML will be showcasing a selection of Bernal’s newly catalogue writings, posting digitised documents here each week.