Professor Roy MacLeod
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Professor Roy MacLeod

Professor Roy MacLeod joined Sussex in 1965 to work with Asa Briggs and became a founding Research Fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit in 1966. In 1970 he also became a Reader in the History and Philosophy of Science and set up the up new subject group, the History and Social Studies of Science. He left Sussex in 1978.


I arrived at Sussex with the Michaelmas Term, 1965, in the School of Social Studies to work with Asa in fact, he wanted me to help him. He was working at the time on the history of the BBC and I had worked a lot on science communication, partly in relation to the history of science but also partly in relation to contemporary science and its larger social dimensions and I was particularly keen to see what Asa had in mind to do in the arts/science issue at Sussex. This was the time of CP Snow and 'The Two Cultures' and I was very much taken up with that, in fact I was given a Fellowship at Cambridge partly because of my interest in both history and science and I think that this is perhaps something that Asa found attractive in me as well. And as you may know there was from the very beginning, plans, provision for an Arts/Science Scheme at the university and, although it wasn't put to me in quite so many words, it seemed clear that Asa wanted me to contribute in some way to that. As it happened, fortuitously in my second or third month at Sussex - it must've been the autumn of '65 - Asa helped by Stephen Toulmin, his friend from Leeds, as before conceptualized the notion of a science policy unit, a unit for the study of science policy as it was then called, which took its start about the 1st January, as I recall, 1966. And Asa thought it would be sensible for me to join that group, a group of two at the time, and I did, and that was the beginning of SPRU.

Roy Macleod download [MP3 2.3MB]