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The Search Paperback – 11 Oct 2008
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About the Author
C.P. Snow was born in Leicester, on 15 October 1905. He was educated from age 11 at Alderman Newton's School for boys where he excelled in most subjects, enjoying a reputation for an astounding memory. In 1923 he gained an external scholarship in science at London University, whilst working as a laboratory assistant at Newton's to gain the necessary practical experience, because Leicester University, as it was to become, had no chemistry or physics departments at that time. Having achieved a first class degree, followed by a Master of Science he won a studentship in 1928 which he used to research at the famous Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. Snow went on to become a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1930 where he also served as a tutor, but his position became increasingly titular as he branched into other areas of activity. In 1934, he began to publish scientific articles in Nature, and then The Spectator before becoming editor of the journal Discovery in 1937. However, he was also writing fiction during this period and in 1940 'Strangers and Brothers' was published. This was the first of eleven novels in the series and was later renamed 'George Passant' when 'Strangers and Brothers' was used to denote the series itself. Discovery became a casualty of the war, closing in 1940. However, by this time Snow was already involved with the Royal Society, who had organised a group to specifically use British scientific talent operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour. He served as the Ministry's technical director from 1940 to 1944. After the war, Snow became a civil service commissioner responsible for recruiting scientists to work for the government. He also returned to writing, continuing the Strangers and Brothers series of novels. 'The Light and the Dark' was published in 1947, followed by 'Time of Hope' in 1949, and perhaps the most famous and popular of them all, 'The Masters', in 1951. He planned to finish the cycle within five years, but the final novel 'Last Things' wasn't published until 1970. He married the novelist Pamela Hansford Johnson in 1950 and they had one son, Philip, in 1952. Snow was knighted in 1957 and became a life peer in 1964, taking the title Baron Snow of the City Leicester. He also joined Harold Wilson's first government as Parliamentary Secretary to the new Minister of Technology. When the department ceased to exist in 1966 he became a vociferous back-bencher in the House of Lords. After finishing th
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journey to the truth that is only found in Jesus Christ. This is a book that I want
every one to read!
As ever Snow successfully interweaves the personal story and science seamlessly and captures the essence of an era of discovery.
No doubt this will seem dated to some but it reflects the views of that time but for anyone with an interest in the history of science it is a must read.
I first read and enjoyed this book as a student fifty years ago, but now after reading it again I realize how dated the attitudes are. All the main characters are university academics and while they agree about the importance of science and research, there is an arrogant contempt for applied research as shown by this passage:
"Scientific industry is the refuge of the not-quite-successful-enough (which is why industrial thousands are wasted on research)."
By a strange twist of events, Snow served as parliamentary private secretary to the Minister of Technology in Britain's Labour government in the 1960s. Today we need a scientific novelist who is as good a writer as Snow but is better able to provide a balanced viewpoint of science and research.
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