On this day in Yorkshire 1947

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“No Turning Back” Says Atom Scientist

Fears that man’s increasing power brought by scientific discovery had outpaced his ability to control his passions were discounted by Dr. J. D. Cockcroft, Director of the Didcot Atomic Research Establishment, when he spoke in Leeds last night.

Dr. Cockcroft, who gave away the prizes at Lawnswood High School Speech Day, referred to the “troublesome relations” between the nations of the world and said that just now we seemed to be having an outbreak of recriminations between countries which were lately allies.

We must try to learn the reasons for this lack of harmony, he said, by studying world history in order to understand what that had contributed in the past to the way of life of other nations.

It was only by such understanding that we could act wisely.

Perhaps the greatest of all the uncertainties that faced us to-day, he said, was the possible effect of the increasing power put into man’s hands by science.

Many people thought that knowledge had traveled too far and too fast, outrunning man’s ability to control himself and his passions. But the inventions of science had brought about great improvements, and even in our own time one single invention, such as the discovery of penicillin, might bring about immense saving of life.

“The scientist feels that there must be no turning back.” he added. “ but rather that we should grasp firmly the knowledge we have gained and strive to use it for the benefit of man.”

Mr. W. Roscoe. Chairman of the Governors, presided. Among those present was Councillor J. S. Walsh, Chairman of the Leeds Education Committee.

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