London: Institute of Biology.
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The story of the Institute of Biology embraces the change in the status of biology, from a fringe science to a mainstay of current affairs, in the last half of the 20th century. This volume marks the birth of a new millennium and, centrally for the book, the half-century of the youngest major scientific institute in Britain. The book will act as the prime source of reference for the future, and includes authoritative accounts of each decade, together with a selection of personal accounts that give the members view. With its illustrations and its sense of positive anticipation, this book is a fitting commentary on a half-century of biology.
The resurgence of biology is told in separate chapters, each covering a decade. The Institutes origins are retold by the volume editor Brian J Ford, the 1950s by Mike Buttolph, the 1960s by Harry Grenville, the 1970s by Bernard Thomason, the 1980s by Chris Smith, and the 1990s by Wilson Wall.
The individual contributions that alternate with each chapter provide personal insights and reminiscences from different areas of Institute life. First is a section by John Cloudsley-Thompson, who worked under one of our Institutes founders, Jim Danielli, in the early 1950s, and reminds us of the era of our first General Secretary. The theme is continued in the section written by our outgoing President John Norris, who looks back on how he became a member and reflects on changing attitudes to biology.
A flavour of Council meetings is given in David Morgans contribution, who reminds us all of the important rôle of the conferences organised by the Institutes committees. The Vice-Presidents view is contributed by Diana Anderson, who discusses the International Diploma in Toxicology of the Institute as an example of how we can offer accreditation in biology.
It is to our Branches that the Institute owes a particular debt of gratitude. Marianne Overton contributes the view from the grass roots, with a word of encouragement for all members to contribute their energies and enthusiasms. Meanwhile, how can we bring the disciplines of biology together? Sam Berry looks back almost two decades, when the idea began to arise for a Royal Institute of Biology. Federation of the many biological societies is a continuing preoccupation. It is one that will occupy our new President Sir Ghillean Prance, whom offers the final word.
The Appendix section has been edited by Eric Carter, a former member of Council who has recently his term as the Institutes National Coordinator of Branches, with valued contributions from our Honorary Archivist, Bernard Thomason. Finally, the photographs have been collated by Nigel Cooper, Rector of Rivenhall and Silver End and a visiting fellow at the Centre for Theology and Society at Essex University. Finally, an appendix provides fascinating facts and figures. historians of 20th-century science will find this illuminating account rich in anecdote and object lessons.
This book, launched at a reception at the House of Commons in October 2000, is a tribute to the energy of the Institutes founders and testimony to the hard work, enterprise and vision of the members past, present and future.