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Thatcher, scientist

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Did it matter that Margaret Thatcher, three times British prime minister, staunch opponent of socialism, fervid proponent of markets rather than governments as the agents of choice and change, had trained and worked as a research scientist? In the immense literature on Thatcher and Thatcherism, no author emphasizes, or even discusses in any depth, the connection between Thatcher, scientist, and Thatcher, politician. This paper reviews the evidence for a connection, and offers an interpretation of an important episode in the formation of British science policy that, I argue, has broad repercussions for how historians might revise the understandings of a saltation in twentieth-century political and economic history.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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