Professor Chris Freeman, the founder and first director of the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex introduces J.D. Bernal. As well as becoming one of the first social scientists Bernal was the father of the protein crystallography techniques which enabled the double helix structure of DNA to be unravelled.
Bernal`s major impact on scientific research in the post-war industrialised economies through his 1939 treatise "The Social Function of Science" is discussed. The presentation and ensuing debate with key scientists such as John Maynard Smith also probe the complex political pressures to which Bernal was subject during the period 1930-60.