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MAKING THE MODERN WORLD
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story:Science in war

scene:The Tots and Quots


Zoologist Solly Zuckerman, founder of the 'Tots and Quots' dining club. picture zoom © Zuckerman Archive, UEA Norwich

Although government officials made advance plans to use science in the expected war, some influential scientists still felt that far too little was being done. The group centred on the 'Tots and Quots', a dining club founded by the zoologist Solly Zuckerman. Many of the members were politically left wing and the group was certainly motivated by fear of Hitlerism and German rearmament.


J. D. Bernal, physicist and core member of the 'Tots and Quots' dining club. picture zoom © Cambridge Collections

The core of the group was Zuckerman, the physicists J. D. Bernal and P. M. S. Blackett, and the geneticist C. H. Waddington. Zuckerman recalled that 'not one was yet a member of the Royal Society; in the end, all were'.


C. H. Waddington, geneticist and core member of the 'Tots and Quots' dining club. picture zoom © Godfrey Argent Studio/Royal Society

The aim of the group was to get science and scientific method applied at the highest levels in planning and fighting the war. This went far beyond government plans to assign scientists to specific projects like radar or code breaking. The Tots and Quots group envisaged a powerful role for science under conditions of total war in high-level war planning, in operating the national economy and even in developing the national diet. The work of the group helped produce the new subject of 'operational research' (OR), which became a vital element in Allied planning and in eventual victory.

Resource Descriptions

Zoologist Solly Zuckerman, founder of the 'Tots and Quots' dining club.
J. D. Bernal, physicist and core member of the 'Tots and Quots' dining club.
C. H. Waddington, geneticist and core member of the 'Tots and Quots' dining club.
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