|Description||This designation subsumes Blackett's activities on various defence projects and as a member of government committees before the outbreak of war in 1939, and his continuing service in similar capacities after its conclusion as well as 'war work' in the stricter sense.|
As has been pointed out (Bernard Lovell, 'P.M.S. Blackett: A Biographical Memoir', Royal Society: 1976, pp50-69), Blackett conducted research for and contributed to the work of all three Services, in addition to his development of 'Operational Research' as a non-specific technique of investigation. The folders below attempt to present the material under headings related to committees, projects or areas of activity, within a roughly chronological order, though the rapidity of Blackett's movements sometimes makes this unattainable. 'Operational Research' has been treated as a separate section (D.83-125) because of its continuing value as an investigative method on which Blackett lectured and conducted correspondence for many years.
As with the working papers in Sections B and C, correspondence, lectures or talks which accompanied the research notes have been left in place.
It should be noted that the folders listed below describe only such documents as survived of Blackett's work during this period, and do not claim to be a complete record. Nothing remains, for example, of his wartime correspondence other than that for 1942 (D.126-147) and the letters interfiled with the working papers. Furthermore, because of the national importance of the work, and the public interest which was increasingly shown in it, Blackett re-worked the material on several occasions for writings or lectures, or in response to outside enquiries. The original order of the papers was therefore considerably disturbed and some material is likely to have been removed and not always returned.