Record

Reference numberPB/7
LevelSubFonds
TitleOverseas Activities
Date1944-1973
DescriptionThis Section comprises material relating specifically to India and that concerned with matters more generally affecting developing countries. The items under 'Visits and Conferences' include some wholly scientific meetings, but mainly refer to conferences on international co-operation, overseas aid, etc.

Blackett's involvement in India, from which sprang his general concern with the problems of developing countries, had a double origin. Through his researches on cosmic rays, he had become acquainted with Homi Bhabha, whose research establishments, and those of other scientific colleagues, he visited for lectures, conferences and discussions and whose plans - especially for atomic energy research in India - he encouraged (see his correspondence with Bhabha in G.33). Secondly, his visit to India for the Indian Science Congress Association in 1947, and his consequent meeting with Nehru, led to his reports and advice to the Government of India on military and defence matters, using the technique of Operational Research developed in wartime (see D.83-125). See especially G.1-6, G.23, G.29 for material on this period, and for recollections of Nehru.

These two interests, fostered by frequent visits to India, encouraged a broadening of Blackett's concern to include problems of economic growth, distribution of wealth, overseas aid, population control and the like. In this later work, India remained the principal, though not the exclusive, example of the disparity between eveloped and underdeveloped countries in Blackett's thinking.

Blackett's lasting sense of personal commitment to India can be seen from G.23-31, a folder probably made up in 1972, containing a list of his visits to India and his own collection of his earlier writings, together with some new linking mterial, intended as part of a book or section of collected writings devoted to the problems of India.

It will be seen that relatively little material survives for the period c.1955-1970, but reference to India is frequently made in lectures and writings in other sections of the collections, some of which were indeed given there. Repeated invitations in the correspondence for Blackett to visit, lecture or tour in India show how greatly his presence and advice were valued.

The material is presented as follows:

G.1-55 India, 1947-1973
G.1-31 Reports, lectures, papers, 1947-1972
G.32-43 Correspodence, mainly on science and defence, 1949-1973
G.44 Miscellaneous correspondence, 1963-1966
G.45-51 Correspondence, mainly on development, 1970-1973
G.52-55 Visits

G.56-126 Developing Countries, Visits and Conferences, 1944-1973
G.56-76 Lectures and addresses, 1953-1970
G.77-81 Organisation and Committees, 1959-1973
G.82-84 Correspondence, 1951, 1964-1971
G.85-126 Visits and Conferences, 1944-1971
Access statusOpen
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