Publication History View all

  • 05/2013; 172(20):536. DOI:10.1136/vr.f3161
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    ABSTRACT: The use of chemical pesticides increased considerably after World War II, and ecological damage was noticeable by the late 1940s. This paper outlines some ecological problems experienced during the post-war period in the UK, and in parts of what is now Malaysia. Also discussed is the government's response. Although Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring (1962), was important in bringing the problems to a wider public, she was not alone in sounding the alarm. Pressure from the public and from British scientists led, among other things, to the founding of the Natural Environment Research Council in 1965. By the 1970s, environmentalism was an important movement, and funding for ecological and environmental research was forthcoming even during the economic recession. Some of the recipients were ecologists working at Imperial College London. Moved by the political climate, and by the evidence of ecological damage, they carried out research on the biological control of insect pests.
    Ambix 07/2012; 59(2):88-108. DOI:10.1179/174582312X13345259995930
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    ABSTRACT: This article uses a study of pig production in Britain, c.1910-65, to rethink the history of modern agriculture and its implications for human-animal relationships. Drawing on literature written by and for pig producers and experts, it challenges existing portrayals of a unidirectional, post-Second World War shift from traditional small-scale mixed farming to large, specialized, intensive systems. Rather, 'factory-style' pig production was already established in Britain by the 1930s, and its fortunes waxed and waned over time in relation to different kinds of outdoor production, which was still prominent in the mid-1960s. In revealing that the progressive proponents of both indoor and outdoor methods regarded them as modern and efficient, but defined and pursued these values in quite different ways, the article argues for a more historically situated understanding of agricultural modernity. Analysis reveals that regardless of their preferred production system, leading experts and producers were keen to develop what they considered to be natural methods that reflected the pig's natural needs and desires. They perceived pigs as active, sentient individuals, and believed that working in harmony with their natures was essential, even if this was, ultimately, for commercial ends. Such views contradict received accounts of modern farming as a utilitarian enterprise, concerned only with dominating and manipulating nature. They are used to argue that a romantic, moral view of the pig did not simply pre-date or emerge in opposition to modern agriculture, but, rather, was integral to it.
    Twentieth Century British History 06/2012; 23(2):165-91. DOI:10.1093/tcbh/hwr010
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    ABSTRACT: This essay argues that taking the economy seriously in histories of science could not only extend the range of activities studied but also change--often quite radically--our understanding of well-known cases and instances in twentieth-century science. It shows how scientific intellectuals and historians of science have followed the money as a means of critique of particular forms of science and of particular conceptions of science. It suggests the need to go further, to a much broader implicit definition of what constitutes science--one that implies a criticism of much history of twentieth-century science for defining it implicitly and inappropriately in very restrictive ways.
    Isis 06/2012; 103(2):316-27. DOI:10.1086/666358
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    ABSTRACT: There is a long history of concern in Britain for how animals are treated. Until the 1960s, these concerns were expressed largely in terms of cruelty or suffering, which was prevented through various acts of Parliament. Over the period 1964-71, amidst public debates about intensive farming, a new discourse of animal welfare emerged. To understand what welfare meant and how it became established as a term, a concept and a target of government regulation, it is necessary to examine farming politics and practices, the existing tradition of animal protection and attempts to rethink the nature of animal suffering.
    Endeavour 12/2011; 36(1):14-22. DOI:10.1016/j.endeavour.2011.10.003
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    ABSTRACT: Penicillin is often considered one of the greatest discoveries of 20th century medicine. However, the revolution in therapeutics brought about by sulphonamides also had a profound effect on British medicine, particularly during World War II (WWII). Sulphonamides were used to successfully treat many infections which later yielded to penicillin and so their role deserves wider acknowledgement. The sulphonamides, a pre-war German discovery, were widely used clinically. However, the revolution brought about by the drugs has been either neglected or obscured by penicillin, resulting in less research on their use in Britain during WWII. By examining Medical Research Council records, particularly war memorandums, as well as medical journals, archives and newspaper reports, this paper hopes to highlight the importance of the sulphonamides and demonstrate their critical role in the medical war effort and their importance in both the public and more particularly, the medical, sectors. It will present evidence to show that sulphonamides gained importance due to the increased prevalence of infection which compromised the health of servicemen during WWII. The frequency of these infections led to an increase in demand and production. However, the sulphonamides were soon surpassed by penicillin, which had fewer side-effects and could treat syphilis and sulphonamide-resistant infections. Nevertheless, despite these limitations, the sulphonamides drugs were arguably more important in revolutionising medicine than penicillin, as they achieved the first real success in the war against bacteria.
    Medical Humanities 10/2011; 38(1):55-8. DOI:10.1136/medhum-2011-010024
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    ABSTRACT: The diseases suffered by British livestock, and the ways in which they were perceived and managed by farmers, vets and the state, changed considerably over the course of the twentieth century. This paper documents and analyses these changes in relation to the development of public policy. It reveals that scientific knowledge and disease demographics cannot by themselves explain the shifting boundaries of state responsibility for animal health, the diseases targeted and the preferred modes of intervention. Policies were shaped also by concerns over food security and the public's health, the state of the national and livestock economy, the interests and expertise of the veterinary profession, and prevailing agricultural policy. This paper demonstrates how, by precipitating changes to farming and trading practices, public policy could sometimes actually undermine farm animal health. Animal disease can therefore be viewed both as a stimulus to, and a consequence of, twentieth century public policy.
    Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 07/2011; 366(1573):1943-54. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2010.0388
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    ABSTRACT: Two centuries on from the Luddite insurrection, David Edgerton celebrates today's most important opponents to new ideas, inventions and innovations: scientists.
    Nature 03/2011; 471(7336):27-9. DOI:10.1038/471027a
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    Medical history 01/2010; 54(1):29-54. DOI:10.1017/S0025727300004300
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    ABSTRACT: Major disasters involving multiple casualties are neither new nor infrequent. Such events have important implications for medicine and can provide crucial lessons for the future. However, while the medical aspects of war have received considerable attention, rather less is known about civilian disasters. To redress this imbalance, this article reviews three major British disasters of the 1980s where serious burns injury was a significant feature of the human casualty: the Bradford City Football Club fire of 1985, the King's Cross Underground fire of 1987 and the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster of 1988. Four related themes are used to examine in detail the ways in which these events impacted on medicine: plastics and reconstructive surgery, clinical psychology, disaster management and long-term structural change. Drawing on articles in specialist burns and psychiatric journals, together with the personal communications and recollections of surgeons and psychiatrists involved, it is revealed that while ground-breaking advances are a relative rarity in medicine, numerous small but significant lessons did emerge from these events, although often in subtle and highly specialised fields of medicine.
    Journal of Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery 02/2009; 62(6):755-63. DOI:10.1016/j.bjps.2008.11.099
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