We have been prone to think of science primarily as the birthplace of technology and the child of human need. It is not uncommon to find individuals and organizations justifying their scientific activities in terms of their applications, that is, its so-called "practical" or technological values. We find this kind of justification made on two quite different, but related, levels.

For example, the popular writer for the newspapers and magazines, in discussing with the scientific worker the nature of his discoveries, will invariably seek to find what he calls the "useful" application of this discovery, and by "useful" he means: how can it be utilized to increase the physical ease of the human environment? He is convinced that his readers, that is, the popular readers, have this uppermost in their minds and will read only those stories which contain some elements of material comfort in them. The other level, which is based on a similar conviction, is that our public legislators, from whom a very large fraction of the money to support scientific activities must now come, are moved only by the "practical" values that they might directly see as a result of their appropriations.

In both these conceptions, the protagonists have overlooked the fact that it has been the great new truths resulting from the activities of scientists as curious human beings that have produced the great transformations which have taken place in the last half-dozen centuries in man's view of himself and his place in the universe. Kepler's concern to understand the motion of the heavenly bodies led him to follow Copernicus in putting the sun in the centre of our immediate region of space. The earth then became one of the smaller bodies rotating about it, and thus man's home was finally displaced from its central position in the heavens which it had long occupied. This contributed to a profound change in man's concept of his place. Darwin's formulation of evolution in terms of natural selection again placed man in a new relation to life itself which has significantly affected all of his thinking and is still one of the central themes influencing not only the philosophers but the practical politicians as well, not to mention the scientists themselves!

Thus, it is apparent that for the welfare of mankind, scientists must understand the basic knowledge of other fields than their own, and, in addition, must understand the world about them in terms of the humanist as well. And, conversely, the student of the humanities must understand the interrelationships of his own specialty (for example, of urban planning, with the humanitarian, or aesthetic, provisions for peace of mind and of environment) as well as the relationship of his specialty to new knowledge advanced in the area of science.

Science must be returned to its proper place as one of the essential components of a liberal education. Its position should be alongside the humanistic, aesthetic and literary arts. In the final analysis science is one of the three or four principal ways that mankind has evolved, up till now, of taking a view of the world around him.

• Extracted from a six-page article, "The impurity of science", first presented in the Robbins Lectures at Pomona College, Claremont, California, on 27 February 1962.

Editor's note

The main extract here is by Melvin Calvin, who was professor of chemistry at the University of California, and had worked with Ernest Lawrence and others at what was then the Radiation Laboratory. Calvin used the 88 inch cyclotron there to produce radioactive tracers for research on photosynthesis, biodynamics and plant physiology, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1961. The theme of the full article is that there can no longer be "pure" science - every branch of science reacts with others, and science affects and is affected by the humanities.

Beam-intensity records broken at the PS

Two "world records" were announced from the proton synchrotron at the beginning of November, both achieved with the new m2 beam, which utilizes two of CERN's 10 m electrostatic separators, in conjunction with focusing and bending magnets, to provide particular kinds of particles separated from all others. Kaons of momentum 3.5 GeV/c and antiprotons of 5 GeV/c were obtained, the highest values for either particle yet reached anywhere. This beam was also used to give electrons of 600 MeV/c.

The accelerator itself was running well after its long shutdown, and during the first fortnight 215 hours were devoted to nuclear physics with only 4½% lost as a result of breakdowns of one kind or another. The average beam intensity during this time was 4.2 × 1011 protons per pulse. This was in fact about the same as that obtained before the shutdown. Investigations had shown that previous measurements of beam intensity had over-estimated the values by about 15% and a new calibration is now in use. A similar recalibration has been carried out at the Brookhaven alternating-gradient synchrotron, and the two groups concerned have agreed on a new "international standard": one AGS proton equals one CPS proton.

Later in the month the average beam intensity at the PS was higher and a new peak intensity of over 5.9 × 1011 protons was registered in one pulse.