C. P. Snow

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Charles Percy Snow, Baron Snow of the City Of Leicester CBE (15 October 1905 – 1 July 1980) was an English physicist and novelist who also served in several important positions with the UK government.[1] He is best known for his series of novels known collectively as Strangers and Brothers, and for "The Two Cultures", a 1959 lecture in which he laments the gulf between scientists and "literary intellectuals".[2]

Contents

Life

Born in Leicester to Ada and William Snow (a church organist and choirmaster),[3] Charles was the second of four boys (his brothers being Harold, Eric and Philip Snow).[4] Snow was educated at the Leicestershire and Rutland College, now the University of Leicester, and the University of Cambridge, where he became a Fellow of Christ's College in 1930.

He served in several senior positions in the government of the United Kingdom: as technical director of the Ministry of Labour from 1940 to 1944; as civil service commissioner from 1945 to 1960; and as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Technology from 1964 to 1966.[1] He was knighted in 1957[5] and made a life peer, as Baron Snow of the City of Leicester, in 1964.[1]

Snow married the novelist Pamela Hansford Johnson in 1950. They had one son. Friends included the mathematician G. H. Hardy, for whom he would write a brief biographical foreword in A Mathematician's Apology, the physicist P.M.S. Blackett, the X-ray crystallographer J.D. Bernal and the cultural historian Jacques Barzun.[6] In 1960, he gave the Godkin Lectures at Harvard University, about the clashes between Henry Tizard and F. Lindemann (later Lord Cherwell), both scientific advisors to British governments around the time of World War II. The lectures were subsequently published as Science and Government. For the academic year 1961 to 1962, Lord and Lady Snow served as Fellows on the faculty in the Center for Advanced Studies at Wesleyan University.[7][8][9]

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