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Forgotten scientists.

SIR - The Western Mail feature of August 24 on 'overlooked scientists' in the search for '15 People Who Make Wales Great' has twice mistakenly mentioned Professor Brian Josephson as being a '22-year-old graduate student' on winning the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1973.

Being born on January 4, 1940, Josephson would have been aged 33 on winning the Nobel Prize, leaving the youngest recipient to have been Australian-born (Sir) Lawrence Bragg, who at the age of 25 while at the Victoria University in Manchester, shared the 1915 Nobel Prize for Physics with his father, Sir William Bragg, of the University of London.

While Professor Josephson is the only Wales-born scientist to have received the Nobel Prize, he isn't the only Wales-born person to have received this eminent prize for there have also been Nobel Prizes awarded to Trelleck -born Bertrand Russell (the Third Earl Russell) who received the Literature Prize in 1950, and Swansea-born Professor Clive Granger who received the Economic Sciences Prize in 2003.

Of course, your feature quite properly states the scientists of Wales to be 'shamefully overlooked in the public arena' compared with the 'prominence afforded to our cultural and sporting icons'.

This may partly be due to Wales not having its own academy or similar body for its leading scientists to match the Royal Society of Edinburgh in Scotland and the Royal Irish Academy in Ireland, both of which complement the Royal Society in London.

Perhaps a near attempt in this regard is the colourful set of four posters 'Scientists of Wales' produced in 1995 by the WJEC National Language Unit of Wales and published by the Welsh Office and OHMCI; these were distributed to all schools in Wales.

Is it too much to expect the National Assembly of Wales and the Wales Assembly Government to establish an academy for the distinguished scientists of Wales?

PROFESSOR JDR THOMAS

Llys y Berllan, Gresford
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 31, 2006
Words:316
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