A new enlightenment

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Paul Nurse gives the 2012 Dimbleby lecture broadcast on BBC 1.
© The Francis Crick Institute/BBC

The Director and Chief Executive of the Francis Crick Institute, Sir Paul Nurse has described the Institute as a place for experimenting in the way science is done.

Giving this year's Dimbleby lecture at the Royal College of Physicians in London, broadcast on BBC 1, Paul said: "As Director of the Institute, I want to create a cultural and economic hot house of scientific ideas and applications, to make exciting discoveries improving our health and driving our economy."

In the lecture, he described how Britain was ideally suited to create an enlightenment for the 21st Century with its history of freedom, rationality, and scientific achievement.

He argued: "We need more science in Government, the boardroom, and public services, we need more funding for science, we need greater engagement with the public and a society comfortable with science, we need to convey the wonder of science, and what it contributes to our civilization."

He told the audience how he wanted the Crick to contribute to this vision: "I do not want scientists to stay in their labs all the time, I want them to mix with the best minds from industry, the city, the public services, the media, to spark off new ideas to help science benefit us all. It will be a place without departments or restricting hierarchies, with scientists free to pursue their own creative ideas in a highly interactive and open building."

"If it sounds a bit like anarchy," he joked, "that is because it will be a bit like anarchy."

You can download the text of the Dimbleby lecture here.


The Francis Crick Institute is a unique partnership between the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King's College London.