Lord Flowers

Nearly 20 years have passed since, as a result of a mercifully false alarm, The Independent invited the distinguished Nobel laureate Sir Rudolph Peierls – than whom no one was better qualified or in a better position to do so – to pen the obituary of Brian Flowers (10 July), writes Tam Dalyell. May I add a word about his valuable contribution to parliament and public life through the House of Lords Select Committee, the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee and the Foundation for Science and Technology? No peer's opinions on the environment, energy policy or higher education carried more weight, not only in the Lords but, judging from the number of times I heard him quoted on the floor of the House, in the Commons, too.

For example, on 12 January 2005 he referred to his own report on nuclear waste 30 years earlier. "There should be no commitment to a large programme of nuclear fission power until it has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that a method exists to insure the safe containment of long-lived, highly radioactive waste for the indefinite future."

Along with my fellow Labour MPs David Drew and Bill Tynan and other members of the Labour Party nuclear power group, I had been to Finland and down into the bowels of the earth 150 miles to the west of Helsinki to see the achievements in making toxic waste safe for all time. My last conversation with Flowers was to tell him about this visit. The information coincided with what he had learnt from international colleagues and he became an outright protagonist of the nuclear industry.

But my abiding memory is of the weekend spent with the then young Labour MPs Dr Jeremy Bray and Edmund Dell as guests of the Master, Sir Neville Mott FRS, and Dr David Shanberg FRS, director of the Mond Low Temperature Laboratory in Cambridge at Caius College. In exalted scientific company, we politicians were agreed that the most authoritative figure on science policy among us was the 40-year-old Caius graduate, the Langworthy Professor of Physics in Manchester, Brian Flowers.

Secure in a hugely successful marriage to Mary Behrens which was to last 60 years, he was a heavyweight of deep, yet un-irritating self-assurance, to whom we did not dare to make ill-informed conversation. Flowers was formidable indeed.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
News
Floyd
newsFloyd 'Creeky' Creekmore still performed regularly to raise money for local hospitals
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Real Estate Solicitor 2+PQE - City

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGH VALUE REAL ESTATE / RESID...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?