Letter: Science and peace

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Astronomer Royal, Arnold Wolfendale, is right to draw attention to the potential peace dividend for science and technology resulting from the end of the Cold War (Letters, 18 May).

It is indeed imperative that those countries, principally the US and the UK, where defence spending has been high, redirect their efforts towards more profitable civil fields. In the US both presidents Bush and Clinton have proposed budgets to make this happen.

It is natural that Professor Wolfendale restricts his appeal to 'Big Science' (Particle Physics and Astronomy). It is however, important in the national interest that the peace dividend is shared by all areas of civil science. Within the self-imposed constraints of a fixed budget, this is one of the few ways that the Government can bring about a revival in science and technology in this country, an essential component of any sustained national recovery. Unfortunately, present indications are that this opportunity will be missed in the forthcoming Waldegrave White Paper.

Yours faithfully,

RICHARD JOYNER

University of Liverpool

Liverpool

18 May

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