The UKCMRI research lab, the monstrous carbuncle being built behind the British Library, has been highly controversial, and extremely unpopular in the local area.
So when it came to its final naming, you might have thought that the developing consortium might have given some thought to choosing an inoffensive name for it – perhaps even a name that acknowledged some of the past faults of science, such as its failure to recognise women’s contribution, the Rosalind Franklin Institute, for example.
Well that’s if you hadn’t already encountered their patronising attitude to the local area and the arrogant, all-male leadership.
So what did they chose – the name of a eugenicist who’s described even by the Wellcome Trust, consortium member, as “controversial”.
Eugenics: This was Crick in 1962…
I want to concentrate on one particular issue: do people have the right to have children at all? It would not be very difficult, as we gathered from Dr. Pincus, for a government to put something into our food so that nobody could have children. Then possibly – and this is hypothetical – they could provide another chemical that would reverse the effect of the first, and only people licensed to bear children would be given this second chemical. This isn’t so wild that we need not discuss it. Is it the general feeling that people do have the right to have children? This is taken for granted because it is part of Christian ethics, but in terms of humanist ethics I do not see why people should have the right to have children. I think that if we can get across to people the idea that their children are not entirely their own business and that it is not a private matter, it would be an enormous step forward.
(quoted in Science in the Third Reich, German Historical Perspectives/XII, ed Margit Szollosi-Janze, p. 234)
This is also the man who accepted the joint Nobel Prize with James Watson for the discovery of DNA when many today would claim that should have been, at the very least, shared with Rosalind Franklin.