Sally Horrocks
Chemistry in the News: British newsreels and local television during the 1950s and 1960s

Sally Horrocks


During the 1950s and 1960s stories about science, including chemistry, were a regular feature of newsreels, cinemagazines and television news. These representations of science frequently commanded far larger audiences than the specialist programming which has more frequently been studied by historians and alongside them played a role in shaping public perceptions of science. This paper examines the ways in which chemists and chemistry were represented to the British public through the news during a period of growing affluence and prosperity. It argues that the image of chemistry presented here was overwhelmingly positive and peaceful, contributing to improved consumer products and safeguarding the public. Chemistry was firmly embedded in the realm of everyday life and domestic modernity. Chemists themselves emerge as ingenious and understated heroes of the modern age, willing to accept great responsibility but looking just like ordinary people.

Sally Horrocks - Short Biography#

Sally Horrocks is based in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Leicester. She has published on the history of industrial research and development and is currently completing a monograph on women scientists in Britain from World War II to the Sex Discrimination Act. Recently she has been appointed as senior academic advisor to the Oral History of British Science, a National Life Stories project in conjunction with the British Library and she is currently President of the British Society for the History of Science.

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