J D Bernal

BPA celebrates its most distinguished founder:

John Desmond Bernal (1901– 1971).

Professor Bernal was born in Ireland. At an early age, he showed talent for science, devising his own laboratory tests. At Cambridge University, Bernal became inspired by the October 1917 Russian Revolution, at a time when the whole of Europe was at war, to devote himself to a lifetime of peace.

The importance of his scientific work cannot be over-stated. He started research at the Davy-Faraday Laboratory in 1923, which led to him determining the structure of graphite a year later. Professor Bernal went on to realise a diverse array of achievements – a model for analysing fluid density, advancements in the

Bernal and other scientists outside the Academy of Science, Moscow, 1953, after he had won the Lenin Peace Prize.bernal lenin peace prize

Bernal greatly contributed to the understanding of sex hormones and proteins, and X-ray crystallography. The Mulberry Harbours, so crucial to the success of D-Day owed its conception to him. Whilst the ‘Bernal sphere’ space habitat was fully realised by NASA in the 197os. , and Mulberry Harbours developed.

Dorothy Hodgkin, was one Nobel Prize winner, who referenced Bernal’s contribution to their research.

Des `Sage’ Bernal was Chair of the World Peace Council (1959-65): http://www.wpc-in.org/

He was also President of the Marx Memorial Library & Workers’ School (1952-71) in Clerkenwell, which to this day maintains a Peace Library from his own books and peace files: http://www.marx-memorial-library.org/

Pablo Picasso painted this mural in Bernal’s flat:

picasso and bernal

Des Bernal died on 15th September 1971:

bernal obit



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