The most appalling thing is happening : The Royal Institution building is going to be sold.
It has reportedly been put onto the market to fund the debts created by former director Baroness Greenfield when she decided to spend £22M on a cafe and wine bar on the premises. These, along with event spaces, were supposed to bring in enough cash to cover the outlay. Unfortunately due to her mismanagement that has not happened. She was eventually made redundant and thankfully can’t do any further damage.
It is a terrible thing to have to remove the head of an organisation in such a way. But if they fall off the rails and start doing damage then, for the future good of the organisation, they must go.
Blaming her for this situation, whilst satisfying, brings in no money, so something needs to be done to cover the outstanding debt. Hence the sale of the building. No one wants this to happen so something else needs to be done.
For starters here’s something from the co-discoverer of buckminsterfullerene, the football-shaped (C60) carbon molecule, Sir Harry Kroto :
The Royal Institution, where some of our greatest researchers from Davy and Faraday to Nobel Laureates Bragg and Porter carried out some of their finest work, and where public understanding of science has been pioneered continuously over a period of 200 years, has been brought to the brink of destruction by a few short years of mismanagement. Please send me an email and encourage as many others as possible to do the same to build up a wave of protest and so make it clear to the Government and others in positions of responsibility that we are outraged by the decision to put the premises up for sale. Every effort must be made to save the the Ri which is a unique historical Science Heritage Site for not just a UK but the World. This state of affairs should shame our whole nation. Our aim is explore every avenue and to do all we can to ensure that this venue continues to be the focal point for public understanding of science in the UK and also rise like a phoenix to become the major platform for 21st Century Global Educational Science Outreach.
Professor Sir Harry Kroto
1996 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
If you feel the same way about science and the Royal Institution as I do you will want to do something about it. This is a small thing for a start but there will be more later.
So get emailing or there’ll be no more no more research there, no more science communication and outreach there and no more Christmas Lectures !
You can also support the Ri directly by becoming a member, a fellow or making a donation.