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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Advancement of science lives on

The British Association for the Advancement of Science may be a thing of the past, they changed the name to British Science Association, but the advancement word lives on. This is thanks to the Royal Society, which has just set up a new centre for the advancement of science.

The RS has bought Chicheley Hall, a country pile, sorry, "historic stately home," where "scientists from all over the UK and the world will be able to meet to discuss and develop their work". The RS's new pad is two miles east of Newport Pagnell, not far from idyllic Milton Keynes.

Unless the RS decides to get into the business, the place will lose its role in the weddings market, but it will reclaim its status as a place where more important things happen. Wikipedia tells us that during the Second World War the Special Operations Executive used the place as its Special Training School No. 46. (More recently, it also stood in for Bletchley Park in a TV programme.)

The money for the new venture comes from the Kavli Foundation, those nice people who are funding the AAAS's awards for science writers. The foundation will also use Chicheley Hall as its European home.

The place cost £6.5 million, knocked down from an asking price of £9 million in 2007, and will open in 2010, the 350th Anniversary of the Royal Society.