What happend with British science from 1870s - 1945?


Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
What is the point of this thread? Do you want us to all bow down and praise the technological giant that is Hungary, if so why not just start a thread stating the advances your country gave the world in this period? As you state your History teacher said
Fvar's History Teacher said:
The lack of knowledge of higher mathematics in engineering and science caused it. (Britain hadn't world-important mathematician in the Era, and the importance of higher-mathematics was neglected in their universities of technology.
would it be out of place to ask your age, as the tone of this thread is of a 14 year old posturing "My county is better than yours Na Na Nana NA!" I'm sure many people here would be interested in hearing the historical triumphs of Hungary but not by badmouthing the achievements of another.


Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
Welsh Marches
It was that the factors that gave Britain an edge were being removed as other nations developed (caught up). Industrially Britain got caught out in some ways from having too much invested in early adoptions of technology while late adopters were able to invest cheaper in later and better technology. It's all rather natural there is no real reason for Britain's advantages in the 19th century being long lived, the decline in it's advantages was all rather natural.
There's a lot of truth in that I think, but it is also the case that Germany in particular was much better at exploiting scientific advances for technological and commercial purposes (one only has to think of how Germany came to dominate the market in synthetic dyes). In Britain there was something of a disconnect between basic research and industrial application. This is a good summary of the situation in Germany:

"The German Empire came to rival Britain as Europe's primary industrial nation during this period. Since Germany industrialized later, it was able to model its factories after those of Britain, thus making more efficient use of its capital and avoiding legacy methods in its leap to the envelope of technology. Germany invested more heavily than the British in research, especially in the chemistry, motors and electricity. The German cartel system (known as Konzerne), being significantly concentrated, was able to make more efficient use of capital. Germany was not weighted down with an expensive worldwide empire that needed defense. Following Germany's annexation of Alsace-Lorraine in 1871, it absorbed parts of what had been France's industrial base.[39]
By 1900 the German chemical industry dominated the world market for synthetic dyes. The three major firms BASF, Bayer and Hoechst produced several hundred different dyes, along with the five smaller firms. In 1913 these eight firms produced almost 90 percent of the world supply of dyestuffs and sold about 80 percent of their production abroad. The three major firms had also integrated upstream into the production of essential raw materials and they began to expand into other areas of chemistry such as pharmaceuticals, photographic film, agricultural chemicals and electrochemicals. Top-level decision-making was in the hands of professional salaried managers; leading Chandler to call the German dye companies "the world's first truly managerial industrial enterprises".[40] There were many spinoffs from research—such as the pharmaceutical industry, which emerged from chemical research."

From here:
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Industrial_Revolution"]Second Industrial Revolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

It is not that the springs of invention dried up in Britain, but that much more reliance was placed in that regard on individual enterprise.

As for the OP's suggestion that there was a decline in scientific research in Britain during this period, that is actually the reverse of the truth.
Feb 2011
Wakefield, West Yorkshire
I think that British science was still going strong, however new discoveries by guys such as Pasteur (the germ theory) and even Lister were leading the way because they were so remarkable for the time, causing other, less important discoveries to be totally ignored.
Mar 2019
Who is "we", exactly? Do you claim a part in these "inventions" because of the place of your birth?

If we all determine to list things invented or improved upon by past countrymen, this will be a long, boring thread.

So what is it about Hungarians that makes them so innately innovative? Something in the water?
Hungarians were better in innovation and science (especially in high. math jet engines ICE development electronics, and nuclear physics than British, especially if you countred the per capita ratio) in the 1880-1950 period.

Science and technology in Hungary - Wikipedia


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
OK ....he was crazy but he was one of the great math brains ..Paul Dirac , no idea what he was talking about , it's sooo deep
Paul Dirac - Wikipedia

being gay at the wrong time and possibly psychotic but still one of the all time great , he prophetised talking to computers
Alan Turing - Wikipedia

being Irish could , or not , be a disqualification , Joseph Lamor
Joseph Larmor - Wikipedia
this one did most of his work before WW1 but there was still plenty of juice in this lemon , ..JJ Thomson
J. J. Thomson - Wikipedia

generally unknown Nobel prize , Francis Aston
Francis William Aston - Wikipedia