John Desmond Bernal (1901-1971), Scientist
Sitter in 6 portraits
Crystallographer. Born in Ireland, John Desmond Bernal studied at Cambridge (1919-23) where his encyclopaedic knowledge earned him the nickname 'Sage'. Concern about poverty inspired his studies and the influence of Marxism, evident in The Social Function of Science (1939). Appointed the first lecturer in Structural Crystallography at Cambridge, Bernal became assistant director of the Cavendish Laboratory in 1934. In 1963 he became the first Professor of Crystallography at Birkbeck College. He served during the Second World War as an adviser to Home Security, Bomber Command and Combined Operations.