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.
Visit From Your Armchair
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.
Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.
Sculptures in 360°
See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.
David Hockney: Drawing from Life
Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.