The Lord Zuckerman
30 May 1904
|Died||1 April 1993 (aged 88)|
|Alma mater||University of Cape Town|
|Fields||Zoology, anatomy, operational research|
|Institutions||University of Oxford|
University of Birmingham
University of East Anglia
|Influences||John Desmond Bernal|
Solomon "Solly" Zuckerman, Baron Zuckerman  (30 May 1904 - 1 April 1993) was a British public servant, zoologist and operational research pioneer. He is best remembered as a scientific advisor to the Allies on bombing strategy in the Second World War, for his work to advance the cause of nuclear non-proliferation, and for his role in bringing attention to global economic issues.
Solomon Zuckerman was born in Cape Town in the British Cape Colony (modern-day South Africa) on 30 May 1904, the second child and eldest son of Moses and Rebecca Zuckerman (née Glaser). Both his parents were the children of Jewish immigrants from Russia.
He was educated at the South African College School. After studying medicine at the University of Cape Town and later attending Yale University, he went to London in 1926 to complete his studies at University College Hospital Medical School.
He began his career at the London Zoological Society in 1928, and worked as a research anatomist until 1932. It was in this period he founded the intellectual dining club, Tots and Quots. In 1932, Zuckerman published his most noteworthy pre-war work, Social Life of Monkeys and Apes.
During the Second World War, Zuckerman worked on several research projects for the British Government, including the design of a civilian defence helmet (colloquially known as the Zuckerman helmet) and measuring the effect of bombing on people and buildings and an assessment of the bombardment (Operation Corkscrew) of the Italian island of Pantelleria in 1943. He was thus one of the pioneers of the science of operational research. He was given an honorary commission as a wing commander in the Administrative and Special Duties Branch of the Royal Air Force on 13 May 1943, and promoted to honorary group captain on 20 September 1943.
Zuckerman's suggestion, made when he was Scientific Director of the British Bombing Survey Unit (BBSU), and accepted by Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder and Supreme Allied Commander U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower in the lead-up to the Normandy landings, that the Allies concentrate on disrupting the German-controlled French transportation system through heavy aerial bombing of rail lines and marshalling yards, was officially called the Transportation Plan, but was privately referred to by its opponents as "Zuckerman's Folly". A focus of Zuckerman's plan, learned in Italy, was to target locomotives and the capacity to service them due to a shortage in France prior to the Normandy campaign. This had the effect of pushing rail heads back from the front causing trucks to be diverted from a role of manoeuvre to one of logistics, which resulted in greater petrol consumption.
After the war, Zuckerman was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 1946 New Year Honours. He left the Royal Air Force on 1 September 1946, and was then Professor of Anatomy at the University of Birmingham until 1968, chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence from 1960 to 1966, and chief scientific adviser to the British Government from 1964 to 1971. He was also a member of a Royal Commission investigating environmental pollution from 26 February 1970. In 1951 Zuckerman published his paper summarizing the existing data both for and against the possibility of postnatal oogenesis.
He taught at the University of East Anglia from 1969 to 1974, where he was involved in setting up a school of environmental sciences. He served as Secretary of the London Zoological Society from 1955 to 1977 and as its President from 1977 to 1984. Some of Zuckerman's achievements include being a pioneer in the study of primate behaviour. He is also credited for making science a normal part of government policy in the Western world. His more notable publications include The Social Life of Monkeys and Apes published in 1931, and Scientists and War in 1966. Zuckerman wrote two volumes of autobiography: From Apes to Warlords and Monkeys Men and Missiles.
Zuckerman was knighted in the 1956 New Year Honours, promoted Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1964 New Year Honours, appointed to the Order of Merit on 23 April 1968, and was awarded a life peerage on 5 April 1971, taking the title Baron Zuckerman of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1943.
He met his future wife, Lady Joan Rufus Isaacs, daughter of Gerald Isaacs, 2nd Marquess of Reading, in Oxford. They married in 1939 and had two children, a son, Paul, and a daughter, Stella. Stella Zuckerman died in 1992, predeceasing her parents. Joan, Lady Zuckerman died in 2000. Martha Gellhorn described Zuckerman in a letter written to his wife Joan in 1993, shortly after Zuckerman died in London following a heart attack, aged 88:
No doubt he was a strain as a husband, even as a father, but what a wonder he was in himself. The tirelessly inquiring mind, the energy for work, the variety of his thinking. As he grew old, his vanity was touching, as if he didn't really know his own unique value and he had to reassure himself with the names of all the important people he was seeing, when he was far more unusual and far brainier than any of them.