Sales pitch

April 14, 1995

To comfort himself when he cannot get enough money for the Hubble telescope, Dr Williams reads about his favourite explorer, Scott of the Antarctic. He obviously takes heart from Scott's similar fund-raising problems in the early 1900s, because he has highlighted a paragraph in his copy of Elspeth Huxley's biography of Scott: "The question was continually posed 'what's the use of it?'

"Scott knew that the answer he himself believed in, the advancement of scientific knowledge, would not inspire his audiences. Mutterings came from the mayors and business magnates in the industrial north about unemployment, local welfare needs, the low priority of polar adventures. Scott tried his best by mentioning the possibility of discovering pitchblende . . . and calling attention to the gold in Alaska . . . But pitchblende did not generate a strong appeal."

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