Frederick Lindemann, 1st Viscount Cherwell
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- It is, I think, undeniable that we have fallen behind the United States and many continental countries in industrial technique because they have produced first rate technologists in far greater numbers than we have here. Unless we can catch up with them, or, better still, overtake them, the future of our industry, especially in the export markets, is bleak.
- Letter to Rab Butler (1952), quoted in Lord Birkenhead, The Prof in Two Worlds: The Official Life of Professor F. A. Lindemann, Viscount Cherwell (1961), p. 318
Quotes about Frederick Lindemann, 1st Viscount Cherwell
- When tackled by R. H. Dundas at the High Table at Christ Church as to how good a scientist Lindemann was, Einstein replied that he had always regarded him as the last of the great Florentines, a man who embraced all science as his province, a great man in the Renaissance tradition.
- Lord Birkenhead, The Prof in Two Worlds: The Official Life of Professor F. A. Lindemann, Viscount Cherwell (1961), p. 159
- He displayed admirable tact and could be a most fascinating companion. That he could be and often was intolerably grumpy, spoilt, unjust, etc., cannot possibly be denied—too many who only met him once or twice saw nothing else. But if all was well he could be entrancingly funny, understanding and kind. He was admirably loyal to his staff, defending them after their blunders, finding them jobs when his Branch was wound up far beyond the mere line of duty. He used, in his off-moments, to drive us all dizzy with irritation, but I do not think that any of us failed to perceive that he had a real scale and greatness in the depth, clarity, speed and severe simplicity of his thought. Certainly in my own experience he can be compared only with Keynes. Perhaps there was an interval between them, but there was a larger one between this pair and the rest of the world.
- D. M. B. Butt, quoted in Lord Birkenhead, The Prof in Two Worlds: The Official Life of Professor F. A. Lindemann, Viscount Cherwell (1961), p. 257
- After Maynard Keynes I would be inclined to say that he was the cleverest man I have ever known in my life.
- Lord Chandos, quoted in Lord Birkenhead, The Prof in Two Worlds: The Official Life of Professor F. A. Lindemann, Viscount Cherwell (1961), p. 215
- Before he came to Oxford Lindemann's most important contribution had on the whole been theoretical rather than experimental. He had one of the most brilliant theoretical minds I have ever known, and he continued throughout his life here to take a deep interest in the fundamentals of science. His views on all matters of theory were always worth hearing.
- Cyril Hinshelwood, quoted in Lord Birkenhead, The Prof in Two Worlds: The Official Life of Professor F. A. Lindemann, Viscount Cherwell (1961), p. 112
- Churchill used to say that the Prof's brain was a beautiful piece of mechanism, and the Prof did not dissent from that judgement. He seemed to have a poor opinion of the intellect of everyone with the exception of Lord Birkenhead, Mr Churchill and Professor Lindemann; and he had a special contempt for the bureaucrat and all his ways. The Ministry of Supply and the Ordnance Board were two of his pet aversions, and he derived a great deal of pleasure from forestalling them with new inventions. In his appointment as Personal Assistant to the Prime Minister no field of activity was closed to him. He was as obstinate as a mule, and unwilling to admit that there was any problem under the sun which he was not qualified to solve. He would write a memorandum on high strategy one day, and a thesis on egg production on the next. He seemed to try to give the impression of wanting to quarrel with everybody, and of preferring everyone's room to their company; but once he had accepted a man as a friend, he never failed him, and there are many of his war-time colleagues who will ever remember him with deep personal affection. He hated Hitler and all his works, and his contribution to Hitler's downfall in all sorts of odd ways was considerable.
- Hastings Ismay, The Memoirs of General The Lord Ismay, K.G., P.C., G.C.B., C.H., D.S.O. (1960), p. 173
- It was typical of Lindemann's mind to bring together ideas in this way from different branches of physics in an order-of-magnitude calculation. His mind was extraordinarily lively, and he also had an unusually wide knowledge of physics, including astronomy, and what is now called geophysics. He had a gift for picking out the essentials in a piece of physics, even if sometimes he went too far in ignoring the aspects of secondary importance. He was a most stimulating conversationalist on matters of physics, and one went away from a session with him feeling that he had rearranged all one's mental furniture and added one or two rather bizarre objects to the room.
- George Paget Thomson, 'Frederick Alexander Lindemann, Viscount Cherwell. 1886-1957', Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 4 (November 1958), pp. 46-47
- He was one of the cleverest men I ever met, as clever as Rutherford.
- Henry Tizard, quoted in Lord Birkenhead, The Prof in Two Worlds: The Official Life of Professor F. A. Lindemann, Viscount Cherwell (1961), p. 40