Alexander King (scientist)

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Alexander King (left)(1987)

Alexander King CMG CBE (26 January 1909 – 28 February 2007) was a scientist and pioneer of the sustainable development movement who co-founded the Club of Rome in 1968 with the Italian industrialist Aurelio Peccei.

At the time of the Club of Rome's founding, King was a "top international scientific civil servant, Scots by birth, living in Paris."[citation needed]

Education and early work[edit]

King attended Highgate School, studied chemistry at London's Royal College of Science and the University of Munich, then taught and carried out some important research at Imperial College, London.[1]

In 1940, Henry Tizard invited King to join the Ministry of Production as Deputy Scientific Adviser. While there he would learn from an intercepted letter the properties of the insecticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, coining the acronym DDT. He travelled to the U.S. in 1943, becoming Head of the UK Scientific Mission and Scientific Attaché at the British Embassy in Washington.[1]

Following the war he became Secretary of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy and personal adviser to the Lord President of the Council, Herbert Morrison. King was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1948 Birthday Honours.[2] He later became Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.[1]

In 1957, he joined the European Productivity Agency in Paris, where he remained until 1974.[1]


King wrote a monograph, Science, Technology and the Quality of Life and co-authored An Eye to the Future for the London-based Institute for Cultural Research, which was founded and directed by the writer, thinker and Sufi teacher, Idries Shah.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Alexander King". The Independent. 26 March 2007.
  2. ^ "No. 38311". The London Gazette. 10 June 1948. p. 3374.
  3. ^ King, Alexander (1972). Science, Technology and the Quality of Life. London: The Institute for Cultural Research. ISBN 978-0-950002-98-9. ISSN 0306-1906.
  4. ^ King, Alexander; et al. An Eye to the Future. London: The Institute for Cultural Research. ISBN 978-0-9500029-1-0.

External links[edit]

  • The Club of Rome: Beginnings
  • Memoirs of a Boffin contains some biographical material on King
  • CPTM contains information about Alexander King's autobiography 'Let the cat turn round: one man's traverse of the Twentieth century' published by CPTM, November 2006
  • Brabyn, Howard (1972). "Cool Catalyst". New Scientist. 55 (24 Aug): 390–391. Profile of Alexander King.