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The British are inventive, but can't do mass production. An old cliché, but sadly still true

By Richard Lambert   October 2004

The story of British business over the past 100 years is littered with missed opportunities. World-class technology has been casually abandoned, and the innovations of British scientists have lain unexploited at home. There is no more spectacular example than the case of Godfrey Hounsfield, the man who came up with one of the most important advances in medical diagnostics of the past 100 years, who died in August.

Hounsfield was the archetypal British boffin. He became a fellow of the Royal Society and won a Nobel prize for science without having taken a university degree. A radar mechanic in the…

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