In 1953 a number of Professors and others at University College London met to discuss the need for more systematic' studies on the problems of human communication. It was realised from the first that these problems were very varied, and the preliminary discussions only served to increase an awareness of their range and complexity. It became obvious, at the same time, that few had attempted a comprehensive approach to a study which so vitally concerns human thought and behaviour, and the success of human organisations.
The group who met in 1953 decided to propose to the College that a Communication Research Centre be formed, and to this the College authorities readily agreed. Certain preliminary difficulties had to be solved. First, in a theme so vast, where were the limitations to be fixed? For some limitations were necessary to render the undertaking manageable. Secondly, how could cooperative discussion and research be sustained by men whose disciplines lay so widely apart?
The first problem was solved in a somewhat arbitrary way. It was decided not to define the limits by a formula, but to include, at least in the preliminary discussions, all the Professors and others who could see their way to making a contribution. These would meet and formulate certain general principles and from these, individual discussions and investigations would develop. It is of interest to record the list of those who were ready to contribute, for nothing can suggest more readily the range of the problems of Communication: Professor A. J. Ayer (Philosophy), Professor H. E. M. Barlow (Electrical Engineering), Professor H. Davenport (Mathematics), Dr D. B. Fry (Phonetics), Professor J. B. S. Haldane (Biometry), Professor C. K. Ingold (Chemistry), Professor B. Katz (Biophysics), Professor H. S. W. Massey (Physics), Professor P. B. Medawar (Zoology), Professor A. D. Momigliano