The British Association


    THE Jubilee Meeting of the British Association has come to a close, and whether we take the test of work done, or of the numbers present as members or associates, it must be admitted that it has been a great success. While in 1879, in the densely populated town of Sheffield, the total was 1404, and at Swansea last year 915, the number has risen this year to 2533, which includes 22 foreign members, 510 ladies, and 1173 associates. Of course York does not supply the whole of the latter: many come from Leeds, Sheffield, and Scarborough, and the surrounding towns. Seven times previously has the number been greater; the maximum (3335) having been attained at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1863. As regards work done, it may be mentioned that on Friday nearly a hundred papers were announced for reading in the various sections. One of the laws of the Jewish jubilee festival was that the land should remain uutilled for a year; but we have reversed this, and only cultivated our scientific soil the more. Sir David Brewster, in the original letter which laid the foundations of the society, suggested York as the most central city of the three kingdoms, but he first inquired “if York will furnish the accommodation necessary for so large a meeting, which might perhaps consist of 100 individuals.” Apparently therefore he did not contemplate the admission of associates, or the use of the Association as a means of scattering broadcast the results of the scientific year, but rather regarded it as a means whereby the cultivators of science might become better acquainted with each other at a time when communication with London was far more difficult, and intercourse through scientific publications far more restricted than now. But the first meeting numbered 350 members, and included some of the most representative men of science of the day. On this occasion the presidential address lasted five minutes.

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    The British Association . Nature 24, 432–433 (1881).

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