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Nature volume 70, pages 302303 (28 July 1904) | Download Citation



THERE is one class of scientific amateurs which seems to be the peculiar product of English society. Dealing with astronomy alone, and confining our attention to those who have passed away, we have such men as Lassell, Barclay, De La Rue, &c., all of whom, after amassing a considerable fortune in commercial pursuits, have devoted the evening of their lives to furthering the interests of their favourite science. The latest example of this earnest attachment to this particular branch of science was Dr. Isaac Roberts,whose death we record with profound regret. It is possible that he may be nearly the last of a distinguished series, for it is not unlikely that, as science tends to specialise in particular directions, such, instances will become less and less frequent. The wealthy amateur, it may be, will continue to provide the means for others, but the requirements for the production of valuable work tend to become more and more severe, and the actual prosecution will soon be reserved to those who have been able to give up their whole life to special study. But Dr. Roberts was fortunate in finding a subject at which he could work with effect personally, and his own exertions were rewarded with valuable results.

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