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Nature volume 110, pages 610613 (04 November 1922) | Download Citation



MUcH anxiety is felt in this country as to the position and prospects of the Royal College of Science, Dublin, under the Irish Provisional Government. By a sudden decree, the college was closed on October i -a day before the new session would have opened. It was announced that a bomb had been found in the building, and this provided a plausible excuse for the action taken. No students had, however, been admitted to the college since June 3o, and the circulation of the rumour as to the discovery of the bomb was known to be merely a means of suggesting that the college was a centre of disaffection and that in the interests of public safety it should be closed. For a week or two afterwards the teaching was carried on in buildings lent by the National Uni versity, but a second decree was made on October I6 ordering the students, about four hundred in number, to enter the National University classes, an arrangement against which both professors and students strongly protested. A compromise may be effected, but meanwhile the Royal College of Science is in the complete occupation of the military, and no one in authority will say that the building will be restored to its original purposes when military necessity ceases. It would be nothing short of a calamity if an institution in which so much valuable scientific work has been carried on for many years should have its activities abruptly ended to serve purely political purposes. The college is unique in Ireland; its equipment cost more than 250,oool. and no other institution or university in that country can offer the same facilities for training. It must be heartbreaking to see the practical equipment and apparatus, the fine electric machinery plant, engineering department, and laboratories generally, used for kitchens and bedrooms and at the mercy of military forces unfamiliar with their significance or value. It is almost impossible to get exact information as to the actual position of things in Dublin, but if conditions are half so bad as have been described to us, men of science and scientific institutions should unite to bring them to the notice of their colleagues in other parts of the British Isles and the world of progressive knowledge in general, in the hope that provision for the scientific instruction and research much needed by Ireland will not be curtailed but extended in the near future.

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