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    Naturevolume 115pages649653 (1925) | Download Citation



    MONDAY next, May 4, will be the centenary of the birth of Thomas Henry Huxley, and the event is one to be held in grateful recollection by all who esteem the pursuit of scientific truth or see the light to which it leads. As a tribute to the memory of this great naturalist and teacher, we are issuing with next week's NATURE a special Supplement containing a remarkable collection, of articles surveying his scientific work from various aspects and relating the personal reminiscences of the few remaining people who were in close contact with him during his life. It is very rarely that a great man of science is also a great leader in social and intellectual development, but in Huxley these two qualities were brilliantly combined. The four volumes of his scientific memoirs establish his place in scientific history, and the papers in them display deep insight as well as extraordinary powers of generalisation. As examples of his scientific genius mention may be made of his recognition of the fundamental character of the endoderm and ectoderm, his demonstration of the close affinities between reptiles and birds, and of the ancestry of the horse, and his work “On Man's Place in Nature,” in which he showed that the anatomical differences between man and the higher apes were no greater than those between the higher and lower apes, and thus provided substantial evidence of the' extension of the evolutionary principle to man. The full significance of this work can be understood only in scientific circles, in which it has taken a permanent place. To the public he was a fearless champion of scientific thought and intellectual freedom, possessing exceptional gifts of lucid exposition in his literary style and lectures, and using them continuously in social service. The symposium which we shall publish in our next issue will, we hope, induce workers and thinkers of the present time to turn to Huxley's life and writings for the stimulus and guidance which are as much needed now as they were in his own days if science is to come into its kingdom.

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