Research Article | Published:

Science and Prediction

Nature volume 127, page 454 (21 March 1931) | Download Citation



“PROPHECY”, we are told, “is the most gratuitous of all forms of error”, and longdistance forecasts have a way of going wrong, even when apparently firmly based upon all the available knowledge of the time. Thus, Sir William Crookes predicted a world shortage of wheat for the present age, when in fact (owing to the unexpected success of science in fixing atmospheric nitrogen and making new fertilisers) there is an embarrassing surplus. The real justification for making such forecasts is not that they are likely to be realised; but that they throw light upon the state of contemporary science, and may indicate where it requires supplementing. This may be exemplified from the address of Sir Arthur Eddington presented in the present supplement.

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