Summaries of Addresses of Presidents of Sections: Trends in Modern Physics

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    Abstract

    IN his presidential address to Section A (Mathematical and Physical Sciences), Prof. Allan Ferguson, after referring to the heavy loss which physical science has suffered in the deaths of Sir John McLennan, Sir Richard Glazebrook, Sir Joseph Petavel and Prof. Karl Pearson, discusses those remarkable changes of outlook which have characterized the development of physical science in the twentieth century. The evolution of molar mechanics along Newtonian lines; the extrapolation of the perceptual facts involved in the behaviour of macroscopic masses down to the dimensions of atomic magnitudes, and the success attendant on this extrapolation; the wave theory of light, which was so successful in co-ordinating old facts and predicting new ones as to draw from Lord Kelvin a noteworthy expression of his belief in the objective reality of the ether; these were outstanding contributions of nineteenth century thought to physical science. .

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