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Reports on Progress in Physics

Nature volume 150, pages 7172 (18 July 1942) | Download Citation



THE years since the outbreak of war have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of men actively engaged on research in physics, using the word 'research' in the sense of the application of the principles of physics to the solution of urgent practical problems. New research establishments have been created, old ones greatly extended, and students are being rushed through universities and technical institutions to give a hand with the work, or to service the inventions which have already reached the stage of 'production. That this expenditure of energy and ingenuity is not going unrewarded is well known, though, for obvious reasons, nothing of this activity can yet find its way into “Reports on Progress in Physics”, the eighth volume of which (1941) is now to hand. When the time comes to raise the veil of secrecy which now necessarily hides the war-time activities of physicists from the common gaze, the editor of these Reports will be in for a good time: for it can scarcely be doubted that much of permanent interest will emerge from these ad hoc investigations. In the meantime he undoubtedly has his troubles. Not only has fundamental research been replaced by war-time activities, but also likely authors are too preoccupied to report even on immediate pre-war discoveries. That, in the circumstances, the new volume should have appeared so promptly, and, in appearance and format so like its elegant predecessors is an achievement on which the Physical Society, and the new general editor, Dr. W. B. Mann, may be sincerely congratulated. That, in addition, it should contain three or four reports of real interest is an uncovenanted mercy for which we may be duly thankful.

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