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Imperial College of Science and Technology : Sir Richard Southwell, F.R.S

Nature volume 162, page 16 (03 July 1948) | Download Citation

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IN September 1948, Sir Richard Southwell relinquishes the rectorship of the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, after a period of tenure of six years. This step he has decided to take in order to be free to carry through various research projects concerned with the methods of relaxation that have become so closely associated with his name. Six years is but a short time in which to leave an imprint on the policy and development of an institution of the magnitude and scope of the Imperial College ; but there is no doubt that his influence has left its distinetive mark. During this period detailed plans have been produced for the reconstruction of the three constituent colleges on a formidable scale ; and if, for reasons of nationai exigency, these plans will not mature during this quinquennium, they are at least ready to be transformed into reality as soon as the opportunity arises. Not unconnected with this has been the celebration of the centenary of the first beginnings of the College, and the opportunity it presented of establishing a fund that will make possible many ventures of a social and educational nature that would have been otherwise cramped or completely frustrated. Moreover, a commencement has been made with the extension of hostel accommodation for students by the foundation of Selkirk Hall. In this period also the representation of the staff on the governing body has been enlarged, so that members of the teaching staff are involved to a much greater extent than heretofore in the determination of College policy. In this connexion also Sir Richard Southwell has been responsible for the extension of deanships to the three constituent colleges, a move that has made for much closer co-ordination and collaboration than hitherto. On the side of educational policy, he has been mainly responsible for the distinct shift in the incidence of College studies, whereby further developments in advanced study and research are coming into prominenee while some of the more elementary preparatory work is fading out. Finally, he has unquestionably built up a tradition of social life that is not usual or easy to develop in a college situated in the metropolis. Sir Richard Southwell can now withdraw from the hurly hurly of the administration of the College with the sure knowledge that during his six years he has helped to determine much of its future character.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/162016a0

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