100 and 50 years ago

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    100 YEARS AGO

    Messrs. Swan Sonnenschein and Co. announce that they will shortly publish a work, entitled “The Wonderful Century: its Successes and its Failures,” by Dr. Alfred R. Wallace, F.R.S. The object of the volume is to give a short descriptive sketch of all the more important mechanical inventions and scientific discoveries which are distinctive of the nineteenth century. ⃛ The author maintains that our century is altogether unique; that it differs from the eighteenth or seventeenth centuries, not merely as those differed from the centuries which immediately preceded them, but that it has initiated a new era, and that it may be more properly compared with the whole preceding historical period.

    The January number of the National Review has an admirable article by Mr. Gerald Arbuthnot, entitled “In Defence of the Muzzle.” The temperate spirit in which it is written, and the conscientious manner in which the statistics referred to have been collected, ought to materially strengthen the hands of those who are upholding the muzzling order for dogs, in the face of the selfish and short-sighted opposition which it is receiving from a certain section of the public.

    From Nature 13 January 1898.

    50 YEARS AGO

    A symposium arranged by the New York Academy of Sciences and held in December 1946 on “Nutrition in Relation to Cancer” covered a wide field and included a number of interesting articles which have now been published. ⃛ Although it may seem disappointing that after so much study of cancer the fundamental cause or nature of it is unknown, the papers [in the symposium volume] show advances. The carcinogenic process can often be influenced by diet, which means that the process can be resolved into separate parts, and this must help in the understanding of the process. Many of the speakers at the symposium compared carcinogenesis to mutations. Both cancer and mutations can be induced in living organisms by similar agents. The hypothesis that cancer is a somatic mutation relates carcinogenesis to other biological changes and the stability of the nuclear and cytoplasmic genes.

    From Nature 17 January 1948.

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