100 YEARS AGO
... the pamphlet entitled “Survey of the Sciences,” which forms an appendix to a paper on University Development, is of especial importance at the present time, for we are glad to know that the belief that the weakness of our universities must lead to national weakness in several directions is growing with a rapidly accelerating pace. It may be long in this slow-moving country before the influence of Brain-power on history is recognised as fully as the influence of Sea-power has been, thanks to Captain Mahan, but undoubtedly it will be bad for our future if much more time is lost ... We are glad to see that the Times, in a sympathetic article, goes to the root of the matter in stating that “if the pocket of the millionaire is closed, the pocket of the nation must be opened.” Our eleven universities are competing with 134 State and privately endowed in the United States and twenty-two State endowed in Germany. English private endowment is much less than 10 per cent. of the American endowment, and the German State gives to one university more than the British Government allows to all the universities and university colleges in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales put together.
From Nature 1 January 1903.
50 YEARS AGO
On December 22, 1938, a fish of Crossopterygian type was taken by trawl-net, at a depth of about 40 fathoms some miles west of East London. The animal was unquestionably alive when caught. It was 1,500 mm in total length and weighed 127 lb. The colour was a bright metallic blue which faded to brown with preservation. Miss Courtenay-Latimer, curator of the East London Museum, took charge of the catch, and eventually Prof. J. L. B. Smith, now research professor of ichthyology in Rhodes University, Grahamstown, was able to examine it (Nature, 143, 455; 1939) ... Now comes a report of a further catch. This second fish was reported as having been caught on December 20 off the island of Anjouan in the Comoro group, two hundred miles west of Madagascar. It was reported to be about 5 ft. long and to weigh about 100 lb. On December 29, the fish was received by Prof. Smith, who had flown to the island to retrieve it and to take it to Rhodes University for further study.
From Nature 3 January 1953.
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100 and 50 years ago. Nature 421, 33 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/421033a