50 and 100 years ago

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    50 YEARS AGO

    Another milestone was reached in the history of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, when on June 10 the foundation-stone was laid of the laboratories at the Meyrin headquarters of the Organization near Geneva, followed by the signature of an important Agreement between the Organization and the Swiss Government... Those who have been closely associated with the years of planning came away feeling that this unique Organization has good reason to be proud of what has been achieved so far. The high level of scientific and technical competence of the research and design teams and the spirit of enthusiasm which animates all concerned provide solid grounds for confidence in the healthy growth of the new Organization.

    From Nature 16 July 1955.

    100 YEARS AGO

    “The popularisation of science.” The New Knowledge by Robert Kennedy Duncan.

    The author of this attempt to make the progress of recent discovery in chemistry and physics understanded of the people remarks in his preface:— “The great expositors are dead, Huxley and Tyndall and all the others; and the great expositor of the future, the interpreter of knowledge to the people, has yet to be born.” And (but it must be added quite modestly) he attempts to wear the cloak of prophet... To give the reader an idea of the author's style, a quotation from the first paragraphs of part ii may be made... “Here, for example, is a swarm of atoms, vibrating, scintillant, martial,— they call it a soldier,— and, anon, some thousands of miles away upon the South African veldt, that swarm dissolves,— dissolves, forsooth, because of another little swarm,— they call it lead.”... Now this purports to be very fine writing, but does it gild the pill of science? I am inclined to think not. Still, tastes may differ.

    From Nature 13 July 1905.

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    50 and 100 years ago. Nature 436, 185 (2005) doi:10.1038/436185a

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