50 and 100 years ago

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    50 YEARS AGO

    Dr Bernard J. Flurscheim, who died recently at his home in Fleet, was in his eighty-second year. So passes the last of the great pre-electronic builders of the theory of organic chemistry. After a school education on classical lines at Baden and Bournemouth, Flurscheim made his first scientific studies in the University of Geneva; afterwards he worked with Werner in Zurich... In 1905 he set up his house in Fleet, in the garden of which he built the laboratory, where he worked, until other duties claimed him in the First World War... His discovery of tetranitroaniline, perhaps the most powerful of known explosives at the time of its discovery, was an accidental result of his work in the Fleet laboratory... It enabled him to render notable service during the First World War, when he undertook supervision of the large-scale manufacture of this explosive in the United States.

    From Nature 30 July 1955.

    100 YEARS AGO

    Ninety years ago, when Kirby and Spence published the first volume of their “Introduction to Entomology”, they considered it necessary to devote a whole letter, filling many pages, to refuting the popular prejudices against the frivolity and uselessness of the study of entomology; and, no doubt, at that period butterfly-collecting was looked upon as a very silly, childish pursuit; while less than 200 years before... a serious attempt was made to set aside the will of a certain Lady Glanvil, on the ground of insanity, as shown by her fondness for collecting butterflies. Now, however, instead of butterfly-collecting being ridiculed, it has become almost necessary to discourage it in England in order to prevent the total extermination of all our rare and local species, while abroad it is pursued with enthusiasm by travellers and colonials, some of them belonging to the highest social circles.

    From Nature 27 July 1905.

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    50 and 100 years ago. Nature 436, 473 (2005) doi:10.1038/436473b

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