50 YEARS AGO
“The training of university teachers” — The question of the advisability and possibility of providing new recruits to university teaching with some initial guidance in the technique of their calling has been examined by S. Radcliffe, lecturer in German at the University of Bristol... In general, lecturers are conscientious about the matter of their lectures, but give little thought to their form or their delivery... [Radcliffe] suggests that an artist requires some basic instruction, at least in the rudiments of his craft. The following are a few of the purely mechanical skills which might be considered desirable in a good teacher or lecturer. First, the adoption of a fitting speed and clarity of diction. Secondly, the clear formulation and appropriate stressing of the main points of the subject under review. Thirdly, the ability to use a blackboard successfully. Fourthly, the ‘staging’ of material to make it come ‘alive’... Learning the students' names is an essential requirement in establishing closer contact with them...The prompt return of written work not only helps to keep up students' interest in their subject, but also gives the right to demand written work from the students within the time-limit specified.
From Nature 4 February 1956.
100 YEARS AGO
“The Revolution of the Corpuscle”
A corpuscle once did oscillate so quickly to and fro,
He always raised disturbances wherever he did go.
He struggled hard for freedom against a powerful foe —
An atom — who would not let him go.
The aether trembled at his agitations
In a manner so familiar that I only need to say,
In accordance with Clerk Maxwell's six equations
It tickled people's optics far away.
You can feel the way it's done,
You may trace them as they run — dγ by dy less dβ by dz is equal K.dX/dt
From Nature 1 February 1906.
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50 & 100 years ago. Nature 439, 545 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/439545b