50 YEARS AGO
In his Stephen Paget Memorial Lecture, “Humanity's Rising Debt to Medical Research”,...Sir Henry Dale referred to the convincing evidence of the success of inoculation against diphtheria... Systematic inoculation began in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1925, and the death-rate from diphtheria fell so steeply that after 1930 there were no more deaths and after 1933 no more cases. In Great Britain a full-scale preventive inoculation campaign was not inaugurated by the Ministry of Health until 1940 and was not fully under way until 1942. In 1940 there were still in England more than 45,000 cases of diphtheria, and more than 2,400 of these were fatal. As inoculation became effective, in spite of a counter-campaign, the numbers fell steeply and steadily until in 1954 there were only 173 cases; of the nine deaths, six were in children less than fifteen years old, and all in the minority who had not been inoculated.
From Nature 25 February 1956.
100 YEARS AGO
The traditional scientific man has disappeared almost as completely as the traditional Yankee of the stage. The change came gradually, but the proof that it had come was brought before us suddenly. In 1902 there was called in New York a meeting of those who were designated by the picturesque expression captains of industry. To that meeting representatives of science were invited, not as lions to be stared at, but to sit with the leaders of the industrial and commercial world as representatives of science, and not only of applied science, but of pure science. As the captains of industry were supposed to be men of force in organising and to have a keen insight into men and things, we had a right to feel that science had been honoured, perhaps not more than ever before, but for a reason for which it had not been honoured before in the United States... The conception of a scientific man as a captain of industry means simply the acknowledgement that science has a practical relation to the world.
From Nature 22 February 1906.
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50 & 100 years ago. Nature 439, 925 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/439925a