50 YEARS AGO
The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority is holding a one-day symposium on controlled thermonuclear energy on June 4 at Harwell which will be on a classified basis. Invitations have been sent to representatives of industrial research laboratories in addition to government research establishments and British universities... The object of the symposium is to encourage fundamental research work along the lines which will assist the work of the Authority in this field. Research on the control of the thermonuclear reaction has been going on at Harwell for some time. The conference will be held in private, and no statement will be issued afterwards.
From Nature 2 June 1956.
100 YEARS AGO
The British Woodlice — At present in England there are only two dozen of these little land crustaceans on record. The number, combined with their love of obscurity, may remind us of the regal feast at which four-and-twenty blackbirds were served concealed in a pastry. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing. In correspondence with the daintiness of such a dish, the apostles of œcology are now earnestly trying to persuade society that all nature is tuneful... The bright little volume under review is an excellent example of what can be done under the new impulse given to the old practice of “nature-study”... The many scurrilous colloquial terms that have been applied to these terrestrial isopods have, to the ordinary observer, obscured the fact that they are really made of one flesh and blood with the epicure's cherished treasures, the lobster and the prawn. Their use medicinally in old times would probably have been robbed of half its charm had this been understood, since in those days curative agencies seem to have been valued in proportion to the pain and disgust they inflicted on the patient... One may wonder whether the man who first ate a shrimp thought himself a hero!
From Nature 31 May 1906.