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50 & 100 Years Ago

50 years ago

“An experiment on 'telepathy' using television” by Donald Michie & D. J. West — We have made a small-scale trial with the object of testing any generalized extra-sensory perception effect and looking for individuals with strongly manifested telepathic abilities ... The viewers were informed that the cards would be drawn at random from a pack consisting of three types, depicting a canoe, a wheelbarrow and a trumpet, respectively. They were asked to record their guesses on a form printed in the TV Times and post it to the programme contractors ... The pooled results showed no significant deviation from chance expectation. But one entry, submitted by a Mr. B. Downey, with 15 guesses out of 19 was considered sufficiently suggestive to justify further tests.

From Nature 21 December 1957.

100 years ago

On the day of going to press, we learn of the death of Lord Kelvin, an announcement which will be received with deep sorrow throughout the civilised world ... For the body of one who has brought such honour to the British nation, the only appropriate place of burial is Westminster Abbey.


The increase in the efficiency of colleges and universities in this country is too pressing a need to be dependent upon party politics. Unless our statesmen can be made to realise the supreme importance of this matter and be persuaded to deal with it in a patriotic manner, generously and expeditiously, as if there were no votes to retain or secure, we must reconcile ourselves to the idea that as manufacturing and distributing people we shall in due course have to occupy a third or fourth place among the nations of the world. In Germany, the United States, and now in Japan, rulers have learnt the lesson that efficient education and industrial success are related to each other as cause and effect.

From Nature 19 December 1907.

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50 & 100 Years Ago. Nature 450, 1170 (2007).

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