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50 & 100 Years Ago

50 Years Ago

“Scientists in Society To-day”, proposal of a toast of the Royal Society by the Right Hon. The Viscount Hailsham Q.C.

To-night I can be as bold as brass. Although not a scientist, I am at least an 'egghead' by conviction and, I hope, by practice, and I am addressing a society of scientists who are also, always by achievement and almost by definition, 'eggheads'. It is time we got together. 'Eggheads' of the world, unite! We have nothing to lose but our brains. A country neglects its 'eggheads' at its peril. For it is the 'egghead' who is the greatest realist. It is the 'egghead' who invents the Sputnik, not the captain of football, nor the winner of the sword of honour, nor the president of the Junior Common Room ... It is a formidable indictment of Western civilization and democracy that 'eggheadedness' is not valued at its proper worth.

From Nature 14 December 1957.

100 Years Ago

A telegram from Largs states that Lord Kelvin has not been well for more than a fortnight, and has been confined to his bed. His condition on Tuesday night had improved. [But worse news was to follow in the Nature issue of 19 December 1907, as will be reported in 100 Years Ago next week.]


A proposal made to the Public Control Committee of the London County Council by Signor D. Maggiora to apply the process of discharging cannon of special construction, known in Austria as weather shooting, “to prevent the formation of fog or to disperse it in the case it is already formed, and also to disperse and destroy all clouds, and to prevent rain, hailstorms, lightning, and thunder,” has been under the consideration of the Council. It was referred to the director of the Meteorological Office for report ... As might be expected, Dr. Shaw's report ... is entirely unfavourable.

From Nature 12 December 1907.

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50 & 100 Years Ago. Nature 450, 954 (2007).

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