50 & 100 years ago

    50 years ago

    The launching of Sputnik 3 (Satellite 1958 δ) was announced from Moscow on May 15. The satellite was stated to be conical in shape, with a length of 12.3 ft. excluding aerials, a base diameter of 5.7 ft. and a weight of 2,926 lb., including 2,134 lb. of apparatus. The experiments for which the satellite is designed include studies of cosmic rays, geomagnetism, solar radiation and micrometeorites, and the results are to be telemetered back to the Earth. The satellite is equipped with solar batteries and carries a radio transmitter with a frequency of 20.005 Mc./sec. There are two other objects in orbit with the satellite, namely, the rocket which performed the last stage of propulsion and a nose cone which protected the instruments during the climb through the atmosphere.

    From Nature 24 May 1958.

    100 years ago

    The last half-yearly number of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute contains an important memoir, prepared by two enthusiastic Scotch anthropologists, Messrs. Gray and Tocher, on the pigmentation of hair and eyes among the school children of Scotland ...The highest density of fair hair is to be found in the great river valleys opening on the German Ocean and in the Western Isles. In the former case, this probably points to invasions of a blonde race into those regions. Similarly, the higher percentage of fair hair in the Spey valley and in the Western Isles implies inroads of the Vikings or Norsemen. It is perhaps pushing the evidence too far when the writers suggest that the high percentage of fair-haired girls in the neighbourhood of Dunfermline is due to the train of blonde damsels who are supposed to have accompanied the Saxon princess Margaret, who about the time of the Norman Conquest became Queen of Malcolm Canmore.

    From Nature 21 May 1908.

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    50 & 100 years ago. Nature 453, 465 (2008) doi:10.1038/453465a

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