50 & 100 years ago

    50 Years ago

    The Eddington Memorial Lectures have come to occupy a special place in the scheme of things, because they enable men of distinction to illuminate some particular facet of the working of that great mind. In his recent lecture entitled “Science, Philosophy and Religion” ... Sir Russell Brain shows how the analysis of man, science and revelation, man and mechanization, perception and knowledge fit into the main stream of Eddington's thought ... If one lesson emerges clearly from pondering upon Eddington's philosophy, it is that a new concept will be needed to enable us to explain total behaviour in a way which transcends individual components. This is well said for biological systems, but it ... is becoming essential for inanimate phases, too, as witness the present discontents with 'classical' quantum theory. Ratiocination will try its hardest, though maybe these regions form part of the unseen world to which, as Eddington says, the human spirit must turn.

    From Nature 11 April 1959.

    100 Years ago

    An article is contributed by Dr. H. Marzell to Naturwissenschaftliche Wochenschrift (March 14) on the subject of plants which have been popularly endowed with magic qualities. The chief of these is undoubtedly the mandrake, Mandragora officinalis, the cultivation of which dates back to very ancient times, and spread from the East to various European countries ... Another plant, known as “moly” (µωλν), frequently mentioned in the classics, because it was given to Ulysses to protect him from the wiles of Circe, is generally regarded as a species of Allium. Reference is also made to an old English cantation, “The Song of the Nine Herbs,” and to the superstition connected with “fern seeds,” i.e. fern spores, which are supposed to render the bearer invisible.

    From Nature 8 April 1909.

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    50 & 100 years ago. Nature 458, 716 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/458716a

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