50 & 100 years ago

    50 Years ago

    The Way Things Are. By Prof. P. W. Bridgman — In this remarkable compilation the author gives us his views, frequently unorthodox, on Marxism, death, integrity, psycho-analysis, taxation, freewill, Red Indian languages, martyrdom, sovereignty, faith, military service, McCarthy, the economic status of the teaching profession, and the illogicality of women. Income tax provokes Prof. Bridgman's indignation as much as anything. “To me the thing that is hardest to bear is the obvious inequity of it all. I do not expect my neighbour to give to me of his goods because I need them more than he does—why should society compel me to give of my goods to society because society needs them more than I do, society being only all my neighbours together? Every time I pay my income tax I smart under a sense of unfairness as keen as that of the old militant suffragette, denied the right to vote merely because of her sex. I feel exploited and discriminated against on the basis of superior ability and industry. It is hard to keep away the bitterness.”

    From Nature 26 December 1959.

    100 Years ago

    The Revue générale des Sciences of November 30 contains a lengthy and important article by Dr. Louis Wickham on the therapeutic action of radium on cancer ... The illustrations ... are even more startling than those which have appeared in the English journals cited. The appearances presented before and after treatment are such as will, almost surely, carry conviction to all laymen, whether healthy or suffering from cancer, that radium can cure the disease. But Dr. Wickham does not write in a corresponding spirit of optimism. Indeed, the only note of triumph is the phrase “It is delightful to think that the whole evolution of radiotherapy (the marvellous discovery of radium by P. Curie and Mme. Curie, the construction of perfected apparatus, therapeutical applications) is almost entirely French.”

    From Nature 23 December 1909.

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    50 & 100 years ago. Nature 462, 994 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/462994b

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