50 & 100 years ago

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    50 Years Ago

    It is now fifty years since, with the creation of the former Medical Research Committee, Great Britain took the lead in setting up central organizations for research ... The Medical Research Council conceives its function as: to watch over the whole fields of medical and related biological research so as to foresee, to the best of its ability, the needs and opportunities to give support to any promising research in these fields irrespective of the agent concerned; to work in partnership with the universities and professions on one hand and the various Government departments on the other, so that new knowledge may be made available as the need arises.

    From Nature 13 October 1962

    100 Years Ago

    Coming out from Queenstown on September 10 on her way toward Boston, the ss. Arabic was accompanied for some hours by a large flock of gulls. For the most part these birds were visibly working, flapping their wings, but occasionally a few would cease flapping and merely sail along for considerable distances ... An explanation of the ability of the birds to sail, under the conditions described above, is, I believe, found in the upward course of the wind which has struck the weather side of the ship and must rise in order to pass over it ... As the trail of smoke marks the direction of the wind with respect to the moving ship, the bird must, in order to sail with the same velocity and direction as the ship, have a motion relative to the air equal and opposite to the motion of the smoke relative to the ship. Accordingly, the bird's axis is kept parallel to, and opposite to, the course of the smoke as indicated by its train from the funnel.

    From Nature 10 October 1912

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    50 & 100 years ago. Nature 490, 185 (2012) doi:10.1038/490185b

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