50 & 100 Years Ago

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    50 Years Ago

    The temptation to establish new scientific journals appears to be irresistible. The first number of Radio Chimica Acta has a foreword by a great German radiochemist, Otto Hahn, in which he poses the rhetorical question as to whether a journal, specially devoted to radiochemistry, can discharge an important function differing from that already performed by existing chemical and physical journals ... He concludes that a place is needed where the results now published in a variety of journals can be brought together ... To have an additional journal for papers of this kind recalls the words of the sonnet “So all is dressing old words new, spending again what is already spent”. In short, interested workers must pay again to read those papers which they should reasonably be able to expect to find in the journals to which they already subscribe.

    From Nature 3 November 1962

    100 Years Ago

    Modern Problems. By Sir Oliver Lodge — From the scientific point of view, one of the most interesting chapters is that on the smoke nuisance, in which the author deals with the problems of combustion, and advocates the use of gas fires and the suppression of crude combustion of coal in towns. As to river and sea mists, and fogs of non-avoidable kind, Sir Oliver suggests electrification of the atmosphere on a large scale ... No one can tell for certain what would happen by this atmospheric electrification, but it is possible and even probable that the results might be of incalculable benefit ... When we think of the tremendous harmfulness of fog ... it seems obvious that the prospect of a cure of this evil would justify a large national grant for expenditure on trials in a large way.

    From Nature 31 October 1912

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    50 & 100 Years Ago. Nature 491, 45 (2012) doi:10.1038/491045b

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