50 Years Ago

During September 1961, immediately following the resumption of nuclear testing, when there was widespread public concern that the amount of iodine-131 in human thyroids might reach significant proportions, it was decided to make regular measurements of thyroid radioactivity on a few members of the staff at the Radiological Protection Service ... During the peak period a total of 20 members of the staff were measured and the average amount of iodine-131 in their thyroids was 0.25 mμc ... the average amount of iodine-131 actually measured in the thyroids of the group could be predicted from a knowledge of the iodine uptake into the thyroid and the known concentration of iodine-131 in milk during this period. This adds weight to the belief, now widely accepted, that fresh milk is the principal vehicle whereby iodine-131 from nuclear test explosions enters humans.

From Nature 24 November 1962

100 Years Ago

The Vulgate Version of the French Arthurian Romances. Edited from manuscripts in the British Museum by H. Oskar Sommer — These sumptuous volumes are priceless gifts to the world of scholarship by the Carnegie Institution of Washington ... In his introduction the editor gives an outline of his studies of the vulgate cycle, as the French version of the Arthurian prose-romances is called ... The core of the typical tale of the conception and birth of an illustrious child of unknown father and a king's wife or daughter appears in the Welsh and Irish versions as something separate from any moral considerations ... We must come down to the vulgate cycle to find in such legends the element of sin.

From Nature 21 November 1912