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50 & 100 Years Ago

50 Years Ago

Mr. A. J. Kirkman has recently argued in Nature that it was mainly up to teachers of science and technology to give the guidance and impose the standards necessary for their students to improve their written English ... All the errors he mentioned were fairly easy to spot, easy to correct, and of a kind which the teacher could easily mark; but they were all irrelevant to the main problem of helping scientists to write better English and express themselves more fluently. The damage is done in the classes called 'English', and is not the fault of science teachers who accept low standards ... One is led to suspect that a teacher of English can hope to find only the superficial deficiencies in scientific English unless he learns more about the subject-matter. Perhaps Mr Kirkman is right after all in passing responsibility to the science teachers because most English teachers cannot bear it. But the scientist's task is so often rendered well-nigh impossible by English teachers who inoculate pupils interested in science with a distaste, or at least a disdain, for the subject known as 'English'.

From Nature 16 March 1963

100 Years Ago

Some readers of Nature will be interested to learn that tadpoles with large suctorial oral discs, enabling their possessors to adhere firmly to the rocks and boulders of mountain streams, have recently been discovered at Krantzkloop, in Natal, at an elevation of about 1500 to 1600 ft. They were found by the Rev. Fr. P. Boneberg, of Mariannhill, who kept them alive for some time, and observed their peculiar leech-like habit of sticking to one's fingers or to the sides of the vessel in which they were contained.

From Nature 13 March 1913

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50 & 100 Years Ago. Nature 495, 179 (2013).

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