50 Years Ago
Some top-rank public schools and university colleges produce men of brilliant academic achievement who have poor judgement, no power of decision and no capacity to delegate work or to control men. These men can be the tragedies of industry because their deficiencies are not revealed in their academic record and are difficult to detect at a selection interview. They can get started on a promising career, but end in the wilderness of the unpromotable clever boys ... some of the highest places in industry have been filled successfully by men whose education has been obtained the hard way. In these cases, the task of getting education and training the hard way has imposed personal disciplines which have probably led imperceptibly to the acquisition of those characteristics needed in industry. Sometimes, however, such a course produces an almost characterless 'swot'.
From Nature 18 July 1964
100 Years Ago
Everyone is familiar with the dramatic story of Bernard Palissy, the potter, and how he fired a kiln with his household furniture in order to produce sufficient heat to melt his glazes, but his scientific work is rarely mentioned ... during the years 1575–84 he exercised great influence upon society in the city. He lectured in agriculture, chemistry, mineralogy, and geology, and illustrated his lectures with demonstrations of natural objects from his museum. “Into the faces of the learned of his time he thrust his facts; he urged the might of the verified fact, the tests of practical experience, the demonstration of the senses; and these in a keen and original way.” ... At the age of eighty Palissy was thrown into the Bastille as a dangerous heretic.
From Nature 16 July 1914