50 Years Ago

It is probable that only those who have themselves been concerned with scientific research will appreciate all the fine nuances of Sir Cyril [Hinshelwood]'s address, but the picture he paints of the scientist as a creative worker, of the need for freedom of expression and appropriate conditions of work, and of public understanding if his work is to be fully effective, is intelligible to any layman. It is no picture of a scientist working and living in some 'ivory tower', or even of Thomson's Newton, “stemming alone vast eternity's unbounded sea”, but rather of a happy voyager of strange seas of thought, in company with others trained in the same or many other disciplines.

From Nature 4 September 1965

100 Years Ago

In his presidential address, read at the Association of Museums, San Francisco, Dr. O. C. Farrington gave an able summary of the origin and evolution of natural history museums, which should be widely read in this country. More especially is this to be urged in view of the danger which threatens such institutions in the immediate future in regard to the policy of national retrenchment which is now in process of formation. There is a danger that the pruning-hook may be used too ruthlessly, thereby inflicting material harm. For reformers are generally enthusiasts, and therefore are to be carefully watched, experience having shown that a sense of proportion is not usually among their attributes. Museums, as he remarks, are even now commonly regarded as a luxury, but he leaves no uncertainty as to the vitally important part which the modern museum plays, and must continue to play, in ever-increasing force, in our national life.

From Nature 2 September 1915 Footnote 1