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Valuable Studies

Valuable Studies Aircraft Engineering TH E MONTHLY ORGAN OF THE AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSION NOVEMBE R 1954 VOL XXVI No 309 deals with rocket propulsion derived its impulse purely from the need to produce new weapons. An even stronger example perhaps THE present term has seen the inauguration at Cambridge of is the dramatic development of atomic energy. Surely the urge to a new college for women undergraduates, additional to the scientists to explore the subject of nuclear fission came from pressure long-existing Girton and Newnham. The foundation of New from above, from the politicians who conceived the idea of providing Hall—as it is called—might perhaps be thought of as intrinsically themselves with something which would kill infinitely more people only of indirect interest to readers of AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING; though at one time than had ever been dreamt of by their predecessors. it is not improbable that sooner or later some of its graduates will However, not intending to become candidates for admission to make aeronautics their careers. New Hall we must tear ourselves away from this attractive byway In The Times, however, there was recently published a list of ques­ up which we have been led and proceed to the second question which tions set in the examination for the 410 candidates competing for is the real subject of our thoughts. the fifteen places that will be available next year. The two older col­ leges set full-scale examinations comprising several specialized papers, The Wrights' Example but New Hall, it appears, has decided to make its own competition for entry an experiment in selection on a broader, general basis in We have always been convinced believers in the value to scientists, the form of a single three-hour paper "designed to test logical thought or engineers, of a knowledge of the past history of their subject. We and power of expression". have on various occasions in the past expounded this thesis and have never been shaken in this conviction. The reason the fact that this We are not proposing impertinently to discuss the wisdom or very question was raised for discussion in the examination paper otherwise of this departure and, therefore, though we have views to which we have referred seemed to provide us with an appropriate on this aspect of the matter, we shall not expound them here. We are subject on which to write this month is, of course, that in this issue solely concerned—and this is the reason, or excuse, for making the we publish an extended review of the two volumes revealing the experiment the peg on which to hang a 'leader'—with two of the contents of the long talked-of and almost legendary note books of fifteen questions set, from which three may be chosen for answering. the Wright Brothers. In one sense, of course, they, and the cor­ respondence which is also published, do not perhaps suggest the Pertinent Questions importance of a knowledge of the history of science, because it can­ not in this instance strictly be said that the present-day worker has In Section A students are invited to discuss "to what extent have been any the worse for the lack of knowledge of their contents, scientific discoveries been made simply because they were parti­ Wilbur and Orville Wright were not, of course, scientists, in that cularly necessary at the time?" and in Section B "what value to a they had little training or knowledge of science but were painstaking scientist has a study of the history of science?" In parenthesis it may experimenters gradually proceeding step by step to their goal. On be noted that, since they appear in different sections of the paper, the other hand their own determination to obtain all the evidence both these questions may be selected for answering. This is, we think, possible of the work of those who had preceded them and the use interesting because to us they are very closely interconnected. It is they made of the results of checking this work and either accepting we think impossible to answer the first without some knowledge of or rejecting them, makes it abundantly clear that they at any rate the history of science. would never have produced the first successful aeroplane had it not To consider, for a moment, the first question alone, it is an intrigu­ been for all this previous investigation; so they can claim to be on ing one on which discussion could rage almost indefinitely without the side of the. angels. either of two opposing protagonists becoming convinced by the other. There is on the one side the popular picture of the pure Even more convincingly, we have been very much struck by the scientist placidly pursuing his investigations in whatever direction undoubted growth of interest in the history of science. Authors they lead him, remote from the world and without caring whether are, we think, more punctilious than they used to be in providing his work may be of practical value to anyone or not—the world bibliographies of the work of their predecessors. If further evidence forgetting and by the world forgot. That is the obverse of the picture. be needed it can be found in the publication of the History of the The reverse is the more mundane, which would appear to derive Strength of Materials by S. P. TIMOSHENKO (which was reviewed in considerable support from recent experience, more particularly per­ these pages last March) and, more recently, VON KARMAN'S Aero­ haps in war time. It can soundly be argued, for instance, that the dynamics, Selected Topics in the Light of their Historical Development, comparatively recent development of that branch of science which a fascinating book of which we intend to publish a review shortly. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology Emerald Publishing

Valuable Studies

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology , Volume 26 (11): 1 – Nov 1, 1954

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0002-2667
DOI
10.1108/eb032488
Publisher site
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Abstract

Aircraft Engineering TH E MONTHLY ORGAN OF THE AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSION NOVEMBE R 1954 VOL XXVI No 309 deals with rocket propulsion derived its impulse purely from the need to produce new weapons. An even stronger example perhaps THE present term has seen the inauguration at Cambridge of is the dramatic development of atomic energy. Surely the urge to a new college for women undergraduates, additional to the scientists to explore the subject of nuclear fission came from pressure long-existing Girton and Newnham. The foundation of New from above, from the politicians who conceived the idea of providing Hall—as it is called—might perhaps be thought of as intrinsically themselves with something which would kill infinitely more people only of indirect interest to readers of AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING; though at one time than had ever been dreamt of by their predecessors. it is not improbable that sooner or later some of its graduates will However, not intending to become candidates for admission to make aeronautics their careers. New Hall we must tear ourselves away from this attractive byway In The Times, however, there was recently published a list of ques­ up which we have been led and proceed to the second question which tions set in the examination for the 410 candidates competing for is the real subject of our thoughts. the fifteen places that will be available next year. The two older col­ leges set full-scale examinations comprising several specialized papers, The Wrights' Example but New Hall, it appears, has decided to make its own competition for entry an experiment in selection on a broader, general basis in We have always been convinced believers in the value to scientists, the form of a single three-hour paper "designed to test logical thought or engineers, of a knowledge of the past history of their subject. We and power of expression". have on various occasions in the past expounded this thesis and have never been shaken in this conviction. The reason the fact that this We are not proposing impertinently to discuss the wisdom or very question was raised for discussion in the examination paper otherwise of this departure and, therefore, though we have views to which we have referred seemed to provide us with an appropriate on this aspect of the matter, we shall not expound them here. We are subject on which to write this month is, of course, that in this issue solely concerned—and this is the reason, or excuse, for making the we publish an extended review of the two volumes revealing the experiment the peg on which to hang a 'leader'—with two of the contents of the long talked-of and almost legendary note books of fifteen questions set, from which three may be chosen for answering. the Wright Brothers. In one sense, of course, they, and the cor­ respondence which is also published, do not perhaps suggest the Pertinent Questions importance of a knowledge of the history of science, because it can­ not in this instance strictly be said that the present-day worker has In Section A students are invited to discuss "to what extent have been any the worse for the lack of knowledge of their contents, scientific discoveries been made simply because they were parti­ Wilbur and Orville Wright were not, of course, scientists, in that cularly necessary at the time?" and in Section B "what value to a they had little training or knowledge of science but were painstaking scientist has a study of the history of science?" In parenthesis it may experimenters gradually proceeding step by step to their goal. On be noted that, since they appear in different sections of the paper, the other hand their own determination to obtain all the evidence both these questions may be selected for answering. This is, we think, possible of the work of those who had preceded them and the use interesting because to us they are very closely interconnected. It is they made of the results of checking this work and either accepting we think impossible to answer the first without some knowledge of or rejecting them, makes it abundantly clear that they at any rate the history of science. would never have produced the first successful aeroplane had it not To consider, for a moment, the first question alone, it is an intrigu­ been for all this previous investigation; so they can claim to be on ing one on which discussion could rage almost indefinitely without the side of the. angels. either of two opposing protagonists becoming convinced by the other. There is on the one side the popular picture of the pure Even more convincingly, we have been very much struck by the scientist placidly pursuing his investigations in whatever direction undoubted growth of interest in the history of science. Authors they lead him, remote from the world and without caring whether are, we think, more punctilious than they used to be in providing his work may be of practical value to anyone or not—the world bibliographies of the work of their predecessors. If further evidence forgetting and by the world forgot. That is the obverse of the picture. be needed it can be found in the publication of the History of the The reverse is the more mundane, which would appear to derive Strength of Materials by S. P. TIMOSHENKO (which was reviewed in considerable support from recent experience, more particularly per­ these pages last March) and, more recently, VON KARMAN'S Aero­ haps in war time. It can soundly be argued, for instance, that the dynamics, Selected Topics in the Light of their Historical Development, comparatively recent development of that branch of science which a fascinating book of which we intend to publish a review shortly.

Journal

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace TechnologyEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 1, 1954

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