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(108th YEAR) 


AUGUST 17-24 







Officers and Council, 1938-39 v 

Sectional Officers, Cambridge Meeting, 1938 viii 

Annual Meetings : Places and Dates, Presidents, Attendances, 
Receipts, Sums Paid on account of Grants for Scientific 
Purposes (1831-1938) x 

Narrative of the Cambridge Meeting xiv 

Report of the Council to the General Committee (1937-38) . . xvi 

General Treasurer's Report and Account (1937-38) xxxviii 

Research Committees (1937-38) liii 

Resolutions and Recommendations (Cambridge Meeting) Iviii 

The Presidential Address : 

I. Vision in Nature and Vision aided by Science. II. Science 
and Warfare. By the Rt. Hon. Lord Rayleigh, Sc.D., 
LL.D., F.R.S I 

Sectional Presidents' Addresses : 

Logic and Probability in Physics. By Dr. C. G. Darwin, F.R.S. 21 

Recent Investigations in the Chemistry of Gold. By Prof. C. S. 

Gibson, O.B.E., F.R.S 35 

Development and Evolution. By Prof. H. H. Swinnerton. ... 57 

Oceanography and the Fluctuations in the Abundance of Marine 

Animals. By Dr. Stanley Kemp, F.R.S 85 

Correlations and Culture. By Prof. Griffith Taylor 103 

Scope and Method of Economics. By R. F. Harrod 139 

The Changing Outlook of Engineering Science. By Prof. R. V. 

Southwell, F.R.S 163 

The Orient and Europe. By Prof. V. G. Childe 181 

Eye and Brain as Factors in Visual Perception. By Dr. R. H. 

Thouless 197 

The General Physiology of the Plant Cell and its Importance in 

Pure and Applied Botany. By Prof. W. Stiles, F.R.S. ... 213 

The Function of Administration in Public Education. By 

J. Sargent 235 

Ley- Farming and a long-term Agricultural Policy. By Prof. 

R. G. Stapledon, C.B.E 245 



Reports on the State of Science 263 

Sectional Transactions 381 

Conference of Delegates of Corresponding Societies 523 

Evening Discourses 535 

References to Publication of Communications to the Sections 537 

Alexander Pedler Lecture. By Prof. H. L. Hawkins, F.R.S. . . 546 

Norman Lockyer Lecture. By Dr. H. Spencer Jones, F.R.S. . . 557 


A Scientific Survey of Cambridge and District i 

Index 231 

Publications of the British Association At end 





PRESIDENT, 1938 : 
Rt. Hon. Lord Rayleigh, D.Sc. LL.D., F.R.S. 

PRESIDENT, 1939 : 

Sir Albert Seward, F.R.S., Sc.D., LL.D. 


The Chancellor of the University 
(Rt. Hon. the Earl Baldwin of 
Bewdley, P.C., F.R.S.) . 

The Vice-Chancellor of the Univer- 
sity (Professor H. R. Dean, M.D., 
Master of Trinity Hall). 

The Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridge- 
shire (C. R. W. Adeane, C.B., 

The High Sheriff for Cambridge- 
shire and Huntingdonshire (T. 
Peake, J. P.). 

The Mayor of Cambridge (E. Saville 
Peck, M.A.). 

Alderman W. L. Briggs, J. P. 

The Chairman of the Cambridge- 
shire County Council (Councillor 
A. R. Fordham, J. P.). 

The Rt. Rev. the Lord Bishop of Ely 
(Rt. Rev. B. O. F. Heywood, D.D.). 

The Rt. Hon. Lord Fairhaven, D.L. 

Alderman H. Franklin. 

W. A. H. Harding, M.A. 

W. W. Pemberton, M.B., B.Ch., J.P. 

Sir J. J. Thomson, O.M., F.R.S. 

Prof. Sir F. Gowland Hopkins, O.M., 

Sir Albert Seward, F.R.S. 

The Very Rev. the Dean of Ely (Very 
Rev. Lionel E. Blackburne, M.A.). 

Rev. Prof. C. E. Raven, D.D. 

(To be appointed.) 




Prof. P. G. H. BoswELL, O.B.E., D.Sc. F.R.S. 

Prof. F. T. Brooks, M.A., F.R.S. ] Prof. Allan Ferguson, D.Sc. 

O. J. R. HowARTH, O.B.E.. Ph.D. 


D. N. Lowe, M.A., B.Sc. 


R. W. Allen, C.B.E. 
Dr. F. W. Aston, F.R.S. 

Prof. F. AVELING. 

Prof. F. Balfour-Browne. 

Sir T. Hudson Beare. 

Rt. Hon. Viscount Bledisloe, 

G.C.M.G., G.B.E. 
Dr. W. T. Calman, C.B., F.R.S. 
Prof. F. Debenham, O.B.E. 
Dr. C. R. Fay. 

Prof. W. G. Fearnsides, F.R.S. 
Prof. H. J. Fleure, F.R.S. 
Prof. F. E. Fritsch, F.R.S. 


Sir Richard Gregory, F.R.S. 

Prof. A. V. Hill, O.B.E., Sec.R.S. 

Prof. T. G. Hill. 

Prof. T. S. Moore. 

Prof. J. C. Philip, O.B.E. , F.R.S. 

Prof. J. G. Smith. 

Lt.-Col. W. Campbell Smith. 

Prof. C. Spearman, F.R.S. 

Dr. C. TiERNEY. 

Dr. J. A. Venn. 

Prof. Sir Gilbert Walker,C.S.I.,F.R.S. 

R. S. Whipple. 

J. S. Wilson. 


Past Presidents of the Association, the President for the year, the President 
and Vice-Presidents for the ensuing Annual Meeting, past and present General 
Treasurers and General Secretaries, and the Local Treasurers and Local Secretaries 
for the Annual Meetings immediately past and ensuing. 


Sir J. J. Thomson, O.M., F.R.S. {1909). 
Sir Oliver Lod^e, F.R.S. (1913). 
Sir Arthur Evans, F.R.S. (1916-18). 
Prof. Sir C. S. Sherrington, O.M., 

G.B.E., F.R.S. (1922). 
H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, K.G., 

D.C.L., F.R.S. (1926). 
Prof. Sir Arthur Keith, F.R.S. {1927). 
Prof. Sir William H. Bragg, O.M., 

K.B.E., Pres.R.S. (1928). 
Sir Thomas H. Holland, K.C.I.E., 

K.C.S.I., F.R.S. (1929). 

Prof. F. O. Bower, F.R.S. (1930). 
Gen. The Rt. Hon. J. C. Smuts, P.C, 

C.H., F.p.S. (1931)- 
Sir F. GowLAND Hopkins, O.M., F.R.S. 

Sir James H. Jeans, F.R.S. (1934). 
Prof. W. W. Watts, LL.D., Sc.D., 

F.R.S. (1935)- 
Rt. Hon. Lord Stamp, G.C.B., G.B.E., 

D.Sc. (1936). 
Prof. Sir Edward Poulton, F.R.S. 



Smith, K.C.B., C.B.E., 

Prof. J. L. Myres, O.B.E., F.B.A. 
Prof. F. J. M. Stratton, D.S.O 
O.B.E., M.A. 

Sir Frank 


Dr. EzER Griffiths, F.R.S. | R. S. Whipple. 


Sir BucKSTON Browne, F.R.C.S. 



C. H. Kemp, Town Clerk of Cambridge. 

A. Tabrum, O.B.E., M.A., LL.M., Clerk to the Cambridgeshire County Council. 

F. P. White, M.A., St. John's College, Cambridge. 

E. N. WiLLMER, M.A., Physiological Laboratory, Cambridge. 


R. Ede, M.A., School of Agriculture, Cambridge. 

R. H. Parker, M.A., D.L., M.C., Barclays Bank, Cambridge. 


(August 30 to September 6, 1939.) 


The Lord Provost of Dundee 
John Phin, LL.D. 


W. A. R. Allardice, Lord Provost's Secretary, Dundee. 
Prof. E. T. CoPsoN, University College, Dundee. 
David Latto, Town Clerk, Dundee. 


Wm. Aitken, City Chamberlain, Dundee. 

Quintin B. Grant, Royal Bank of Scotland, Dundee. 




President. — Dr. C. G. Darwin, F.R.S. 

Vice-Presidents. — Prof. W. L. Bragg, O.B.E., F.R.S. , Sir Arthur Eddington, 

O.M., F.R.S., Prof. R. H. Fowler, O.B.E., F.R.S., Dr. G. W. C. Kaye, 

O.B.E., Prof. F. J. M. Stratton, O.B.E. 
Recorder. — Dr. Ezer Griffiths, F.R.S. 

Secretaries. — J. H. Awbery, Prof. W. H. McCrea, Dr. D. M. Wrinch. 
Local Secretaries. — Dr. N. Feather, Dr. J. Wishart. 


President.— Prof. C. S. Gibson, O.B.E., F.R.S. 

Vice-Presidents. — Sir F. Gowland Hopkins, O.M., F.R.S., Dr. W. H. Mills, 

F.R.S., Sir Wm. Pope, K.B.E., F.R.S., Dr. F. L. Pyman, F.R.S., Prof. E. K. 

RiDEAL, M.B.E., F.R.S. 
Recorder. — Prof. J. E. Coates. 

Secretaries. — Dr. H. J. T. Ellingham, T. W. J. Taylor. 
Local Secretary. — Dr. A. E. Moelwyn-Hughes. 


President. — Prof. H. H. Swinnerton. 

Vice-Presidents. — Dr. H. von Eckermann, Dr. A. Harker, F.R.S., Prof. O. T. 

Jones, F.R.S., Sir Albert Seward, F.R.S., Prof. C. E. Tilley, F.R.S., 

Prof. L. J. Wills. 
Recorder. — I. S. Double. 

Secretaries. — Dr. O. M. B. Bulman, W. H. Wilcockson. 
Local Secretary. — M. Black. 


President.— Bt. S. W. Kemp, F.R.S. 

Vice-Presidents. — Prof. L. F. de Beaufort, Prof. H. Boschma, Prof. F. A. E. 

Crew, Prof. J. Stanley Gardiner, F.R.S., Prof. J. Gray, F.R.S., Dr. A. D. 

Imms, F.R.S., Dr. Th. Mortensen. 
Recorder. — Prof. W. M. Tattersall. 
Secretaries. — Dr. G. S. Carter, H. R. Hewer. 
Local Secretary. — Dr. F. S. J. Hollick. 


President. — Prof. Griffith Taylor. 

Vice-Presidents. — Prof. F. Debenham, O.B.E., B. B. Dickinson, Prof. C. B. 

Fawcett, Lt.-Col. L. Tebbutt. 
Recorder. — J. N. L. Baker. 

Secretaries. — Dr. R. O. Buchanan, D. L. Linton. ■ 
Local Secretary. — J. A. Steers. 


President. — R. F. Harrod. 

Vice-Presidents. — Sir W. Beveridge, K.C.B., Dr. C. R. Fay, Prof. P. Sargant 

Florence, Dr. J. N. Keynes, Mrs. M. Marshall. 
Recorder. — Dr. P. Ford. 

Secretaries. — S. R. Dennison, E. D. McCallum. 
Local Secretary. — D. G. Champernowne. 


President. — Prof. R. V. Southwell, F.R.S. 
Vice-Presidents. — O. Borer, Sir Alexander Gibb, G.B.E., C B F R S 

Prof. C. E. Inglis, O.B.E., F.R.S. , C. C. Mason. 
Recorder. — Wing-Commander T. R. Cave-Brovvne-Cave, C.B.E. 
Secretaries. — H. M. Clarke, Prof. W. J. John. 
Local Secretary. — Dr. R. D. Davies. 

President. — Prof. V. Gordon Childe. 
Vice-Presidents. — L. C. G. Clarke, Dr. A. C. Haddon, F.R.S Prof J H 

HuTTON, C.I.E., Prof. E. H. Minns, F.B.A. 
Recorder. — R. U. Sayce. 
Secretaries. — Miss C. Fell, K. H. Jackson. 
Local Secretary. — Dr. G. E. Daniel. 

President. — Dr. R. H. Thouless. 
Vice-Presidents. — Prof. F. C. Bartlett, F.R.S., R. J. Bartlett, Dr. Mary 

Collins, E. Farmer, Prof. H. S. Langfeld, Prof. A. Michotte. 
Recorder. — Dr. S. J. F. Philpott. 
Secretaries. — Dr. Hilda Oldham, Dr. P. E. Vernon. 
Local Secretary. — Miss M. D. Vernon. 


President. — Prof. W. Stiles, F.R.S. 

Vice-Presidents. — G. E. Briggs, F.R.S., Prof. F. T. Brooks, F.R.S., Sir Roy 
Robinson (Chairman, Dept. of Forestry, K*), Prof. E. J. Salisbury, F.R.S., 
Sir Albert Seward, F.R.S., W. L. Taylor, Dr. H. H. Thomas, F.R.S. 

Recorder. — Dr. B. Barnes. 

Secretaries. — Prof. T. M. Harris, C. H. Thompson, T. Thomson, Dr. S. Williams. 

Local Secretary. — G. C. Evans. ' 

President. — J. Sargent. 
Vice-Presidents. — Prof. E. Barker, A. R. Fordham, G. F. Hickson, Prof. 

G. R. OwsT, H. G. Wells, D.Litt. 
Recorder. — A. Gray Jones. 
Secretaries. — S. R. Humby, N. F. Sheppard. 
Local Secretary. — J. O. Roach. 

President. — Prof. R. G. Stapledon, C.B.E. 
Vice-Presidents. — J. M. Caie, J. S. Chivers, Sir Wm. Dampier, F.R.S., Prof. F. L. 

Recorder. — W. Godden. 
Secretary. — G. V. Jacks. 
Local Secretary. — F. Hanley. 


President. — Rt. Hon. the Earl of Onslow, C.B.E., P.C, F.S.A. 
Secretary. — Dr. C. Tierney. 



Date of Meeting 

Where held 


Old Life 

New Life 

1831, Sept. 27 

1832, June 19 ... 

1833, June 25 ... 

1834, Sept. 8 

1835, Aug. 10 

£836, Aug. 22 

1837, Sept. II 

1838, Aug. 10 

£839, Aug. 26 

[840, Sept. 17 .... 

1841, July 20 

£842, June 23 

1843, Aug. 17 

£844, Sept. 26 

£845, June 19 ... 

£846, Sept. 10 

1847, June 23 ... 

£848, Aug. 9 

£849, Sept. 12 

1850, July 21 

1851, July 2 

1852, Sept. I 

£853, Sept. 3 

£854, Sept. 20 

£855, Sept. 12 

1856, Aug. 6 

£857, Aug. 26 

£858, Sept. 22 

1859, Sept. 14 

i860, June 27 ... 

1861, Sept. 4 

1862, Oct. I 

1863, Aug. 26 

1864, Sept. 13 

1865, Sept. (. 

£866, .^ug. 22 

1867, Sept. 4 

£868, Aug. 19 

£869, Aug. 18 

£870, Sept. 14 

£871, Aug. 2 

£872, Aug. 14 

£873, Sept. 17 

£874, Aug. 19 

1875. Aug. 25 

£876, Sept. 6 

[877, Aug. 15 

1878, Aug. 14 

i 1879, .^ug. 20 

I 1S80, Aug. 25 

' 1881, Aug. 31 

1882, Aug. 23 

1883, Sept. 19 

1884, Aug. 27 

1885, Sept. 9 

1886, Sept. I 

1887, Aug. 31 

1888, Sept. 5 

1889, Sept. n 

1890, Sept. 3 

1891, Aug. 19 

1892, Aug. 3 

1893, Sept. 13 ... 

1894, Aug. 8 

1805, Sept. II 

1896, Sept. 16 

! 1897, Aug. 18 

' 1898, Sept. 7 

1899, Sept. 13 


Viscount Milton, D.C.L., F.R.S 

The Rev. W. Buckland, F.R.S 

The Rev. A. Sedgwick, F.R,S 































Sir T. M. Brisbane, D.C.L., F.R.S. ... 
The Rev. Provost Lloyd, LL.D., F.R.S. 
The Marquis of Lansdowne, F.R.S. ... 

The Eari of Buriington, F.R.S 

The Duke of Northumberland, F.R.S. 
The Rev. W. Vemon Harcourt, F.R.S. 
The Marquis of Breadalbane, F.R.S. 

The Rev. W. Whewell, F.R.S 

The Lord Francis Egerton, F.G.S 

The Eari of Rosse, F.R.S 

The Rev. G. Peacock, D.D., F.R.S.... 
Sir John F. W. Herschel, Bart., F.R.S. 
Sir Roderick L Murchison, Bart., F.R.S. 
Sir Robert H. Inglis, Bart., F.R.S. ... 
The Marquisof Northampton, Pres.R.S. 
The Rev.T. R. Robinson, D.D., F.R.S. 

Sir David Brewster,, F.R.S 

G. B. Airy, Astronomer Royal, F.R.S. 

Lieut.-General Sabine, F.R.S 

William Hopkins F.R.S 

The Eari of Harrowby, F.R.S 

The Duke of Argyll. F.R.S 

Prof. C. G. B. Daubeney, M.D., F.R.S. . 

The Rev. H. Lloyd, D.D., F.R.S 

Richard Owen, M.D., D.C.L., F.R.S. 
H.R.H. The Prince Consort 


















The Lord Wrottesley, M.A., F.R.S. ... 

William Fairbaim, LL.D., F.R.S 

The Rev. Professor WUlis,M.A., F.R.S. 
Sir WUliamG. Armstrong, C.B., F.R.S. 
Sir Charies Lyell, Bart., M.A., F.R.S. 
Prof. J. Phillips, M.A., LL.D., F.R.S. 

William R. Grove, Q.C., F.R.S 

The Duke of Buccleuch, K.C.B., F.R.S. 

Dr. Joseph D. Hooker, F.R.S 

Prof. G. G. Stokes, D.C.L , F.R.S. ... 
Prof. T. H. Huxley, LL.D., F.R.S. ... 
Prof. Sir W. Thomson, LL.D., F.R.S. . 

Dr. W. B. Carpenter, F.R.S 

Prof. A. W. Williamson, F.R.S 

Prof. J. Tvndall, LL.D., F.R.S 

Sir John Hawkshaw, F.R.S 

Prof. T. Andrews, M.D., F.R.S 

Prof. A. Thomson, M.D., F.R.S 

W. Spottiswoode, M.A., F.R.S 

Prof. G. J. Allman, M.D., F.R.S 

A. C. Ramsay, LL.D., F.R.S 

Sir John Lubbock, Bart., F.R.S 

Dr. C. W. Siemens, F.R.S 

Prof. A. Cavley, D.C.L., F.R.S 

Prof. Lord Rayleigh, F.R.S 

Sir Lyon Plavfair, K.C.B., F.R.S. ... 
Sir J. W. Dawson, C.M.G., F.R.S. ... 

Sir H. E. Roscoe, D.C.L., F.R.S 

Sir F. J. Bramwell, F.R.S 































Prof. W. H. Flower, C.?., F.R.S 

Sir F. A. Abel, C.B., F.R.S 

Dr. W. Huggins, F.R.S 

Sir A. Geikie, LL.D., F.R.S 

Prof. J. S. Burdon Sanderson, F.R.S. 
The Marquis of Salisbury, K.G., F.R.S. 
Sir Douglas Galton, K.C.B., F.R.S. . 
Sir Joseph Lister, Bart., Pres. R.S. .. 

Sir John Evans, K.C.B., F.R.S 

Sir W. Crookes, F.R.S 

Sir Michael Foster, K.C.B., Sec. R.S. .. 









* Ladies were not admitted by purchased ticket* nntil 1843. t Tickets of Admission to Sections only. 

[Continued on p.xii. 




Old i New i 
Annual , Annual | 
Members Members i 


Ladies 1 Foreigners Total 








































































172 j 




203 i 










































































74 = 























1384 1 

873 1 



1051 ; 


548 1 













43 . 










26 & 6oH.§ 










107 1 

1 108 






















Sums paid 
on account 

of Grants 
for Scientific 


£20 o 

167 o 

435 o 

922 12 

932 2 

1595 II 

1546 16 

1235 10 

1449 17 

1565 10 

981 12 

831 9 

685 16 

208 5 

275 I 

159 19 

345 18 

391 9 

304 6 

205 o 

380 19 

480 16 

734 13 

507 15 

6i8 18 

684 II 

766 19 

mi 5 

1293 16 

1608 3 

1289 15 

1591 7 

1750 13 

1739 4 

1940 o 

1632 o 










1080 II 

731 7 

476 8 









789 16 

1029 10 

864 10 

907 15 

583 15 

977 15 

1 104 6 

1059 10 

I2I2 O 
1430 14 


















J Including Ladies. § FeUowsof the American Association were admitted as Hon. Members for tbis Meeting. 

[Continued on p. xiii. 



Table of 

Date of Meeting 


Sept. 5 ... 
Sept. II... 
Sept. 10... 
Sept. 9 ... 
Aug. 17... 
Aug. 15 ... 
Aug. I ... 
July 31 ... 
Sept. 2 ... 
Aug. 25 ... 
Aug. 31 ... 
Aug. 30 . . . 
Sept. 4 ... 
Sept. 10... 
Sept. 7 ... 
Sept. 5 ••■ 

Sept. 9.., 

1920, Aug. 24 . 

1921, Sept. 7 . 

1922, Sept. 6 . 

1923, Sept. 

1924, Aug. 

1925, Aug. 

1926, Aug. 

1927, Aug. 

1928, Sept. 

1929, July 

1930, Sept. 

1931, Sept. 

1932, Aug. 

1933, Sept. 

1934, Sept. 

1935, Sept. 

1936, Sept. 

1937, Sept. 

1938, Aug. 

6 .. 

4 •■ 

31 ■• 

5 •• 

22 .. 

3 • 



6 ., 
5 •• 

4 •■ 
9 ■■ 
I .. 

Where held 






South Africa 












(No Meeting) 

(No Meeting) 



Edinburgh ... 

Liverpool ... 





South Africa 




Leicester ... 
Aberdeen ... 


Blackpool ... 
Cambridge ... 


Sir William Turner, D.C.L.,F.R.S. . 
Prof. A. W. Riicker, D.Sc, Sec. R.S. 

Prof. J.Dewar, LL.D.,F.R.S 

Sir Norman Lockyer, K.C.B., F.R.S. 
Rt. Hon. A. J . Balfour, M.P., F.R.S... . 
Prof. G. H. Darwin, LL.D., F.R.S 
Prof. E. Ray Lankester, LL.D., F.R.S. 

Sir David Gill, K.C.B., F.R.S 

Dr. Francis Darwin, F.R.S 

Prof. Sir J. J. Thomson, F.R.S 

Rev. Prof. T. G. Bonney, F.R.S 

Prof. Sir W. Ramsay, K.C.B., F.R.S. 

Prof. E. A. Schafer, F.R.S 

Sir Oliver J. Lodge, F.R.S 

Prof. W. Bateson, F.R.S 

Prof. A. Schuster, F.R.S 

Sir Arthur Evans, F.R.S. , 

Hon. Sir C. Parsons, K.C.B., F.R.S. 

Prof. W. A. Herdman, C.B.E., F.R.S. 

SirT. E. Thorpe, C.B., F.R.S 

Sir C.S.Sherrington, G.B.E., Pres. R.S 

Sir Ernest Rutherford, F.R.S. . 
Sir David Bruce, K.C.B., F.R.S. 

Prof. Horace Lamb, F.R.S 

H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, K.G., 

P R S 
Sir Arthur Keith, F.r!s. 
Sir William Bragg, K.B.E 
Sir Thomas Holland, 

K.C.LE., F.R.S 

Prof. F. O. Bower, F.R.S 

Gen. the Rt. Hon. J. C. Smuts, 

f H F R S 
Sir Alfred Ewi'ngik.C.B., F.R.S. 
Sir F. Gowland Hopkins, Pres. R.: 

Sir James H. Jeans, F.R.S." 

Prof. W. W. Watts, F.R.S 

Sir Josiah Stamp, G.C.B., G.B.E. 
Sir Edward B. Poulton, F.R.S. ... 
Rt. Hon. Lord Rayleigh, F.R.S. ... 

1 'i? 


Old Life 

New Life 1 














































































25" 1 

' Including 848 Members of the South African Association. 

• Including 137 Members of the American Association. 

' Special arrangements were made for Members and Associates joining locally in Australia, see 
Report, 1914, p. 686. The numbers include 80 Members who joined in order to attend the Meeting of 
L'Association Fran^aise at Le Havre. 

« Including Students' Tickets, los. 

' Including Exhibitioners granted tickets without charge. 

• Including grants from the Caird Fund in this and subsequent years. 
' Including Foreign Guests, Exhibitioners, and others. 



Annual Meetings- 




Sums paid 


AlTal ' Asso- 
5 Members 1 "^'^'^^ 






on account 
of Grants 




for Scientific 



I 801 




£1072 10 









920 9 II 



86 647 








90 1 688 ! 365 1 




845 13 2 




1 1338 317 




887 18 II 




430 181 




928 2 2 




817 , 352 




882 9 









757 12 10 









1157 18 8 









1014 9 9 




563 ! 123 




963 17 




414 81 







95 1 1292 359 




845 7 6 



149 , 1287 





978 17 I 









1861 16 ^* 









1569 2 8 




251* 73 




985 18 10 







677 17 2 




! — i — 




326 13 3 



102 688* ' 153 






Annual Members | 
















1272 10 

1251 13 0* 









2599 15 

518 I 10 









1699 5 

722 7 











2735 15 

777 18 6' 









3165 19 


"97 5 9 









1630 5 











917 I 6 









2414 5 

761 10 









3072 10 

1259 10 








1477 15 

2193 2 I 









2481 15 

631 I 9 









4792 10 

131Q 9 6 









1724 5 

I2i3 13 11 









2428 2 

562 19 11" 









2900 13 


1123 4 9 









2218 14 


1649 2 4 









2006 14 

I. .98 I I 









1883 12 

720 15 I 









3072 19 

1066 6 8 


• The Bournemouth Fund for Research, initiated by Sir C. Parsons, enabled grants on account of 
scientific purposes to be maintained. 

• Including grants from the Caird Gift for research in radioactivity in this and subsequent years 
to 1926. 

*• Subscriptions paid in Canada were $5 for Meeting only and others pro rata ; there was some gain 
on exchange. 

" Including 450 Members of the South African Association. 

" Including 413 tickets for certain meetings, issued at 5s. to London County Council school-teachers. 

" For nine months ending March 31, 1933. 

" Sir William B. Hardy, F.R.S., who became President on January i, 1934, died on January 23. 

" Including 8 representatives of Corporation Members. 



On Wednesday, August 17, at 8.30 p.m., the Inaugural General Meeting 
was held in the Regal Cinema, when the Vice-Chancellor of the University 
of Cambridge (Prof. H. R. Dean, M.D.) and His Worship the Mayor of 
Cambridge (Councillor E. Saville Peck, M.A.) welcomed the Association 
to Cambridge. The President of the Association, the Rt. Hon. Lord 
Rayleigh, F.R.S., delivered an address entitled : (Part I) Vision in Nature 
and Vision aided by Science, (Part H) Science and Warfare, for which see 
p. I. A vote of thanks to the President was proposed by Sir Joseph 
J. Thomson, O.M., F.R.S., Master of Trinity College, and seconded by 
Dr. G. D. Birkhoff, Past President of the American Association for the 
Advancement of Science. 

Evening Discourses were delivered to the members as follows : 

(i) Friday, August 19, in the Arts Theatre, Peas Hill, Dr. H. Godwin : 
The History of the Fens. (See p. 535.) 

(2) Monday, August 22, in the same theatre. Prof. M. L. Oliphant, 
F.R.S. : The Contribution of the Electrical Engineer to Modern Physics. 
(See p. 536.) 

On Tuesday, August 23, at 8.30 p.m., in the Reception Room (Examina- 
tion School), members of the Scientific Delegation in India, 1937-38, 
spoke of the experiences of the Delegation. Sir James Jeans, F.R.S. , 
General President of the Indian Science Congress Association for its 
Jubilee meeting, was in the chair, and the other speakers were Dr. C. G. 
Darwin, F.R.S., Dr. J. A. Venn, Prof. Winifred Cullis, C.B.E., Prof. J. H. 
Fleure, F.R.S., and Prof. W. W. Tattersall. A series of lantern slides 
from photographs by the late Dr. A. E. H. Tutton, F.R.S., was shown. 
Photographs by delegates were on exhibition in the Reception room 
throughout the Cambridge Meeting. For a report on the proceedings of 
the Delegation, see p. xxvi. 

A summary of Sectional Transactions on August 18-24 ^i^^ be found on 
pp. 381 and following. 

On Thursday evening, August 18, a Reception was given by the Vice- 
Chancellor on behalf of the University of Cambridge, in the Senate House 
and Old Schools. By kind permission of the Master and Fellows of 
Gonville and Caius College there was dancing in the hall of that college. 


On Tuesday afternoon, August 23, the Mayor and Mayoress of Cam- 
bridge (Councillor and Mrs. E. Saville Peck) entertained members at a 
Sherry Party, held in Emmanuel College by kind permission of the 
Master and Fellows. 

Garden Parties were given at the following Colleges : Downing and 
Sidney Sussex (August 19), Christ's and Queens' (August 22) ; and in- 
formal evening conversaziones were held at Trinity College (August 19) 
and St. John's College (August 22). 

On Saturday, August 20, general excursions were arranged as follows, 
with the co-operation of institutions and individuals whose premises 
were visited : 

(i) King's Lynn, Castle Rising, and Sandringham (by gracious per- 
mission of H.M. The King). 

(2) Hengrave Hall, Bury St. Edmund's, Lavenham, Long Melford. 

(3) Tring Museum, London Gliding Club, and works of Stonehenge 
Bricks, Ltd. An additional visit was arranged to Whipsnade Zoological 
Park through the courtesy of the Zoological Society of London. 

(4) Ely, Sutton, and Earith. 

(5) Audley End, Saffron Walden, and Thaxted. 

Visits were arranged to colleges and to many other points of interest 
in Cambridge, and to the works of the British Portland Cement Manu- 
facturers, Ltd., the Cambridge Instrument Co., Ltd., Messrs. Chivers 
& Sons, Ltd., Messrs. Pye Radios, Ltd., and Messrs. Towgood and Sons 
and Dufay-Chromax, Ltd. Other excursions and visits devoted to the 
interests of particular sections are mentioned among the Sectional Trans- 
actions in later pages. 

The official sermon was preached by the Rt. Rev. the Lord Bishop of 
Winchester in Great St. Mary's Church on Sunday morning, August 21. 

An exhibition of paintings and other objects of art by members of the 
Association was on view throughout the period of the Meeting. 

At the final meeting of the General Committee on Wednesday, 
August 24, it was resolved : 

That the British Association places upon record its deep gratitude for the 
reception afforded to it by the University, the Borough, and the County of 
Cambridge. The Association wishes to convey its most cordial thanks to 
the departments and colleges of the University which have so generously 
provided accommodation for its meetings and hospitality for its members. 
Its thanks are due also to the Corporation of the Borough and the County 
authorities, as well as to the many commercial and industrial institutions in 
Cambridge and the neighbourhood, for co-operation in the arrangements 
for the meeting, for generous entertainment, and for the facilities which 
have been provided for excursions and visits. Finally, the congratulations 
as well as the gratitude of the Association are offered to the local officers 
and their efficient helpers, to whose unsparing efforts the brilliant success 
of the meeting has been due. 



The Council have had to deplore the loss by death of the following 
office-bearers and supporters : — 

Prof. W. A. Bone, F.R.S. 

Dr. G. A. Boulenger, F.R.S. 

Prof. E. W. Brown, F.R.S. 

Prof. H. B. Fantham 

Prof. L. N. G. Filon, F.R.S. 

Prof. A. Hutchinson, F.R.S. 

Prof. A. Lodge 

Prof. Magnus Maclean 

Prof. G. H. F. Nuttall, F.R.S. 

Mr. Hugh Ramage 
Dr. A. B. Rendle, F.R.S.^ 
Lady Robertson 

Prof, the Rt. Hon. Lord Ruther- 
ford of Nelson, O.M., F.R.S.^ 
Sir John Snell, G.B.E. 
Miss Edith Stoney 
Dr. A. E. H. Tutton, F.R.S. 
Dr. W. W. Vaughan, M.V.O.i 

The Association was represented at Lord Rutherford's funeral by the 
President, Sir Edward Poulton, F.R.S. (a pall-bearer). Sir James Jeans, 
F.R.S., and Prof. A. Ferguson, General Secretary, and at the memorial 
service in Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, by Prof. F. T. Brooks, 
F.R.S., General Secretary, and Prof. F. J. M. Stratton. 

Dr. W. T. Caiman, F.R.S., represented the Association at the funeral 
of Dr. A. B. Rendle, F.R.S. 

The President, the Rt. Hon. Lord Rayleigh, F.R.S., and the Secretary, 
Dr. O. J. R. Howarth, on behalf of the General Officers, represented the 
Association at the memorial service for Dr. W. W. Vaughan, M.V.O. 


Representatives of the Association have been appointed as follows : — 

Meeting held at the House of Lords to dis- 
cuss the desirability of nature reserves in 
National Parks (by invitation of the 
Society for the Promotion of Nature 
Reserves) ..... 

Sub-committee of the International Seismo- 
logical Association, dealing with the 
Seismological Summary 

International Congress of Anthropology 
and Ethnology, Copenhagen 

International Union of Chemistry, Rome . 

Dr. J. S. Huxley, 
F.R.S., and Prof. E. 
J. Salisbury, F.R.S. 

Dr. H. Jeffreys, F.R.S. 

Mr. H. J. E. Peake. 
Dr. F.W. Aston, F.R.S. 

* See narrative of the Scientific Delegation in India, annexed to this report. 

REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 xvii 

Resolutions and Recommendations. 

Resolutions and recommendations, referred by the General Committee 
to the Council for consideration, and, if desirable, for action, were dealt 
with as follows. The resolutions will be found in the Report for 1937, 
p. xlviii. 

{a) On a resolution from Section A (Mathematical and Physical 
Sciences), the Council laid before the Corporation of the City of 
Nottingham a report on the bad condition of the grave of George 
Green in Sneinton churchyard in that city, and were gratified to learn 
that the Corporation had undertaken to restore the grave. 

{b) On a resolution from Section D (Zoology), the Council com- 
municated to the Trustees of the British Museum an expression of 
their hope that the custody of the late Lord Rothschild's museum at 
Tring would be undertaken by the Trustees. 

(c) The Council were informed by the Ministry of Agriculture and 
Fisheries (i) that the resumption of the publication of one-inch Ordnance 
Survey maps in the ' relief ' style will be considered when the publica- 
tion of the present Fifth Edition in the ordinary style is nearing com- 
pletion ; (ii) that with regard to maps showing physical features only 
the Minister is prepared to arrange for an edition, showing water and 
contours only, when the ordinary edition of each forthcoming sheet 
is printed. (Resolution of Section E, Geography.) 

{d) The General Secretaries were authorised to consult the Secretary 
of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the subject of a resolution 
from Section G (Engineering) on the desirability of improving the 
co-ordination of arrangements for publishing and indexing new 
engineering knowledge and the results of engineering research. 

{e) The Council received unofficial information from a representative 
of the India Office to the effect that, while it was admitted that a 
knowledge of Anthropology would be of advantage to civil servants, 
the present syllabus, as reviewed recently by an authoritative committee 
set up by the Secretary of State, would not allow of the introduction of 
an additional compulsory subject. The Council therefore decided 
not to transmit the resolution of Section H (Anthropology) officially 
to the India Office. 

(/) In reply to the resolution of Section L (Educational Science) on 
adult education, the officers of the Board of Education have under- 
taken to consider the resolution when reports are presented of a survey, 
at present in operation, of existing provisions for adult education in 
England and Wales. 

{g) A resolution for the Conference of Delegates of Corresponding 
Societies, supported by Section D (Zoology), on the necessity for an 
inquiry into methods of dealing with rodents and other wild mammals 
which affect agriculture, was communicated to the Ministry of Agri- 
culture and Fisheries and to the Department of Agriculture for Scotland. 
Both departments replied to the effect that experiments on the control 
of rabbits were already in progress. 



Qi) The Council approved a resolution from the Conference of 
Delegates of Corresponding Societies on the desirability of establishing 
through the Corresponding Societies Committee a close liaison with the 
Association for the Study of Systematics in Relation to General Biology, 
with a view to the Corresponding Societies undertaking work bearing 
upon systematic problems. 


The Council have received reports from the General Treasurer 
throughout the year. His account has been audited and is presented 
to the General Committee. 

The Council made the following grants from funds under their 
control : — 

From the Caird Fund. 

Seismological investigations 
Mathematical tables 
Critical geological sections 
Reduction of noise 
Perseveration and its testing 
Kent's Cavern, Torquay . 


25 (contingent) 
10 (contingent) 
10 (contingent) 

From the Bernard Hobson Fund. 

Critical geological sections 
Oolite of Stow-on-the-Wold 


From the Leicester and Leicestershire Fund. 

Archaeology of the Fens ...... 25 

Transplant experiments ...... 5 

Organisation of research in Education ... 5 

Gaps in the informative content of Education . . 10 

From the Norwich Fund. 

It was reported that a grant of £40, made last year from the Norwich 
Fund to the Norfolk Research Conimittee for the investigation of the 
post-glacial deposits of East Norfolk, would not be required, with the 
exception of a sum of £2 13s. ()d., the payment of which was authorised. 

The balance of the fund was granted as follows : — 

(<2) To Mr. J. E. Sainty, to continue investigations on the Long £ s. d. 

Barrow at West Rudham, Norfolk . . . .3320 

(b) To Dr. A. S. Watt, to continue work on rhythmic 

phenomena of Breckland plants . . . . .2100 

Corporation Membership. — Messrs. Metropolitan - Vickers Electrical 
Company, Ltd., and the Educ:.t'onal Instituie of Scotland have been 
admitted to corporation membership of the Association. 


President (1939), General Officers, General Committee, 

AND Council. 

President (1939). — The Council's nomination to the Presidency of the 
Association for the year 1939 (Dundee Meeting) is Sir Albert Seward, 

The General Officers have been nominated by the Council as follows : — 

General Treasurer, Prof. P. G. H. Boswell, F.R.S. 

General Secretaries, Prof. F. T. Brooks, F.R.S., Prof. Allan Ferguson. 

General Committee. — The following have been admitted as members 
of the General Committee, mainly on the nomination of Organising 
Sectional Committees under Regulation i : — 

Dr. H. B. Cott Mr. A. Rodger 

Mr. H. R. Hewer Dr. B. SemeonofT 

Dr. F. S. J. Hollick Mr. W. J. H. Sprott 

Dr. R. G. S. Hudson Dr. W. Stephenson 

Dr. M. M. Lewis Dr. E. C. Stoner, F.R.S. 

Mr. J. A. McMillan Mr. S. H. Straw 

Miss A. E. Miller Mr. F. C. Thomas 
Mr. F. Rayns, O.B.E. 

Council. — The retiring Ordinary Members of the Council are : Prof. 
R. N. Rudmose Erown, Mr. H. M. Hallswor.h, C.B.E., Prof. G. W. O. 
Howe, and Prof. F. E. Weiss, F.R.S., and a further vacancy is created 
by the death of Dr. W. W. Vaughan, M.V.O. 

The Council have nominated as new members Mr. R. W. Allen, C.B.E., 
Prof. F. E. Fritsch, F.R.S., and Sir Richard Gregory, Et., F.R.S. ; leaving 
two vacancies to be filled by the General Committee without nomination 
by the Council. 

The full list of Ordinary Members nom"n2ted is as follows : — 

R. W. Allen, C.B.E. P.of. A. V. Hll, O.B.E. , Sec.R.S. 

Dr. F. W. Aston, F.R.S. Prof. T. G. Hill 

Prof. F. Aveling Prof. T. S. Mcore 

Prof. F. Balfour-Browne Prof. J. C. Philip, O.B.E., F.R.S. 

Sir T. Hudson Beare Prof. J. G. Smith 

Rt. Hon. Viscount Bledisloe, P.C, Lt.-Col. W. Campbell Smith 

G.C.M.G., G.B.E. Dr. C. Tierney 

Dr. W. T. Caiman, C.B., F.R.S. Dr. J. A. Venn 

Prof. F. Dehenham, O.B.E. Prof. Sir Gilbert Walker, C.S.L, 
Prof. W. G. Fearnsides, F.R.S. F.R.S. 

P.of. H. J. Fleure, F.R.S. R. S. Whirple 

P.of. F. E. Fritsch, F.R.S. J. S. Wilson 
Sir Richard Gregory, Bt., F.R.S. 

Future Meetings. 

Dundee has been already determined by the General Committee as 
the place of meeting in 1939. The dates now proposed for the Dundee 
Meeting are August 30 to September 6. 

There have been received invitations for the Association to meet in 


Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1940, in Belfast in 1941 or any year nearly 
following, in 1942 in Birmingham. As previously reported, there is 
also an invitation to meet in Swansea in any convenient year. In view 
of informal discussion as to the possibility of an invitation from Australia 
for the year 1942, the General Committee should be made aware that 
such an invitation will not be forthcoming. 


Scientific Delegation in India.— A. narrative report of the activities of 
the Scientific Delegation in India is annexed to this Report of the Council. 

Proposed Overseas Delegation Fund. — The General Committee last 
year granted a sum not exceeding ^1,000 from the general funds of the 
Association towards the expenses of the Scientific Delegation in India. 
In the event, it was necessary to use only £217 of this sum. The Council, 
recognising the great success of the Indian visit, and believing that 
similar opportunities may arise to send delegations elsewhere, and that, if 
arising, advantage should by all means be taken of them, now recommend 
to the General Committee that the unexpended balance of the above 
grant should be held as the nucleus of a fund from which to assist expenses 
of such delegations. 

British Science Guild Lectures. — Prof. H. L. Hawkins was appointed 
to deliver the Alexander Pedler Lecture for 1939 at the Worthing Congress 
of the South-Eastern Union of Scientific Societies, and did so on June 24. 

Dr. H. Spencer Jones, F.R.S., was appointed to deliver the Norman 
Lockyer Lecture on December 6. 

British Science Guild : South Australian Handbooks. — Following upon 
the incorporation of the Guild into the Association, the important \Vork 
of the Handbooks Committee of the South Australian branch of the 
Guild was brought to the notice of the Council, and it was resolved that, 
while no financial aid could be offered to assist in the production of forth- 
coming books, an expression of the Council's ' appreciation of the great 
value of the handbooks of the flora and fauna of South Australia ' should 
be recorded and conveyed to the Committee. 

Geology in Schools. — During the past year the Association's two reports 
on the teaching of geology in schools have been distributed to appropriate 
educational authorities, together with an expression of the Council's 
hope that careful consideration would be given to the question of in- 
troducing geology into the school curriculum, either by inclusion in a 
course of general elementary science or as a separate subject. 

Discussion on Planning the Land of Britain. — ^Reprints of this discussion, 
which took place at the Nottingham Meeting last year and appears in 
the Report of that Meeting, have been widely circulated to planning 
authorities and organisations interested in this subject. 

Scientific Advisory Committee of the Trades Union Congress.— The 
Trades Union Congress asked for the co-operation of the Association in 
proposing names of scientific workers who might be invited by the 
Congress to serve on a Scientific Advisory Committee. The General 


Officers were authorised to advise the representatives of the Congress 
informally in this matter. 

Reports on a Division for Social and International Relations of Science, 
and a Publication. — The Countil have approved in principle, and recom- 
mend, the establishment of a Division of the Association to deal with the 
social and international relations of science. A Committee was appointed 
to formulate a schema for the working of this Division. The same 
Ccmmittee was instructed to consider and report upon present mtthods 
of publication by the Association, and to suggest alternative mtthods if 
thought desirable. The reports of this Committee are appended hereto. 

Down House. 

The following report for the year 1937-38 has been received from the 
Down House Committee : — 

The number of visitors to Down House during the year ending June 6, 
1938, has been 7,185, compared with 6,148 in 1936-37. 

A number of valued gifts have been added to the collection during the 
past year. Sir Buckston Browne acquired and presented a portrait of 
Darwin in oils, by E. Pailthorp, apparently made from a photograph already 
in the collection, as Darwin is believed to have sat only to Ouless and 
Collier. Sir Buckston Browne also collected photographs of members of 
Darwin's family, which have been framed together. He received from 
Mr. Sidney Spokes, M.R.C.S., a copy of the second edition of Lyell's 
Elements of Geology, on a flyleaf of which there appears in Lyell's hand the 
note : ' Darwin recommends a short chap, on metallic veins, giving the 
present state of our knowledge. He denies seeing a beginning to each crop 
of species. Jan. 26, 1842.' With this volume is now shown one of Lyell's 
geological hammers, presented by Miss D. Pertz. Darwin's aneroid 
barometer now hangs again in the old study, through the generosity of 
Miss Hooker. Prof. F. W. Oliver, F.R.S., has presented an important 
series of letters, which his father. Prof. Daniel Oliver, F.R.S., had from 
Darwin. Mr. T. M. Ragg gave a reproduction of a portrait of Fitzroy, 
commander of H.M.S. Beagle. Sir Josiah Stamp presented a reproduction 
of the armorial bearings of the Association in stained glass. The statuette 
of Darwin, mentioned in last year's report as by an unknown artist, has been 
recognised as a studio model by Horace Montford : no statue appears to 
have been executed from it. 

A new edition of the Catalogue has been prepared and will be brought 
into circulation shortly. 

Rainfall is now read regularly from the standard gauge. The total 
precipitation last year (1937) was 39-12 in., but as the standard gauge was 
not in use in the first half of the year, no return was made to the Meteoro- 
logical Office. By way of contrast, it may be mentioned that the rainfall 
in January to March, 1937, was over 15 in. ; in January to March, 1938, it 
was 5 in., of which 3-54 in. fell in January, 0-895 in February, and 0-565 
in March. 

The Committee were glad to hear of the visit of a party to the House on 
May 27 in connection with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the 
foundation of the Linnean Society. 

The following financial statement shows income and expenditure on 
account of Down House for the years ending March 31, 1937 and 1938 : — 




By Rents receivable . . . , 

„ Income Tax recovered 

,, Interest and Dividends 

„ Donations ..... 

„ Sale of Catalogues, Postcards and Photo- 
graphs ...... 

,, Pilgrim Trust Grant .... 

,, Instalment of Grant from Herbert 
Spencer Bequest .... 

,, Balance, being excess of expenditure over 
income for the year, transferred to 
Suspense Account 


figures, 1936-37 

I s. d. £ s. d. 

139 5 o 141 o o 

177 8 o 168 I 6 

807 15 o 8iy 2 o 

389 3 17 I 

26 8 4 
150 o o 

366 9 o 


23 8 4 
150 o 

132 3 4 






435 12 3 



figures, 1936-37 

To Wages of Staff .... 




803 ig 7 

,, Rates, Insurance, etc. 




69 5 6 

,, Heating, etc. .... 



138 14 8 

,, Lighting and Drainage (including 


and petrol) .... 




79 4 II 

,, Water 




15 7 I 

,, Repairs and Renewals 




159 2 4 

,, Garden and Land : Materials 


Maintenance .... 




45 19 8 

,, Donations to Village Institutions . 




,, Household Requisites, etc. . 




15 18 10 

,, Transport and Carriage 




I 16 6 

,, Printing, Postages, Telephone 


Stationery .... 




35 7 5 

,, Sundries (non-recurrent) 


9 15 8 

,, Balance, being excess of income 


expenditure for the year, transferred 

to Suspense Account 


55 15 I 





£1,435 12 3 

Thanks to the grant of £500 by the Council from the Spencer Bequest, 
it has been possible to carry out important repairs and renovations during 
the past two years without drawing upon the general funds. This sum 
has now been expended. 

As the Council are already aware, the Pilgrim Trustees have made a final 
grant of £150, payable as to £100 and £50 in the two ensuing financial years 

The Council desire to commend, and to bring to the notice of Members 
of the General Committee and others, a proposal which has received the 
approval of the Down House Committee that steps should be taken to form 
a collection of biographies of Darwin and of contemporary literature 
bearing upon his work, for addition to the library now at Down House. 

REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 xxiii 



The following report, and proposals contained therein, were adopted by the 
General Committee at its Meeting on August 17, 1938. 

At the present time a strong feeling exists that the social relations of science 
demand close and objective study. The question has been dealt with 
recently in the press and elsewhere. At an informal meeting of persons 
specially interested, it was stated that there is nothing in the constitution 
of the British Association to prevent the establishment of machinery 
within that organisation for the purpose desired. A resolution was 
thereupon addressed from this meeting to the Council of the Association, 
inviting the Association to establish a special department which would 
consider the social and international relations of science, by means of 
enquiry, publication, and the holding of meetings not necessarily confined 
to the annual meetings of the Association. 

International relations were specified in this resolution primarily because 
of the deep interest of the American Association for the Advancement of 
Science in the subject. Discussion is expected to take place between 
officers of the two Associations, during the present summer, on the best 
means for international co-operation. 

The Council supported the proposal to establish an organisation for 
these purposes within the Association. They appointed a Committee to 
formulate a scheme for the working of such an organisation, to be presented 
to the General Committee at the Cambridge Meeting. It is thought that 
the organisation should work on lines in some respects different from 
those of a Section, and should not bear that title. The term Division is 
therefore recommended. 

The purpose of the Division would be to further the objective study 
of the social relations of science. The problems with which it would 
deal would be concerned with the effects of advances in science on the 
well-being of the community, and, reciprocally, the effects of social 
conditions upon advances in science. 

The Division would be worked by a Committee, nominated annually 
by the Council and appointed by the General Committee. The Council 
should have power to appoint additional members of the Committee 
during the year. 

The Committee should embody the existing British Science Guild 
Committee of the Association, inasmuch as the Norman Lockyer, 
Alexander Pedler, and Radford Mather Lectures, now administered by 
that Committee, would appropriately come within the purview of the 

The President of the Association and the General Officers should be 
ex-officio members of the Committee. A chairman of the Committee 
should be appointed for a fixed period of office. A fixed proportion of the 
ordinary members of the Committee should retire annually (as in the case 
of the Council) and should not be eligible for immediate re-election. 

xxiv REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 

The functions of the Committee would be : 

(a) To arrange meetings of the Division both at the time and place of 
the Annual Meetings of the Association, and elsewhere at other times, as 
invited or otherwise arranged ; to appoint speakers, and to accept or 
reject communications offered to the Division. 

(b) To furnish material for the information of the public. 

(c) To co-ordinate work dealing with the social relations of science, both 
at home and abroad. 

(d) To be prepared to act in a consultative capacity and to supply 
information, and to that end to establish relations with organisations and 
persons engaged in practical administration. 

(For the furtherance of the above objects, the Committee, immediately 
upon the establishment of the Division, should issue an announcement 
thereof, together with a reasoned statement of its aims, to institutions and 
other organisations and individuals known or likely to be interested in its 

(e) To set up sub-committees for executive purposes, or for research, 
enquiry, or co-ordination. If any such sub-committee should require a 
grant of money for its work, the Committee should be empowered to 
apply for such grant to the General Committee or the Council in accord- 
ance with the usual procedure relating to research committees. 

(/) To maintain close relations with the Sections of the Association and 
their Organising Committees. In particular, there may be imagined 
subjects which two or more Sections might be disposed to recommend 
to the Division for discussion, in lieu of arranging joint meetings of the 
Sections. The Committee of the Division, on its part, should be enabled 
to invite the advice of the sectional organisations on all appropriate 
questions. The Organising Sectional Committees should be kept 
regularly informed of the activities of the Division. 

The Committee should meet regularly throughout the year, at intervals 
determined by itself, and in particular it should hold a meeting at or near 
the time of the joint meetings of Organising Sectional Committees in Jan- 
uary, in order to assure the relations with the Sections referred to above. 

I'he Committee should report to the Council as and when necessary, 
and annually through the Council to the General Committee. 



The following report was adopted by the General Committee at its Meeting 
on August 24, 1938, excepting the portion enclosed in [brackets] and dealing 
with the Journal, which was amended so as to admit of the retention of 
abstracts, more strictly limited as to length, for use at the Annual Meeting 
and subsequently for record if necessary. 

In November 1937 the Council directed the General Officers to con- 
sider and report upon the format and printing of the Report of the 
Association. Subsequently, the Committee which was appointed to 


formulate a scheme for the new Division referred to above was instructed 
also to consider and report upon the whole question of publication by the 

The Committee, after considering various schemes in detail, recommend 
that as from the year 1939-40 the Annual Volume should be superseded 
by a Quarterly Report. The annual volume following the Cambridge 
Meeting would thus be the last of its series. 

The principal considerations which have led the Committee to make this 
recommendation are as follows : 

Quarterly publication should go far to overcome the widespread belief 
that the British Association is inactive except during its annual meeting. 
The fact that it now administers the Norman Lockyer, Alexander Pedler, 
and Radford Mather lectures (which are given at times and places other 
than those of the annual meetings) points to the desirability of publication 
at less than annual intervals ; and the establishment of the new Division 
on the lines recommended would strongly reinforce this argument. 

Quarterly publication would provide the means of keeping members 
and the public informed as to the activities of the Association, as an annual 
volume cannot. Quarterly publication should achieve a wider circulation 
than the annual volume does for individual communications which call 
for a wider publicity than they receive by inclusion in an annual volume. 

It is recommended that the Quarterly should appear in October, 
January, April and July. The size proposed is royal octavo (approxi- 
mately 10 X 6h in.). It is suggested that the title The Advancement of 
Science should be transferred to the Quarterly from the present publica- 
tion which bears that name and contains the presidential addresses given 
at the annual meeting. In substitution for the publication of all these 
addresses together, it is proposed to issue individual addresses separately, 
at the time of the meeting. 

The bulk of the material made available from the annual meeting would 
appear in the October and January numbers. There should, however, 
be the fullest possible measure of elasticity. This consideration might be 
expected to apply especially to the reports of research committees, for 
which delayed publication is sometimes found desirable ; or on the other 
hand publication in advance of the meeting at which a particular research 
is to be discussed might be allowed at the discretion of the appropriate 
Organising Sectional Committee. 

[It is considered that the Journal of Sectional Transactions, as at present 
issued at the annual meeting and subsequently incorporated in the Annual 
Report, is of little value as a permanent record. It is proposed that the 
present Programme and Timetable should include the programme of 
each Section separately (as the Journal does now), with abstracts of the 
briefest possible nature, or none where titles of communications would 
suffice alone. The transactions of the Sections should be reported in the 
Quarterly in narrative form, and] so far as finance would allow there should 
be additional opportunity for publication in extenso or full abstract, and 
for the reporting of discussions. 

No changes in the terms of membership subscription are recom- 
mended ; life members and annual members now entitled to receive the 



Annual Report would receive the Quarterly. The price of 3^. 6d. per 
part is recommended for non-subscribers. 

The Quarterly should be marketed by arrangement with a publishing 

The division into quarterly parts would in itself cost little more than the 
annual volume, even allowing for improvement of the format. Additional 
matter for publication, however, would be expected from the new Division 
and from more effective reporting of the work of the Sections. The 
establishment of the new Division would increase clerical work in the 
office. On these considerations it has been estimated that the proposals 
here made might involve the Association in an additional annual ex- 
penditure of £400-^500 in a few years' time ; and in this event a 
temporary draft upon capital would be necessary. 

It is hoped, however, that such additional expenditure would be offset 
by increased sales of the Quarterly and reports of Presidential Addresses, 
as against those of the Annual Volume and the present Advancement of 
Science, and also by receipts from advertisements in the Quarterly. More- 
over, the establishment of the new Division and the publication of a 
Quarterly are both measures which should help to increase the membership 
of the Association. 


At the Norwich Meeting of the British Association in 1935, the General 
Committee of the British Association received Professor J. N. Mukherjee, 
one of the General Secretaries of the Indian Science Congress Association, 
who announced that that body would celebrate its jubilee at a meeting in 
Calcutta in the winter of 1937-38. The Indian Association was founded in 
1912-13, and the first meeting took place at Calcutta in the following year. 
Professor Mukherjee, with Professor S. P. Agharkar, had been appointed 
to negotiate with the British Association for the purpose of securing the 
organisation of a representative scientific delegation to participate in the 
jubilee meeting. The proposal was new in the sense that the British 
Association had never before received a definite invitation to co-operate in 
this manner with a kindred association overseas — that is to say apart from, 
and in addition to, its own overseas meetings. The General Committee 
recognised the far-reaching importance of the proposal, and directed the 
Council to carry on negotiations with the Indian Science Congress Associa- 
tion. This was done, and the Council were able to report in the following 
year that the formal invitation of the Indian Association had been received 
and accepted. The Calcutta Congress was appointed to be held from 
January 3 to 9, 1938. 

The Indian Association appointed Professor the Rt. Hon. Lord 
Rutherford, O.M., F.R.S., to be its President for the jubilee year. He 
died on October 19, 1937 ; he had intended to leave England for India 
on November 26. His loss, deplored by the whole scientific world, was 
very specially grievous to the delegation and to the Congress. The 
Indian Association, through the British Association, invited Sir James 







Showing places visited by the Delegation 
(in CAPITALS) and by individual delegatei 



Scale of miles 

100 so 100 200 300 

xxviii REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 

Jeans, F.R.S., to take Lord Rutherford's place in the chair, and fortunately 
for both bodies he was able to do so at short notice. 

The Indian Association presented to the British Association lists of 
scientific representatives whose presence was specially desired. The 
Council of the British Association appointed a Committee to supervise 
invitations and arrangements generally, and under the direction of that 
Committee the General Secretaries issued invitations to persons named 
as above by the Indian Association, to members of the British Association 
who had occupied sectional chairs or other high offices, and to certain 
others whose attendance was desirable in order to assure proper repre- 
sentation of departments of Science specially appropriate to India. The 
Indian Association itself issued direct a limited number of invitations, 
principally to representatives from European countries. The number 
of invited delegates who accepted invitations was 65, and with the addition 
of relatives of some of these and certain other members the total number 
of the visiting party was loi. 

The Indian Science Congress Association placed at the disposal of the 
British Association a sum of £2,125, including a grant from the Govern- 
ment of India and contributions from other sources. The British Associa- 
tion collected from institutions, firms, and individuals in Great Britain 
a sum of £i,2S^ lis., and made a contribution from its own funds. 
Grants in aid of travelling expenses were made to invited delegates (with 
some few exceptions), amounting in total to ^4,590. Particulars of the 
Delegation Account are included in the General Treasurer's Report for 
1937-38. The President travelled as the guest of the Indian Science 
Congress Association. The same Association appointed at its own charge 
a tour manager for the official journey of the visiting party in India. 

Of the party of loi members, all except eleven either left England by 
the P. & O. Company's steamer Cathay on November 26, 1937, or joined 
her at Marseilles after leaving England at the beginning of December 
and travelling overland. They reached Bombay early on December 17. 
Here one of the delegates. Dr. A. B. Rendle, F.R.S., who had been in 
poor health, was advised not to continue the journey. He remained in 
hospital at Bombay for a short time, and then returned to England, but 
died shortly after reaching home (Jan. 12), to the deep regret of his 
colleagues in the delegation. 

On landing at Bombay the party was received on the lawn adjacent to 
Ballard Pier by Mr. V. N. Chandavarkar, Vice-Chancellor of the Univer- 
sity, Rao Bahadur T. S. Venkataraman, retiring President of the Indian 
Science Congress Association, Professor J. N. Mukherjee and other 
representatives. The local reception committee entertained the party 
to dinner on December 17 at the Willingdon Club, and to luncheon on 
December 18 at the Taj Mahal Hotel. Opportunities were afforded for 
visiting departments of the University, St. Xavier's College, the Royal 
Insititute of Science, the Grant Medical College, the Haffkine Institute, 
and other institutions, and also for seeing something of the many points 
of interest in the city and its neighbourhood. Lectures or short addresses 
were given by Sir James Jeans, F.R.S., Prof. F. A. E. Crew (two). Dr. F. W. 
Aston, F.R.S., Dr. C. S. Myers, C.B.E., F.R.S. (two). Dr. C. G. Darwin, 
F.R.S., Prof. R. A. Fisher, F.R.S., Mr. H. J. E. Peake, and Prof. H. J. 

REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 xxix 

Fleure, F.R.S. ; and Mr. H. M. Hallsworth, C.B.E., had a discussion 
with advanced students in the Department of Economics in the Univer- 
sity. Prof. Winifred Cullis, C.B.E., addressed Bombay University 
Women at the Cama Hospital. It may be stated here, and taken as apply- 
ing at all points throughout India where general or public lectures were 
given by delegates, that the numbers and enthusiasm of the audiences 
were such as to gratify and even astonish the visitors. Broadcasts were 
given from the Bombay station of All-India Radio by Prof. Winifred 
Cullis, C.B.E., and Prof. F. A. E. Crew. 

The party left Bombay in the afternoon of December 18, in the special 
train which was to be their headquarters during the tour through northern 
India until January 2, and again for those of them who joined the southern 
tour after the Congress in Calcutta. The train consisted of the Punjab 
Limited rolling-stock of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, and for the 
outward tour included seven corridor coaches with compartments affording 
very comfortable living and sleeping accommodation for two persons each, 
two dining cars, a brake, a servants' car, and a commissariat car. The 
travel arrangements were made by the Indian Science Congress Associa- 
tion in collaboration with the railway companies concerned and with 
Messrs. Thos. Cook & Son as agents. Mr. W. D. West, one of the 
General Secretaries of the Indian Association, had principally dealt with 
the details of organisation of the tours in advance, and Prof. J. N. 
Mukherjee, the other General Secretary, accompanied the tour preceding 
the Congress, and dealt with all the arrangements therefor excepting 
those at Agra and Dehra Dun and those of the geologists' visit to 
Dhanbad, etc. 

In the morning of December 19 the party reached Hyderabad, the capital 
of the Deccan State of that name, and during their sojourn within its 
frontiers they were guests of the State in respect not only of entertainment, 
but also of accommodation and travel. They visited the site of the Osmania 
University, which was established in 191 8, and were shown the buildings 
and departments already erected and in operation. The medical college 
and Osmania hospital, the museum, the Nizamiah Observatory, and the 
Cottage Industries Institute were seen by individual members. Sir James 
Jeans, F.R.S. , addressed the University staff and students, and various 
members of the party were enabled to meet professors and students in the 
departments in which they were specially interested, and to discuss their 
work. The whole party was entertained to lunch in the University hostel. 
Afterwards Golconda, an immense hill-fort and the capital of the Kutb 
Shahi Kingdom of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was visited, 
and also tombs of the kings of this dynasty. Sir Arthur Eddington, 
F.R.S., gave a lecture in the Town Hall, and a banquet was held in the 
Address Hall of the University. The party left at night for Aurangabad 
in a narrow-gauge train provided by the State, and next day (December 20) 
visited the rock-hewn temples at Ellora, which range in dates from the 
third to the ninth century a.d., and in which the Buddhist, Brahmanic, 
and Jain religions are represented. The hill-fortress of Daulatabad, 
founded probably in the twelfth century, and other historic sites were also 
seen. On December 21 the party was taken by road to Ajanta, the site 
of another great series of rock-temples, where the architecture, sculpture, 


and painting ' represent every stage of Buddhist art from the first century 
B.C. to the middle of the seventh century a.d.' ^ From Ajanta the party 
proceeded by road to Jalgaon, where the broad-gauge train vv^as rejoined 
at night. 

In the morning of December 22 a halt was made at Sanchi, in Bhopal 
State, where the Buddhist stupas and other remains, dating from the 
third century B.C. to the twelfth century a.d., were visited. In the 
evening the train arrived at Agra. Some of the delegates visited the Taj 
Mahal the same night, and it was here that Dr. W. W. Vaughan met with 
the lamentable accident which resulted in his death. In the darkness he 
fell from a terrace which is unprotected by any parapet. One of his 
legs was broken, and after a long illness he died in the Thomason Hospital 
at Agra on February 4, 1938, to the keen distress of all his colleagues 
in the delegation. 

On December 23 the Fort and the Taj Mahal, superb monuments of 
the Mogul Emperors Akbar, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb (1556-1707), 
were visited, and some of the party were able to see the fort of Fatehpur 
Sikri and also the Latitude Variation Observatory of the Survey of India, 
and the Upper Air Observatory of the Meteorological Department. Sir 
James Jeans, F.R.S., gave an address to students at the University. The 
main party left Agra in the evening of December 23, and arrived at Delhi 
in the morning of December 24. Some members, however, diverged in 
order to visit Aligarh, where, at the University, short addresses were given 
by Prof. Ernest Barker, Sir Arthur Eddington, F.R.S., Prof. W. T. 
Gordon, Dr. W. G. Ogg, and Dr. Dudley Stamp. 

At Delhi on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day the great modern 
group of Government buildings — the Viceroy's House, the Secretariat, 
and the Council House — and the new Imperial Institute of Agricultural 
Research were visited, as well as many historical monuments, such as 
the fort, the palace, and Juma Masjid (mosque) of Shah Jahan (c. 1640), 
the ruined old fort of the fifteenth century, the mosque of Sher Shah, 
and the twelfth-century Tower of Victory known as the Kutb Minar, 
with its adjacent Jain and Hindu temples and mosque and the famous 
iron pillar to which is assigned an age of fifteen centuries or more. The 
Government of India entertained the party to luncheon on Christmas 
Eve, and on Christmas Day most generous entertainment was extended 
to individual members by many residents, Indian and British, in New 
Delhi. Broadcasts were given on Christmas Eve by Sir James Jeans, 
F.R.S., and Dr. O. J. R. Howarth. 

Leaving Delhi on Christmas night, the party reached Dehra Dun in 
the morning of December 26. Here members visited the Forest Research 
Institute and the Geodetic Branch of the Survey of India. The Forestry 
Research Institute, established in 1906, occupies an estate of 1,400 acres, 
and its fine buildings, besides administrative and residential quarters, 
include a chemical branch, insectary, saw mill, pulp and paper plant, 
wood workshops, and timber testing, seasoning and preservation labora- 
tories, while there are also an arboretum and botanical and experimental 

1 This quotation, and much of the information throughout this report, are 
taken with grateful acknowledgment from the guide-book specially prepared for 
the delegation by the Indian Science Congress Association. 

REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 xxxi 

gardens. The work of the Geodetic Branch includes, among other 
activities, precise levelling for the determination of heights, tidal pre- 
dictions and the publication of tide tables for ports between Suez and 
Singapore, the magnetic survey, astronomical observations for the 
determination of latitude, longitude, and time, seismographical and 
meteorological observations, and topographical survey and map reproduc- 
tions. Most of the party found time to drive up to Mussoorie (6,500 feet), 
from which the view of Himalayan snow-mountains is restricted, but that 
over the foothills and the plains to the south is of impressive extent. 

The party left Dehra Dun late on December 26, and reached Benares 
in the afternoon of December 27. Sir Arthur Eddington, F.R.S., visited 
Allahabad, and presided over a colloquium on astrophysics. On arrival 
at Benares the party was conveyed to Sarnath, where, about five centuries 
before Christ, Buddha first preached after his enlightenment, and where 
Asoka set up the great Dhamekh stupa in the third century B.C., and a 
column of which broken remains are seen on the ground, while the 
richly sculptured capital is in the adjacent museum. On December 28 
the party viewed from boats the famous river-frontage of Benares with 
its temples, ghats, and steps. Afterwards members were entertained 
in the Benares Hindu University, and attended its twentieth Convocation, 
at which, among others, the following delegates received honorary 
degrees : Sir James Jeans, F.R.S., Sir Arthur Eddington, F.R.S., 
Dr. F. W. Aston, F.R.S., Prof. E. C. C. Baly, C.B.E., F.R.S., Prof. 
V. H. Blackman, F.R.S., Prof. C. G. Jung, and Prof. F. A. E. Crew. Sir 
James Jeans addressed the Convocation, and lectures or short addresses 
to students were subsequently given by Dr. F. W. Aston, F.R.S., Prof. 
E. C. C. Baly, C.B.E., F.R.S., Prof. Ernest Barker, Prof. V. H. 
Blackman, F.R.S., Prof. F. A. E. Crew, Sir Arthur Eddington, F.R.S., 
and Prof. C. G. Jung. 

From Benares, which was quitted on the night of December 28, the 
special train proceeded to Calcutta, which was reached in the afternoon 
of December 29. It crossed the great Chinsurah bridge over the Hooghly 
above the city, in order to enter Sealdah station, where it remained for 
little more than an hour, and then proceeded through the night to 
Siliguri, taking the great majority of the members for a visit to Darjeeling. 

It will be apparent from the preceding narrative that much of the 
railway-travelling was done at night, but sufficient took place in daylight 
to afford, together with the long road-journeys in Hyderabad and shorter 
drives elsewhere, at least a cursory view of the main geographical regions 
of central and northern India which were traversed. After the departure 
from Bornbay in the late afternoon, there remained just sufficient light 
to reveal the transition from the flat lowland of the Konkan country to 
the flat-topped hills of the Western Ghats with their isolated pinnacles 
and bold escarpments of basaltic lavas, deeply eroded. The plateau of 
peninsular India, wherever it was traversed, whether in Hyderabad or 
during the tour after the Congress, farther south, was seen in dry condi- 
tions ; occasionally even a semi-desert type of vegetation was apparent. 
If the scenery of the plateau left a general sense of monotony, it was at 
any rate possible to distinguish some of its different physical character- 
istics. The vast tracts of red laterite soil gave a peculiar impression of 

xxxii REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 

aridity, by contrast, especially, with the alternating areas of black cotton 
soil. Again, during the traverse of Hyderabad State it was possible to 
observe the distinctions of form between the volcanic region of the Deccan 
trap and the undulating plains and rounded hills of the Archaean crystal- 
line rocks with their irregularly weathered tors of granite boulders. 
One of the escarpments of the trap country was finely seen on the descent 
to the gorge in which the caves of Ajanta are excavated, and here, as well 
as at Ellora and in the moat and scarp of Daulatabad fort, the manner 
in which the basalt on the one hand had lent itself to artificial working, 
and on the other its resistance to the influences of weathering, was 
wonderful to see. The area of Pre-Cambrian sandstones which ' have 
furnished a great wealth of building stone to the architects of ancient 
India and stimulated their art ' were crossed in the vicinity of Sanchi, 
and the rough and rather barren quartzites and metamorphic rocks of 
the Delhi system offered a further contrast both to the Sanchi country 
and to the rich alluvial plains of the Gangetic rivers, which were traversed 
northward towards Dehra Dun and eastward to Calcutta. ' The plains 
rise in gentle undulations away from the river banks, and for miles there 
is an unbroken succession of fields, orchards, and mango groves, surround- 
ing clusters of mud villages.' The scenery thus described was un- 
interrupted during December 29, save where the Rajmahal hills in 
Bihar rise as outliers of the Chota Nagpur plateaux to the south. This 
last district was visited by a small geological party, which left the special 
train at Kodarma on December 29, and proceeding by way of Ranchi, 
Gua, Jamshedpur, and Dhanbad, arrived in Calcutta early on January 3. 

At two points the route of the special train traversed the rich sub- 
montane tracts bordering the plains on the north-east, and afforded views 
of the impressive approaches to the wall-like foothills of the Himalayan 
mountain-system. The first of these occasions was at Dehra Dun as 
already indicated ; the second at Siliguri on December 30. Here the 
railway was left for the ascent by road to Darjeeling, where, at a height 
of some 7,000 feet above sea-level, the party had the extreme good 
fortune to enjoy two-and-a-half days (December 30-January i) of perfect 
weather, in unclouded view of the Himalayan range which culminates 
in Kangchenjunga (28,146 feet). The party returned to Calcutta in 
the morning of January 2. 

From Calcutta the President, Sir James Jeans, F.R.S., conveyed thanks 
on behalf of the party to the following gentlemen who had been instru- 
mental in arranging for the hospitality and facilities afforded at the 
various places visited : — 

Bombay : Rao Bahadur V. N. Chandavarkar, Vice- Chancellor of the 

Hyderabad : The Rt. Hon. Sir Akbar Hydari, President of the Executive 
Council and Chancellor of the Osmania University ; the Hon. Nawab 
Mehdi Yar Jung, political and education member and Vice-Chancellor of 
the University ; Prof. Kasi Mohamed Husain, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the 

Agra : Mr. Zafar Hasan, Superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India, 
Northern Circle ; Mr. G. Chatterjee, Meteorological Office ; Prof. K. C. 
Mehta, Department of Botany, Agra University. 

REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 xxxiii 

Delhi : Sir Girja Sunkar Bagpai ; the Hon. Sir Shah Sulaiman ; 
Mr. Lala Sri Ram. 

Dehra Dun : Mr. L. Mason, C.I.E., Inspector-General of Forests ; 
Col. C. M. Thompson, Director of the Geodetic Branch, Survey of India. 

Benares : Pundit M. M. Malaviya, Vice-Chancellor of the Benares Hindu 
University ; Raja Juala Prasad, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University. 

The Silver Jubilee Session of the Indian Science Congress Association 
was opened by H.E. the Viceroy of India (the Marquess of Linlithgow), 
in the University College of Science, Calcutta, on January 3, 1938. 
Sir James Jeans, F.R.S., after his own short prefatory address, com- 
municated to the Congress the presidential address which had been 
prepared by Lord Rutherford. The reception room, offices, and 
section meeting rooms of the Congress were in the Presidency College, 
the University Buildings, the All-India Institute of Hygiene and Public 
Health, and the School of Tropical Medicine. The transactions of the 
Congress were continued daily until January 9, with the exception of 
January 6, a day devoted to excursions. The transactions are fully 
reported by the Indian Science Congress Association, but it may be 
mentioned here that occasion was taken during the week to hold also 
the annual meetings of the National Institute of Sciences of India, the 
Indian Chemical Society, the Indian Physical Society, the Indian Section 
of the Institute of Chemistry of Great Britain and Ireland, the Indian 
Botanical Society, the Society of Biological Chemists of India, the Indian 
Psychological Association, the Indian Society of Soil Science, the 
Physiological Society of India, and the Indian Anthropological Institute. 

Diplomas of honorary Silver Jubilee membership were presented to 
Sir James Jeans, F.R.S., Dr. F. W. Aston, F.R.S., Prof. L. F. de 
Beaufort, Prof. A. H. R. Buller, F.R.S., Prof. Sir Arthur Eddington, 
F.R.S., Sir Frederick Hobday, C.M.G., Prof. C. G. Jung, and Prof. 
J. L. Simonssn, F.R.S., of the delegation, and also to Sir Venkata 
Raman, F.R.S., Sir PrafuUa Ray, Prof. M. N. Saha, F.R.S., and 
Sir M. Visbesbaraya. 

Public lectures were given by Sir James Jeans, F.R.S., and other 
members of the delegation, including Dr. F. W. Aston, F.R.S., Prof. 
Ernest Barker (two), Prof. F. A. E. Crew, Dr. C. G. Darwin, F.R.S., 
Prof. Sir Arthur Eddington, F.R.S., Prof. H. J. Fleure, F.R.S., and 
Dr. J. A. Venn. Among other lectures given by the delegates to various 
bodies in Calcutta were the following. The Indian Association for the 
Cultivation of Science conferred upon Sir James Jeans, F.R.S., and 
Dr. F. W. Aston, F.R.S., the Joy Kissen Mookerjee Medal for 1937 and 
1938 respectively, and each delivered an address to this Association on 
the occasion of the award of the medals. The same Association heard 
three lectures by Prof. J. E. Lennard-Jones, F.R.S., as Coochbehar 
Professor, and three by Sir Arthur Hill, K.C.M.G., F.R.S., as Ripon 
Professor ; while Dr. A. E. H. Tutton, F.R.S., devoted much time to 
discussion in the laboratory of the Association. Sir Henry Tizard, 
K.C.B., F.R.S., and Prof. J. L. Simonsen, F.R.S., addressed the Institute 
of Chemists ; Sir Arthur Eddington, F.R.S., the Indian Physical Society 
and also the Rotary Club ; Prof. F. A. E. Crew the local branch of the 
Indian Medical Association. The Institution of Engineers received 

xxxiv REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 

lectures by Prof. R. V. Southwell, F.R.S., and Prof. G. W. O. Howe ; 
and Prof. Howe also addressed the Association of Engineers. Four 
lectures in the University and one to industrialists were given by Dr. 
C. S. Myers, C.B.E., F.R.S., and two in the College of Science by 
Prof. C. G. Jung. Prof. Winifred Cullis, C.B.E., and Dr. E. P. Poulton 
addressed the Physiological Society of India, Dr. Poulton the Indian 
Medical Association, and Prof. R. Ruggles Gates, F.R.S., the Botanical 
Society of Bengal and the Bose Institute. Prof. P. G. H. Boswell, F.R.S., 
addressed University students. Broadcasts were given by Dr. W. G. 
Ogg, Sir Arthur Hill, K.C.M.G., F.R.S., Prof. P. G. H. Boswell, 
F.R.S., Dr. C. S. Myers, C.B.E., F.R.S., Sir Arthur Eddington, 
F.R.S., and Prof. H. J. Fleure. F.R.S. Sir James Jeans, Sir Arthur 
Hill, and other delegates took part in the celebration of the 150th an- 
niversary of the Botanical Gardens on January 6. A number of the 
delegates attended a Vice-regal garden party at Belvidere on January 4, 
and H.E. the Governor of Bengal (Lord Brabourne) and Lady Brabourne 
gave a garden party for the Congress on January 7, which was followed 
at Government House by a special Convocation of the University of 
Calcutta, at which honorary degrees were conferred upon Sir James 
Jeans, F.R.S., Dr. F. W. Aston, F.R.S., Prof. Ernest Barker, Sir Arthur 
Eddington, F.R.S., Prof. A. H. R. Buller, F.R.S., Prof. R. A. Fisher, 
F.R.S., Prof. C. G. Jung, Dr. C. S. Myers, C.B.E., F.R.S., and Prof. W. 
Straub. The Corporation of the City of Calcutta gave a civic reception 
on January 4 ; a Science Congress dinner was held on January 8 ; the 
University of Calcutta gave a farewell party in the afternoon of January 9, 
and the hospitality of other official and non-official bodies and private 
residents was lavish and extensive. The Indian Science Congress 
Association, at the conclusion of the Congress, embodied their thanks 
to all concerned in a series of resolutions, and on behalf of the delegation 
Sir James Jeans, F.R.S. , issued the following message to the Press : 

' At the moment of leaving Calcutta, the visiting scientific delegation 
tender their most sincere thanks to all the kind hosts who have helped to 
make their stay in Calcutta so enjoyable. 

' The Scientific Congress which we have been privileged to attend has 
impressed us all with its extraordinary vitality, with the widespread and 
generous attention accorded to our own contributions, and with the keen 
public interest which the transactions of the meeting have aroused. The 
huge audiences at the pubhc lectures have been specially gratifying. 

' I must reiterate our appreciation of the compliment paid by the Indian 
Science Congress Association to the British Association for the Advancement 
of Science in inviting its co-operation in the arrangement of the delegation ; 
that invitation has forged a powerful new bond" between Indian and British 
Science, to the great advantage of both, and we all hope that the effects of 
that bond may prove wider even than the bounds of science. 

' We offer our thanks to the Indian Science Congress Association, to its 
kindred scientific institutions, to the many organisations which have 
contributed to the success of the Congress, to the City and University of • 
Calcutta and to the province of Bengal. 

* The women of the party owe special gratitude to the ladies, resident in 
Calcutta, who have afforded them such ample opporttmities for learning of 
the manifold interests of the City.' 

REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 xxxv 

On the conclusion of the Congress some of the delegates proceeded 
to various points in India in pursuance of personal scientific interests 
and engagements. A party of over fifty of the visitors, however, left 
Calcutta for the south in the special train on the night of January 9. 
On the following day they saw something of the picturesque scenery of 
the maritime plain bordering the Eastern Ghats, and they reached Madras 
in the forenoon of January 11. Here they were entertained by the 
University of Madras at a luncheon, visited the museum, the aquarium, 
and other points of interest, and on the invitation of the Sheriff of 
Madras attended a garden party arranged by the city in honour of the 
Viceroy. The thanks of the party were subsequently conveyed by 
the President to the Vice-Chancellor of the University and to the 
Sheriff of the city. Lectures were given by Prof. Ernest Barker, by 
Prof. F. J. M. Stratton at the Christian College, Tambaram, and by 
Prof. J. L. Simonsen, F.R.S., at the Presidency College Chemical 

The special train left Madras at night, and the next morning (January 12) 
the party changed at Bangalore into a narrow-gauge train for Mysore City. 
At Bangalore and Mysore, and for the intervening journey, they were the 
guests of the State of Mysore. At Mysore City they were accommodated 
in Government House and in a camp (a term of more elaborate connotation 
in India than at home). Lectures were given by Sir James Jeans, F.R.S., 
Dr. F. W. Aston, F.R.S., Prof. Ernest Barker, Sir Arthur Eddington, 
F.R.S., and Prof. C. E. Spearman, F.R.S. The Maharaja's palace, the 
University, the Technical Institute, the Zoological Gardens, and various 
institutions were visited by members, and after nightfall they viewed 
with wonder the illuminated fountains at the great dam on the river 
Cauvery, and the city, brilliantly lit up, from Chamundi Hill. On the 
morning of January 13 the fort at Seringapatam and the tombs of Hyder 
Ali and Tippu Sultan were inspected, and the party entrained for Banga- 
lore. Here again a number of institutions were visited, including the 
Indian Institute of Science and the College of Science. Sir James Jeans, 
F.R.S. , addressed students at both the college and the institution, and the 
following also spoke : Dr. F. W. Aston, F.R.S., Prof. Ernest Barker, 
Prof. P. G. H. Boswell, F.R.S., Prof. F. A. E. Crew, Dr. C. G. Darwin, 
F.R.S., Prof. W. T. Gordon, and Prof. J. L. Simonsen, F.R.S. The 
thanks of the members were subsequently conveyed by the President 
to His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore, to Sir Mirza M. Ismail, Dewan 
Sahib of Mysore, and to Sir Charles Todhunter, K.C.S.I., private 
secretary to the Maharaja. 

The party entrained at Bangalore on the night of January 13, and 
travelled direct to Bombay, where on January 15 they embarked on the 
S.S. Strathaird for the voyage home. Before doing so. Prof. Ernest 
Barker and Dr. R. N. Salaman, F.R.S., gave lectures, and Prof. Winifred 
CuUis, C.B.E., addressed the Association of British Women Graduates 
in India. 

The members who took both the tours described above, before and after 
the meeting, travelled close upon six thousand miles in India. The 
weather was beautiful throughout the visit, except for a storm of short 
duration at Calcutta in the afternoon of January 9. 

b 2 

xxxvi REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 

Before leaving Bombay, the President, on behalf of the Delegation, 
issued the following message through the Press :— 

' In taking leave of India, we of the Scientific Delegation desire again to 
express our thanks for the overwhelming kindness with which we have 
been received in all parts. A month ago we landed here, eagerly expectant 
of what we were to see and learn. We are now returning home after a 
journey of more than five thousand miles through the country, during which 
we have been able to visit many monuments of ancient civilisations, and 
have admired the care with which the legacies of the past are preserved. 
But more of our tinne has been devoted to the present, and we have realised 
to the full the scientific and cultural developments which are in progress 
both in the universities and in the field of practical applications throughout 
the country. 

' Nothing has more deeply impressed us than the interest shown in 
Science by the community at large and the eagerness with which students 
are following and practising the most recent advances in research. India 
has achieved self-sufficiency in many directions, but there is an acknowledged 
need for influences which shall further bind together her varied races. 
Her achievements in the realm of thought and her progress in the develop- 
ments of industry lead us to hope that Science, which transcends all national 
and racial frontiers, may provide such a unifying influence. Long may 
Science continue to help in maintaining and advancing the position of India 
in the community of civilised nations.' 

The activities of delegates were not confined to Calcutta and to the 
places visited during the tours. Thus, Prof. R. A. Fisher, F.R.S., 
following from Bombay an itinerary independently of the main party, 
lectured at Hyderabad (twice), Lucknow (twice), Aligarh, and Benares, 
and again at Bombay on his homeward journey, besides giving a course 
at Calcutta University. Before the Congress at Calcutta, Sir Henry 
Tizard, K.C.B., F.R.S., visited the Tata Iron & Steel Works at Jam- 
shedpur, and lectured there. Sir Frederick Hobday addressed students 
in the Indian Veterinary Colleges at Bombay, Calcutta, Lahore, Madras, 
and Patna. At Madras, at times other than that of the visit described 
above, Prof. C. B. Fawcett gave lectures in the University and to the 
Madras Geographical Association ; Prof. F. E. Fritsch, F.R.S., gave four 
post-graduate lectures, and Lt.-Col. R. B. S. Sewell, CLE., F.R.S., 
three lectures in the University ; and Prof. R. Ruggles Gates, F.R.S., 
also lectured there. Prof. C. B. Fawcett, Prof. R. Ruggles Gates, F.R.S., 
Prof. C. G. Jung, and Prof. W. M. Tattersall visited and spoke at the 
University of Travancore in Trivandrum ; Sir Arthur Hill, K.C.M.G., 
F.R.S., and Dr. E. M. Crowther, the Agricultural College and Research 
Institute in Coimbatore ; Prof. J. E. Lennard-Jones, F.R.S., the University 
of Lahore ; Mr. J. McFarlane that of Patna ; Dr. C. S. Myers, C.B.E., 
F.R.S., that of Allahabad. Prof. R. Ruggles Gates, in addition to lectures 
already mentioned, spoke at Bombay (Royal Institute of Science), Banga- 
lore (Central College), Coimbatore (Association of Economic Biologists), 
and Ernakulam (University College). Prof. H. H. Read lectured to the 
Indian School of Mines Scientific Society at Dhanbad. Prof. A. G. 
Ogilvie lectured to the Bombay Geographical Association, and informally 
addressed students at Wilson College in that city and at Hislop College, 
Nagpur. Prof. P. A. Buxton, visiting Ceylon, addressed the Colombo 

REPORT OF THE COUNCIL, 1937-38 xxxvii 

branch of the British Medical Association. Dr. W. G. Ogg advised the 
State authorities in Hyderabad on the Tungabadhra irrigation project, 
and other delegates were called into conference at many points for advice 
on matters connected with their special interests. 

After the return of the delegation to England, the Council adopted the 
following resolution : — 

The Council of the British Association have learned with gratification 
of the complete success that attended the visit of the Scientific Delegation 
to India, the members of which, through the invitation of the Indian 
Science Congress Association, were enabled to co-operate in its Jubilee 
Meeting in Calcutta, to visit many places of scientific and historical interest 
in India, to become acquainted with the work of many universities and 
other institutions, and to make or renew personal contacts with large 
numbers of Indian scientific workers and leaders of thought. The Council 
are glad to hear of the opinion, widely expressed in India, that much good 
would result from the visit, and this belief the Council heartily reciprocate. 
The Council desire to endorse the expressions of gratitude which have 
already been transmitted, on behalf of the Delegation, to the Government of 
India, to all other participant authorities and individuals, and very specially 
to the executive of the Indian Science Congress Association. 

The Executive Committee of the Indian Science Congress Association 
at its meeting on September 20, 1938, returned the following reply to 
the above resolution : — 

The Executive Committee of the Indian Science Congress Association 
have received with sincere pleasure and gratification the resolution of 
the Council of the British Association stating that the visit of their 
Scientific Delegation to India has been a complete success and has enabled 
the Members of the Delegation to make or renew personal contacts 
with Indian scientific workers and leaders of thought. They share with 
the Council of the British Association the behef that much good would 
result from the visit. The Executive Committee very much appreciate the 
friendly feelings expressed by the Council of the British Association on 
behalf of the Delegation to the authorities and individuals who contributed 
towards the success of the Silver Jubilee Session and expressed in par- 
ticular their appreciation of the reference to the Executive Committee of the 
Indian Science Congress Association. The Executive Committee convey 
to the Council of the British Association their warmest appreciation of the 
manner in which the British Association have responded to their invitation 
to join the Indian Science Congress Association in joint session to celebrate 
the Silver Jubilee Session. 


Balance Sheet, 



31st March, 

£ s. d. 

42,702 11 

9,791 15 10 

144 6 3 

1,395 9 10 


General Purposes : — 

Sundry Creditors .... 
Hon. Sir Charles Parsons' gift 
(£10,000) and legacy (;C2,000) . 
The late Sir Alfred Ewing's legacy 
British Science Guild : Capital Fund 
Bequest of Jaakoff Prelooker . 

Yarrow Fund 

As per last Account £4,744 16 1 
Less Transferred to In- 
come and Expendi- 
ture Account under 
terms of the gift . 383 9 8 

£ s. d. 

785 2 9 



3,431 9 1 


Life and Corporate Compositions 

As per last Account 3,138 12 2 
Add Received during 
year . . . 175 17 

Less Transferred to In- 
come and Expendi- 
ture Account 

3,314 9 2 

55 10 

Contingency Fund "A" 

As per last Account 1,940 17 1 
Add Amount trans- 
ferred from Income 
and Expenditure 
Account . . 59 2 1 1 

Contingency Fund " B" 

Amount transferred from Income 
and Expenditure Account 

Accumulated Fund 

As per last Account 16,488 9 
Z,ei5 Transfer to Indian 
Science Congress 
Delegation Fund . 216 15 6 

Special Purposes : — 
Caird Fund 

Balance at 1st April, 1937 . 
Less Excess of Expenditure over In- 
come for the year . 

Mathematical Tables Fund 

Balance at 1st April, 1937 . 
Receipts from Sales 

Less Payment to Cambridge Uni- 
versity Press, re Vol. VI 

Cunningham Bequest Fund 

Balance at 1st April, 1937 . 
Add Excess of Income over Expendi- 
ture for the year 

4.361 6 5 

3.258 19 2 


29 16 3 

16,271 13 6 

9,791 15 10 
41 1 8 











1,395 9 10 
12 8 8 


42,648 7 2 

9,750 14 2 

Carried forward 

23 8 7 

1,407 18 6 
53,830 8 5 


31st March, 1938 


Corresponding 1 


31st March. 


£ J. d. 

42,702 11 

£ S. d. 


£, s. d. 

General Purposes : — 

Investments as scheduled with Income 
and Expenditure Account, No. 1 . 41,979 7 7 

Sundry debtors and payments in ad- 
vance 528 10 9 

Gash at bank 
Gash in hand 

9,791 IS 10 

H4 6 3 

1,395 9 10 

Special Purposes : — 
Caird Fund Account 

Investments (see Income and Ex- 
penditure Account, No. 2) . 

Gash at bank . . . . 

Mathematical Tables Fund Account 
Gash at bank 
Sundry debtors 

Cunningham Bequest Fund Account 

Investments (see Income and Ex- 
penditure Account, No. 3) . 
Gash at bank . . ■ • 

96 9 7 
43 19 3 

9,582 16 3 
167 17 11 

23 8 7 

1,305 7 2 
102 11 4 

Carried forward 

42,648 7 2 

9,750 14 2 

23 8 7 

1,407 18 6 
53,830 8 5 



Balance Sheet, 


Slat March, 
£ s. d. 

1S2 IS 10 

1,058 1 3 

1,042 2 6 

1,107 9 



LIABILITIES (continued) 

£ s. d. £ s. d. 
Brought forward 
Toronto University Presentation Fund 

Capital 178 11 4 

Revenue . . . . . 4 7 6 

Bernard Hobson Fund 


Revenue — Balance per 

last Account . . 58 1 3 

Less Excess of Expendi- 
ture over Income for 
the year . . 26 13 6 


31 7 9 

Leicester and Leicestershire Fund, 1 933 

Capital ..... 
Revenue — Balance per 

last Account . . 42 2 6 

Less Excess of Expendi- 
ture over Income for 
the year . . . 15 10 


20,093 5 5 

77,872 9 10 

Herbert Spencer Bequest Fund 

Less Excess of Expenditure over 
Income for year 

Norwich Fund, 1935 

Balance per last Account 
Less Expenditure for year . 

Radford Mather Lecture Fund 

Capital ..... 
Sundry Creditor .... 

Down House 

Endowment Fund 
Sundry Creditors and Credit 
Balances .... 

Suspense Account 
Balance per last Account 80 13 9 
L^ss Excess of Expendi- 
ture over Income for 
the year . . . 50 1 2 












12 12 6 

30 12 7 

£ s. d. 

53,830 8 5 

182 18 10 

1,031 7 9 

1,041 6 8 

723 4 6 

54 2 

289 4 6 

20,043 5 1 

NOTE. — ^There are contingent Liabilities in respect of giants voted 
to Research Committees at Nottingham and by Council in 
1937 but not claimed at 31st March, 1938, amounting to 
£416 17s. 9d. 

£77,195 17 9 

I have examined the foregoing Account with the Books and Vouchers and certify " 
and the Investments, and the Bank have certified to me that they hold the 
Approved. \ 

EzER GRiFFrrHS !■ Auditors, 

R. S. Whipple ) 


31st March, 1938 {continued) 




31st March, 


£ s. d. 

1S2 IS 10 

1,058 1 3 

1,042 2 6 

1,107 9 



20,093 5 S 

77,S72 9 10 

Brought forward 

ASSETS {continued) 

Toronto University Presentation Fund Account 
Investments (see Income and Ex- 
penditure Account, No. 4) . . 17811 
Cash at bank .... 47 

Bernard Hobson Fund Account 

Investments (see Income and Ex- 
penditure Account, No. 5) 
Cash at bank .... 

Leicester and Leicestershire Fund, 1 933 Account 
Investments (see Income and Ex 

penditure Account, No. 6) 
Cash at bank .... 

Herbert Spencer Bequest Fund Account 
Investments (see Income and Ex- 
penditure Account, No. 7) . 723 4 6 
Cash at bank .... — 









Norwich Fund, igs^ Account 

(Income and Expenditure Account, 

No. 8) 

Cash at bank .... 
Radford Alather Lecture Fund Account 
Investments (see Income and Ex- 
penditure Account, No. 9) 
Add Excess of Expenditure over 
Income for the year . 

Down House Account 

Endowment Fund Investments (see 
Income and Expenditure Account, 
No. 10) 

Cash at bank .... 

Cash in hand .... 

Sundry debtors and payments in 
advance . . . . • 

39 4 6 

31 13 

11 II 9 



182 18 10 

1,031 7 9 

1,041 6 

723 4 6 

54 2 

289 4 6 

20,043 5 1 

;^77,195 17 9 

the same to be correct. 
Deeds of Down House. 

I have also verified the Balance at the Bankers 

W. B. Keen, Chartered Accountant. 

23 Queen Victoria St., London, E.G. 4. 
2nd June, 1938. 



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Grants of money, if any, from the Association for expenses connected 
with researches are indicated in heavy type. 


Seismological investigations. — Dr. F. J. W. Whipple (Chairman), Mr. J. J. Shaw, 
C.B.E. [Secretary), Miss E. F. Bellamy, Prof. P. G. H. Boswell, O.B.E., 
F.R.S., Dr. E. C. Bullard, Dr. A. T. J. Dollar, Sir Frank Dyson, K.B.E., 
F.R.S., Dr. A. E. M. Geddes, O.B.E., Prof. G. R. Goldsbrough, F.R.S., 
Dr. Wilfred Hall, Mr. J. S. Hughes, Dr. H. Jeffreys, F.R.S., Mr. Cosmo Johns, 
Dr. A. W. Lee, Prof. E. A. Milne, M.B.E., F.R.S., Prof. H. H. Plaskett, 
F.R.S., Prof. H. C. Plummer, F.R.S., Prof. J. Proudman, F.R.S., Dr. A. O. 
Rankine, O.B.E., F.R.S., Rev. C. Rey, S.J., Rev. J. P. Rowland, S.J., Prof. 
R. A. Sampson, F.R.S., Mr. F. J. Scrase, Capt. H. Shaw, Sir Frank Smith, 
K.C.B., C.B.E., Sec. R.S., Dr. R. Stoneley. F.R.S., Mr. E. Tillotson, Sir G. T. 
Walker, C.S.I., F.R.S. £100 (Caird Fund grant). 

Calculation of mathematical tables. — Prof. E. H. Neville (Chairman), Dr. J. 
Wishart (Secretary), Dr. A. J. Thompson (Vice-Chairman) , Dr. W. G. Bickley, 
Prof. R. A. Fisher, F.R.S. , Dr. J. Henderson, Dr. E. L. Ince, Dr. J. O. 
Irwin, Dr. J. C. P. Miller, Mr. F. Robbins, Mr. D. H. Sadler, Mr. W. L. 
Stevens, Dr. J. F. Tocher. £200 (Caird Fund grant). 



The direct determination of the thermal conductivities of rocks in mines or 
borings where the temperature gradient has been, or is likely to be, 
measured. — Dr. Ezer Griffiths, F.R.S. (Chairman), Dr. D. W. Phillip 
(Secretary), Dr. E. C. Bullard, Dr. H. Jeffreys, F.R.S. (from Section A) ; 
Dr. E. M. Anderson, Prof. W. G. Fearnsides, F.R.S., Prof. G. Hickling, F.R.S., 
Prof. A. Holmes, Dr. J. H. J. Poole (from Section C). 



The possibility of quantitative estimates of sensory events. — Prof. A. Ferguson 
(Chairman), Dr. C. S. Myers, C.B.E., F.R.S. (Vice-Chairman), Mr. R. J. 
Bartlett (Secretary), Dr. H. Banister, Prof. F. C. Bartlett, F.R.S., Dr. Wm. 
Brown, Dr. N. R. Campbell, Prof. J. Drever, Mr. J. Guild, Dr. R. A. 
Houstoun, Dr. J. O. Irwin, Dr. G. W. C. Kaye, Dr. S. J. F. Philpott, 
Dr. L. F. Richardson, F.R.S., Dr. J. H. Shaxbv, Mr. T. Smith, F.R.S., 
Dr. R. H. Thouless, Dr. W. S. Tucker, O.B.E. 


To excavate critical geological sections in Great Britain. — Prof. W. T. Gordon 
(Chairman), Prof. W. G. Fearnsides, F.R.S. (Secretary), Prof. E. B. Bailey, 
F.R.S., Mr. H. C. Berdinner, Mr. W. S. Bisat, Prof. P. G. H. Boswell, O.B.E., 
F.R.S.. Prof. W. S. Boulton. Prof. A. H. Cox. Miss M. C. Crosfield. Mr. E. E. L. 
Dixon, Dr. Gertrude Elles, M.B.E.. Mr. C. I. Gardiner. Prof. E. J. Garwood, 
F.R.S., Mr. F. Gossling, Prof. H. L. Hawkins, F.R.S.. Prof. G. Hickling, F.R.S., 
Dr. R. G. S. Hudson, Prof. V. C. Illing, Prof. O. T. Jones, F.R.S., Dr. Murray 


Macgregor, Dr. F. J. North, Dr. J. Pringle, Prof. S. H. Reynolds, Sir Franklin 
Sibly, Dr. W. K. Spencer, F.R.S., Dr. W. E. Swinton, Prof. A. E. Trueman, 
Dr. F. S. Wallis, Prof. W. W. Watts, F.R.S.. Dr. W. F. Whittard, Sir A. 
Smith Woodward, F.R.S., Dr. S. W. Wooldridge. £60 (Bernard Hobson 
Fund, £40 contingent). 

To consider and report upon petrographic classification and nomenclature. — 
Lt.-Col. W. Campbell Smith {Chairman and Secretary), Prof. E. B. Bailey, 
F.R.S., Dr. R. Campbell, Dr. W. Q. Kennedy, Dr. A. G. MacGregor, 
Prof. S. J. Shand, Mr. S. J. Tomkeieff, Dr. G. W. Tyrrell, Dr. F. Walker, 
Dr. A. K. Wells. £10. 

To consider and report on questions affecting the teaching of geology in schools. — 
Prof. W. W. Watts, F.R.S. {Chairman), Prof. A. E. Trueman {Secretary), 
Prof. P. G. H. Boswell, O.B.E., F.R.S., Mr. C. P. Chatwin, Prof. A. H. 
Cox, Mr. J. Davies, Miss E. Dix, Miss Gaynor Evans, Prof. W. G. Fearnsides, 
F.R.S., Prof. A. Gilligan, Prof. G. Hickling, F.R.S. , Prof. D. E. Innes, Prof. 
A. G. Ogilvie, O.B.E., Prof. W. J. Pugh, Mr. J. A. Steers, Prof. H. H. 
Swinnerton, Dr. A. K. Wells. 

The collection, preservation, and systematic registration of photographs of 
geological interest. — Prof. E. J. Garwood, F.R.S. {Chairman), Prof. S. H. 
Reynolds {Secretary), Mr. H. Ashley, Mr. G. Macdonald Davies, Mr. J. F. 
Jackson, Dr. A. G. MacGregor, Dr. F. J. North, Dr. A. Raistrick, Mr. J. 
Ranson, Prof. W. W. Watts, F.R.S. 


To nominate competent naturalists to perform definite pieces of work at the 
Marine Laboratory, Plymouth. — Dr. W. T. Caiman, C.B., F.R.S. {Chairman 
and Secretary), Prof. H. Munro Fox, F.R.S., Dr. J. S. Huxley, F.R.S., Prof. 
H. G. Jackson, Prof. C. M. Yonge. £50. 

To co-operate with other sections interested, and with the Zoological Society, 
for the purpose of obtaining support for the Zoological Record. — Sir Sidney 
Harmer, K.B.E., F.R.S. {Chairman), Dr. W. T. Caiman, C.B., F.R.S. 
{Secretary), Prof. E. S. Goodrich, F.R.S., Prof. D. M. S. Watson, F.R.S. £50. 

To investigate the density of living organisms. — Dr. S. W. Kemp, F.R.S. {Chair- 
man), Mr. A. G. Lowndes {Secretary), Prof. R. A. Fisher, F.R.S., Dr. C. F. A. 
Pantin, Dr. F. S. Russell. £40. 

To investigate sex in salmon. — Prof. F. A. E. Crew {Chairman), Prof. J. H. 
Orton, Prof. J. Ritchie. £25. 

To study the progressive adaptation to new conditions in Artemia salina (Diploid 
and Octoploid, Parthenogenetic v. Bisexual). — Prof. R. A. Fisher, F.R.S. 
{Chairman) , Mr. A. C. Faberge {Secretary), Dr. F. Gross, Mr. A. G. Lowndes, 
Dr. K. Mather, Dr. E. S. Russell, O.B.E., Prof. D. M. S. Watson, F.R.S. 

To study insular faunas. — Prof. Sir E. B. Poulton, F.R.S. {Chairman), Prof. 
G. D. Hale Carpenter {Secretary), Prof. H. G. Jackson, Capt. N. D. Riley. 

To investigate the adaptations of freshwater animals to waters of very high 
salinity in Algeria. — Prof. P. A. Buxton {Chairman), Mr. L. C. Beadle 
{Secretary), Dr. G. S. Carter, Dr. E. B. Worthington. £5 4s. 8d. (unexpended 

To investigate the social behaviour of the grey seal. — Prof. J. Ritchie {Chair- 
man), Dr. Eraser Darling {Secretary), Prof. F. A. E. Crew, Dr. J. S. Huxley, 
F.R.S., Dr. E. S. Russell. 

To consider the position of animal biology in the school curriculum and matters 
relating thereto. — Prof. R. D. Laurie {Chairman and Secretary), Mr. P. 
Ainslie, Dr. H. W. Cousins, Dr. J. S. Huxley, F.R.S., Mr. Percy Lee, Mr. A. G. 
Lowndes, Prof. E. W. MacBride, F.R.S., Dr. W. K. Spencer, F.R.S., Prof. 
W. M. Tattersall, Dr. E. N. Miles Thomas. 



To assist in the preservation of Wicken Fen. — Prof. F. T. Brooks, F.R.S. 
{Chairman), Dr. H. Godwin (Secretary), Prof. F. Balfour-Browne, Dr. H. C. 
Darby, Prof. J. Stanley Gardiner, F.R.S., Mr. J. A. Steers, Dr. W. H. Thorpe, 
Dr. D. Valentine. £50. 


To aid competent investigators selected by the Committee to carry on definite 
pieces of work at the Zoological Station at Naples. — Prof. E. W. MacBride, 
F.R.S. (Chairman and Secretary), Prof. Sir J. Barcroft, C.B.E., F.R.S. , Dr. 
Margery Knight, Dr. J. Z. Young. £50. 


To conduct field experiments on bird behaviour. — Dr. J. S. Huxley, F.R.S. 
(Chairman), Mr. F. B. Kirkman (Secretary), Prof. F. Aveling, Dr. C. S. 
Myers, C.B.E., F.R.S., Dr. E. S. Russell. £40. 


To aid competent investigators selected by the Committee to carry out definite 
pieces of work at the Freshwater Biological Station, Wray Castle, Winder- 
mere. — Prof. F. E. Fritsch, F.R.S. (Chairman), Dr. E. B. Worthington 
(Secretary), Prof. P. A. Buxton, Miss P. M. Jenkin, Dr. C. H. O'Donoghue 
(from Section D) ; Dr. W. H. Pearsall (from Section K). £75. 

Co-ordinating committee for Cytology and Genetics.— Prof. F. T. Brooks, 
F.R.S. (Chairman), Dr. D. G. Catcheside (Secretary), Mr. E. B. Ford, Prof. 
F. A. E. Crew, Dr. C. D. Darlington, Prof. R. A. Fisher, F.R.S., Prof. R. R. 
Gates, F.R.S., Dr. C. Gordon, Prof. Dame Helen Gwynne Vaughan, G.B.E., 
Dr. J. Hammond, Dr. J. S. Huxley, F.R.S., Dr. T. J. Jenkin, Mr. W. J. C. 
Lawrence, Dr. F. W. Sansome, Dr. W. B. Turrill, Dr. C. H. Waddington, 
Dr. D. M. Wrinch. £5. 


To prepare a scheme for a projected National Atlas of Great Britain and Northern 
Ireland. — Prof. E. G. R. Taylor (Chairman) , Dr. S. W. Wooldridge (Secretary) , 
Dr. H. C. Darby, Prof. F. Debenham, Mr. C. Diver, Prof. H. J. Fleure, F.R.S., 
Mr. D. L. Linton, Brig. M. N. MacLeod, Prof. E. J. Salisbury, F.R.S., 
Prof. A. G. Tansley, F.R.S. £10. 

To collect and record information on demography and seasonal activities in 
relation to environment in Inter-Tropical Africa. — Prof. P. M. Roxby 
(Chairman), Prof. A. G. Ogilvie, O.B.E. (Secretc^ry), Mr. S. J. K. Baker, 
Prof. C. B. Fawcett, Prof. H. J. Fleure, F.R.S., Prof. C. Daryll Forde, 
Mr. R. H. Kinvig, Mr. J. McFarlane, Prof. J. L. Myres, O.B.E. , Mr. R. A. 
Pelham, Mr. R. U. Sayce. £2. 

To consider and report upon ambiguities and innovations in geographical 
terminology. — Prof. E. G. R. Taylor (Chairman), Dr. S. W. Wooldridge 
(Secretary), Mr. H. King, Mr. R. H. Kinvig. 

To co-operate with bodies concerned with the cartographic representation of 
population, and in particular with the Ordnance Survey, for the production 
of population maps. — (Chairman), Prof. C. B. 

Fawcett (Secretary), The Director General of the Ordnance Survey, Col. Sir 
Charles Close, K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., F.R.S., Prof. H. J. Fleure, F.R.S., 
Mr. A. C. O'Dell, Mr. A. Stevens, Mr. A. V. Williamson. 


To review the knowledge at present available for the reduction of noise, and 
the nuisances to the abatement of which this knowledge could best be 
applied. — (Chairman) , Wing-Commander T. R. 


Cave-Browne-Cave, C.B.E. {Secretary), Dr. A. H. Davis, Prof. G. W. O. 
Howe, Mr. E. S. Shrapnell-Smith, C.B.E. £10 (Contingent). 

Electrical terms and definitions. — Prof. Sir J. B. Henderson (Chairman), Prof. 
F. G. Baily and Prof. G. W. O. Howe {Secretaries), Prof. W. Cramp, Prof. 
W. H. Eccles, F.R.S., Prof. C. L. Fortescue, Prof. A. E. Kennelly, Prof. 
E. W. Marchant, Prof. J. Proudman, F.R.S., Sir Frank Smith, K.C.B., 
C.B.E., Sec. R.S., Prof. L. R. Wilberforce. 


To co-operate with a Committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute in the 
exploration of caves in the Derbyshire district. — Mr. M. C. Burkitt {Chair- 
man), Mr. A. Leslie Armstrong {Secretary), Prof. H. J. Fleure, F.R.S., Miss 
D. A. E. Garrod, Dr. J. Wilfred Jackson, Prof. L. S. Palmer, Mr. H. J. E. 
Peake. £25. 

To co-operate with the Committee for the Standardisation of Anthropological 
Technique (a permanent committee of the International Congress of Anthro- 
pological and Ethnological Sciences). — Prof. J. L. Myres, O.B.E. {Chairman), 
Miss M. Tildesley {Secretary), Prof. A. Low, Dr. G. M. Morant. £20. 

To investigate early mining sites in Wales. — Mr. H. J. E. Peake {Chairman), 
Mr. Oliver Davies {Secretary), Dr. C. H. Desch, F.R.S., Mr. E. Estyn Evans, 
Prof. H. J. Fleure, F.R.S., Prof. C. Daryll Forde, Sir Cyril Fox, Dr. Wil- 
loughby Gardner, Dr. F. J. North, Mr. V. E. Nash Williams. £8. 

To investigate blood groups among primitive peoples. — Prof. H. J. Fleure, F.R.S. 
{Chairman), Prof. R. Ruggles Gates, F.R.S. {Secretary), Dr. F. W. Lamb, 
Dr. G. M. Morant. £7. ( £2 unexpended balance.) 

To co-operate with the Torquay Antiquarian Society in investigating Kent's 
Cavern. — -Sir A. Keith, F.R.S. {Chairman), Prof. J. L. Myres, O.B.E. {Secre- 
tary), Mr. M. C. Burkitt, Miss D. A. E. Garrod, Mr. A. D.'Lacaille. £5. 

To co-operate with a committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute in 
assisting Miss G. Caton-Thompson to investigate the prehistoric archaeology 
of the Kharga Oasis. — Prof. J. L. Myres, O.B.E. {Chairman), Miss G. 
Caton-Thompson {Secretary), Dr. H. S. Harrison, Mr. H. J. E. Peake. 

To report on the classification and distribution of rude stone monuments in the 
British Isles. — Mr. H. J. E. Peake {Chairman), Mr. E. Estyn Evans (Secretary), 
Mr. A. L. Armstrong, Mr. H. Balfour, F.R.S., Mrs. E. M. Clifford, Dr. G. E. 
Daniel, Sir Cyril Fox, Mr. W. F. Grimes, Mr. W. J. Hemp, Mr. A. Keiller, 
Mr. T. D. Kendrick, Dr. Margaret A. Murray, Prof. J. L. Myres, O.B.E., 
Mr. C. W. Phillips. ' 

To carry out research among the Ainu of Japan. — Prof. C. G. Seligman, F.R.S. 
(Chairman), Mrs. C. G. Seligman (Secretary), Dr. H. S. Harrison, Capt. T. A. 
Joyce, O.B.E., Rt. Hon. Lord Raglan. 

To conduct archaeological and ethnological researches in Crete. — Prof. J. L. 
Myres, O.B.E. (Chairman), Dr. G. M. Morant (Secretary), Mr. L. Dudley 
Buxton, Dr. W. L. H. Duckworth. 

To report to the Sectional Committee on the question of re-editing ' Notes and 
Queries in Anthropology.' — Prof. H. J. Fleure, F.R.S. (Chairman), Mr. 
Elwyn Davies (Secretary), Prof. J. H. Hutton, CLE., Dr. G. M. Morant, 
Prof. A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, Prof. C. G. Seligman, F.R.S., Mrs. C. G. 

To report on the composition of ancient metal objects. — Mr. H. J. E. Peake 
(Chairman). Dr. C. H. Desch, F.R.S. (Secretary), Mr. H. Balfour, F.R.S., 
Prof. V. G. Childe, Mr. O. Davies, Prof. H. J. Fleure, F.R.S., Mr. C. Hawkes, 
Miss W. Lamb, Mr. M. E. L. Mallowan, Mr. H. Maryon, Dr. A. Raistrick, 
Dr. R. H. Rastall. 



To deal with the use of a stereotactic instrument. — Prof. J. Mellanby, F.R.S. 
[Chairman), Prof. R. J. S. MoDowall [Secretary). 


To develop tests of the routine manual factor in mechanical ability. — Dr. C. S. 
Myers, C.B.E., F.R.S. [Chairman). Dr. G. H. Miles [Secretary], Prof. C. Burt, 
Dr. F. M. Earle, Dr. LI. Wyun Jones, Prof. T. H. Pear. £40. 

The nature of perseveration and its testing. — -Prof. F. Aveling [Chairman), 
Dr. W. Stephenson [Secretary). Prof. F. C. Bartlett, F.R.S., Dr. Mary Collins, 
Prof. J. Drever, Mr. E. Farmer, Prof. C. Spearman, F.R.S., Dr. P. E. 
Vernon . £5. 


Transplant experiments. — Sir Arthur Hill, K.C.M.G., F.R.S. [Chairman), Dr. 
W. B. Turrill [Secretary). Prof. F. W. Oliver, F.R.S., Prof. E. J. Salisbury, 
F.R.S., Prof. A. G. Tansley, F.R.S. 


To consider and report on the gaps in the informative content of education, with 
special reference to the curriculums of schools. — Sir Richard Gregory, Bart., 
F.R.S. [Chairman). Mr. A. E. Henshall [Secretary). Prof. C. M. Attlee, 
Mr. G. D. Dunkerley, Miss L. Higson, Mr. D. Shillan, Dr. F. H. Spencer, Mr. 
H. G. Wells. £15 (Leicester and Leicestershire Fund). 

To consider and report on the possibilities of organising and developing research 
in education. — Prof. F. Clarke [Chairman). Mr. A. Gray Jones [Secretary). 
Miss D. Bailey, Dr. M. M. Lewis, Sir Richard Livingstone, Mr. W. H. 
Robinson, Mr. N. F. Sheppard. £10 (Leicester and Leicestershire Fund). 


Corresponding Societies Committee. — The President of the Association [Chairman 
ex-officio). Dr. C. Tierney [Secretary), the General Secretaries, the General 
Treasurer, Dr. Vaughan Cornish, Mr. T. S. Dymond, Prof. W. T. Gordon, 
Mr. N. B. Kinnear, the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Onslow, P.C, Dr. G. F. Herbert 


The following resolutions and recommendations were referred, unless 
otherwise stated, to the Council by the General Committee at the Cam- 
bridge Meeting for consideration and, if desirable, for action : 

From Section A {Mathematical and Physical Sciences). 
That the Committee of Section A request the Council to communicate 
to the University authorities their satisfaction on learning that the establish- 
ment of a Museum of Historic Scientific Instruments is contemplated, and 
hopes that the scheme will be brought to fruition. 

From Section D {Zoology). 
That it is in the highest interest of the history of Science that the objects 
of historic and scientific importance now being shown in the exhibition 
arranged under the auspices of the Cambridge Philosophical Society should 
be kept together so far as possible to form the nucleus of a permanent 
University Museum illustrating the history of Science in Cambridge. 

The substance of the two preceding resolutions was ordered to be com- 
municated to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge as from 
the Association. 

From Section H {Anthropology). 

That the Association views with appreciation the recognition by the 
Commonwealth Government of Australia of the value of the application of 
scientific anthropological methods to the solution of the problems associated 
with the aborigines, and the renewed efforts directed to the preservation of 
the remaining native tribes. 

Inasmuch as it is now generally recognised that a thorough knowledge 
of the material and spiritual life of a people is the best approach for solving 
the problems connected with the administration of native affairs and in 
view of the rapid decline of the Australian aborigines and the great value to 
Science, both now and in centuries to come, of the information about their 
languages and cultures that might still be collected by scientific field-work 
during the next fifteen or twenty years, it is urgently necessary that the 
research work financed for ten years by the Rockefeller Foundation and 
subsequently by the Commonwealth Government should be continued. 

It is respectfully suggested to the Commonwealth Government that the 
best method of safeguarding the remaining tribal natives, in particular 
those of Arnhem Land, who are still in possession of their own culture, 
would be to segregate them effectively from all alien influences pending 
the establishment of a settled uniform policy for the treatment of the whole 
of the natives of Australia. 

From Section H {Anthropology). 

The Committee of Section H desire to maintain on record their resolution 
adopted last year to the effect that in view of the importance of anthropology 
as a means of promoting concord and understanding between men of 
different traditions, the British Association earnestly recommends to the 
Secretary of State for India that anthropology should be made a com- 
pulsory subject of study in the training of all probationers appointed to. 
proceed to India and Burma. 

The Committee understand that it has been found inexpedient to give 
effect to this resolution during the past year, but they trust that the Council 
will ask the Government of India to re-consider the matter sympathetically 
whenever opportunity may arise. ^ ariT 

Srhislj ^5S0ciati0it far tbc ^bbaaccmcut 

0f Scicna. 








The Rt. Hon. LORD RAYLEIGH, Sc.D., LL.D., F.R.S. 



Vision, and its Artificial Aids and Substitutes. 

The last occasion that the British Association met at Cambridge 
was in 1904, under the presidency of my revered relative, Lord 
Balfour, who at the time actually held the position of Prime Minister. 
That a Prime Minister should find it possible to undertake this 
additional burthen brings home to us how much the pace has 
quickened in national activities, and I may add, anxieties, between 
that time and this. 

Lord Balfour in his introductory remarks recalled the large share 
which Cambridge had had in the development of physics from the 
time of Newton down to that of J. J. Thomson and the scientific 
school centred in the Cavendish Laboratory, ' whose physical 
speculations,' he said, ' bid fair to render the closing year of the old 
century and the opening ones of the new as notable as the greatest 
which have preceded them.' It is a great pleasure to me, as I am 
sure it is to all of you, that my old master is with us here to-night. 


as he was on that occasion. I can say in his presence that the lapse of 
time has not failed to justify Lord Balfour's words. What was then 
an intelligent anticipation is now an historical fact. 

I wish I could proceed on an equally cheerful note. The reputa- 
tion of the scientific school in the Cavendish Laboratory has been 
more than sustained in the interval under the leadership of one 
whose friendly presence we all miss to-night. The death of Ernest 
Rutherford leaves a blank which we can never hope to see entirely 
filled in our day. We know that the whole scientific world joins 
with us in mourning his loss. 

Lord Balfour's address was devoted to topics which had long 
been of profound interest to him. He was one of the first to 
compare the world picture drawn by science and the world picture 
drawn by the crude application of the senses, and he emphasised 
the contrast between them. A quotation from his address will 
serve as an appropriate text to introduce the point of view which 
I wish to develop this evening. 

' So far,' he said, ' as natural science can tell us, every quality 
of sense or intellect which does not help us to fight, to eat, and to 
bring up our children, is but a by-product of the qualities which do. 
Our organs of sense perception were not given us for purposes of 
research . . . either because too direct a vision of physical reality 
was a hindrance, not a help in the struggle for existence ... or 
because with so imperfect a material as living tissue no better result 
could be attained.' 

Some of those who learn the results of modern science from a 
standpoint of general or philosophical interest come away, I believe, 
with the impression that what the senses tell us about the external 
world is shown to be altogether misleading. They learn, for ex- 
ample, that the apparent or space-filling quality of the objects called 
solid or liquid is a delusion, and that the volume of space occupied 
is held to be very small compared with that which remains vacant 
in between. This is in such violent contrast with what direct 
observation seems to show that they believe they are asked to give 
up the general position that what we learn from our senses must be 
our main guide in studying the nature of things. 

Now this is in complete contrast with the standpoint of the experi- 
mental philosopher. He knows very well that in his work he does 
and must trust in the last resort almost entirely to what can be seen, 
and that his knowledge of the external world is based upon it : and 
I do not think that even the metaphysician claims that we can learn 
much in any other way. It is true that the conclusions of modern 
science seem at first sight to be very far removed from what our 
senses tell us. But on the whole the tendency of progress is to 
bring the more remote conclusions within the province of direct 


observation, even when at first sight they appeared to be hopelessly 
beyond it. 

For example, at the time of Lord Balfour's address some who 
were regarded as leaders of scientific thought still urged that 
the conception of atoms was not to be taken literally. We now 
count the atoms by direct methods. We see the electrometer 
needle give a kick and we say, ' There goes an atom.' Or we 
see the path of an individual atom marked out by a cloud track 
and we see v/here it was abruptly bent by a violent collision with 
another atom. 

Again, the theory of radioactive decomposition put forward by 
Rutherford, however cogent it may have seemed and did seem to 
those who were well acquainted with the evidence, was originally 
based on indirect inferences about quantities of matter far too small 
to be weighed on the most delicate balance. Chemists were naturally 
inclined to feel some reserve ; but in due course the theory led to a 
conclusion which could be tested by methods in which they had 
confidence — the conclusion, namely, that lead contained in old 
uranium minerals ought to have a lower atomic weight than ordinary 
lead and in all probability to be lighter, and on trying this out it 
proved to be so. More recently we have the discovery of heavy 
hydrogen with twice the density of ordinary hydrogen and heavy 
water which is the source of it. 

Lastly, the conclusion that ordinary matter is not really space- 
filling has been illustrated by the discovery that certain stars have a 
density which is a fabulous multiple of the density of terrestrial 
matter. Although this is in some sense a deduction as distinguished 
from an observation, yet the steps required in the deduction are 
elementary ones entirely within the domain of the older physics. 

This and many other points of view have seemed at first sight to 
contradict the direct indication of our senses. But it was not really 
so. They were obtained and could only be obtained by sense 
indications rightly interpreted. As in the passage from Lord Balfour 
already quoted the senses were not primarily developed for purposes 
of research, and we have in large measure to adapt them to that 
purpose by the use of artificial auxiliaries. The result of doing so 
is often to reveal a world which to the unaided senses seems 

I have chosen for the main subject of this address a survey of some 
of the ways in which such adaptations have been made. I shall 
naturally try to interest you by dwelling most on aspects of the subject 
that have some novelty ; but apart from these there is much to be 
gleaned of historical interest, and when tempted I shall not hesitate 
to digress a little from methods and say something about results. 

I shall begin with a glance at the mechanism of the human eye, 


so far as it is understood. I shall show how the compromise and 
balance between different competing considerations which is seen 
in its design can be artificially modified for special purposes. All 
engineering designs are a matter of compromise. You cannot 
have everything. The unassisted eye has a field of view extending 
nearly over a hemisphere. It gives an indication very quickly 
and allows comparatively rapid changes to be followed. It responds 
best to the wave-lengths actually most abundant in daylight or 
moonlight. This combination of qualities is ideal for what we 
believe to be nature's primary purpose, that is for finding subsistence 
under primitive conditions and for fighting the battle of life against 
natural enemies. But by sacrificing some of these qualities, and in 
particular the large field of view, we can enhance others for purposes 
of research. We may modify the lens system by artificial additions 
over a wide range for examining the very distant or the very small. 
We can supplement and enormously enhance the power of colour 
discrimination which nature has given us. By abandoning the use 
of the retina and substituting the photographic plate as an artificial 
retina, we can increase very largely the range of spectrum which can 
be utilised. This last extension has its special possibilities, par- 
ticularly in the direction of using waves smaller than ordinary, even 
down to those which are associated with a moving electron. By 
using the photoelectric cell as another substitute for the retina with 
electric wire instead of optic nerve and a recording galvanometer 
instead of the brain we can make the impressions metrical and can 
record them on paper. We can count photons and other particulate 
forms of energy as well. We can explore the structure of atoms, 
examine the disintegration of radioactive bodies, and trace out the 
mutual relation of the elements. Indeed, by elaborating this train 
of thought a little further almost the whole range of observational 
science could be covered. But within the compass of an hour or 
so one must not be too ambitious. It is not my purpose to stray very 
far from what might, by a slight stretch of language, fall under the 
heading of extending the powers of the eye. 

Most people who have a smattering of science now know the 
comparison of the eye with the camera obscura, or better, with the 
modern photographic camera — with its lens, iris, diaphragm, 
focussing adjustment and ground glass screen, the latter correspond- 
ing to the retina. The comparison does not go very far, for it does 
not enter upon how the message is conveyed to the brain and appre- 
hended by the mind ; or even upon the minor mystery of how colours 
are discriminated. Nevertheless, it would be a great mistake to 
suppose that the knowledge which is embodied in this comparison 
was easily arrived at. For example, many acute minds in antiquity 
thought that light originated in the eye rather than in the object 


viewed. Euclid in his optics perhaps used this as a mathematical 
fiction practically equivalent to the modern one of reversing the 
course of a ray, but other authors appealed to the apparent glow of 
animal eyes by lamplight, which shows that they took the theory 
quite literally. The Arabian author Alhazen had more correct ideas 
and he gave an anatomical description of the eye, but apparently 
regarded what we call the crystalline lens as the light-sensitive organ. 
Kepler was the first to take the modern view of the eye. 

The detailed structure of the retina, and its connection with the 
optic nerve, has required the highest skill of histologists in inter- 
preting difficult and uncertain indications. The light-sensitive 
elements are of two kinds, the rods and cones. The rods seem 
to be the only ones used in night vision, and do not distinguish 
colours. The cones are most important in the centre of the field of 
view, where vision is most acute, and it seems to be fairly certain 
that in the foveal region each cone has its own individual nervous 
communication with the brain. On the other hand, there is not 
anything like room in the cross-section of the optic nerve to allow 
us to assign a diff"erent nerve fibre to each of the millions of rods. 
A single fibre probably has to serve 200 of them. 

The nervous impulse is believed to travel in the optic nerve as 
in any other nerve, but what happens to it when it arrives at the brahi 
is a question for the investigators of a future generation. 

The use of lenses is one of the greatest scientific discoveries : 
we do not know who made it. Indeed, the more closely we inquire 
into this question the vaguer it becomes. Spectacle lenses as we 
know them are a mediaeval invention, dating from about a.d. 1280. 
Whether they originated from some isolated thinker and experi- 
mentalist of the type of Roger Bacon, or whether they were developed 
by the ingenuity of urban craftsmen, can hardly be considered certain. 
There are several ways in which the suggestion might have arisen, 
but a glass bulb filled with water is the most likely. Indeed, con- 
sidering that such bulbs were undoubtedly used as burning glasses 
in the ancient world, and that the use of them for reading small and 
difficult lettering is explicitly mentioned by Seneca, it seems rather 
strange that the next step was not taken in antiquity. Apparently 
the explanation is that the magnification was attributed to the nature 
of the water rather than to its shape. At all events, it may readily 
be verified that a 4- or 5-inch glass flask full of water, though not very 
convenient to handle, will give a long-sighted newspaper reader the 
same help that he could get from a monocle. 

The invention of lenses was a necessary preliminary to the inven- 
tion of the telescope, for, as Huygens remarked, it would require 
a superhuman genius to make the invention theoretically. 

The retina of the eye on which the image is to be received has 


structure. We may compare the picture on the retina to a design 
embroidered in woolwork, which also has a structure. Clearly such a 
design cannot embody details which are smaller than the mesh of the 
canvas which is to carry the coloured stitches. The only way to get 
in more detail is to make the design, or rather such diminished part 
of it as the canvas can accommodate, on a larger scale. Similarly 
with the picture on the retina. The individual rods and cones 
correspond with th3 individual meshes of the canvas. If we want 
more detail of an object we must make the picture on the retina 
larger, v^^ith the necessary sacrifice of the field of view. If the object 
is distant we want for this a lens of longer focus instead of the eye 
lens. We cannot take the eye lens away, but, what amounts to nearly 
the same thing, we can neutralise it by a concave lens of equal power 
put right up to it, called the eyepiece. Then we are free to use a long 
focus lens called the telescopic objective to make a larger picture on 
the retina. It must of course be put at the proper distance out to 
make a distinct picture. This is a special case of the Galilean 
telescope which lends itself to simple description. It is of no use 
to make the picture larger if we lose definition in the process. The 
enlarged image must remain sharp enough to take advantage of the 
fine structure of the retinal screen that is to receive it. It will not 
be sharp enough unless we make the lens of greater diameter than 
the eye. Another reason for using a large lens is to avoid a loss of 

It seems paradoxical that the image of a star should be smaller 
the larger the telescope. Nevertheless it is a necessary result of 
the wave character of light. We cannot see the true nature of, 
for example, a double star unless the two images are small enough 
not to overlap and far enough apart to fall on separated elements of 
the observer's retina. 

When the problem is to examine small objects we look at them as 
close as we can : here the short-sighted observer has an advantage. 
By adding a lens in front of the eye lens to increase its power we can 
produce a kind of artificial short sight and get closer than we could 
otherwise, so that the picture on the retina is bigger. This is a 
simple microscope and we can use it to examine the image produced 
by an objective lens ; if this image is larger than the object under 
examination we call the whole arrangement a compound microscope. 

Given perfect construction there is no limit in theory to what a 
telescope can do in revealing distant worlds. It is only a question 
of making it large enough. On the other hand, there is a very 
definite limit to what the microscope used with, say, ordinary daylight 
can do. It is not that there is any difficulty in making it magnify 
as much as we like. This can be done, e.g., by making the tube of 
the microscope longer. The trouble is that beyond a certain point 


magnification does no good. Many people find this a hard saying, 
but it must be remembered that a large image is not necessarily 
a good image. We are up against the same difficulty as before. 
A point on the object is necessarily spread out into a disc in the image, 
due to the coarseness of structure of light itself as indicated by its 
wave-length. I cannot go into the details, but many of you will 
know that points on the object which are something less than half 
a wave-length, or say a one-hundred-thousandth of an inch apart, 
cannot be distinctly separated. This is the theoretical limit for a 
microscope using ordinary light, and it has been practically reached. 
The early microscopists would have thought this more than satis- 
factory ; but the limit puts a serious obstacle in the way of biological 
and medical progress to-day. For example, the pathogenic bacteria 
in many cases are about this size or less ; and there is special interest 
in considering in what directions we may hope to go further. 

Since microscopic resolution depends on having a fine structure 
in the light itself, something, though not perhaps very much, may 
be gained by the use of ultra-violet light instead of visible light. 
It then becomes necessary to work by photography. We are nearing 
the region of the spectrum where almost everything is opaque. In 
the visual region nearly every organic structure is transparent and 
to get contrast stains have to be used which colour one part more 
deeply than the other. In the ultra-violet, on the other hand, we 
get contrast without staining and, as Mr. J. W. Barnard has shown, 
the advantage lies as much in this as in the increased resolving power. 
For example, using the strong ultra-violet line of the mercury 
vapour lamp, which has about half the wave-length of green light, 
he finds that a virus contained within a cell shows up as a highly 
absorptive body in contrast with the less absorptive elements of the 
cell. So that ultra-violet microscopy offers some hope of progress 
in connection with this fundamental problem of the nature of 

With ultra-violet microscopy we have gone as far as we can 
in using short waves with ordinary lenses made of matter, for the 
available kinds of matter are useless for shorter waves than these, and 
it might well seem that we have here come to a definite and final end. 
Yet it is not so. There are two alternatives, which we must consider 
separately. Paradoxical as it may seem, for certain radiations we 
can make converging lenses out of empty space ; or alternatively 
we can make optical observations without any lenses at all. 

The long-standing controversy which raged in the nineties of the 
last century as to whether cathode rays consisted of waves or of 
electrified particles was thought to have been settled in favour of 
the latter alternative. But scientific controversies, however acutely 
they may rage for a time, are apt, like industrial disputes, to end in 


compromise ; and it has been so in this instance. According to 
our present views the cathode rays in one aspect consist of a stream 
of electrified particles ; in another, they consist of wave trains, the 
length being variable in inverse relation to the momentum of the 

Now cathode rays have the property of being bent by electric 
or magnetic forces, and far-reaching analogies have been traced 
between this bending and the refraction of light by solids ; indeed, 
a system of ' electron optics ' has been elaborated which shows how 
a beam of cathode rays issuing from a point can be reassembled into 
an image by passing through a localised electrostatic or magnetic 
field having axial symmetry. This constitutes what has been called 
an electrostatic or magnetic lens. It is then possible to form a 
magnified image of the source of electrons on a fluorescent screen, 
and that is the simplest application. But we can go further and form 
an image of an obstructing object such as a fine wire by means of 
one magnetic lens, acting as objective, and amplify it by means of a 
second magnetic lens, which is spoken of as the eyepiece, though of 
course it is only such by analogy, for the eye cannot deal directly 
with cathode rays. The eyepiece projects the image on to a fluor- 
escent screen, or photographic plate. So far we have been think- 
ing of the electron stream in its corpuscular aspect. But we must 
turn to the wave aspect when it comes to consideration of theoretical 
resolving power. The wave-length associated with an electron 
stream of moderate velocity is so small that if the electron microscope 
could be brought to the perfection of the optical microscope, it 
should be able to resolve the actual atomic structure of crystals. 
This is very far indeed from being attained, the present electron 
microscope being much further from its own ideal than were the 
earliest optical microscopes. Nevertheless experimental instru- 
ments have been constructed which have a resolving power several 
times better than the modern optical microscope. The difficulty 
is to apply them to practical biological problems. 

It is not to be supposed that the histological technique so skilfully 
elaborated for ordinary microscopy can at once be transferred to the 
electron microscope. For example, the relatively thick glass sup- 
ports and covers ordinarily used are out of the question. Staining 
with aniline dyes is probably of little use, and the fierce bombard- 
ment to which the delicate specimen is necessarily exposed will be 
no small obstacle. Certain standard methods, however, such as 
impregnation with osmium, seem to be applicable : and there is 
some possibility that eventually the obscure region between the 
smallest organisms and the largest crystalline structure may be 
explored by electron microscopy. 

In referring to the limitations on the use of lenses I mentioned 


the other alternative that we might, in order to work with the shortest 
waves, dispense with lenses altogether : and in fact in using X-rays 
this is done. We are then limited to controlling the course of the 
rays by means of tubes or pinholes. This restriction is so serious 
that it altogether defeats the possibility of constructing a useful 
X-ray microscope analogous to the optical or the electron microscope. 
In spite of this the use of X-rays is of fundamental value for dealing 
with a particular class of objects, namely, crystals, which themselves 
have a regular spacing, comparable in size with the length of the 
waves. Just as the spacing of a ruled grating (say one 1/20, 000th 
of an inch) can be compared with the wave-length of light by measur- 
ing the angle of diffraction, so the spacing of atoms in a crystal can 
be compared with the wave-length of X-rays. But here the indica- 
tions are less direct than with the microscope, and depend on the 
object having a periodic structure. So that the method hardly falls 
within the scope of this address. How essential the difference is will 
appear if we consider that the angle to be observed becomes greater 
and not less the closer the spacing of the object under test. 

Colour vision is one of nature's most wonderful achievements, 
though custom often prevents our perceiving the wonder of it. 
We take it for granted that anyone should readily distinguish the 
berries on a holly bush, and we are inclined to be derisive of a colour- 
blind person who cannot do so. But so far anatomy has told us 
little or nothing of how the marvel is achieved. Experiments on 
colour vision show that three separate and fundamental colour 
sensations exist. It is probable that the cones of the retina are 
responsible for colour vision and the rods for dark adapted vision 
which does not discriminate colour. But no division of the cones 
into three separate kinds corresponding to the three colour sensa- 
tions has ever been observed. Nor is any anatomical peculiarity 
known which allows a colour-blind eye to be distinguished from a 
normal one. 

Can artificial resources help to improve colour discrimination ? 
In some interesting cases they can. Indeed, the whole subject of 
spectroscopy may be thought of as coming under this head. We 
can recognise the colour imparted by sodium to a flame without 
artificial help. When potassium is present as well, the red colour 
due to it can only be seen when we use a prism to separate the red 
image of the flame from the yellow one. Such a method has its 
limitations, because if the coloured images are more numerous they 
overlap, and the desired separation is lost. To avoid this it is 
necessary to make a sacrifice, and to limit the effective breadth of 
the flame by a more or less narrow slit. And if the images are very 
numerous the slit has to be so narrow that all indication of the 
breadth of the source is lost. This, of course, is substantially the 

B 2 


method of spectroscopy, into which I do not enter further. But 
there is an interesting class of cases where we cannot afford to 
sacrifice the form of the object entirely to colour discrimination. 
Consider, for example, the prominences of the sun's limb, which are 
so well seen against the darkened sky of an eclipse, but are altogether 
lost in the glare of the sky at other times. In order to see them 
prismatic dispersion is made use of, and separates the mono- 
chromatic red light of hydrogen from the sky background. A slit 
must be used to cut off the latter : but if it is too narrow the outlines 
of the prominence cannot be seen. By using a compromise width 
it is possible to reconcile the competing requirements in this com- 
paratively easy case. Indeed, M. B. Lyot, working in the clear air 
of the observatory of the Pic du Midi, where there is less false light 
to deal with, has even been able to observe the prominences through 
a suitable red filter, which enables the whole circumference of the 
sun to be examined at once, without the limitations introduced by a 
slit. A much more difficult problem is to look for bright hydrogen 
eruptions projected on the sun's disc, and at first sight this might 
well seem hopeless. A complete view of them was first obtained by 
photography, but I shall limit myself to some notice of the visual 
instrument perfected by Hale and called by him the spectrohelio- 
scope. A very narrow slit has to be used, and hence only a very 
small breadth of the sun's surface can be seen at any one instant. 
But the difficulty is turned by very rapidly exposing to view successive 
strips of the sun's surface side by side. The images then blend, 
owing to persistence of vision, and a reasonably broad region is in- 
cluded in what is practically a single view. I must pass over the 
details of mechanism by which this is carried out. 

There are now a number of spectrohelioscopes over different 
parts of the world, and a continuous watch is kept for bright erup- 
tions of the red hydrogen lines. Already these are found to be 
simultaneous with the ' fading ' of short radio waves over the 
illuminated hemisphere of the earth, and the brightest eruptions 
are simultaneous with disturbances of terrestrial magnetism. At 
the Mount Wilson Observatory such eruptions have been seen at the 
same time at widely separated points on the sun, indicating a deep- 
seated cause. There are therefore very interesting and fundamental 
questions within the realm of this method of investigation. 

We have so far been mainly considering how we may adapt our 
vision for objects too small or too far off for unassisted sight, and for 
colour differences not ordinarily perceptible. This is chiefly done- 
by supplementing the lens system of the eye by additional lenses 
or by prisms. We cannot supplement the retina, but in certain 
cases we can do better. We can substitute an artificial sensitive 
surface which may be either photographic or photoelectric. 


That certain .pigments are bleached by Hght is an observation 
tliat must have obtruded itself from very early times — indeed, it is 
one of the chief practical problems of dyeing to select pigments 
which do not fade rapidly. If a part of the coloured surface is 
protected by an opaque object — say a picture or a mirror hanging 
over a coloured wallpaper — we get a silhouette of the protecting 
object, which is in essence a photograph. 

Again, it is a matter of common observation that the human skin 
is darkened by the prolonged action of the sun's light, and here 
similarly we may get what is really a silhouette photograph of a 
locket, or the like, which protects the skin locally. In this case we 
are perhaps retracing the paths which Nature herself has taken : for 
the evolution of the eye is regarded as having begun with the general 
sensitiveness to light of the whole surface of the organism . 

The sensitivity of at all events the dark adapted eye depends 
on the accumulation on the retinal rods of the pigment called the 
visual purple, of which the most striking characteristic is its ready 
bleaching by light. We can even partially ' fix ' the picture pro- 
duced in this way on the retina of, for example, a frog by means of 
alum solution. This brings home to us how clearly akin are the 
processes in the retina to those in the photographic plate, even though 
the complexity of the former has hitherto largely baffled investigation. 

There are then many indications in nature of substances sensitive 
to light, and quite a considerable variety of them have from time 
to time been used in practical photographic processes. But com- 
pounds of silver, which formed the basis of the earliest processes, 
have maintained the lead over all others. The history of photo- 
graphy by means of silver salts cannot be considered a good example 
of the triumph of the rational over the empirical. For instance, the 
discovery of developers came about thus. The first workers, 
Wedgewood and Davy (1802), had found that they got greater 
sensitivity by spreading the silver salt on white leather instead of 
paper. An early experimenter, the Rev. J. B. Reade (1837), was 
anxious to repeat this experiment, and sacrificed a pair of white 
kid gloves belonging to his wife for the purpose. When he wished 
to sacrifice a second pair, the lady raised a not unnatural objection, 
and he said, ' Then I will tan paper.' He treated paper with an 
infusion of oak galls and found that this increased the sensitivity 
greatly. It amounted to what we should call exposing and develop- 
ing simultaneously. But, in using the method, it is easily observed 
that darkening continues after exposure is over, and this leads to 
beginning development after the exposure. This step was taken by 
Fox Talbot a year or two afterwards. Instead of crude infusion 
of galls he used gallic acid. Later pyrogallic acid was used instead 
of gallic acid, and still survives. 


The use of gelatine as a medium to contain the gilver halide was 
a more obvious idea. But it was not so easy to foresee that the 
sensitivity of silver salts would be much further increased when they 
were held in this medium. For long this remained unexplained, 
until it was noticed that some specimens of gelatine were much 
more active than others. This was ultimately traced by S. E. 
Sheppard to the presence of traces of mustard oil, a sulphur com- 
pound, in the more active specimens. This, in turn, depends in 
all probability on the pasturage on which the animals that afford the 
gelatine have been fed. The quantity present is incredibly small, 
comparable in quantity with the radium in pitchblende. 

The value to science as well as to daily life of the gelatine dry 
plate or film can hardly be overestimated. Take, for instance, the 
generalised principle of relativity, which attempts with considerable 
success to reduce the main feature of the cosmical process to a geo- 
metrical theory. The crucial test requires us to investigate the 
gravitational bending of light, by photographing the field of stars 
near the echpsed sun. For this purpose the gelatine dry plate has 
been essential : and here, as we have seen, we get into complicated 
questions of bio-chemistry. This is to my mind a beautiful example 
of the interdependence of different branches of science and of the 
disadvantages of undue specialisation (or should I say generalisa- 
tion .''). We may attempt to reduce the cosmos to the dry bones 
of a geometrical theory, but in testing the theory we are compelled 
to have recourse again to the gelatine which we have discarded from 
the dry bones ! 

To come back, however, to the development of the photographic 
retina, as I may call it. As is well known, the eye has maximum 
sensitivity to the yellow-green of the spectrum, but ordinary silver 
salts are not sensitive in this region. Their maximum is in the blue 
or violet, and ranges on through ultra-violet to the X-ray region. 
It was not at all easy to extend it on the other side through green, 
yellow and red to infra-red. The story of how this was ultimately 
attained is one more example in the chapter of accidental clues 
skilfully followed up which forms the history of this subject. 

In 1873, Dr. Hermann Vogel, of Berlin, noticed that certain 
collodion plates of English manufacture, which he was using for 
spectrum photography, recorded the green of the spectrum to which 
the simple silver salts are practically insensitive. The plates had 
been coated with a mixture which contained nitrate of uranium, 
gum, gallic acid and a yellow colouring matter. What the purpose 
of this coating was is not very obvious. It rather reminds one of 
mediaeval medical prescriptions which made up in complexity what 
they lacked in clear thinking. But Vogel concluded with true 
scientific insight that it must owe the special property he had dis- 


covered to some constituent which absorbs the green of the spectrum 
more than the blue : for conservation of energy requires that the 
green should be absorbed if it is to act on the plate. He then tried 
staining the plate with coralline red, which has an absorption band 
in the green, with the expected result. With much prescience he 
says : ' I think I am pretty well justified in inferring that we are in 
a position to re?tder bromide of silver sensitive for any colour we choose. 
Perhaps we may even arrive at this, namely photographing the ultra- 
red as we have already photographed the ultra-violet.' It was, 
however, half a century before this far-seeing prophecy was fully 
realised. The development of the aniline colour industry gave full 
scope for experiment, but it has been found by bitter experience 
that dyes which can produce the colour sensitiveness are often fatal 
to the clean working and keeping qualities of the plate. However, 
success has been attained, largely by the efforts of Dr. W. H. Mills, 
of the chemical department of this University, and of Dr. Mees, of 
the Kodak Company ; and we all see the fruits of it in the photo- 
graphs by lamplight which are often reproduced in the newspapers. 

It is now known in what direction the molecular structure of the 
sensitising dye must be elaborated in order to push the action further 
and further into the infra-red, and the point when water becomes 
opaque has nearly been reached, with great extension of our know- 
ledge of the solar spectrum. The spectra of the major planets 
have also been extended into the infra-red, and this has given the 
clue as to the true origin of the mysterious absorption bands due 
to their atmospheres, which had baffled spectroscopists for more 
than a generation. These bands have been shown by Wildt to be 
due to methane or marsh gas. Neptune, for example, has an atmo- 
sphere of methane equivalent to 25 miles thickness of the gas under 
standard conditions. In this Neptunian methane we have a paraffin 
certainly not of animal or vegetable origin ; and I venture in passing 
to make the suggestion that geologists might usefully take it into 
consideration in discussing the origin of terrestrial petroleum. 

The photographic plate is not the only useful substitute for the 
human retina. We have another in the photoelectric surface. The 
history of this discovery is of considerable interest. Heinrich Hertz, 
in his pioneering investigation of electric waves (1887), made use of 
the tiny spark which he obtained from his receiving circuit as an 
indicator. The younger part of my audience must remember that 
this was before the days of valves and loud speakers. His experi- 
ments were done within the walls of one room. When he boxed 
in the indicating spark so as to shield it from daylight and make it 
easier to see, he found that this precaution had exactly the opposite 
effect — the spark became less instead of more conspicuous. To 
express it shortly and colloquially, this action was found to depend 


on whether or not the spark of the receiver could see the spark of the 
oscillator. Moreover, seeing through a glass window would not do. 
It was ultra-violet light from the active spark that influenced the 
passive spark. Further, Hertz was able to determine that the 
action occurred mainly, if not entirely, at the cathode of the passive 

The next step was taken by Hallwachs, who showed that it was 
not necessary to work with the complicated conditions of the spark. 
He found that a clean zinc plate negatively charged rapidly lost its 
charge when illuminated by ultra-violet light. 

The final important step was in the use of a clean surface of alkali 
metal in vacuo which responds to visible light and passes compara- 
tively large currents. This constitutes the photoelectric cell very 
much as we now have it, and was due to two German schoolmasters, 
J. Elster and H. Geitel. English physicists who met them during 
their visit to Cambridge a generation ago will not fail to have 
agreeable memories of their single-minded enthusiasm and devoted 
mutual regard. Sir J. J. Thomson has recalled them to our recol- 
lection in his recent book. They could scarcely have foreseen that 
their work, carried out in a purely academic spirit, would make 
possible the talking films which give pleasure to untold millions. 

The sensitiveness of the dark-adapted eye has often been referred 
to as one of its most wonderful features ; but, under favourable 
conditions, the sensitivity of a photoelectric surface may even be 
superior. According to our present ideas, no device conceivable 
could do more than detect every quantum which fell upon it. Neither 
the eye nor the photoelectric surface comes very near to this standard, 
but it would seem that the falling short is rather in detail than in 
principle. The action of the photoelectric cell depends on the 
liberation of an electron by one quantum of incident energy, and 
under favourable conditions the liberation of one electron can be 
detected, by an application of the principle of Geiger's counter. 
The action of the dark-adapted eye depends on the bleaching of the 
visual purple. According to the results of Dartnell, Goodeve and 
Lythgoe it appears likely that one quantum can bleach a molecule 
of this substance, and in all probability this results in the excitation 
of a nerve fibre, which carries its message to the brain. 

The photoelectric cell can be used like the photographic plate at 
the focus of an astronomical telescope. It might seem from the 
standpoint of evolution a retrograde step to substitute a single sensi- 
tive element for the 137 million such elements in the human eye. 
In this connection it is interesting to note that in certain invertebrate 
animals eyes are known which have the character of a single sensitive 
element, with a lens to concentrate the light upon it. Such an eye 
can do little more than distinguish light from darkness. But its 


artificial counterpart using the photoelectric surface has the valuable 
property that the electric current which indicates that light is falling 
upon it can be precisely measured, so as to determine the intensity 
of the light. In contrast with photographic action, the energy 
available to produce the record comes not from the original source 
of light, which only, as it were, pulls the trigger, but from the battery 
in the local circuit, and it may be amplified so as to actuate robust 
mechanisms. It has been applied with success to guiding a large 
telescope or, in a humbler sphere, to open doors, or even to catch 

However, the scientific interest lies more in the possibility of 
accurate measurement. As an interesting example we might take 
the problem of measuring the apparent diameter of the great nebula 
in Andromeda. As is known, modern research tends to indicate 
that the Andromeda nebula and other like systems. are the counter- 
parts of the galaxy, being in fact island universes. But until lately 
there was such a serious difficulty in that all such systems appeared 
to be considerably smaller than the galaxy. Stebbins and Whitford, 
by traversing a telescope armed with a photoelectric cell across the 
nebula, have found that its linear dimensions were twice as great 
as had been supposed, reducing the discrepancy of size to com- 
paratively little. 

But, it may be suggested, could we not go further and make a 
photoelectric equivalent, not only for the rudimentary kind of eye 
which has only a single sensitive element, but for the developed 
mammalian eye which has an enormous number ? Could we not 
build up on separated photoelectric elements a complete and detailed 
picture .? In point of fact this has been done in the development of 
television ; and since this new art which interests us all can properly 
be considered as an extension of the powers of nornial vision, no 
excuse is needed for devoting some consideration to it. We must 
divide the photoelectric surface into minute patches which are 
electrically insulated from one another. This is not too difficult ; 
but if it were proposed directly to imitate nature, and attach a wire, 
representing a nerve fibre, to each of these patches, so as to connect 
it to the auxiliary apparatus, we might well despair of the task ; for 
there are probably half a million such connections between the human 
retina and the brain. In the artificial apparatus for television, one 
single connection is made to serve, but it is in effect attached to each 
of the patches in rapid succession by the process of ' scanning ' the 
image. The photoelectric mosaic is on one side of a thin mica sheet, 
and a continuous metal coating on the other side gives the connec- 
tion, which is by electrostatic induction. Each element of the surface 
forms a separate tiny condenser with the opposing part of the back 
plate. Scanning is achieved by rapidly traversing a beam of electrons 


over the mosaic line by line. The whole surface, and therefore 
each element, must be scanned at least twenty times a second. In 
the intervals an element is losing electrons more or less rapidly. 
The scanning beam comes along, and restores the lost electrons, 
discharges the little condenser formed by the element and the back 
plate and sends an electric signal into the wire attached to this plate. 
The strength of this signal will depend on how many electrons the 
element had lost since the previous scanning, and thus on the 
luminous intensity of that part of the image. An important point 
is that the element is in action all the time, and not only while it 
is individually being scanned. We have thus transmuted the 
momentary picture into a series of electric pulses occupying in all 
a time of one-twentieth of a second, and these can be amplified and 
sent out as wireless signals. How are they to be turned back again 
into a visible picture at the other end ? Well, that is not perhaps so 
difficult as the first conversion of the picture into signals. We must 
make a beam of electrons follow and imitate the periodic movements 
of the scanning beam at the other end. The beam of electrons 
falls on a luminescent screen, and makes it light up, more or less 
brightly according to the intensity of the electron beam. If we use 
the incoming signals to modulate the electron beam, we can make 
them correspond with the intensities at the sending end, and the 
original picture is reconstructed piece by piece. The reconstruction 
is completed in one-twentieth of a second or less, and the process 
begins again. The successive pictures blend into one another as 
in the cinema, and movement is shown with apparent continuity. 

It seems not unlikely that the electric eye or iconoscope, as it has 
been called, may have applications apart from television. Dr. V. K. 
Zworykin, who took an important part in its development, suggested 
that it might be used to make visible the image in the ultra-violet 
microscope, which would be much too faint for direct projection 
on a fluorescent screen. For that purpose the sending and receiving 
apparatus would, of course, be connected directly, without radio 
transmission. It might also be used for rapid photography, if the 
photographic plate replaced the viewing screen. The beauty of 
the device is that the energy is supplied locally, the distant light 
source merely releasing it. The principle of amplification may thus 
perhaps be applied to the photographing of faint objects. 

I come to the close of this part of my subject. 

Much of modern scientific doctrine appears at first sight to have 
an elusive and even metaphysical character, and this aspect of it 
seems to make the strongest appeal to many cultivated minds. Yet 
upon the whole, the main triumphs of science lie in the tangible facts 
which it has revealed ; and it is these which will without doubt 
endure as a permanent memorial to our epoch. My main thesis 


has been that these are discovered by methods not essentially 
different from direct scrutiny. It is hoped that the present survey 
may remind you that if we allow for a reasonable broadening of the 
original meaning of the words, it remains true after all that ' seeing 
is believing.' 


Science and Warfare. 

During the Great War itself, few scientific men in any country 
doubted that it was their duty to do what they could to apply their 
specialised knowledge to the purposes of war ; nor was it often 
suggested by publicists that there was any countervailing considera- 
tion : on the contrary they urged strongly that our resources in 
this direction should be efficiently mobilised. It is chiefly in vague 
general discussions that the opposite view becomes vocal. 

Science, it is urged, is the source of all the trouble : and we may 
look to scientific men for some constructive contribution to finding 
a remedy. It is worth while to inquire what basis there is for this 
indictment, and whether, in fact, it is feasible for men of science to 
desist from labours which may have a disastrous outcome, or at any 
rate to help in guiding other men to use and not to abuse the fruits 
of those labours. I may say at the outset that I have no sanguine 
contribution to make. I believe that the whole idea that scientific 
men are specially responsible is a delusion born of imperfect know- 
ledge of the real course of the process of discovery. Indeed, very 
much the same complaint was made before the scientific era. Let 
me refer you to Shakespeare's play of Henry IV : — 

' Great pity, so it was 
This villainous saltpetre should be digged 
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth 
Which many a good tall fellow had destroyed 
So cowardly.' 

The quotation leads us to inquire how far the further development 
of this particular kind of frightfulness into modern high explosives 
was deliberate or not. 

In the course of systematic study of the chemistry of carbon 
compounds it was inevitable that the action of nitric acid on sub- 
stances like benzene, toluene, glycerine, cellulose and the like should 
be tried. No one could foresee the result. In the case of benzene, 
we have nitrobenzene, the key to the aniline dye industry. In the 
case of glycerine, Sobrero obtained in 1846 the highly explosive 
liquid called nitro-glycerine. He meant no harm, and in fact his dis- 
covery lay dormant for many years, until Nobel turned his attention 


to the matter in 1863, and showed how by mixing nitro-glycerine 
with other substances, soUd explosives could be made which admitted 
of safe handling. Dynamite was one of them. They proved 
invaluable in the arts of peace, e.g. in mining and in making railway 
tunnels, such as those through the Alps. They were used by the 
Irish Fenians in the dynamite outrages of the eighties. These 
attempted outrages were not very successful, and so far as I know 
no one was inclined to blame science for them, any more than for 
the Gunpowder Plot. Like the latter, they came to be considered 
slightly comic. If anyone doubts this, he may agreeably resolve his 
doubts by reading R. L. Stevenson's story The Dynamiter. At 
all events, high explosives had been too long in use in peaceful 
industry for their misuse to be laid directly to the account of science. 

Coming next to poison gas. We read that Pliny was overwhelmed 
and killed by sulphur dioxide in the eruption of Vesuvius in a.d. 79. 
During the Crimean War, the veteran admiral Lord Dundonald 
urged that the fumes of burning sulphur should be deliberately used 
in this way, but the suggestion was not adopted. Even if it had been, 
scientific research ad hoc would obviously have had little to do with 
the matter. During the Great War, chlorine was used on a large 
scale. I need hardly insist that chlorine was not isolated by chemists 
for this purpose. It was discovered 140 years before, as a step in 
the inquiry into the nature of common salt. 

Coming to the more recondite substances, we may take mustard 
gas — really a liquid — as typical. It is much more plausible to suggest 
that here was a scientific devilment, deliberately contrived to cripple 
and destroy. But what are the real facts ? 

Referring to Watts's Dictionary of Chemistry (edition of 1894), 
there is an article of less than forty words about mustard gas (under 
the heading of dichlordiethyl sulphide). After the method of 
preparation used by Victor Meyer has been mentioned, the sub- 
stance is dismissed with the words ' oil, very poisonous and violently 
inflames the skin. Difference from diethyl sulphide.' 

There are sixteen other compounds described at comparable 
length on the same page. So far as I know, none of them is of any 
importance. A not uncommon type of critic would probably say 
that the investigation of them had been, useless, the work of un- 
practical dreamers, who might have been better employed. One 
of these substances, namely mustard gas, is quite unexpectedly 
applied to war, and the production of it is held by the critics to be the 
work not of dreamers, but of fiends whose activities ought to be 
suppressed ! Finally, at the bottom of the page begins a long article 
on chloroform. This substance, as you know, has relieved a great 
deal of pain, and on the same principle the investigator who pro- 
duced it was no doubt an angel of mercy. The trouble is that all 


the investigators proceeded in exactly the same spirit, the spirit that 
is of scientific curiosity, and with no possibiHty of telHng whether 
the issue of their work would prove them to be fiends, or dreamers, 
or angels. 

Again, there is the terror of thermite incendiary bombs, spreading 
fire broadcast through our great cities. The notion is sometimes 
encountered that thermite was invented for this purpose. Nothing 
could be further from the truth. I first made acquaintance with it 
myself in 1901 by hearing a lecture at the Royal Institution by the 
late Sir William Roberts Austen on ' Metals as Fuel.' ^ He drew 
attention to the great amount of energy which was liberated when 
aluminium combined with oxygen, and showed how aluminium 
powder mixed with red oxide of iron would react violently with it, 
withdrawing the oxygen from the iron, and becoming brilliantly 
incandescent in the process. He showed further how this mixture, 
called thermite, could be used for heating metal work locally, so 
as to make welds, e.g. in joining two iron pipes end to end. I 
venture to say that it never occurred to him or to any of his hearers 
that thermite had any application in war. 

In discussions of this kind a distinction is often implied between 
what I may call old-fashioned knowledge and modern scientific 
knowledge. The latter is considered to be the special handmaid 
of ' frightfulness.' The futility of this distinction is easily seen by 
considering a special case. Iron is thought of as belonging to the 
pre-scientific era, while aluminium is thought to belong to the 
scientific era. From the standpoint of chemistry both are metals, 
and the problem of producing them in either case is a chemical one. 
When produced they both have their function in ' frightfulness ' : 
iron to cut and stab ; aluminium to make thermite bombs to burn 
and destroy. If modern science makes its contribution to ' fright- 
fulness ' in giving us aluminium, ancient craft did so in giving us 
iron. It is obviously absurd to make any distinction in principle 
between the two cases. Science properly understood includes all 
real knowledge about material things, whether that knowledge is old 
or new. 

All these terrors have only become applicable against a civilian 
population by the development of aircraft. Military objects were 
certainly not the incentive of the successful pioneers of artificial 
flight. They were fascinated at first by the sport of gliding, and 
afterwards by a mechanical transport problem. 

It is true that brilliant writers of imaginative fiction, such as Jules 
Verne and H. G. Wells, had foretold all, and more than all, the horrors 
that have since come to pass. But it is perhaps more to the point to 
inquire what were the contemporary views of practical men. The 

1 Proc. R.I., Feb. 23, 1901, vol. xvi, p. 496. 


Wrights made their first successful flight in 1903. In 1904 I myself 
heard the then First Sea Lord of the Admiralty repudiate with scorn 
the suggestion that the Government were interesting themselves in 
the matter ; and I know with equal definiteness that even as late as 
1908 the Chief of the Imperial General Staff did not believe in the 
military importance of flight. Would it be fair then to blame the 
inventors for not having realised it, and for not having stayed their 
hands ? 

Summing up what may be learnt from the experience of the past, 
I think we may say that the application of fundamental discoveries 
in science to purposes of war is altogether too remote for it to be 
possible to control such discoveries at the source. 

For good or ill, the urge to explore the unknown is deep in the 
nature of some of us, and it will not be deterred by possible con- 
tingent results, which may not be, and generally are not, fully 
apparent till long after the death of the explorer. The world is ready 
to accept the gifts of science, and to use them for its own purposes. 
It is difficult to see any sign that it is ready to accept the advice of 
scientific men as to what those uses should be. 

Can we then, do nothing ? Frankly, I doubt whether we can do 
much, but there is one thing that may be attempted. The Associa- 
tion has under consideration a division for study of the social 
relations of science which will attempt to bring the steady light of 
scientific truth to bear on vexed questions. We rejoice to know that 
our distinguished American visitors are in sympathy with this aim, 
and we hope that our discussions with them will bear useful if modest 
fruit in promoting international amity. 




Dr. C. G. DARWIN, F.R.S., 


Before coming to my main subject it is appropriate that I should begin 
by referring to the quite exceptional loss that physical science has in- 
curred during the past year in the death of Lord Rutherford. It is not 
easy for contemporaries to judge what the future estimates of history 
will be, but in this case I think we may expect the verdict that he was 
the greatest of all experimental physicists — -perhaps with the exception 
of Faraday. It was my good fortune to serve in his laboratory in Man- 
chester during those days when he had got the subject of radioactivity 
into fair order, and was profiting by it to explore the structure of matter, 
the days when the a-particle was giving its best as a probe into the nature 
of atoms. I suppose that the most important thing that came out was the 
discovery of the nucleus. This arose out of investigations into the 
scattering of a-particles in a sheet of gold foil. A few of them were 
scattered through very much larger angles than they had any right to 
be, and from this hint Rutherford guessed that the atom must contain 
a powerful centre of force. I remember the occasion of a Sunday evening 
supper when he told us about it, in fact only a few minutes after he had 
worked out the consequences, and I remember being astonished at the 
use he could make of the vague recollections of what he had learnt at 
school about the hyperbola. It is easy for us now to say how reasonable 
it all was, because we have got used to atoms like that, but we have to 
remember that at the time it certainly caused a great deal of trouble. 
One single very rare phenomenon was explained, but every critical mind 
could point out endless objections. For example, there was the prime 
difficulty that until the advent of Bohr's theory there was nothing to 
hold the nuclear atom to a fixed size, a difficulty which was explained 
at any rate roughly by the older idea of a sphere of positive electricity ; 
and then there was the trouble, which in fact worried Rutherford a good 
deal, as to how a P-particle could ever escape from such a strong attrac- 
tive force. But he got it right ; it was a process I have heard described 
by saying that if Rutherford went into a chemical laboratory for a reagent 
he would somehow always go to the right bottle even if there were no 
labels. Of his later work, disintegration and so on, I will not speak, 
but only refer to one characteristic he showed in it. This was his capacity 


for changing his methods. In the Manchester days the work was all 
done with astonishingly simple means — old tobacco tins for home-made 
electroscopes and so on — and it would have been easy for anyone to say, 
' We have got many first-rate results out of these tobacco tins, and there 
are plenty more to get, so why change ? ' There would have been plenty 
more to get, and he could have occupied a whole laboratory getting them, 
but all the time the world was going beyond them to costly apparatus 
on an engineering scale, which were beginning to yield results beyond 
the capacity of tobacco tins. Rutherford perceived this as early as any- 
one and was ready to undertake these engineering feats — and to collect 
the money to pay for them too. But I will say no more of this work, 
since it is only necessary to apply to him in this place and during our 
present week of meeting the words written on the tomb of another great 
man — Si monumentum requiris, ctrcufmpice. 

When we try to assess the qualities, as opposed to the performance, of 
great men of science, we can make a dichotomy of them into two classes ; 
the dichotomy is of course not exact, but it divides them as well as such 
things do. There is the type of genius who seems to have been born 
with a knowledge of some branch of nature, so that he has only to grow 
up, learn to read and write, and then be told what the difficulties are in 
order to understand and explain them. Perhaps Lord Kelvin was the 
typical instance, for he seemed to know all about thermodynamics 
spontaneously at the age of 22. Then there is the opposite type of which 
the late Lord Rayleigh was an example, who seem not to have a natural 
understanding of things, but to know more precisely than common men 
what they do not understand and by mastering it to gain a very deep 
insight into nature. It is a question of whether it is easier to conquer 
the world by understanding it or by not understanding it. It is a matter 
of taste which type each of us prefers, whether the inspiration which 
seems to know what the world is like directly, or the careful induc- 
tion, picking a cautious way between this difficulty and that objection. 
Each type may show the demerits of its quality, in the one case a certain 
inelasticity that follows the inspiration, in the other a sometimes too 
pedestrian rate of advance. On the principle that I like to see the 
machinery as well as its products, I confess that it is the second type 
that attracts me more. A rigid dichotomy of this kind is a misleading 
over-simplification, and most scientific men have shared the two characters 
in various proportions, but it is not hard to classify Rutherford. He 
had that quality of being prepared for anything, of making each discovery 
fit on to the last and suggest the next, of taking the world as he found it, 
which is typical of my second class, those whom I have called great by 
not understanding. But I must turn to my main subject, and will only 
add that the life and work of Rutherford is the best possible text I could 
choose for the kind of view which I want to put before you. 

In choosing a theme for my address I was in some difficulty. The 
main subjects of present interest in physics, the nucleus of the atom, 
cosmic rays, and the phenomena at deep temperatures, are being dealt 
with in the discussions of our Section, so that they would be excluded 
even apart from the fact that I cannot speak on them with authority. It 


would have been possible for me to choose a narrower subject, but I 
could not feel that this would have possessed the general interest that 
such an occasion demands, and so with some trepidation I am venturing 
on an even wider theme and am going to touch on the philosophy of our 
subject. This is a dangerous thing to do for one who has never made 
more than the most superficial study of pure philosophy, but still I do 
not apologise for it, because it appears to me that recent scientific history 
has revealed a deep schism between the professional philosophers and 
the scientists, and this schism is worthy of examination. 

General philosophy claims to be the critical subject which lays down 
for all of us what we may be allowed to think, and yet it has played no 
part whatever in the great revolutions of human thought of the present 
century — those connected with relativity and the quantum theory. It 
might have been expected that the scientists would have been constantly 
consulting the philosophers as to the legitirnacy of their various specula- 
tions, but nothing of the kind has happened. Since no one can dispense 
with some sort of metaphysic, each scientist has made one for himself, 
and no doubt they contain many crudities, but it would seem that a deep 
interest in metaphysic is a disadvantage rather than an advantage to the 
physicist — at least I have the impression that those of my friends who 
are most inclined to speculate on the ultimate things appear to be the ones 
whose scientific work is most hampered by doing so. Now I propose 
to risk a similar indiscretion. I want to embody in it the practical 
philosophy of a physicist, and I do not mean it as an attack on the pure 
philosophers, who are very reasonable people, only chargeable with the 
minor offence of not having made me want to read their books 1 

I had better begin by stating shortly the ideas I intend to discuss. 
There is a notable contrast between the way we think about things and 
the way we think we ought to think about them. We have set up as an 
ideal form of reasoning the formal logic which has held the field since 
the days of Aristotle. We rarely conform to this ideal, but instead we 
usually make use of arguments having no accurate axiomatic basis, 
which compel belief because of some large accumulation of favourable 
evidence. I intend to develop the idea that the old logic was devised 
for a world that was thought to have hard outlines, and that, now that 
the new mechanics has shown that the outlines are not hard, the method 
of reasoning must be changed. The key to the modification has already 
long been in our hands in the principle of probability, but whereas in 
the past constant attempts were made to fit this into the old system, 
the new mechanics suggests the possibility of a different synthesis. 
Though I hope this subject will be found interesting in itself, I would 
not have ventured to bring it forward if 1 had not also a very practical 
purpose in doing so, and that is to urge that our mathematical education 
both at school and university has been gravely deficient in that it has 
put all the emphasis on matters susceptible of rigorous proof, while it 
has very completely neglected the equally important subjects of statistics 
and probability. I shall enter into these matters at the end of my 

I have said that there is a contrast between the way we all think about 
things and the way we think we ought to think about them. This is 


true not merely of the scientist ; the layman holds the same belief. I 
may exemplify this by a quotation from that epitome of the reasoned 
thought of the ordinary man, the detective story. After Watson has 
expressed admiration at one of the most brilliant guesses of Sherlock 
Holmes he is met with the reply : ' No, no ; I never guess. It is a 
shocking habit, destructive of the logical faculty.' The reader is en- 
couraged to revere the great detective by being told that all his arguments 
are Aristotelian syllogisms. The scientist forms his opinions in much 
the same way as Holmes really did, but he is apt to feel that this is a 
fault in himself and that he ought to be forming them by the severe 
principles of formal logic in the manner that appealed to Watson. Of 
course there are branches of knowledge for which this can be done, but 
somehow they are not the interesting ones ; indeed, outside pure mathe- 
matics any subject is apt to become dead and uninteresting as soon as 
it is brought down to this form. The really live branches of physics 
call for a very different kind of thought, for a review of a system of 
interconnected facts and for a perception of conjectured analogies, and 
so on. This is vaguer, but it is more important, and our system ought 
to give importance to the important things, so that the actual habit of 
thought which the intelligent man finds the most useful is acknowledged 
as the right one. 

In general literature there is a particular kind of writing which we all 
admire on account of its direct simplicity ; it is to be found in much 
English of the seventeenth century, but specially in the work of many 
French authors, both early and late. It is a delight to read and often 
admirably achieves its aim of clarifying the subject-matter — but not 
always. There are two ways of writing simply about a subject. One 
is to understand and make clear the simplicity of it ; the other is to leave 
out all the difficult parts. When we entertain the idea that everything 
can be brought down to the Aristotelian syllogism, are we not doing this 
last ? Is it not possible that when a subject is brought down to these 
terms, it is merely that we have picked out from it the easy parts and con- 
cealed all the rest ? If we turn our attention to the question of why 
we believe in our various theories, we can see that there is often a quite 
illusory simplicity in their presentation. 

Why do we believe in the various theories that we are all agreed to 
accept .'' Once a theory has become well established someone usually 
gets to work to find a system of axioms, postulates, indefinables and so 
on from which it may be derived. For example, classical mechanics is 
based on Newton's Laws, or whatever system has been substituted for 
them by later criticism. The direct derivation of everything from an 
axiomatic basis has an attractive simplicity, but it tends to make us 
think we believe the theory because of the axioms, whereas the 
axioms are only a convenient shorthand summarising a wide field of 
information, and they are believed in merely because we believe in • 
the theory. This may be seen by an occurrence of a few years 
ago. There was a letter to Nature pointing out a rather fundamental 
contradiction in the quantum theory — I do not think the author meant 
it as strongly as the accident of his wording implied. One's immediate 
feeling was that the idea must be wrong (as indeed it proved to be), but 


the point of my mentioning it is that I found I did not care much whether 
it was right or wrong, because the quantum theory must be right anyhow. 
The cumulative weight is so overwhelming that it is not conceivable 
that anyone could upset it in a single column oi Nature. A little doctoring 
of the axioms would certainly put the matter right again, and hardly anyone 
would be any the better. We have then to believe that axioms are not 
important things, but that it is the whole body of accumulated doctrine 
that matters. 

Take it from a different angle. The ' logic ' school of thought has in 
its repertory the idea of a ' crucial experiment,' that is the single experi- 
ment which gives the answer yes or no to a whole theory. I suppose the 
most striking crucial experiment ever done was the Michelson-Morley 
experiment on aether drift, which was made the basis of the whole 
gigantic theory of relativity. Michelson and Morley showed that to the 
order of the square of the earth's velocity there was no aether drift, 
and they showed it to the limits of the precision of their apparatus. For 
some twenty years the theory of relativity grew enormously, based on this 
one experiment, and then it was felt that it would be proper for some 
one else to repeat the work, and Dr. Dayton Miller undertook the 
task. We cannot see any reason to think that his work should be inferior 
to Michelson's, as he had at his disposal not only all the experience of 
Michelson's work, but also the very great technical improvements of the 
intervening period, but in fact he failed to verify the exact vanishing of 
the aether drift. What happened } Nobody doubted relativity. There 
must therefore be some unknown source of error which had upset Miller's 
work. But as Miller was improving on Michelson, this contains the 
implication that Michelson's work must have had two unknown sources 
of error which happened to cancel one another. What has become of 
the crucial experiment ? We do not believe in relativity because of the 
Michelson-Morley experiment ; it is one, and an important one, of a 
number of cumulative pieces of evidence which all fit together, and it 
is this cumulation and not any one of its pieces that makes us believe in 

From examples like these we conclude that an axiomatic basis, of the 
kind demanded for the operations of formal logic, is too narrow for the 
understanding of the physical world. Something wider is needed. 
Now for more than a century there has been growing up the recognition 
that probability plays a part in much reasoning, and that there must 
exist a wider system of logic which has probability as one of its features. 
Attempts have been made, and are still being made, to bring probability 
back into the narrow fold of the old logic. It appears to me that these 
attempts are hopeless, but before approaching the question directly I 
want to develop an analogy which seems to me important. Like every- 
one else I feel the compelling power of the old logic, and I cannot feel 
how when we try to go beyond it we can get the same compulsive force. 
But on the other hand I know of a case where our thoughts are driven 
in one direction by a force which seems to have the same psychological 
compulsion as does formal logic, and yet where the result is undoubtedly 

To anyone who has thought at all seriously about the world, or at any 


rate to anyone who has made an elementary study of mechanics, I suppose 
there is nothing more absolute than the law of causality. By this I mean 
that the future is completely contained in the present. Passing over 
obvious examples where this is true, like the path of a projectile or the 
orbit of a planet, we may take an extreme case where we might expect 
our faith in the principle would be most severely tried. Take the typical 
case of chanciness, the tossing of a coin. We know that in a general 
way there is an even chance of heads or tails, even though we sometimes 
hear of gifted individuals with muscles so delicately adjusted that they 
can control the event. But in the ordinary way the tossing of a coin 
is complicated by being produced by a living organism, so let us simplify 
the problem by designing a catapult of some kind to project it. Which 
of us does not believe the coin would fall the same way every time if 
such a mechanism could be made with really complete precision ? 
When the machine fails to make it do so, we say it is because there may 
have been a speck of dirt in the lubricant or something like that. In 
other words, we do not feel that the fall of the coin is determined by 
chance, but we regard the uncertainty we observe as due to our ignorance 
of all the detailed causes. Ignorance is a confession of incompetence, 
and so we regard the existence of chance as a blemish in our otherwise 
admirable characters. This feeling goes very deep, since we are pre- 
vented by it from having the complete control of our surroundings that 
we somehow think should be our due. We start prejudiced against 
probability and in favour of causality. So much for what we feel about 
causality ; and about thirty years ago this feeling would have been 
regarded as a piece of inescapable reasoning, with the same kind of 
compelling power as a logical syllogism. We still have the feeling, but 
now we know it is wrong, and what is more, we know that it is wrong 
for a reason we never thought of. To understand this oversight we 
must review the recent history of atomic theory. 

The history of the development of physics in the first quarter of the 
twentieth century will rank as one of the greatest in the advancement 
of knowledge, but it will also rank as one of the most curious in the 
history of human thought. In 1901 Planck started the quantum theory. 
Even this was curious. He was trying to find out the law of complete 
radiation by the use of ordinary statistical methods, and observed that 
he got his answer at what should have been the last stage but one of 
his work. The last stage would have involved proceeding to a limit, 
and he found that he got the experimental answer without doing so, 
and an, absurd answer if he did. The work went rather deep into 
statistical theory and there were many for long afterwards who were not 
convinced of its compelling force, but it was the great merit of Planck 
that he knew that he had got something involving a quite revolutionary 
idea — the quantum. In succeeding years other phenomena were seen 
to involve the same revolutionary idea : Einstein's theory of the photo- 
electric effect, and of the ionisation produced by X-rays, his theory of 
specific heats, later improved by Debye, and Bohr's theory of spectra. 
All these things fitted in quite obviously with the quantum, but quite 
as obviously they violently contradicted the physics of the nineteenth 
century. What should a man think about a beam of light which accord- 


ing to Einstein had to be composed of arrows, whereas a hundred years 
eariier Fresnel had proved that it was a system of waves ? What does 
a rational being do when faced with two mutually contradictory but both 
indubitable pieces of evidence ? It was a nice test for the critical spirit, 
and it revealed a wide divergence of choices. In making a historical 
judgment long after the event, one of the hardest things to do is to recall 
the relative scale of importance which contemporaries were inclined to 
attach to the different branches of their subject. 

The statistical theory of matter had already been well established by 
the work of Maxwell, Boltzmann and Gibbs, but it was not regarded 
as an essential part of a general mathematical-physical education. For 
example, in the various courses I was advised to undertake during my 
undergraduate career, no one at any stage ever suggested to me that I 
should learn anything about the kinetic theory of gases. I think that 
that period was one when the Cambridge mathematical school was not 
at its best, and very probably a little more was done at other places, but, 
to judge by the available text-books in any language, statistical theory 
was not regarded as one of the prime subjects of study, as it would be 
now. The period was essentially dynamic, and as such it was moderately 
easy for it to take in the new ideas of relativity, to which indeed the 
experimental work of the last century had been leading. But there was 
no common habit of thought on statistical lines, and so there was a 
sharp separation of opinion. The seniors, impressed with the vast mass 
of successful physics of the nineteenth century, with only a rather 
general knowledge of statistical theory but no facility of thought in it, 
found the new ideas completely contrary to their convictions. Such 
men would think that these ideas depended on the difficult and un- 
familiar conceptions of statistics and would be inclined to judge that 
there must be a fallacy in the statistics which would be cleared up later. 
On the other hand the laboratory workers, dealing with atoms and electrons 
from day to day, could not fail to be more impressed with the discontinuous 
phenomena and the beautiful way these could be explained by the 
quantum. Such men would cheerfully accept the Bohr orbits as a com- 
plete explanation of the hydrogen spectrum, and certainly in many cases 
would be actually ignorant of the difficulty, the monstrous absurdity, 
of supposing that a sharp jump from one orbit to another could be 
responsible for a train of waves shown by the spectroscope to be lasting 
for quite a long time. So the majority of rational beings behaved in 
the natural human way of managing to forget all the disagreeable facts. 
But not every one, for there were Bohr and the other leaders who 
recognised the difficulties on both sides but could still maintain an attitude 
of balance and could believe that from somewhere there would come a 
higher synthesis by which everything would be fitted together. 

As time went on the quantum got obviously stronger and stronger, 
and began to invade more fields. The nuclear atom in the hands of Bohr 
showed itself capable of giving all the broad details of the periodic table 
of chemistry, still with nothing done to meet the awful difficulties of 
optical theory. But about 1925, guided by the Correspondence Principle, 
things were moving towards a tentative theory of the refractive index, 
and it was this that finally suggested the break in the contradictions. 


Acting on a hint given by the theory of refraction, Heisenberg was led 
to the suggestion that the contradictions of atomic theory would dis- 
appear if one adopted the idea of non-commutative algebra in deahng 
with the motions of electrons in an atom. Then the floodgates broke 
and the whole New Quantum Theory burst forth. It would of course 
be an incomplete account of it not to mention the quite different approach 
made independently by de Broglie and Schrodinger. If we are to trace 
this to its origin we must go back a century to Hamilton, for it was his 
work in geometrical optics which showed how a wave of short wave- 
length could be treated as a ray. It was de Broglie who worked out 
the modern analogies, but it was Schrodinger who succeeded in giving 
its full form, and by the invention of the zuave-fuiiction placed in the 
hands of the mathematicians the most powerful of weapons for the 
technical discussion of atomic problems. 

At first the work was of a formal kind, obviously right, and a complete 
synthesis of the rival doctrines of particle and wave mechanics, but there 
is a very interesting point that has gradually emerged in connection 
with the discovery. In his first paper Heisenberg laid great stress on 
the idea of building theory only on directly observable quantities. It 
is not very clear how the distinction was drawn. The electron's orbit 
is certainly not observable, but is it less so than the electric force which 
is the amplitude in the light-wave emitted by the atom ? It has seemed 
to me that it was not this idea of using the observable that was the merit 
of his work, but rather the contrary — the capacity for carrying through 
a formal mathematical analogy without ever asking what it all meant 
in terms of observable things. However that may be, it was only a year 
later that he remedied the defect by making a picture of his process by 
means of the Uncertainty Principle. I may remind you that the Un- 
certainty Principle asserts that it is impossible simultaneously to measure 
the position and velocity of any body, because the measurement of either 
inevitably produces a change of indeterminate amount in the other. 
The subject has been so often discussed that I am not going into it now, 
but as it concerns the centre of my argument, I want to emphasise its 
negative side, which as I think is much the most important. In this 
role the Uncertainty Principle is to be regarded as the argument used 
to defeat the old-fashioned physicist who claims that there is at any rate 
ideally no limit to the accuracy with which both position and velocity 
can be simultaneously measured. He has to admit the correctness of 
experiments such as the Compton effect, and we show him that by his 
own admission he will be defeated. On the positive side the principle is 
not so useful, because once we have seen the reason for the failure of 
classical ideas, we had better take advantage of the full technique of the 
quantum mechanics. Here my point is that the Uncertainty Principle 
showed up a fallacy in the old arguments about causality, and it was a 
fallacy about which we were so unconscious that we did not even know 
we were making it. It is now easy to see that there was nothing wrong 
with the old inference that if I know all about the present I can forecast 
the future exactly ; the trouble was the impossibility of knowing the 
present. Once this is seen the whole argument becomes obvious, but 
nobody saw it until Heisenberg. We had somehow to avoid the com- 


pulsory causality of the old mechanics, and there seemed no loophole 
allowing us to do so until the Uncertainty Principle. Knowing what we 
now know we may ask why no one discovered the loophole by applying 
a strict analysis, for example by the use of symbolic logic. Such an 
analysis would presumably have revealed the fault, but the trouble is 
that it would also have revealed other unwarranted assumptions which 
we have made but which we do not in the least want to doubt, so that it 
would not really have helped in pinning down the exact point of error. 
It is invention, not criticism, that leads to the advance of knowledge. 

Following up the later history of the subject, the success of Heisenberg 
in exploiting the idea of observables for atoms seemed to repeat the 
brilliant success of Einstein twenty years earlier in using the same idea 
over relativity. It seemed to imply that what was wanted in physics 
was to free ourselves of all abstractions and only make theories about 
real things. There grew up a great cult of doubting the reality of 
unobserved things, and then a curious thing was found ; the charm 
did not work again, and only a few minor things have come out of it. 
The work of the New Quantum Theory has in fact run most surprisingly 
in the opposite direction. The technique is largely concerned with 
wave-functions, which are quantities much more abstract than anything 
in classical mechanics. There is certainly nothing observable, or even 
picturable, about waves propagating themselves in many-dimensional 
space with absolutely unknowable phase, and with intensity controlled 
by the curious extraneous rule of normalisation. Largely by the use 
of these wave-functions the whole of atomic physics has been reduced 
to order, and so has molecular physics, except that it yields problems in 
which so many electrons are interacting that a full discussion is not 
feasible. So the doctrine of theorising only about observables was not 
really a useful doctrine ; it merely provided a germinating idea. In 
fact we may well ask what an observable is, and if we go at all beyond 
direct sensations, which as physicists we certainly intend to do, the 
answer becomes perfectly indefinite. This opinion I heard admirably 
expressed a few years ago by the late Prof. Ehrenfest. It was in a 
physics meeting in Copenhagen and someone was proposing a way out 
of certain difficulties which involved, as he maintained, a reversion to 
the cult of the observable. Prof. Ehrenfest said : ' To believe that one 
can make physical theories without rnetaphysics and without unobserv- 
able quantities, that is one of the diseases of childhood — das ist eine 
Kinder krankheit. ' 

I have dwelt at some length on the history of the quantum theory 
because I think it serves as an analogy to the deeper question of what is 
wrong with the old logical processes. Just as we used to feel the all- 
pervading compulsive force of causality, so we feel the all-pervading 
force of pure logic. Just as we felt that classical mechanics provided no 
room for anything beyond itself, so we feel that the old logic is the only 
admissible kind of reasoning. We knew that certain things led to the 
Old Quantum Theory and obstinately refused to fit into mechanics, and 
we know that the principle of probability can cover many things outside 
the old logic. Many men tried to force the quantum into the classical 


system, and jnany are still trying to bring probability within the fold 
of the old logic. I do not believe it can be done. This is not the 
occasion, nor have I the capacity, for a deep argument on the place of 
probability in logic, but one of the most convincing w^ays of seeing it 
may be found in the consideration of another branch of physical theory, 
the kinetic theory of gases. 

In the early days of kinetic theory the central problem was the law of 
distribution of velocities of the molecules, and attempts were made to 
prove the law absolutely from dynamics, but the process always failed. 
Maxwell made the assumption that with the lapse of time a system of 
molecules would pass through all possible phases. There are technical 
difKculties in the discussion of this assumption which have never been 
overcome, and it is quite uncertain if it is even true. Indeed Kelvin, 
who disliked the whole kinetic theory, argued with some force that the 
only examples anyone could give contradicted the principle — for example, 
the motion of the planets. The greatest contribution to the subject 
was that of Gibbs, who recognised that there had to be a big assumption 
somewhere and made it quite frankly and without attempt at justification. 
The works of Gibbs are not easy reading ; in both his great works he 
attends to every detail with a particularity that is really rather tedious, 
whereas his basic ideas are thrown at the reader almost without explana- 
tion. The idea of a canonical ensemble is a really beautiful idea once you 
understand it, but where does it come from ? An ensemble is an idea 
which will be unfamiliar to many, so I had better explain it. We want 
to know something about the behaviour of a complicated system com- 
posed of a great many parts ; say we want to know the pressure of the 
. gas in some vessel. If we tried to attack the question by pure mechanics, 
we should be faced with an enormous number of mechanical equations 
for the motions of the molecules, and even if these could be solved the 
solution would be of no use, because it would depend on the initial 
positions and velocities of the molecules, and these we should not know. 
Instead of trying this impossible and useless task, Gibbs considers a very 
large number of possible states of motion of the set of molecules, which 
have some character in common such as their total energy, but which 
are otherwise unrelated. Though each specimen of the motions is quite 
independent of all the others, he looks at them all together ; this explains 
the word ensemble — I do not know why he had to take a French word — • 
and makes the assumption that the pressure of the gas is correctly given 
by the average of all the specimens. The actual gas in the vessel at any 
instant is one of the specimens ; in its motion it passes into configurations 
corresponding ro others, but only after a fantastically long time would it 
go through even a perceptible fraction of the whole ensemble. Gibbs 
is assuming that the behaviour of the actual gas will be determined by 
the average of the uncountable millions of specimens in the ensemble. 
Almost at the start one finds oneself presented with the ensemble with 
hardly an attempt to explain where it comes from or why it is right, 
and the beginner is usually troubled by the fact that, though the subject 
is obviously mechanical, all the mechanics he laboriously learnt in his 
youth seem to have faded into comparative unimportance. There are 
various kinds of ensemble, the chief of which is the canonical, correspond- 


ing to all the possible motions of the gas which would have the same 
temperature. Later, almost as a concession to human frailty, Gibbs 
introduces the micro-canonical ensemble, composed of much fewer 
specimens because they all have exactly the same energy. This is usually 
welcomed by the beginner because it seems closer to his familiar 
mechanics, but with more experience he will realise that the gap is still 
so great that he is really no better off, and he may as well accept the more 
general idea at once. 

With the old mechanics all this involved ideas which for many readers 
were distinctly hard to accept. The principle of probability, embodied 
in the averaging over the ensemble, was frankly laid on top of the logical 
principles of Newtonian mechanics, and to anyone believing that prob- 
ability would ultimately be brought down to the old logic the association 
was most repellent. But we can now see that Gibbs was a prophet far 
ahead of his time— and indeed, to be frank, far ahead of his own knowledge 
— for the new mechanics accommodates the ensemble very much more 
easily than did the old. The new mechanics has shown us that it is 
impossible to know how the individual molecules are moving, because 
when one undertakes an experiment to see, that experiment automatically 
alters the condition of the gas and so fails to tell what was wanted, the 
state of the molecules without the experiment. In the old days one used 
to feel that the validity of Gibbs's idea would be spoilt by some skilful 
experimenter who would really observe the motions of the individual 
molecules and would therefore rule out the legitimacy of averaging over 
the whole ensemble, but we now know that there is no danger of this. 
The real gas in the vessel is not merely one specimen of the ensemble, 
unrecognisable only because of our clumsiness ; it is itself the whole of 
the ensemble. We used to think of the gas as either in the state A, or in 
the state B, or in C, but according to the new physics we have to think 
of it as in all the states A and B and C. The distinction is typical of the 
change we must make in our habits of thought, and most of us resist 
this change strongly, for we find we can hardly help asking : ' But which 
state was it really in ? ' As I have said, we used to be ashamed of 
ignorance, but we must now realise that this ignorance is one of the 
things that makes the world possible. The principle of probability, 
which used to be loosely superposed on the old logical principle, is now 
with the new mechanics fully united with it in a higher synthesis. 

Before leaving Gibbs I would like to refer to one thing in his book, 
where I think he has not even yet come into his own. He considers 
various types of ensemble of increasing generality. In the micro- 
canonical the members all have the same energy. Now we never know 
the exact energy of the gas in a vessel, so that a better idea is the wider 
one of a gas at a given temperature which therefore has a certain range 
of admissible energies. This is represented by Gibbs's canonical 
ensemble, and it is the main one that he uses. In both these the number 
of atoms in the ensemble is constant. But in the last chapter of his book 
Gibbs introduces a still wider ensemble. He calls the ones with a 
constant number of atoms petits ensembles, which I shall translate as petty 
ensembles, and regards them as parts of a grand ensemble in which the 
total number of atoms is not fixed. He uses the idea to some extent in 


connection with, semi-permeable membranes, but on the whole does 
not get far with it. As in much of Gibbs's work, it is the idea itself, 
rather than what he does with it, that is important. This idea of the grand 
ensemble is not yet incorporated in the new physics. In the quantum 
theory we take a number of electrons and nuclei and, allowing for their 
interactions, we construct something that is practically the canonical 
ensemble. But we take fixed numbers of them — this is partly reflected 
in the technical process of using normalised wave-functions. Now in 
an experiment dealing with a large number of particles we are never 
really sure exactly how many there are, and to assume this number is 
much like assuming a constant energy for them. If the canonical ensemble 
is a better idea than the micro-canonical, then the grand ensemble is 
superior to the petty ensemble. In the new mechanics nobody has yet 
succeeded in making anything of it, or has made any proposal how to do 
so, but I will venture the forecast that when some of our present difficulties 
in the quantum theory are cleared up, it will be found that we shall be 
using the grand ensemble with its indefinite number of atoms. 

Reverting to my main theme, what is the moral of all this ? It is 
that the new physics has definitely shown that nature has no sharp 
edges, and if there is a slight fuzziness inherent in absolutely all the 
facts of the world, then we must be wrong if we attempt to draw a picture 
in hard outline. In the old days it looked as if the world had hard 
outlines, and the old logic was the appropriate machinery for its dis- 
cussion. Things went wrong when it was found necessary to call in 
the help of the principle of probability ; this appeared first as an alien, 
but there was hope in the old days that the alien might be naturalised. 
It has resisted the process and we now recognise that it cannot be as- 
similated, because it provides the necessary step to a wider reason, 
that of the new fuzzy world of the quantum theory, a world which is 
not contained in the old. How far it will be possible to make a full 
synthesis of the new and the old I do not know, but I like to think there 
is something in my analogy from the history of the quantum theory, 
and to suppose that we are still in the condition corresponding to the 
Old Quantum Theory, and that some day a real synthesis will be made 
like that of the New Quantum Theory, so that there will be only one 
thing in the world that has not indefinite outlines, and that will be a new 
reformed principle of reasoning. 

I may fitly conclude this part of my subject by returning to the point 
from which I started. As an example of what the ordinary man regards 
as correct reasoning I quoted some words of Sherlock Holmes. I must 
now confess that I was not quite sincere in my quotation ; the impres- 
sion I gave was the impression the reader carries away, but on examining 
the text I was interested to find that the great detective had himself 
arrived at the ideas I have been putting forward. In the sentence before 
he said ' No, no ; I never guess. It is a shocking habit, destructive of 
the logical faculty,' he had said : ' I could only say what was the balance of 
probability — I did not expect to be at all accurate.' The master-mind 
uses the word logic in its modern sense. 

There inay be a feeling among some that the very general suggestions 


I have been making are open to every sort of criticism. Perhaps they 
are right ; as I have said, it is part of my doctrine that the details of a 
physicist's philosophy do not matter much. But whether it is wrong or 
right, my next point is one on which I do very much hope that there 
may be a consensus of agreement. This is that the subject of probabiHty 
ought to play an enormously greater part in our mathematical-physical 
education. I do not merely mean that everyone should attend a course 
on the subject at the university, but that it should be made to permeate 
the whole of the mathematical and scientific teaching not only at the 
university but also at school. To the best of my recollection in my own 
education I first met the subject of probability at about the age of 13 
in connection with problems of drawing black and white balls out of 
bags, and my next encounter was not till the age of 23, when I read a book 
— ^I think it was on the advice of Rutherford — on the kinetic theory of 
gases. Things are better now, but mathematicians are still so interested 
in the study of rigorous proof, that all the emphasis goes against the study 
of probability. 

Its elements should be part of a general education also, as may be 
illustrated by an example. Every month the Ministry of Transport 
publishes a report giving the number of fatal road accidents. Whenever 
the number goes up there is an outcry against the motorists, and when- 
ever down, of congratulation for the increased efficiency of the police. 
No journalist ever seems to consider what should be the natural fluctuations 
of this number. A statistician answers at once that the natural fluctuation 
will be the square root of the total number, and apart from obvious 
seasonal effects that is in fact about what the accidents show ; the number 
is roughly 500 ± 25. The proof of this does not call for any difficult 
mathematics, neither the error function nor even Stirling's formula, 
but can be done completely by the simple use of the binomial theorem. 
There is no mathematical difficulty that should trouble a clever boy of 
15 ; it is only the train of thought that is unfamiliar, and it is just this 
unfamiliarity that is the fault of our education. The ideas and processes 
connected with the inaccuracy of all physical quantities are much easier 
to understand than many ideas that a boy has to acquire in the course 
of his studies ; it is only that at present they are not taught, and so when 
met they are found difficult. 

This is not the place to describe a revised scheme of education. I would 
only say that it is not special new courses that are needed, but rather a 
change in the spirit of our old courses. When a boy learns about the 
weighing machine, emphasise its sensitivity, and consider the length of 
time that must be taken for the weighing. When he has a problem on 
projectiles, make him consider the zone of danger and not merely the 
point of fall. At a rather higher level, but still I should hope at school, 
introduce the idea of a distribution law ; for example, in doing central 
orbits work out Rutherford's law of scattering. Calculate the fluctuations 
of density of a gas, or the groupings in time of the scintillations of «- 
particles. All these things ought to be examples of a familiar train of 
thought, and not merely a highly specialised side branch of mathematics 
first met at the university. It is the incorporation of probability in the 
other subjects on which I want to insist, but there will of course remain 


some higher aspects — things like least squares or significance tests — 
which are still to be treated in separate university courses. Even these 
I should hope would come to be recognised as subjects of central interest 
and not, as they are at present, relegated to a remote corner of specialised 

If these reforms are carried out I shall hope that generations will grow 
up which have a facility that few of us at present possess in thinking 
about the world in the way which the quantum theory has shown to be 
the true one. The inaccuracies and uncertainties of the world will be 
recognised as one of its essential featui'es. Inaccuracy in the world will 
not be associated with inaccuracy of thought, and the result will be not 
only a more sensible view about the things of ordinary life, but ultimately, 
as I hope, a fuller and better understanding of the basis of natural 




Prof. CHARLES S. GIBSON, O.B.E., M.A., Sc.D., F.R.S., 


' How is the gold become dim ! how is the most fine gold changed ! ' 

(Lam. iv. i) 

By the resuks of investigations in which workers in this country have 
played an impoitant part during the last ten years it is now realised that 
fewer anomalies exist among the metals of sub-group iB, copper, silver 
and gold, than was formerly believed to be the case. The only funda- 
mental property which these metals have in common with the alkali 
metals is that they are all capable of being univalent. The metals of the 
sub-group differ from the alkali metals in their atomic structure ; the 
former have eighteen electrons in their penultimate electronic group 
whereas the latter have eight electrons in that group. While there are 
differences in their multivalency, the multivalency of copper, silver and 
gold must be correlated with the eighteen electronic group of these 
metals. The univalency and bivalency of copper and silver are well 
established ; the tervalency of silver must still be regarded as doubtful. 
On the other hand, while the bivalency of silver has only been established 
comparatively recently, modern investigations have shown that it is ex- 
tremely unlikely that gold can exist in the bivalent condition and this 
metal continues to exhibit the anomaly, distinguishing it from copper and 
silver, of existing only in the univalent and tervalent conditions. 

As far as the existence of normal salts is concerned, argentous silver 
differs greatly from cuprous copper and aurous gold. There is no 
evidence for the existence of any normal aurous salt and, for example, 
cuprous sulphate is at once decomposed by water with separation of 
metallic copper, and cuprous nitrate does not exist. On the other hand, 
in the solid state cuprous and silver halides have non-ionic lattices in 
their crystals which are isomorphous. Since cuprous chloride is bi- 
molecular, it is reasonable to assume that in its halides the cuprous atom 
is 2-covalent. Recently, chemical evidence has indicated that this is also 
true of aurous gold in the analogous compounds and therefore under 


ordinary conditions the cuprous halides, the silver halides and the aureus 
halides would appear to have the general formula : 


M M 

\ / 

where X = halogen, indicating the 2-covalency of cuprous copper, 
argentous silver and aureus gold in these compounds. 

Unlike bivalent copper, bivalent silver in its salts has been shown by 
Morgan and Burstall (1928) to exist only as a complex ion, e.g. bis-cLo.'- 
dipyridylargentic persulphate, [Ag adipyJSjOg, im-aa'-dipyridylargentic 
nitrate, chlorate and perchlorate, [Ag 3dipy]X2, from which it is obvious 
that bivalent silver may have co-oi-dination numbers of 4 and 6. On the 
other hand, Cox, Wardlaw and Webster (1936) have shown that bivalent 
silver is completely analogous to bivalent copper in giving like the latter 
metal a derivative with picolinic acid and which like the cupric compound 
has a planar structure. The constitution of these compounds is con- 
veniently represented thus : 


indicating the 4-covalency of bivalent copper and bivalent silver in this 
type of compound. 

That cuprous copper and argentous silver can exhibit 2- and 4-covalency 
is well established. It was proved by Bassett and Corbet (1924) in the course 
of their phase-rule study of complex cyanides. They isolated the salts, 
K[Cu(CN)2], K[Cu2(CN)3].H,0, K3[Cu(CN)J, K3[Cu(CN)J.H20, 
K[Ag(CN)2], K[Ag2(CN)3].H20 and K3[Ag(CN)J.H20 ; but the only 
complex cyanide of aurous gold of which they were able to prove the 
existence and to isolate was the well-known potassium aurocyanide, 
K[Au(CN)2]. The inability of aurous gold to exhibit a higher co-ordi- 
nation number than 2 has also been recently emphasised by Mann, Wells 
and Purdie (1936 and 1937) in their studies of the trialkylphosphine 
and trialkylarsine derivatives of cuprous, silver and aurous halides. The 
cuprous and silver compounds derived from the iodides have the general 
formula [R3P(As)->Cu(Ag)I]4 as shown by their molecular weights and. 
are systematically named by the authors as fe^/'«^w[iodotrialkylphosphine 
(or arsine) copper (or silver)]. Crystallographic investigations strikingly 
revealed the existence of these four-fold macro molecules in the solid 
state and the tetrahedral configurations of the 4-covalent cuprous and 
argentous silver complexes and, in addition, and for the first time, the 



tetrahedral configuration of 3-covalent iodine. The trialkylphosphine 
and trialkylarsine derivatives of aurous chloride and aureus iodide have, 
however, the general molecular formula R3P(As)->AuCl(I) and the mole- 
cule has probably a linear configuration. The trialkylphosphine-gold 
compounds are remarkably stable and can be distilled at low pressures 
without decomposition. On the other hand, Mann and his co-workers 
have suggested that in the non-electrolytes, Et3P(NH3)2AuCl and 
(EtO)3P(NH3)2AuCl prepared by Levi-Malvano (1908), the aurous gold 
atom is 4-covalent, acquiring seven electrons and having an Eflrective 
Atomic Number of 86, the atomic weight of radon, the next inert gas. 
If this is the case these compounds are unique in the chemistry of gold ; 
but it would appear that the determination of co-ordination numbers 
from ammonia derivatives is not always satisfactory. Aurous com- 
pounds having the compositions NHgAuCl, (NH3)2AuCl, (NH3)3AuCl 
and even (NH3)i2AuCl have been described. Of these monoammino- 
chlorogold and diamminoaurous chloride having the respective con- 
stitutions : 

HaN^Au-Cl and [H3N-^Au^NH3]Cl 

are by far the most stable and in these compounds the aurous gold atom 
is 2-covalent. The well-authenticated salts (NH3)4HC1 (Joannis 1902), 
(NH3)4HBr (Bakhuis-Roozeboom 1885) and (NH3)4HN03 (Kuriloff 
1898) may be compared with Levi-Malvano's compounds and with 
triamminochlorogold. It would appear more doubtful that such com- 
pounds afford evidence of the 4-covalency of hydrogen or aurous gold 
rather than that they indicate the existence of chain formation of ammonia 
molecules with links of co-ordinated hydrogen. If, however, by using 
a more suitable co-ordinating compound than ammonia, it could be 
established definitely that aurous gold may be 4-covalent as well as 2- 
covalent, it would be interesting to determine whether such quadri- 
covalent aurous compounds like the quadricovalent cuprous and argentous 
compounds have a tetrahedral distribution of valencies. In this con- 
nexion, the use of thioacetamide by Cox, Wardlaw and Webster 
(1936) for the successful preparation of fefm^wthioacetamidocuprous 
and fefr<2feVthioacetamidoargentous chlorides : 

r /CH, 





does not appear to give an analogous aurous gold compound. The only 
aurous derivative of thioacetamide which Dr. F. H. Brain and I have 
been able to isolate is the somewhat unstable tothioacetamidoaurous 
bromide (1937) : 









in which, as usual, the aureus gold atom is 2-covalent and has an Effective 
Atomic Number of 82. In the light of available information we must 
conclude that in all its compounds the aurous gold atom is co-ordinated 
and, with the possible exception of the two compounds mentioned above, 
it is always 2-covalent. At the present time there is no example of an 
aurous compound in which the gold atom is known to be 4-covalent, 
and attempts to produce such a compound have failed. Since the ter- 
valent gold atom is also always co-ordinated and in its stable compounds 
always 4-covalent — there may be a slight tendency for it to become 
5-covalent — its chemistry can have little in common with that of other 
tervalent metals which form normal salts. 

It will be shown later that the four valencies of the tervalent gold 
atom have a planar configuration and, since 5-covalent and tervalent 
gold compounds may always be too unstable, it would appear that the 
only type of gold compound capable of exhibiting optical activity must 
be a suitable 4-covalent aurous compound, if that can be prepared. 
These four valencies would be expected, according to Pauling's theory, 
to have a tetrahedral configuration. It has already been shown that 
various 4-covalent cuprous and argentous compounds having a tetrahedral 
configuration have been prepared and a 4-covalent argentous compound, 
the silver derivative of 8-hydroxyquinoline, appears to have been obtained 
by Hein and Regler (1936) in optically active forms. 

Much of the confusion of knowledge regarding the chemistry of gold 
as described in almost all text-books and more comprehensive works 
arises from the fact that the simple halide and cyanogen derivatives 
are regarded as normal metallic salts and given the formulce AuCl, 
AuBr, Aul, AuCN, AuClg, AuBrg according to the fundamental uni- or 
tervalency of the metal. This is all the more surprising in view of the 
long-established and well-known fact that whenever gold is in solution 
or in the form of a soluble salt it is always present as a complex. There 
is only need to mention as examples potassium auroc}^anide, probably 
— on account of its application in the metallurgy of gold — the most 
completely investigated derivative of the metal and the very interesting 
sodium aurothiosulphate prepared as long ago as 1845 by Fordos and 
Gelis. Even at the time of its discovery, this latter compound was 
known to give neither the usual reactions for gold nor the usual reactions 
of a thiosulphate. It has long been used for fixing and toning silver 
photographic prints. Since its introduction in 1924 by the Danish 
physician, Mollgaard, for the treatment of tuberculosis and, later, by 
others for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis it has been considerably 
investigated and has formed the basis of the modern ' gold therapy.' 
Curiously enough, in a standard text-book published as recently as 1937, 
the formula, Au2Sa03.3Na2S20,.xH20 seems to be preferred to the 
correct Na3[Au(S203)2].2H20 which may be fully written 


■ O o - 

- t t - 

O— S— S— Au— S— S— O 

o o 




in which, of course, the aurous gold atom is 2-covalent, the compound 
being of the same type as the well-known potassium aurocyanide, 
K[N=C— Au — CsN], already mentioned. 

The halogenoaurates, probably the best known auric compounds, 
have been long known as salts of acids which have been fully investigated 
and which have the constitution : 






(X = halogen, CI or Br). 


Some more recently investigated compounds belonging to this type 

are : 

hydronitratoauric acid (Schottlander 1884, Jeffrey 19 16) 



"NO, NO3- 

\ / 



'3 ^"^3. 

having the same number of molecules of water of crystallisation as hydro- 
chloro- and hydrobromoauric acids as usually prepared, hydrodi- 
succinimidochloroauric acid (Pope 1931) 



■CH2— CO 

N— Au— N 

_CH2— CO CI OC— CH2_ 

hydrodiphthalimidohydroxyauric acid (Gibson and Tyabji 1937) 


r , 

[ CsH, 

L ^ 

N— Au— N 



and hydrodimethylglyoximinylbromoauric acid (Brain and Gibson 1937) 

rCH,— C=N~0 Br" 



CH,— C-N— O 



In all these compounds, the 4-covalency of the auric gold atom is obvious, 
but it is only recently that the persistency of the 4-covalency of auric 
gold in all its compounds has been recognised. Before the beginning 
of the present series of investigations in my laboratory, it was shown by 
W. Fischer (1929) that the molecular formula of auric chloride (trichloro- 
gold) as determined by Horstmann's vapour pressure and transport 


method between 150° and 260° is Au2Clg and although it was not suggested 
at the time, and, indeed, not until 1931, the constitution of this and 
the analogous bromo compound is only adequately represented by the 
general formula : 


\ / \ X 

Au Au (X=C1, Br) 


in keeping with the already recognised 4-covalency of auric gold. This 
constitution followed from the constitution of the dialkylmonohalogeno 
derivatives and from the direct determination of the molecular weight 
of auric bromide (tribromogold) ^ in boiling bromine (Burawoy and 
Gibson 1935). In a systematic discussion of the chemistry of gold, 
and allowing for the differences in fundamental valencies and covalencies 
of the metals, it would appear that gold is much more allied to palladium 
and to platinum — the pair of metals having the lowest melting points 
and the lowest densities of the six ' precious ' transitional metals — than 
it is to any of the other metals. The comparison of gold with platinum 
is also of historical interest. Mendeleeff (1871) placed gold and platinum 
in the same horizontal series of his classification but for reasons which 
do not concern the present discussion. 

1 My suggestion for a modified nomenclature of certain gold compounds may 
be criticised as being, if not pedantic, unnecessary. It arises from obvious 
analogies of the organic compounds of gold with similarly constituted inorganic 
compounds of the metal ; its only object is to avoid further confusion in the 
chemistry of gold. Such confusion is constantly occurring. At the present 
time, in books of reference and even in original literature ' auric chloride ' may 
imply hydrochloroauric acid in the presence or absence of hydrochloric acid, or 
it may imply a neutral salt — generally the sodium salt — of hydrochloroauric 
acid and, much less frequently gold trichloride or — to alter its name more pro- 
foundly in order to indicate that the compound is not a salt — trichlorogold. 
As a result of this confusion the statement is repeatedly found in the literature 
that ' auric chloride is soluble in ether.' If this statement refers to the pure 
compound having the molecular formula (AuCl3)2, it is not true. Hydro- 
chloroauric acid and hydrobromoauric acid containing water of crystallisation, 
the compounds HAUX4.3H2O, are soluble in ether but they are insoluble when 
anhydrous. Although the fact was known long before, the definite statement 
that gold chloride is soluble in ether appears to be due to Willstatter (1905) ; 
but it is clear that the material he was investigating was not (AuCl3)2, but an 
aqueous solution of hydrochloroauric acid which he termed gold chloride ; and, 
as a result, the above erroneous statement is still in text-books published as 
recently as 1937. The hygroscopic nature and solubility of 'auric chloride,' 
i.e. gold trichloride, in water is not due to the solubility of the compound per 
se, but to the formation in the first place of a compound diaquodichloroauric 

rci OH2-] 

\ ^ 

Au CI 


a type of co-ordinated auric gold salt, frequently met with in the present series 
of investigations, which is soluble in water and undergoes further changes in that 
medium resulting in the formation of hydrochloroauric acid and aurous choride 
(monochlorogold) . 


As far as the work on the chemistry of gold in which my colleagues 
and I have been concerned the chief advances have been achieved by 
studying in the first place the organic derivatives of the metal and, more 
recently, the gold derivatives of certain types of organic sulphur com- 

(a) Dialkyl halogeno compounds. 

It is almost exactly thirty-one years ago since Sir William Pope and 
I (1907) prepared the first organic gold compound, then styled diethyl- 
auric bromide, just after he and Peachey (1909) had prepared the first 
organic platinum compound, trimethylplatinic iodide. But it was not 
until 1930 that the work could be resumed (Gibson and Simonsen 1930, 
Gibson and Colles 193 1). In the earlier investigations the poor yield 
of the product of the interaction of the Grignard reagents and the ether 
soluble hydrochloro- or hydrobromoauric acids, HAUX4.3H2O, rendered 
the detailed study of these new organic gold compounds somewhat 
difficult. As starting material, the easily prepared pyridinotrichlorogold 
— -less frequently, the corresponding bromine derivative — is now used 
and the following reaction is carried out in an ether-pyridine mixture 
using the relative quantities indicated : 

2C5H5N.AUCI3 + 4MgRBr -> aCjHsN.AuRaBr + z^gCU_ + MgBrj 

The pyridine co-ordination compound is decomposed later by the action 
of hydrobromic acid and the compound isolated through its water 
soluble co-ordination compound with ethylenediamine which, again, 
may be decomposed by a suitable acid. It takes some three to four hours 
to obtain the pure material and the average yield is rather more than 
25% of the theoretical quantity and yields as high as 38% have been 

The isolation of homologues of the first prepared compound was easily 
accomplished. The experimental proof that these are non-electrolytes, 
that they have molecular weights corresponding to those of twice their 
empirical formulae and that they and their co-ordination compounds all 
contain 4-covalent auric gold led to the realisation that the 4-covalency 
is an essential feature of all auric compounds. The existence of gold 
compounds having the general empirical formula, AuRg (R = univalent 
hydrocarbon radical), is therefore impossible since such compounds 
could not contain 4-covalent gold. Taking the ethyl compounds as 
typical, the following are examples of some of the non-electrolytes which 
have been prepared : 

C^Hs Br C,H5 

\ / ^ / 
Au Au 

C2H5 Br C.,H, 

Col. anorthic needles, m.p. 58° (decomp.). 
mol. wt. = 670. [jl = 1.41 D in CCI4 or CgHg. 

c 2 








A mminodiethylbromogold . 
Col. doubly refracting needles. 












Col. needles. 

C,H, 0- 

\ / 







m.p. 91°. Col. needles. 

Col. plates, m.p. 10°. 

All these and analogous compounds are soluble in hydrocarbon and other 
organic solvents and some interest attaches to the fourth and fifth com- 
pounds. Dibenzylsulphidodiethylbromogold (Brain and Gibson 1938) 
is the first auric compound of this type to be prepared by the direct 
addition of an organic sulphide to an auric compound. The compound 
separates rapidly and no reduction of the auric compound or oxidation 
of the sulphide takes place. Acetylacetonediethylgold is the first of 
these organic gold compounds containing no halogen to be prepared. 
It was the first organic gold compound from which brilliant gold films 
were obtained. These films are obtained when the compound in solu- 
tion in a solvent such as ethanol is exposed to light at ordinary tempera- 
tures and also on gentle warming. Obviously, the compound prepared 
easily by the action of thallousacetylacetone on diethylmonobromogold 
is but one of a number of similarly constituted gold compounds which 
can be obtained from metallic derivatives of (i-diketones. The decomposi- 
tion of such compounds by suitable alkali salts is a convenient method 
of preparing chlorine and iodine derivatives of the parent dialkyl gold 

One would expect that non-electrolytes analogous to the above ammino 
and pyridino derivatives containing ethylenediamine should exist. The 
first compound of the type : 


R— Au^NHa— CgH^- 




Au— R 


was prepared from di-n-propylmonobromogold (R = Pr*) and no ana- 
logous compound was obtained from diethylmonobromogold ; but 
analogous cyanogen compounds are easily obtained both in the ethyl 
and propyl series. Monoethylenediaminotetra-w-propyldibromodigold 
(Burawoy and Gibson 1934) is a fairly stable colourless crystalline, 
4-covalent auric compound soluble in certain organic solvents. On 



standing at the ordinary temperature, its solutions in chloroform or 
benzene slowly become cloudy due to the following change : 



2 Pr« — Au ^ 



Au — Pr" 

rPr" NH2 

Au C2H4 Br + 

Pr" _Pr'' NH.^ _ 

Pj.a Br Pr" 

\ X ^ / 
Au Au 

/ \ / \ 
Pr« Br Pr» 

The salt, ethylenediaminodi-n-propylgold bromide, is insoluble in such 
solvents as chloroform and benzene. By repeatedly washing the com- 
pound with water the above change goes to completion from left to right, 
the di-«-propylmonobromogold being insoluble in water. The de- 
composition of the monoethylenetetraalkyldicyanodigold compounds 
follows a different course (see below). On being heated to its melting 
point, monoetliylenediaminotetra-«-propyldibromodigold undergoes the 
following change : 

Br Br 

Pr" — Au 

NH2— C2H4— H^N 


• Au — Pr"" 

= Pr«— Au <- NHo— CoH,— HoN -^ Au— Br + 2 Pr-^' 



The solid product of the reaction is monoethylenediaminodi-«-propyl- 
dibromodigold and this reaction indicated that suitable organic gold 
compounds may be the potential source of free radicals (see below) and 
that it is possible to prepare mixed auric-aurous compounds containing 
4-covalent auric gold and 2-covalent aurous gold in the same molecule. 
While the analogous ethyl compound has not been prepared. Dr. F. H. 
Brain and I (1938) have recently prepared the following compounds : 


Et— Au 


NH2— CH2— CH2— O— CH2— CH2— H2N 


>Au— Et 


-diaminodiethylethertetraethyldibromodigold, m.p. 87°, 


Et— Au - 

NHg— CH2— CH2— NEt, -> Au— Et 



mono-asym.-N-diethylethylenediaminotetraethyldibromodigold, m.p. 84" 



and both these compounds exhibit the same evolution ot gas as does 
monoethylenediaminotetra-w-propyldibromodigold on being heated to 
their mehing points. Other cases of the initial production of free radicals 
will be mentioned and their production from compounds containing 
two 4-covalent auric gold atoms in the molecule always results in the 
simultaneous production of a mixed auric-aurous compound in which 
the gold atoms are 4-covalent and 2-covalent respectively. Such 
decompositions as those just described raises the question of the possibility 
of establishing the existence of chlorine and bromine derivatives of gold 
having the formula AU2X4 (formerly written as AuXg and given as examples 
of bivalent gold). Such halides would be mixed auric and aureus com- 
pounds having the constitution : 

X X 

\ / ^^ 
Au Au 

/ ^ / 
X X 

and they may be produced as intermediate products in the decomposi- 
tion — not completely reversible — of the trihalides to the monohalides. 

The first stable salt to be isolated in this series of organic gold com- 
pounds was the colourless highly crystalline auric compound ethylene- 
diaminodiethylgold bromide, 






Au C,H, 1 





rc^Hs NH3-1 

rc^H^ NC5H5 




^C^Hs NH3„ 

LC2H5 NC5H5 

which with its homologues has proved of utility in the preparation of 
the dialkyl and diaryl compounds. Although evidence of the formation 
of the analogous ammonia and pyridine compounds 


has been obtained they are too unstable (owing to loss of one molecule 
of the volatile base resulting in the formation of the non-electrolytes 
already mentioned) to be isolated. The corresponding co-ordination 
compound of diethylmonobromogold with the asymmetrical N-diethyl- 
ethylenediamine is of special interest (Brain and Gibson 1938). The 
interaction of these two substances in molecular proportions results in 
the production of a colourless crystalline compound soluble in water 
and also soluble in benzene. The compound therefore appears to be 
both a salt and a non-electrolyte. Bearing in mind that the co-ordinating 
power of tertiary amines is less than that of primary amines it might be 


suggested that its constitution should be represented in some such way 
as : 

CHg Br 

" \ / 
Br ^-zz^ Au 

/ \ 
C.Hj NH2— C2H4— NCC^H^), 

rC^Hs NH^ 

\ ^1 
Au C2H4 

/ K\ 
.C^H, N(C,H,), J 

This appears to be an unique case of tautomerism, of course, not reson- 
ance. The compound, with others, is still under investigation and another 
anomaly remains to be explained. The compound is dissociated in 
aqueous solution, but shows considerable association in organic solvents 
(approximately bimolecular in bromoform and quadrimolecular in ben- 
zene), and it is suggested that the association may be explained thus : 

NEtg NEta NEta 
C2H4 C2H4 C2H4 
NH2 NH2 NH2 
, Et— Au— Br -> Au— Br ^ Au— Br -> 

Et Et Et Et Et 

the auric gold atoms, (2), (3), etc., being 5-covalent — probably not a 
stable covalency — their Effective Atomic Numbers becoming 86 (the 
atomic number of radon) whereas the auric gold atom (i), as in a normal 
auric compound, is 4-covalent and has an Effective Atomic Number 
of 84. 

(b) Monoalkyldibromo compounds (Pope and Gibson 1907, Burawoy and 
Gibson 1934 and 1935). 

The monoethyl and mono-«-propyldibromo compounds have been 
studied in some detail. They are easily prepared by the action of the 
calculated quantity of bromine on the dialkylmonobromogold compounds 
in chloroform or carbon tetrachloride solution. They are highly 
crystalline and deep red in colour ; they are soluble in solvents which 
are not readily brominated or oxidised and therefore unstable in such 
solvents as ether, alcohol, acetone, benzene, ligroin, etc. Their molecular 
weights (determined in freezing bromoform) show that their general 
formula is (RAuBr2)2 and the high dipole moment in carbon tetrachloride 
solution of the w-propyl compound {\i = 6t>) affords proof that the con- 
stitution of these auric compounds is correctly represented thus : 

R Br Br 

\ / ^ / 
Au Au 

/ \ X \„ 

R Br Br 



This is in keeping with their formation from equimolecular quantities of 
dialkylmonobromogold compounds and tribromogold and with their 
physical and chemical properties. Slowly, on standing, more rapidly, in 
a current of an inert gas at the ordinary temperature, and still more rapidly, 
when heated at a temperature just above the boiling point of the alkyl 
bromide, they decompose quantitatively into alkyl bromide and gold 
monobromide, thus : 




^^ / 



= 2 RBr+Au 

/ ^ 


/ \ / 






This decomposition also seems to afford chemical evidence concerning 
the constitution of the aurous halides to which reference has already been 
made. The aurous bromide (monobromogold) is left in a state of purity 
as highly crystalline apparently pseudomorphs of the monoalkyldibromo 
compound, and, prepared in this way, it is suitable for X-ray investigation 
to which such an aurous compound does not yet appear to have been 

Chemically, the monoalkyldibromogold compounds behave as equi- 
molecular mixtures of gold tribromide and the dialkylmonobromogold. 
For example, in contact with the many solvents which decompose them 
they yield dialkylmonobromogold compounds and the solvents are either 
brominated or oxidised and aurous bromide is left as a yellow precipitate. 
With hydrobromic acid, they yield hydrobromoauric acid and the dialkyl 
monobromogold compound and with aqueous solutions of alkali halides 
the reaction is similar. With ethylenediamine, they yield equimolecular 
quantities of the ethylenediaminodialkylgold bromide, [R2AU en] Br, and 
diethylenediaminogold tribromide (Gibson and Simonsen 1930, Gibson 
and CoUes 193 1), having the constitution : 

■CH2— HgN 



NH^— CH- 

NHo— CH, 


This is a crystalline yellow salt which is highly soluble in water and 
insoluble in ethanol. It is readily prepared by the action of ethylene- 
diamine on gold tribromide or on a suitable salt of hydrobromoauric acid. 
It constitutes one of the few examples known in which the 4-covalent 
auric gold complex is a tervalent cation in halide salts. It is analogous to 
tetraamminoauric nitrate, [Au(NH3)4](N03)3, the corresponding phos- 
phate, iJPO^.Hp, the oxalonitrate, R{^Q^{Z^O^, the chlorate, i?(C103)3, 
the perchlorate, i?(C104)3, the oxaloperchlorate, i?(C104)(Co04), the 
sulphonitrate, i?(N03)(S04), and the chromate R.^(Q,xO^.^ where R = 
[Au(NH3)4]+++ (Weitz 1915). Like the above diethylenediamino com- 
pound, these are very stable salts ; they retain their ammonia even in the 


presence of concentrated acids. The corresponding salts with the halogen 
acids, hydrocyanic acid and thiocyanic acid have, however, not been 

(c) Cyano derivatives of organic gold compounds (Gibson, Burawoy and 
Holt 1935, Burawoy, Gibson, Hampson and Powell 1937). 

By the direct action of silver cyanide on the dialkylmonobromogold 
compounds, the corresponding cyano derivatives are easily prepared. 
These compounds have unique properties and the detailed investigation 
of the ethyl and w-propyl compounds have revealed a number of interesting 
features in connexion with the general chemistry of gold. 

The dialkylmonocyanogold compounds are colourless highly crystalline 
non-electrolytes, soluble in hydrocarbon solvents, and their molecular 
weights in freezing bromoform are four times those required by their 
empirical formula. These compounds, therefore, unlike any other gold 
compounds so far described contain four atoms of tervalent gold in the 
molecule. In the molecule of such compounds, the gold atoms must be 
attached to the carbon atoms of the cyanogen groups and the nitrogen 
atoms must be co-ordinated to neighbouring gold atoms. 

Constitution (I) (R = Et, Pr") indicating a symmetrical twelve atom 
planar ring structure is the only possible one in keeping with the stereo- 
chemical configuration of the cyanogen group, with the small dipole 
moment — \i = 1-47 d in carbon-tetrachloride at 25° for the «-propyl 
compound — with the 4-covalency of auric gold atoms and, as will be 
pointed out later, with the results of X-ray crystallographic investigation. 

R R 

1 I 

R— Au— C=N^Au— R 

f I CN CN 

N C 

R— Au^N=C— Au— R 

I 1 

R R 

R— Au^NHa— C2H4— H.N^Au— R 

N I I 

I R R 









K 1 







These compounds yield with ethylenediamine colourless crystalline 
non-electrolytes of type II — monoethylenediaminotetraalkyldicyano- 
digold— analogous to the above described monoethylenediaminotetra-«- 
propyldibromodigold, the molecules of which unlike those of the parent 
substances contain only two atoms of 4-covalent auric gold. In this series, 
It has so far been found impossible to isolate compounds of type III which 
would be analogous to the corresponding bromides. One particularly 
mterestmg feature of compounds of types I and II is the mode of their 
decomposition to give finally monocyanogold (aurous cyanide). Com- 
pounds of type I are converted into compounds of type IV on standing 
at the ordmary temperature and the ethyl compound undergoes this 
change explosively on mere rubbing ; at their melting points the change 
takes place very rapidly in all cases. These decompositions which have 
been quantitatively investigated are illustrated : 



R— Au— C=N-^ Au— R 

i ' 

N C 

III II — mR' + 

C N 

I I 

R— Au <-N=C— Au— R 

L i 



I I 

R— Au^NHa.CgH^.HaN^Au— R - 

i L 



R— Au— C=N-^Au 

I I 

N C 

I I 

Au ^N=C— Au— R 




-2R' + 

\ ^ 


^4R' + 

Au— C=N-# 










Au C2H4 



2 — » 




The dialkyldicyanodigold compounds (IV) are non-electrolytes like 
the dialkylmonocyano-gold compounds (I), but unlike the latter they are 
very sparingly soluble in organic solvents and they decompose without 
melting. They constitute further examples of mixed 4-covalent auric 
and 2-covalent aurous compounds. The decompositions I -» IV -^ V 
afford chemical evidence regarding the constitution of monocyanogold 
(gold monocyanide, aurous cyanide), indicating that it is a non-electrolyte." 
that It IS a 2-covalent aurous compound and that there are four such gold 
atoms in the molecule which like that of a compound of type (I) is planar 
Pure gold monocyanide prepared in such a way should be suitable for 
A-ray crystallographic investigation. The ethylenediaminodialkylgold 


aurocyanides (VI) are electrolytes and mixed 4-covalent auric and 2-co- 
valent aurous compounds, a type of compound of which the first example 
appears to have been described by Sir William Pope in 1929. It will be 
appreciated that the conversion of compounds of type VI into those of 
type IV by means of acid, which goes quite smoothly, is somewhat 
complicated involving changes of electrovalencies into covalent and 
coordinate linkages. 

The free radicals were not identified as such although there is evidence 
for believing that they are initially evolved. The decompositions are of 
either solid or liquid compounds and so far free radicals have only been 
identified as such when they have produced by decompositions in the 
vapour phase. Actually the free radicals were identified as the paraffin 
hydrocarbons to which they should give rise, w-butane from the ethyl 
derivatives and «-hexane from the w-propyl derivatives. This was the 
first time that w-hexane had been obtained from the decomposition of a 
n-propyl compound. Previously, when n-propyl radicals had been 
anticipated as likely to be produced a mixture of ethane, butane and 
ethylene (Frankland 1877) or a mixture of only ethane and ethylene 
(Paneth and Lautsch 1931) had been obtained. 

(d) The structure of gold compounds. 

During the past two years, our knowledge of the structure of various 
types of gold compounds has developed considerably as a result of X-ray 
crystallographic investigations. Those on the organic compounds are 
being carried out at Oxford by Powell (1937) and his collaborators, those 
on Mann's co-ordination compounds of aurous gold at Cambridge by 
Wells (1936) while Cox and Webster (1936) have carried out their investi- 
gations on potassium bromoaurate at Birmingham. These investigations 
have established the planar configuration of the four valencies of tervalent 
gold and the linear configuration of the two valencies of aurous gold. 

The X-ray investigation of the simplest organic gold compound, 
diethylmonobromogold, is attended with difficulties arising from the 
instability of the crystals to X-rays and even to light. In spite of these, 
Powell has been able to carry out his analysis satisfactorily. The results, 
are summarised in figures (i) and (2), reproduced by permission of the 
Chemical Society. The orientation of the molecule in the unit cell is 
indicated in the perspective diagram (Fig. i) where, for convenience, the 
origin has been moved to | |- ^. The molecule, projected on the plane 
of the gold and bromine atoms, is shown in Fig. 2. The carbon atoms 
marked @ and are, respectively, above and below the plane of the 
other atoms. The distances marked on Fig. 2 are subject to a probable 
error of ± o • i A. The results show that two gold atoms and two 
bromine atoms lie close together near the origin and that the mole- 
cule is Au2(C2H5)4Br2. These four atoms form a rough square in a plane 
somewhat inclined to (001). In order that the molecule may fit into the 
unit cell, all the atoms must lie approximately in one plane as is shown by 
the very small c dimension, and the four gold valencies must accordingly 
lie in one plane and will be approximately at right angles to one another. 
The suggested structure is in agreement with the needle habit of the crystals 



and the very high negative double refraction with the smallest refractive 
index roughly along the needle direction. The molecule thus has a centre 
of symmetry and the structure deduced from molecular weight determina- 
tion and electronic structure is fully confirmed, although the substance 
has a small but definite dipole moment. The planar and symmetrical 
distribution of the four valencies of tervalent gold in a non-electrolyte 
thus confirmed the same results obtained by Cox and Webster in the case 
of the salt, potassium bromoaurate, KAuBr4.2H20. 

The crystallographic investigation of the much more complicated com- 
pound, di-«-propylmonocyanogold, (Pr"2AuCN)4, has only recently been 
completed by H. M. Powell and R. F. Phillips and the results, which will 
be published in detail later, strikingly confirm the constitution deduced 
from the chemical and especially the physical properties of the substance. 

o © O 
C Au Br 

Fig. I. 

Fig. 2. 

Di-«-propylmonocyanogoId crystallises in the polar class of the ortho- 
rhombic system. The unit cell contains sixteen PrjAuCN units. Oscil- 
lation photographs and Weissenberg photographs about the three principal 
axes show the absences characteristic of the space group, Pea. The photo- 
graphs were obtained with copper radiation and intensities estimated 
visually with the aid of a photographic intensity scale. A two dimen- 
sional Patterson analysis on the (hkO) spectra gave approximate a and h 
axis coordinates for the gold atoms and signs of the F(u;o)'s could there- 
fore be determined and the corresponding two dimensional Fourier 
synthesis carried out. Two successive approximations led to the final 
Fourier projection. Fig. 3. This shows the association of four gold atoms " 
in one molecule, the peaks corresponding to the gold atoms lying at the 
corners of parallelograms in the projection suggesting that the plane of the 
molecule is considerably inclined to the plane of projection (001). The 
lighter carbon and nitrogen atoms are not resolved being, in any 
case, largely overlapping. Ridges of electron density indicate the 



be , 





— > i2 

^ o a 

V-. +J 

0) l< o 

^ O -M 

° S ^ 
Ml aiJ 

^ 3 

3 cr 

o si 



O fl 


(^ ?5 


0) O 


a. m -M Ch 



Au — C=N -> Au group of atoms and the positions of the propyl groups 
are shown to be : 



— C=N ^ Au - Pr" 




The projections on (loo) and (oio) are non-centrosymmetric, but 
owing to the overwhelming influence of the gold atoms, whose c co- 
ordinates can be estimated, the arbitrary phase constants corresponding 
to the F(Oki)'s and F(boi)'s can be calculated for the completion of the 
projection on (oio) and (loo). The three projections so obtained give 
the coordinates of all the gold atoms and indicate approximately the 
positions of the carbon and nitrogen atoms. Consideration of these 
projections and of the space available permit the assignment of coordinates 
to all atoms. Between atoms in different molecules there is no approach 
less than the usual 3 • 6 A. The Fourier analysis shows clearly the general 
positions of the 7z-propyl groups and the ' square ' character of the gold 
valencies, but it must be understood that the details concerning the 
terminal parts of the w-propyl groups is only suggested to be as indicated, 
alternatively tilted above and below the plane of the square, in order to 
leave sufficient space between molecules (Fig. 4). The shape of the 
molecule approximates to a real square and the distance, Au — C=N->Au, 
is the same for each side and equal to 5 • 18 A, thus confirming the suggested 
formulation, Au — C=N -> Au, which, from available data on bond 
lengths, should require 5 • 28 A. 

{e) Among the studies of gold derivatives of organic sulphur com- 
pounds being carried out in my laboratory, I will only refer to one which 
presents certain unusual features. My collaborators and I have studied 
the reactions which may be briefly outlined, thus : 




-> BzgS -> Au 


Analogous substances have been previously prepared by different 
authors. Substance (IV), for example, was described by McPhail 


Smith (1922) as ' dibromogolddibenzylsulphide,' an addition compound 
of ' gold bromide ' to which was assigned the formula, BrjAu-SEzj. 
On the other hand, Ray and Sen (1930) described the chlorine analogue 
of the same substance as auroaurichloride dibenzyl sulphide having 
the constitution, AuClsBzaS.AuClBzaS. Ray and Sen, however, stated 
that the molecular weight of their substance agreed with the molecular 
formula they assigned to it. This does not agree with the results 
obtained by previous workers nor by Dr. Tyabji and myself for the 
bromine analogue (1937). 

There is nothing unusual concerning the structure and properties of 
the colourless 2-covalent aurous compound (I), (dibenzylsulphidomono- 
bromogold), or of the structure and properties of the deep red 4-covalent 
auric compound (II), (dibenzylsulphidotribromogold) ; but the structure 
and properties of the substances (III) and (IV), which, as compounds, 
would be termed Z>w(dibenzylsulphidobromoiodogold) and ^wfdibenzyl- 
sulphidodibromogold) respectively, present interesting features. Of these, 
only (IV) in which the halogen atoms are the same needs to be con- 
sidered in detail. All these substances are non-electrolytes and (IV), in 
addition to the method already indicated, can be prepared by mixing 
equimolecular quantities of compounds (I) and (II) in a suitable solvent, 
for example chloroform. The molecular formula of (IV) cannot be the 
same as its empirical formula otherwise it would be a 3-covalent derivative 
of bivalent gold. The apparent molecular weight of each of the substances 
(III) and (IV) in freezing bromoform is a little less than that indicated 
by the empirical formula affording no information as to their constitutions. 

In this particular case, our knowledge of the chemical and physical 
properties is inadequate for determining the constitution of the sub- 
stance in the solid state. All that is possible is for the chemist to suggest 
reasonable alternatives based on recognised principles of the constitution of 
co-ordination compounds. None of these alternatives is capable of being 
confirmed by chemical or physico-chemical methods and the only method 
of determining the constitution is by careful crystallographic and X-ray 
analysis. In the solid state the substance is obviously a mixed aurous- 
auric complex of a new type, since the mixed aurous-auric compounds 
already encountered are stable both in solution and in the solid condition. 
For the constitution of the substance in the solid state, two not un- 
reasonable possibilities immediately suggest themselves. In the linking 
up of the aurous and auric compounds, (a) the aurous gold atom may 
become 4-covalent, its four valencies probably assuming a tetrahedral 
configuration, having now eight electrons in its outer shell and assuming 
an Effective Atomic Number of 86, or (b) the auric gold atom may 
become 5-covalent, its five valencies probably assuming a pyramidal con- 
figuration, having now ten electrons in its outer shell and assuming an 
Effective Atomic Number of 86. 

I have put the two alternatives in this order, because there seemed 
to be a possibility, if crystallographic and X-ray analysis proved it, of 
obtaining the first incontrovertible evidence of a 4-covalent aurous com- 
pound which, up to the present, remains a theoretical conception un- 
supported by experimental evidence to explain the constitution of certain 
complex compounds (compare p. 37). Arising from suggestion (a) there 


are two ways in which the two compounds may be linked together in the 
complex. In the one case, the gold atoms may be connected thus : 


^ \ 
Au Au 

^ / 


the aurous gold atom having four valencies — two co-ordinately attached 
bromine atoms (shown), a co-ordinately attached sulphur (of dibenzyl- 
sulphide) atom and a covalently attached bromine atom — tetrahedrally 
disposed, while the auric gold atom has its four valencies in a plane, 
three being covalent links attached to bromine atoms and a co-ordinate 
link from the sulphur atom of dibenzylsulphide. The dissociation of 
the complex in non-aqueous solvents might then be explained by the 
particular disposition of the co-ordinate Br -> Au links since, in the stable 
mixed aurous-auric compounds already known and some of which have 
been referred to above, such linkages are alternately disposed thus : 


Au Au 

K / 

In the other case arising from suggestion {a) the solid complex may 
consist of alternate auric and aurous units linked together by co-ordination 
of a bromine atom from the former to the latter, each aurous unit being 
linked to two auric units. The simplest possible molecule would thus 
be a ring containing two auric and two aurous units thus : 

Br SBz2 

I \ 

BzgS^Au— Br-»Au— Br 

I - t 
Br Br 

I I 

Br— Au-^Br -Au^SBz2 

t I 

SBz2 Br 

If, in this case, the four valencies (three co-ordinate and one covalent) 
of the aurous gold atoms are as we would expect tetrahedrally disposed, 
the structure becomes much more complicated than is represented by 
the above plane diagram. Arising from suggestion (6), there is the 
possibility that in the solid state an auric unit becomes linked to an aurous 
unit by the bromine atom of the latter becoming co-ordinately linked to 
the gold atom of the former. The auric atom now becomes 5-covalent 
and its five valencies may assume a pyramidal configuration whereas the 
four valencies of the auric atom had a planar configuration. This would 
appear to cause the minimum displacement of atoms in the two units 

B.— CHEAilSTRY 55 

concerned. Actually, it would only mean the altering of the position 
of the auric gold atom from the centre of a square to a position within 
the pyramid of which the base is the original square ; this may be 
illustrated by Fig. 5 : 

Br . 

crystalline (BljS.AuBrjJj 

Fig. 5. 

Such a constitution would not be out of keeping with the separation of 
the two parts of the complex compound in non-aqueous solvents since 
5-covalent auric compounds may be expected to be unstable (compare 

P- 45)- 

I have elaborated this example to draw attention to the fact that not 

a few present-day investigations of which this is one are accumulating 
in which chemists will have to rely almost completely on crystallographic 
technique for the determination of the constitution of substances whose 
structures have so far not proved amenable to elucidation by treatment 
by the older methods. In the present instance, the above suggestions 
have been excluded at once by my collaborators, H. M. Powell and R. F. 
Phillips at Oxford. There are no indications of the 'bridge ' and ' ring ' 
structures now well known from previous investigations, and there kre 
no indications of such a disposition of gold, bromine and sulphur atoms 
as required by the structure indicated in Fig. 5. In other words, this 
work again reveals the small tendency — if any — of aurous gold to become 
4-covalent and of auric gold to become 5-covalent. Finally, having ex- 
cluded the direct linking of the auric and aurous parts of the complex, 
there remains apparently only the possibility of the fitting together 
in the solid state of the aurous and auric compounds by a close 
packing arrangement which, again, only the crystallographer is capable 
of resolving. The result of this crystallographic investigation will be 
awaited by me with some interest, and it may be that investigations such 
as this will give some useful information about ' complex molecules ' 

There are still many problems, some of them fundamental, in the 
chemistry of gold waiting to be solved. Even as it is, I have only men- 
tioned a few of those which my co-workers and I have tried and are 
trying to investigate ; but there is a limit to the topics which can be 
discussed at any one time and I venture to conclude with the apology 
of that interesting man of the world, chemist and theologian, Richard 
Watson, D.D., F.R.S., sometime Professor of Chemistry in the University 
of Cambridge, later Regius Professor of Divinity and Bishop of Llandaff : 
' Chemists must excuse me, as well for having explained common 


matters, with what will appear to them a disgusting minuteness, as for 
having passed over in silence some of the most interesting questions.' 


Bakhuis-Roozeboom. 1885 Rec. trav. chim., 4, 361. 
Bassett and Corbet. 1924 Jour. Chem. Soc, 1660. 
Brain and Gibson. 1937 As yet unpublished. 

1938 As yet unpublished. 

Burawoy and Gibson. 1934 Jour. Chem. Soc, 860. 
1935a Jour. Chem. Soc, 219. 

1935b Jour. Chem. Soc, 217. 

Burawoy, Gibson, Hampson and Powell. 1937, Jour. Chem. Soc, 1690. 

Cox and Webster. 1936 Jour. Chem. Soc, 1635. 

Cox, Wardlaw and Webster. 1936 Jour. Chem. Soc, 775. 

Fischer, W. 1929 Z. anorg. Chem., 184, 333. 

Frankland, E. 1877 Experimental Researches, p. 238. 

Gibson and Simonsen. 1930 Jour. Chem. Soc, -z=,^i ; Gibson and Colles. 1931 

Jour. Chem. Soc, 2401. 
Gibson and Tyabji. 1937 As yet unpublished. 
Gibson, Burawoy and Holt. 1935 Jour. Chem. Soc, 1024. 
Hein and Regler. 1936 Ber., 69, 1692. 
Jeffrey. 1916 Trans. Faraday Soc, 11, 172. 
Joannis. 1902 Compt. rend., 135, 1106. 
Kuriloff. 1898 Z.physikal. Chem., 25, 1908. 
Levi-Malvano. 1908 Atti R. Acad. Lincei, 17, 857. 
McPhail Smith. 1922 /. Amer. Chem. Soc, 44, 1769. 
Mann, Wells and Purdie. 1936 Jour. Chem. Soc, 1503. 

1937 Jour. Chem. Soc, 1828. 

Mendel6e£f. 1871 Annalen, Supp. Bd., 8, 151. 

Morgan and Burstall. 1928 Jour. Chem. Soc, 143. 

Paneth and Lautsch. 1931 Ber., 64, 2702, 2708. 

Pope. 1931 Brit. Chem. Abs. B., 319. E.P. 338506/1929. 

Pope and Gibson. 1907 Jour. Chem. Soc, 2061. 

Pope and Peachey. 1909 Jour. Chem. Soc, 571. 

Ray and Sen. 1930 /. Indian Chem. Soc, 7, 67. 

Weitz. 1915 Annalen, 410, 117. 

Willstatter. 1905 Ber., 36, 1830. 






Those whose memories carry them back to student days at the end of 
the nineteenth century will remember how simple and straightforward 
the relationship between Development and Evolution seemed to be. 
' The development of the individual,' we were taught, ' repeated the 
history of the race,' or more technically and concisely, ' Ontogeny repeats 
phylogeny.' To us, mere students, the names of Von Baer and Haeckel 
were in some way mixed up with all this, but we were not very clear 
what their respective contributions were, except that Von Baer lived long 
before Haeckel and therefore, we thought, his views must of necessity be 
a little out of date. But even then there were voices, like that of Hurst 
(1893), that spoke of a fundamental difference between the views of these 
two great workers, and maintained that Von Baer was nearer the truth 
than Haeckel. That diiference is now much more clearly appreciated 
and finds expression in a tendency towards the division of thinkers into 
separate camps. On the one hand there are those who may be described 
as the lineal descendants of Von Baer, who propounded the view that 
* the young stages in the development of an animal are not like the adult 
stages of other animals lower down the scale but are like the young stages 
of those animals.' On the other hand there are the corresponding 
descendants of Haeckel who maintained that ' the adult stages of the 
ancestors are repeated during the development of the descendants, but 
are crowded back into the earlier stages of ontogeny, therefore making 
the latter an abbreviated repetition of Phylogeny ' (v. de Beer). This is 
variously referred to as the Theory of Recapitulation, the Principle of 
Palingenesis and the Biogenetic Law. 

Year by year students of fossils, more especially those concerned with 
the invertebrates, have discovered an increasing body of facts which seem 
to them to fit in with and give support to Haeckel's theory of recapitula- 
tion. Meanwhile students of living forms have, as the result of new as 
well as old methods of inquiry, accumulated much additional evidence 
which seems to give the lie to this principle. Thus Garstang, whose 
survey of this field from the biological point of view has proved most 


helpful, wrote in 1921, ' The idea that form changes in ontogeny were 
preceded by similar changes in adult ancestry is an illusion.' A few 
years later (1929) he reiterated the same opinion in a yet more forceful 
way, saying, ' the theory of adult recapitulation is dead and need no longer 
limit and warp us in the study of Phylogeny.' 

Though palaeontology has long been the stronghold of the theory of 
recapitulation, there have not been wanting among its devotees those 
whose faith in the theory has waned and perished. Thus Spath (1924) 
with a touch of bitterness against the view he has forsaken writes, ' Of 
course it may be necessary to assume an inverted geological order if our 
views of the biological order of ammonites are to continue to be governed 
by discredited " laws " of recapitulation and omission of hypothetical 
stages.' Some years later (1933) his attitude seems to have become 
slightly modified, for he then described the law as merely ' inadequate.' 
In the same work he gives a useful summary of the views of a long array 
of previous writers who had expressed doubts concerning the ' law of 

It should be observed here that the bone of contention is not repre- 
sented by the word ' recapitulation' but by the word ' adult.' Thus, for 
example, Garstang (1921), in spite of the apparently uncompromising 
statement quoted above, writes, ' as differentiation increases combinations 
of layers, tissues, organs, etc. at successive stages resemble more or less 
distinctly combinations characteristic of successive grades of evolution 
represented in phyletic classification. To that limited extent ontogeny 
epitomises phylogeny, in the true sense of the word recapitulation, i.e. 
sums up.' Other passages in his writings refer to a like parallelism. 
Again Spath (1933), speaking out of his wide experience in the handling 
of cephalopods, says of Perrin Smith that ' he constantly overlooked 
the fact that by heredity an ammonite was an ammonite, and that 
like other organisms it had to grow and therefore necessarily had to 
pass through more primitive stages.' It seems to me that this is no 
more and no less than a useful but incomplete paraphrase of the term 

On the other hand, Raw, discussing the ontogenies of trilobites, after 
allowing for the presence of embryonic and larval characters in the 
Protaspis stage, recognises ' phylogenetic characters of ordinal and family 
value,' whilst ' in the next or Meraspis stage, as the embryonic and larval 
characters diminish in strength generic and specific characters appear.' 
In talking of higher divisions than species. Raw is obviously not thinking 
of a specific resemblance to any definite adult ancestor, but of a general 
resemblance such as exists between all the species of a genus, all the 
genera within an order, and so forth. Evidently he also has in mind 
grades of evolution, and in that respect his position is similar to that of 
Garstang and presumably also Spath. Garstang, however, visualises the 
structure not of primeval adults but of primeval young, whilst Raw quite 
definitely has in mind the general condition in the adults of the primeval 

The idea of recapitulation in the sense of summing up seems to me, as 
also to Crow (1926) and Lillie (1930), to be inherent in Von Baer's as 


well as in Haeckel's positions. The fundamental difference between 
them and their philosophical descendants is that for the former it is a 
recapitulation oi juvenile conditions, for the latter it is a recapitulation of 
adult conditions. It will be helpful in further discussion if the two posi- 
tions are referred to as juvenile and adult recapitulation respectively. 
In both cases the recapitulation may be either specific or general. 

The main point at issue, therefore, is whether or not adult recapitulation, 
either specific or general, does occur. Some thinkers, especially upon 
the biological side, say emphatically 'No.' Others, especially invertebrate 
palaeontologists, say ' Yes.' 

Morgan (1925), whilst apparently subscribing to what is here spoken 
of as juvenile recapitulation, holds that adult recapitulation is quite ruled 
out of court by the fact that variations are germinal in origin and dis- 
continuous in mode of appearance. There must, however, be some 
defect in his interpretation of the phenomena of variation, for, as will be 
seen presently, many well-authenticated cases of adult recapitulation are 

At this stage it is well to remind ourselves that even the most ardent 
adult recapitulationist realises that the record is usually more or less 
vitiated and incomplete. Haeckel himself, by the phrase ' abbreviated 
repetition of phylogeny,' acknowledges that the record is curtailed. He 
also recognised that it was subject to falsification by the appearance during 
early life of features specially adapted to the conditions of life of the 
embryo or larva. For this phenomenon he introduced the term ' coeno- 
genesis.' As long as these features appeared to be limited in their influence 
to the early developmental stages very little importance was attached to 
them. In recent years, however, Garstang on the biological side and 
Spath (1932) and Schindewolf (1925) on the palasontological side have 
shown that their influence may extend in a marked degree even into adult 
life, a process for which the last-named writer proposes the term ' protero- 
genesis.' This discovery I fancy has played no little part in the recent 
intensification of activity in undermining the pre-eminent position held 
by the principle of recapitulation. 

In matters of this kind there is a danger lest we should slip into the 
assumption that only one method has been pursued by Nature, but it is 
surely a grave mistake to assume that she is so bankrupt in originality. 
The fact that serious workers can hold such diverse views indicates the 
possibility that Nature's methods are equally diverse. It seems appro- 
priate therefore that an attempt should be made to re-examine the evidence 
in the hope of gaining a clearer understanding of the relationships of the 
various view-points to one another. From such a survey, geology as well 
as biology has much to gain ; for as long as systematists drift along with 
only a confused appreciation of the laws of development and evolution 
they will be without fundamental principles to guide them in dealing 
with the multitude of specimens which are coming, in ever- increasing 
volume, from geologists in the field. 

Naturally my approach to this survey will be from the palaeontological 
side, but I hope there is still enough of the zoologist left in me to enable 
me to appreciate fully the more purely biological points of view. My 


illustrative material will be confined mainly to well-known examples, 
descriptions of which are easily accessible. 

Any consideration of the relationship of development to evolution 
must deal with the subject from two aspects, viz. retrospective and 
prospective. On the one hand it must inquire whether the evolutionary 
changes of the past are reflected in development, and if so to what extent. 
On the other hand it must also inquire whether future evolutionary 
changes of sudden or of sequential character are foreshadowed in develop- 
ment. These two aspects are, of course, very closely interwoven with 
one another in the developmental record, and much confusion, which 
has crept into discussion in recent years, is due to a want of appreciation 
of their fundamental distinctness. 

Retrospective Aspect. 

In one form or another the retrospective aspect of the problem of the 
relationship of development to evolution has attracted the attention of 
embryologists even in the earliest stages in the growth of their science. 
This is exemplified by the principles enunciated by Von Baer and Haeckel, 
even though the former dates back to the pre-evolution age of biology. 
These two great workers, had they lived to-day, would have been the 
first to condemn any tendency to make a creed of the form of words in 
which they expressed the principles they detected ; they would have 
been the first to welcome any modification or amplification made necessary 
by the advance of knowledge. No attempt will be made here to trace 
the history of discussion on these problems, for it has been frequently 
summarised by various writers referred to in this address. 

Concerning the Use of Terms. 

Some of the disagreement that exists over the questions under dis- 
cussion is due to diversity in the shades of meaning attached to terms in 
common use. It will therefore be helpful if some of these are briefly 
indicated here. 

The term ontogeny is generally taken to mean the development of the 
individual, but it is not always clear how much of that development the 
writer has in mind. As long ago as 1909 Cumings pointed out that 
many biologists used the term ontogeny when they were really visualising 
only embryogeny. Even Haeckel himself did this. Strictly speaking, it 
includes all stages of growth from the embryonic through the epembryonic 
or neanic to the adult. 

With regard to phylogeny, De Beer indicates a common though often 
quite unconscious restriction in the use of the term when he tells us that 
' the distinction between adult and young, i.e. between structures which 
appear late or early, is drawn principally because it is only the structures' 
of the adult which are concerned in phylogeny.' Garstang (1921), it 
seems to me, gives it the correct significance when he defines phylogeny 
as ' the procession of ontogenies along a given phyletic line of modifica- 
tion,' though he goes on to point out that ' it is expressed in terms of adult 


structure.' This is not, however, always the case. It is true for such 
organisms as belemnites and trilobites in which only aduh features are 
visible in the fully grown specimen. But it is not quite true for organisms, 
like ammonites and gastropods, for which in any given specimen large 
portions of the ontogenetic record are exposed to view, and provide 
juvenile features which become automatically incorporated into the 
diagnosis of the species and consequently into the construction of the 
corresponding phyletic series. 

Some of the shades of meaning that attach to the term ' recapitulation ' 
have already been discussed. Another must now be mentioned. For 
Haeckel himself this term implied the idea of causation as well as of 
repetition. I doubt whether this causal relation of ontogeny to phylogeny 
has any place in the thinking of the average palasontologist. For him 
recapitulation is merely a descriptive term for the observed fact that there 
exists a striking resemblance between some stages in individual develop- 
ment and the ancestral types. But even as a descriptive term it requires 
the addition of certain qualifying terms such as ' general ' and ' specific,' 
' adult ' and 'juvenile,' which have been already suggested. 

A marked divergence occurs also between various writers in the use 
of the terms ' ancestor ' and ' ancestral.' Thus Gars tang, referring to 
recapitulation as enunciated by Haeckel, says (1921), ' The only way I 
can see of establishing this theory by purely embryological methods, is 
to show that the penultimate stage of the ontogeny of a given type of 
adult resembles the final (adult) stages of the ontogeny of some 
theoretically ancestral type more closely than it resembles the corre- 
sponding penultimate stage of the same.' He then repeats the same 
kind of requirement for the antepenultimate stages also. 

Discussing various examples brought forward by other workers, he 
declares that they all fail to survive the imposition of this test. In 
coming to this conclusion he apparently does not realise that they fail 
for the simple reason that the material used in the examples quoted did 
not conform to that stipulated in his test. His test requires that the 
comparison should be between the ontogeny of a given type and that of 
an ancestral type. The examples he quotes deal almost exclusively 
with the ontogeny of forms co-existing at the present day, and therefore 
cannot possibly have the relationship to one another of ancestor and 
descendant. They are in fact merely collateral descendants. Had he 
selected his material from the works of his palasontological colleagues 
he would have found much which closely fulfilled the conditions required 
by his test. Some of these will be considered presently. 

Another term that calls for consideration is ' race,' for by using it in 
quite different senses writers have fallen into much unnecessary contra- 
diction. In seeking to discover the relationship between development 
and evolution it has always been the custom to think of development in 
terms of a specific individual, and of evolution in terms of the ' race.' 
Now about the development of the individual there is no ambiguity, for 
the individual is a single being having a range in time from the cradle 
to the grave. On the other hand the phrase ' evolution of the race ' is 
used in almost as many different senses as there are examples quoted. 


Thus the slits in the neck of the human embryo are compared with the 
gill clefts of a present-day dogfish, and the similarity between them has 
been referred to as evidence that the development of the individual, at 
least in this respect, tends to recapitulate the history of the race. On 
the other hand the much more striking dissimilarity between the human 
embryo as a whole and the adult dogfish is given as evidence against the 
' law of recapitulation.' What is the sense in which the word ' race ' is 
being used in these or similar cases ? 

Apart from the point already dealt with, that only collateral ancestors 
are being compared, the disputants on both sides have in mind the whole 
sub-kingdom of the vertebrates with a range extending across nearly the 
whole of geological time, and represented by masses of rocks twenty or 
more miles in thickness. But when a palaeontologist compares the young 
stages of growth of Gryphcea incurva with the fully grown Ostrea irregulare, 
and maintains that the close similarity between them is evidence in favour 
of the ' principle of recapitulation,' the conception he has of the word 
' race ' extends only slightly beyond the bounds of a gens or sequence 
of closely related species, and corresponds to a range of time represented 
stratigraphically by only about 30 feet of rocks near the base of the Lias. 
The Gryphcea material forms practically an unbroken series, almost as 
continuous as the Great North Road , but the dogfish and human materials 
are relatively more remote from one. another than are London and 

In both cases the evidence is valid only as far as it goes and no further. 
The evidence of the human embryo, relating as it does to the extremities 
of a sub-kingdom separated by several hundred millions of years, cannot 
in any way be quoted as invalidating the evidence of Gryphcea concerning 
the relationship of development to evolution within the limits of a couple 
of genera, ranging with almost complete continuity across possibly less 
than a quarter of a million years. In recent years the discussion of these 
problems has been marked by a strange lack of a sense of proportion, a 
sense which must be maintained if any progress of thought is to be made. 
To deny that there is any truth in the principle of recapitulation or, on 
the other hand, to talk as though it were universally applicable, does not 
conduce to clear thinking. 

The Evidence of Zaphrentis delanouei. 

Now that some of the confusion in the use of various terms has been 
cleared up we may proceed to lay a stable foundation for our subsequent 
thinking by making a detailed analj'sis of a well-established evolutionary 
series. For this purpose no better example can be taken than that 
provided by the work of R. G. Carruthers (1910) upon Zaphrentis 
delanouei. At this point I must express my indebtedness to 
Mr. Carruthers and to the Director of the Geological Survey for giving 
me every facility for making a careful re-examination of the salient 
material upon which this work v/as based. 

This example has the great initial advantage that it nearly fulfils all 
the requirements of first-class evidence. In the first place it is based 



upon a large number of specimens which, though they exhibit a wide 
range of forms, make up a continuous series. From these Carruthers 
selected samples typical of various phases in the sequence and called 
them Z. delanoiiei {s. str.), Z. parallela, Z. consiricta, Z. disjuncta (early, 
typical and advanced) respectively (Fig. i). Between these types there 
occurred every gradation of form. In the next place these specimens 
were collected from a succession of known horizons in the Lower 
Carboniferous rocks of Scotland. Though some of these horizons were 
separated by relatively wide intervals the range of variation exhibited by 
the specimens collected at different levels overlapped to such an extent 

S T AG E5 isi ^ 




I N 



I'iG. I. — Diagram showing typical representatives of the gens Zaphrentis 
delanouei, the order of their appearance in time and the main stages in 
their development. (Modified from Carruthers.) 

that the continuity in the sequence of forms, from the bottom to the 
top, was not broken. Further, the frequency of occurrence of each of 
the types was recorded, and when plotted produced a curve which con- 
formed to the normal unimodal frequency distribution curve. When 
the curves for successive levels were compared it was found that the 
mode shifted with the passage of time from Z. delanouei {s. str.) at the 
bottom to advanced forms of Z. disjuncta at the top, thus showing that 
the stock was undergoing a corresponding evolutionary change during 
the period of its existence. The evolutionary character of this sequence 
was further supported by the very close similarity of the developmental 
stages of the later to those of the earlier types. 

For the purposes of making a comparison between the development of 


the individual and the evolution of the stock, the specimens selected for 
developmental studies should be taken from among those w^hich lie upon 
the mode at each horizon. It will be shown later that if this be not done 
a curious inversion of the truth may arise. In this connection it is 
interesting to note that, though Carruthers had not in mind the specific 
problems we are now discussing, four out of the six specimens whose 
development he describes fulfilled this condition exactly, and the other 
two lay only a little to one side of the mode. As to the sequence in time 
a little doubt attaches only to his middle pair, for from his records it 
is not quite certain which of the two specimens belongs to the lower and 
which to the higher horizon. Nevertheless the intermediate position in 
time of this pair between the other two pairs is beyond dispute. 

It has been necessary to enter into all this detail because, as will be 
seen later, very great theoretical importance attaches to this material 
and it is well to know at the outset its precise standard of reliability. It 
will, I think, be agreed that the standard is a high one. 

On examining the development of the individuals representative of the 
stages in the phylogeny of the Z. delanoiiei-Z. disjuncta gens it at once 
becomes obvious that the penultimate stage in the growth of Z. parallela 
bears a much closer resemblance to the adult of the ancestral species 
Z. delatwuei {s. sir.) than it does to the adult of Z. parallela. In like 
manner the penultimate stage in the development of Z. constricta repeats 
the sum-total of the characteristics which distinguish the adult ancestor 
Z. parallela, whilst the antepenultimate stage exhibits a similarly close 
resemblance to the ancestral adult Z. delanouei [s. str.). Here then is 
an example which fulfils almost, if not quite, perfectly the requirements 
of the test imposed by Garstang, and proved beyond dispute that specific 
recapitulation of adult characters does under some circumstances actually 

take place. 

Turning now to the later stages in the evolution of this gens it may 
be observed that two tendencies, only faintly indicated in the earlier 
stages, now become more openly manifested. One is the tendency 
towards the establishment of radial symmetry. This is expressed, feebly 
in Z. parallela and more clearly in Z. constricta, by the central narrowing 
and peripheral widening of the fossula. In those later stages which are 
referred to as Z. disjuncta a second tendency is rapidly expressed in the 
shortening of the septa, and their withdrawal from the centre, a tendency 
which in the earlier members of the gens had affected only the cardinal 
septum. These tendencies are exhibited in progressive degrees of ad- 
vancement not only in the late life of successive adult stages, but they also 
pass back into the penultimate and eventually into the antepenultimate 
developmental stages of the typical and later forms of Z. disjuncta. Thus 
the principle of specific recapitulation of adult characters holds good also 
for these two new tendencies. 

In addition to being new, these two tendencies are also out of accord 
with and may involve a complete reversal and suppression of earlier 
tendencies. Thus the assumption of radial symmetry implies the 
disappearance of the tetrameral symmetry, so characteristic of the typical 
Zaphrentis ; whilst the shortening of the septa is the reverse of the 


process of elongation by which each septum in early phases both of 
development and evolution attained the centre of the coral. Thus it 
comes about that in the later members of the gens there is as it were a 
conflict between these earlier and later discordant tendencies, with the 
result that the antepenultimate stages exhibit a mixed combination of 
features made up of the long cardinal of Z. delanouei {s. str.), the 
elongated septa of Z. constricta and the radial arrangement of Z. disjuncta. 
In these stages, therefore, there is merely a recapitulation of some of the 
individual features, but not a recapitulation of the combination of features 
of the adult of any preceding generation. It becomes advisable, therefore, 
to distinguish between complete recapitulation of the whole or part of the 
adult combination and the limited recapitulation of only isolated adult 

Up to this point the earliest developmental stage which has been 
considered has always been one in which the individual was already 
sufficiently advanced to have attained a diameter of about half that of 
the adult. Obviously, therefore, important earlier stages still remain to 
be considered. Unfortunately very little information for these is forth- 
coming, for the pointed end in the specimens of this coral is rarely 
preserved. My re-examination of Mr. Carruthers' material, however, 
has enabled me to see several earlier stages than those which were figured 
by him. Of these there were three which only slightly preceded the 
earliest figured by him for Z. delanouei {s. str.) and for typical and 
advanced forms of Z. disjuncta. The two latter exhibit the same absence 
of resemblance, except in isolated features, to the adult of any previous 
species. On the other hand they did closely resemble the correspondingly 
young stage of Z. delanouei {s. str.). They provided, therefore, as excellent 
an example of the recapitulation of juvenile conditions described by Von 
Baer, and emphasised by modern biologists, as the later growth stages 
provided for the recapitulation of adult conditions reiterated above. 

In the development of the typical Z. disjuncta a much earlier stage was 
fortunately preserved. In this there were only six septa, but these were 
arranged in an almost perfectly radial manner. Whether they were equal 
to one another in length was uncertain, for the section may have been 
slightly oblique to the organic axis of the coral at this level. Though the 
corresponding stage in the other members of this gens was not forth- 
coming in the material discussed above, it may be noted that it had been 
recognised by Duerden (1906), Carruthers (1906), and Butler (1935) in 
the earliest stages of development not only of other species of Zaphrentis 
but also in other palaeozoic genera, viz. Lophophyllum, Cyathaxonia, 
Dibunophyllum, Cyclophyllum, Streptelasma, Syringaxon. Duerden sums 
up his investigations by saying, ' The rugose corals and the zoanthid 
actinians have both a primary hexamerism.' 

The embryo in this case appears therefore to retain features 
characteristic only of the embryonic stages in the development of other 
members of the phylum, for as yet no adult coral of earlier date is known 
to possess them. The examination of this very young stage in the develop- 
ment of Z. disjuncta therefore furnishes further confirmation of Von 
Baer's principle. The careful consideration of the example before us, 


however, seems to necessitate a modification in the statement of that 
principle, for in this case the resemblance is not limited to organisms 
lower down in the scale, but extends to embryos of corals of later date 
and more advanced structure. Indeed, so far as it goes, the evidence 
indicates that this embryonic combination of features is one which may 
be characteristic of the whole class Anthozoa. Though Von Baer, like 
modern biologists, had in mind only contemporary animals, the facts 
show that the principle is applicable to forms belonging to different 
periods of time. 

No doubt in the development of Zaphrentis there were, as in other 
Coelentera, yet earlier stages, starting with the fertilised egg and passing 
on to a free-swimming larva, which of necessity are beyond the ken of the 
palzeontologist. Keeping these in mind, as well as those discussed above, 
we may distinguish in the life-history of this, as indeed of other organisms, 
two main phases in development : the embryonic and the neanic re- 
spectively. The former covers a series of changes leading up from a 
single cell to a condition which, notwithstanding its relative complexity, 
has little or no resemblance to the adult but which, nevertheless, provides 
the basis out of which the adult may be produced. The latter covers 
that series of changes in the course of which the features which characterise 
the adult gradually emerge and ultimately attain full expression. These 
phases overlap one another and in so doing exhibit stages which are 
transitional in character between the two. In Zaphrentis the stages 
leading up to and including the corallum with six septa almost radially 
arranged belong to the embryonic phase. The immediately succeeding 
stages, during which the tetrameral symmetry is being established, are 
transitional. Those leading from this point onwards to the adult belong 
to the neanic phase. 

In the embryonic phase the combination of characters seems to have 
attained a state of stability that furnishes a plan of structure which is 
common to widely separated members of the class. It must be regarded 
as the culmination of a long process of evolution of embryos in which 
many factors which concerned adult life have played no part, but in which 
factors foundational to adult development have been preserved. So far 
as known this embryonic condition in Zaphrentis bears no resemblance to 
the adult condition of any coral stock that could be regarded as ancestral 
to this genus. The features concerned in this ancient and stable com- 
bination appear to me to conform to those ' primitive types of structure ' 
for which Garstang (1921) proposed the term ' palasomorphic. ' Should 
advancing knowledge bring to light adult fossils of an earlier ancestral 
stock and possessing these same features, then this term would have to 
give place to Haeckel's term ' palingenetic,' which Garstang rejects. This 
problem will demand very careful investigation. Thus, for example, the 
extraordinary resemblance between the attached dipleurula of echino- 
derms and the fossil Aristocystis among the blastoids may, apart from the 
presence of plates in the latter, be taken as recapitulation of adult 
characters. On the other hand the conditions of the resemblance may 
have arisen, .not in the adult but in the larval blastoid. 

In the neanic phase the organism exhibits a combination of less stable 


characters, superposed upon the stable embryonic foundation. These 
undergo, with comparative rapidity, a course of evolution the stages of 
which are very completely recapitulated during development. The fact 
must be emphasised that in so far as specific and complete adult recapitula- 
tion takes place it seems, in the example before us, to be limited to the 
neanic phase. 

In the controversy briefly referred to at the outset biologists, in 
discussing the problems before us, have based their arguments almost 
entirely upon embryonic, larval or foetal material. Palasontologists, on 
the other hand, have rarely had such material at their disposal, for such 
early developmental stages are either not capable of preservation in the 
fossil state, or they are such minute and delicate objects as the prodisso- 
conch of lamellibranchs, the protoconchs of gastropods and cephalopods, 
the protaspids of trilobites, which are easily destroyed. The palasonto- 
logist's evidence therefore is usually drawn from neanic stages which, it 
may be noted, make up the major portion of the individual life-history 
and are more abundantly preserved in the fossil state. Inasmuch, 
therefore, as these two classes of workers are on the whole dealing with 
different portions of that life-history, their observations and the con- 
clusions they draw are not contradictory but supplementary. As far as 
our study of Zaphrentis takes us we may say that the embryonic stages of 
development recapitulate the changes exhibited by corresponding stages 
of other forms belonging to the same general stock, and that the neanic 
stages recapitulate the adult condition exhibited by the preceding members 
of the gens to which the species belongs. Further, within the neanic 
stages the principle of acceleration or tachygenesis is perfectly exemplified, 
but its action, so far as the adult combination of features is concerned, 
does not penetrate back into the transitional and embryonic stages. In 
these latter the rate of acceleration does not remain the same for all 
features and consequently the adult combination undergoes disruption. 

In the series Z. delanouei [s. str.)-Z. constricta the development of the 
later members runs parallel to but overlaps beyond that of the earlier. 
But with Z. disjuncta new tendencies enter, and though the earlier, 
typical and later members of this species exhibit in their development 
a like parallelism and overlapping, the direction they follow diverges from 
that of the former members of the gens. By acceleration these new 
tendencies ultimately cut out the older combination almost completely 
from the developmental record of the advanced members of Z. disjuncta. 
Here then is a very clear case of ' skipping of stages ' or lipopalingenesis 
of the kind referred to by Trueman as a ' straightening of ontogeny ' as 
opposed to ' mere shortening of ontogeny ' which results from tachy- 
genesis. It should be noted that in this case the straightening is rendered 
necessary by the fact that divergent changes had previously set in. 

Other Examples of Recapitulation. 

With this general discussion, suggested by the study of Z. delanouei 
{s. lat.), as a basis to work upon we must now inquire whether the same 
general phenomena are recognisable in the development of other types 



of animal organisms. Unfortunately the number of cases in which the 
evidence is as satisfactorily established from the standpoints of quantity, 
development, variation and stratigraphical precision as for the example 
we have studied in such detail above is relatively small. 

There is no group of organisms for which systematists have made such 
a full use of the principle of adult recapitulation as in the lowliest forms of 
life preserved as fossils, viz. the foraminifera. One illustrative example 
may be taken from the Orbitoides group. It includes the genera 
Operculina, which first appeared in the Cretaceous ; Heterostegina, in the 
Eocene ; and Cycloclypeus, in the Oligocene. In Operculina the shell is 
coiled spirally in a single plane and is divided by septa into chambers. 










Fig. 2. — Diagram showing the structure and development of Cycloclypeus post- 
indopacificus . Protoconch (black spot) . Operculina and Heterostegina stages 
(thick outline) . Cycloclypeus stage (thin outline) . (Modified from Tan Sin Hok.) 

As the height of the coils increases with growth the chambers become 
tall and narrow. In Heterostegina the early development repeats in a 
typical manner the condition exhibited by Operculina, but in the outer or 
later coils the height increases greatly and the chambers become corre- 
spondingly much taller. Owing to an increasing forward bend in the 
middle the latter become practically semicircular, and at the same time 
each is divided into a series of chamberlets by the formation of walls 
across the chamber. In lowly species of Cycloclypeus (Fig. 2) the inner- 
most coils are again typically operculine and are followed by others which 
are similarly heterostegine. In later development the height of the coils 
continues to increase until the chambers are quite circular. Henceforth 
the shell grows in size by the formation of successive chambers added to 
the outer margin of the shell. Tan Sin Hok, working upon material 
collected carefully from a series of strata in a continuous exposure, showed 


that with the passage of time there was a progressive reduction in the 
number of heterosteginal chambers. This was established by counting 
the number of septa between the chambers and treating the figures for a 
large number of specimens statistically. In the lowest part of the section 
the range in number was 30-18, with a major peak at 24. At the top of 
the section the range was 30-16, with the major peak at 21. The amount 
of reduction is not great, but that it took place was indisputable. When, 
however, material that has been collected from a series of isolated ex- 
posures representing a much longer range of time is examined the evidence 
for progressive reduction is much more striking. Workers on Tertiary 
deposits, when correlating one exposure with another, find that the 
evidence afforded by counting the chambers in these foraminifera is in 
complete accord with that derived from stratigraphical and faunal sources. 
The reduction indicated above is found to progress steadily from the 
base of the Oligocene, where the range is 38-21 with a maximum number 
of specimens having from 32-27, to the opening of the Quaternary, where 
the range is only 4-2 with a maximum at 3. 

In this thoroughly well established evolutionary series we find that the 
relationship between Development and Evolution closely accords with 
that already seen in Zaphrentis. In the development of the earlier species 
of Cycloclypeus both operculine and heterostegine stages are well repre- 
sented. In later species the operculine stage disappears and the hetero- 
stegine undergoes the progressive • reduction described above. Here 
also the characteristic cycloidal chamber of Cycloclypeus appears first in 
late life and, with the passage of the generations, shifts back to earlier 
and yet earlier stages of growth until the heterostegine stage has almost 
completely disappeared also. In this example the principle of adult 
recapitulation with its accompanying phenomena of tachygenesis and 
lipopalingenesis dominates an even larger proportion of the life-history 
than it did in Zaphrentis, for apparently only the proloculum is unaffected 
by it. 

Lack of time and space forbids a detailed consideration of other examples 
(cp. Cumings, and George), but lest it should be thought that the above 
are exceptional a number of others must be briefly mentioned. Among 
the lamellibranchs is the case of the gens Gryphcea incurva so well estab- 
lished by Trueman (1915). Here the earliest known developmental 
stage, the prodissoconch, is a minute embryonic bivalve shell identical 
with that of the oyster and of other lamellibranchs. This furnishes a 
clear case of juvenile recapitulation. The neanic phases of development 
are well known for all the members of the gens from Ostrea irregulare to 
Gryphcea incurva. In each case the resemblance of the young of later 
forms to the adults of the earlier forms is most striking. Here, however, 
lipopalingenesis plays no actual part. The same is true also for the gens 
Inoceramus concentricus-sulcatus established by Woods. 

For the gastropods. Smith (1906) has worked out the evolution of 
Volutilithes sayana through V. petrosus from V. limnopsis. His material 
was abundant and its time succession based upon a series of good geological 
exposures. He shows that in the development of V. limnopsis the surface 
of the shell is at first quite smooth. It then becomes decorated for a 


short distance with curved transverse ribs upon which longitudinal ribs 
are next superposed, thus giving to the ornamentation of the shell a can- 
cellated appearance. This condition persists to the end of life. In 
V. petrosus the curved rib and cancellated stages appear earlier in develop- 
ment and are succeeded in late life by a spiny stage. This latter, in turn, 
experiences an acceleration in the time of its appearance in later members 
of the species and in V. sayana. Senile characters also exhibit a like 

At one time the ammonites were the citadel of recapitulationists. 
Unfortunately so much scepticism is expressed by present-day specialists 
on this group concerning the work of their predecessors that it is difficult 
to find examples that are above suspicion. This is not, however, the 
case with the detailed work done by Bisat (1924) on the goniatites. Though 
he deliberately refrains from analysing his data from the standpoint of 
the principles of development, in dealing with Reticuloceras reticulatum 
he does allow himself to give, in tabular form, a valuable summary of his 
observations upon the changes undergone by the ornamentation of the 
shell in the course of the evolution of this species, and upon the times of 
appearance of these changes during the development of successive 
mutations. He thus provides us with yet another well-established case 
of adult recapitulation. 

Among brachiopods many examples are forthcoming, but reference 
must here be limited to Fenton's detailed work (1931) on evolution in 
the genus Spirifer, a work that will repay careful study by all students of 
palaeontology. The requirements of ample material in all stages of 
development collected with meticulous care from minutely zoned strata 
are sufficiently fulfilled to satisfy the most exacting critics. Space does 
not permit of the description of specific examples here. We must there- 
fore be content to quote Fenton's own words. Speaking of the two 
gentes S. varians and S. obliqtiistriatus he says, ' there is also a close 
correlation between ontogeny and phylogeny in each pair of trends. 
Recapitulation is detailed, uniform, and generally involves the repetition 
of adult characters. . . .' 

In the examples considered hitherto the study of the development has 
been easy because, as growth proceeded, the early stages were not 
destroyed but were retained, and the later stages were added to them. 
With many other organisms this is not the case. Thus the trilobite as it 
grew shed its skeleton, and with it all record of its juvenile features, at 
more or less regular intervals, so that specimens of adult trilobites show 
only adult features. Careful collecting from very fossiliferous beds may 
result in the discovery of series in various stages of growth, and workers 
who have collected such series claim, with good justification, to have 
discovered in them evidence of the working of the principle of recapitula- 
tion. But for our purpose, just at this moment such cases are not suffi- 
ciently well authenticated. The same is true also for the echinoids which 
reabsorb the earlier formed skeletal deposits as growth proceeds. 

On glancing back over the general survey of facts made above, one- 
overruling condition seems to emerge, viz. that the more lowly and 
simple the organism the more complete is the recapitulation. In more 


complex organisms the chances against a perfect repetition of the whole 
combination of adult features are greater, and consequently recapitulation 
is more likely to be less complete. Nevertheless, even in highly organised 
animals limited recapitulation is very common. Odd examples of this 
have alv^rays attracted attention, and indeed have been the basis upon 
which earlier workers, not excluding Haeckel himself, founded their 
belief in the general principle. But what was evidence for them can no 
longer satisfy us. 

Localised Recapitulation. 

Another set of facts which bears upon the problem may now be briefly 
discussed. They were first noticed by Jackson (1892), who grouped 
them under the heading ' Localised Stages in Development,' and are 
commonly shown in those parts of the body which are metamerically 
repeated or are reproduced by budding. Since it is in such parts that 
evidence is forthcoming only limited recapitulation may be expected. 

Good illustrative examples of localised recapitulation are found among 
the echinoids, but unfortunately detailed stratigraphical evidence is 
usually lacking. In the palaeozoic Lepidocentridae, which appear to be 
the forerunners of the mesozoic echinoids other than the cidarids, the 
ambulacrum is narrow and made up of low laterally elongated plates 
pierced by a pair of pores. In the Jurassic genus Hemicidaris , as in all 
the echinoids, new plates are added to the ambulacrum at its upper end. 
These move downwards towards the equatorial belt of the test and 
gradually assume the fully grown condition. The newly formed plates 
in the upper part are like those fully grown plates of the palaeozoic genera 
in form and number of pores. As they pass downwards the plates become 
associated with one another first in pairs and then in threes having a 
common outline and decorated by a large tubercle. In its early stages of 
growth, therefore, each plate recapitulates the condition shown by the 
same structure in the ancestral palaeozoic stock. Again, MacBride and 
Spencer (1938) have recently drawn attention to the interesting fact that, 
in the development of the ambulacral plates in certain modern forms, the 
podial pores first appear as notches in the lower border of the plate, a 
condition which characterises the adult condition in some ordovician 

The case of Micraster, though not so striking, is perhaps more valuable 
because the work of Dr. Rowe has produced a well-authenticated evolu- 
tional series, based upon very careful and detailed stratigraphical work. 
Unfortunately, owing to the mode of growth of the echinoids, the develop- 
mental evidence for the test as a whole is not forthcoming. So far as 
I am aware, attention has not hitherto been given to the existence of 
localised stages in the development of the ambulacra in these micrasters, 
but an examination of the uppermost portion of any well-preserved speci- 
men of a high zonal variety of M. prcecursor will show that it reproduces 
very closely the condition shown by the fully developed portion of the 
ambulacrum seen in low zonal varieties. 


Recapitulation in Colonial Organisms. 

A third body of facts which testify to the reality of the principle of 
recapitulation is yielded by colonial forms. This was concisely expressed 
by Lang in 1921 when, referring to a preceding discussion of criteria of 
relationship, he wrote, ' It was noticed that the colony, like the individual, 
exhibits growth stages of its own which recapitulate ancestral characters.' 
In illustration of this reference may be made to the polyzoon genus 
Stomatopora in which he (1907) traces the evolution of the series of forms 
from S. antiqua and S. gregoryi of the Lower Lias (Sinemurian and 
Charmouthian respectively) to S. smithi, of the Cornbrash. In this 
series the angle between the branches at each dichotomy exhibits a pro- 
gressive diminution from 180° in the earlier to 60° in the latest forms. 
In the development of successive types acceleration leads to the gradual 
elimination of the larger angles from earlier growth stages. The individual 
chambers or zooecia exhibit a like phenomenon. In these the evolutionary 
change of form is from cylindrical or very slightly pyriform to markedly 
pyriform. Here again in the development of the later species accelera- 
tion of the quite pyriform stage leads ultimately to the elimination of the 
cylindrical zooecium from the early stages of growth. 


Since the question of recapitulation, more especially of adult characters, 
has been the focus of controversy, it has been necessary, in order to 
secure its reinstatement in its proper place as an established principle of 
evolutionary thought, to deal with it at considerable length. It may be 
useful, therefore, before passing on to the next part of our subject, to 
summarise briefly the results of our discussion. 

The divers shades of meaning which have been attached to the term 
' recapitulation ' by various authors in recent years reflect the phases which 
the phenomenon exhibits during the development of diflFerent organisms. 
In ontogeny two main classes of features have been recognised, viz. 
adult and juvenile, both of which undergo evolution in phylogeny. 

Recapitulation of adult features occurs more especially during the 
neanic phases of development. It may be specific and complete, that is 
to say it repeats the combination of features exhibited by geologically 
recent adult ancestors. Cases in which this is manifested, even in some 
detail, appear to be limited to the lower and simpler grades of animal life. 
Adult recapitulation may also be specific and limited. That is to say it 
may repeat only a few of the features of the adult ancestor. In this case 
the features are not necessarily in correct combination shown by the adult 
ancestral species, they may indeed be drawn from several such types. 
Cases of this kind occur throughout the animal kingdom and include 
many well-known examples, such as the teeth in the young Ornitho- 
rhynchus, the three centres of ossification in the avian metatarsal, the 
horny claws on the wing digits of the un hatched duck. 

Adult recapitulation is exhibited also during the growth of meta- 
merically repeated parts, of colonial forms and rejuvenated individuals. 


However complete and specific the recapitulatory record may be at 
the outset, in subsequent generations it becomes curtailed as the result 
of increasing acceleration in individual development. This leads to the 
' skipping of stages ' either by a ' mere shortening of ontogeny,' in cases 
where evolutionary trends remain constant, or by a ' straightening of 
ontogeny ' where new trends out of accord with the foregoing set in. 
The record also becomes vitiated as the result of the fact that acceleration 
is not constant for all features, and consequently the combination of 
characters exhibited by the adult ancestor becomes broken up, or even 
eliminated from the development of the descendants. 

Turning now to the juvenile features which characterise the embryonic 
stages of development, we find the problem is more difficult of elucidation. 
That these features, exhibited during the early development of the 
ancestor, are repeated during the corresponding or slightly earlier stages 
of the descendants may be regarded as established. The unsettled 
problem is the extent to which they reflect characters which in primeval 
times were in the first place peculiar to the adult, or had their first onset 
only in the embryo. 

Prospective Aspect. 

The task that lies before us now is to inquire the ways in which 
evolutionary changes may be foreshadowed during development. For 
this purpose our attention must be concentrated upon the new features 
which mark those changes, upon the mode and time of their appearance, 
and upon the way in which they fit into that framework of anciently 
derived characters discussed above. 

In dealing with this aspect there is no need to stress once more the 
importance of basing conclusions upon ample evidence made up of 
numerous specimens precisely dated. It should, however, be urged that 
specimens used for developmental studies must be selected from among 
those which lie upon or close to the mode of the frequency distribution 
curve for varieties occurring at each stratigraphical horizon. If this be 
not done, conclusions of an extraordinarily contradictory character may 
be drawn. This may be illustrated by reference once more to the gens 
Zaphrentis delanoiiei. As already seen, specimens selected from the 
mode for varieties collected from the Cementstone and Lower Limestone 
horizons belong to Z. delanouei and Z. constricta respectively, and the 
development of the latter faithfully recapitulates the adult condition of 
the former. On the other hand, if by any chance the specimens selected 
happened to be varieties at opposite extremities of the curve, viz. 
Z. constricta from the lower horizon and Z. delanouei from the upper 
horizon, then the young stages of Z. constricta would appear to anticipate 
the adult condition of Z. delanouei and therefore to support the principle 
of proterogenesis, which will be discussed below. 

In reading Garstang's discussions of kindred problems from the 
biological side, I find myself very largely in agreement with him as far as 
the evidence at his disposal takes him. Any difference that exists between 
us seems to me to be due to the fact that he had not before him any 
satisfactory evidence for the recapitulation of adult stages. He suggests 

D 2 


therefore the dropping of Haeckel's terms ' palingenesis ' and ' coenogenesis,' 
apparently because the former implies that characters which appear in 
the adult stage are heritable, whilst the ccenogenetic characters are limited 
in heritability to the larval stages. Since the evidence at his disposal led 
him to believe that new characters enter the phyletic history only during 
early ontogeny he proposed the terms ' palasogenetic ' for those ontogenetic 
processes which functioned early in phyletic history and ' neogenetic ' for 
those which came into action later. He differentiates structures in a 
corresponding manner by using the terms ' palaeomorphic ' for primitive 
types of structures and ' neomorphic ' for modified types of structures. 

Coenogenesis {the appearance of new characters at an early stage of 


Though Haeckel's main emphasis was upon recapitulation he realised 
that certain factors were at work which tended to vitiate the developmental 
record. Among these was the appearance, in larvae and embryos, of 
features which were adaptations to the conditions under which these 
immature organisms lived. He crystallised his observations by intro- 
ducing the term ' coenogenesis ' for this phenomenon and by distinguishing 
a ccenogenetic stage in development, which he regarded as having no 
recapitulatory and therefore no phylogenetic significance. Just as with his 
principle of recapitulation the advance in knowledge has entailed modifica- 
tion, so is it also with the principle of coenogenesis, but to a much greater 
degree. It may be noted in passing that in the ccenogenetic stage the 
resemblance of the young to those of preceding generations is not wiped 
out, but the new characters are superposed upon a combination of ancient 
or primitive (palaeomorphic) characters, built up during the evolution of 
the young themselves. 

Garstang seems to have objected to the term ' coenogenesis ' because 
it implied that these larval characters exerted no influence upon the sub- 
sequent growth stages in either development or evolution. Nevertheless 
some ccenogenetic characters and the evolutionary changes they undergo 
are confined wholly to early development, and apparently exert no 
appreciable direct influence upon the later stages. This point was 
indeed stressed by Garstang himself for certain adaptations to motile 
life exhibited by larvae. Of these he says, ' the modification of the larva 
in this way need not affect the organisation of the adult.' 

Fossil examples are perhaps less easily demonstrated. One clear 
case, however, may be quoted from among the ammonoids in which 
the protoconch undergoes evolutionary change. Those changes which 
find systematic expression in the terms ' assellate,' ' latisellate ' and 
' angustisellate ' do not appear to have influenced the later developmental 
and evolutionary changes in any way. Considerable differences are 
recognisable between the protaspids of various trilobites and the proto- 
conchs of gastropods. They also appear to have no effect upon the 
subsequent development of these organisms. 

Some ccenogenetic characters may possibly have exerted a radical 
influence upon subsequent growth and evolution, though they themselves 


have undergone no change since their first appearance. An outstand- 
ing example of this has been claimed by Garstang (1928) from among 
the gastropods. In some of these, whilst the organism is still embryonic, 
the visceral hump with its shell rotates rapidly in relation to the rest 
of the body through nearly 180° in only a few hours. Though, for the 
sake of discussion, I shall use Garstang's example I am not convinced 
that he is right in concluding that this phylogenetic twist arose primevally 
in the larval stage. The twist exhibited by the embryonic gastropod is 
not more striking than is the contortion experienced by the equally young 
starfish. Starting from a condition of attachment by the preoral lobe 
and an outward attitude of the mouth, this passed rapidly to one 
of free movement with the mouth facing downwards. Bather (1915) 
has shown that the fully grown edrioasteroid of early paleozoic times 
must have been equally at home in either position. The Edrioasteroidea 
therefore provided a stock through which such freely moving forms as 
starfish and sea urchins could have been derived from the more primitive 
attached ancestors. When one watches a gastropod, as it crawls along, 
rotating its visceral hump and shell from this position to that, he cannot 
deny to its primeval ancestors an equal flexibility, and to those that 
most frequently rotated the mouth of the mantle cavity into a forward 
position possibly a greater selective value. Thus with gastropods, as 
with edrioasteroids and their descendants, a bodily position which at first 
was assumed by adults as a temporary convenience may have become 
stabilised into a permanency. 

Consideration of some well-known facts among fossils brings to light 
other possible examples of the coenogenetic origin of new characters 
which have influenced subsequent histor}'. Thus in the oysters and in 
forms derived from them the process of cementation of the shell to other 
objects is confined to early life. It must, in all probability, have 
originated at about the close of the embryonic phase and remained with 
varying degrees of persistence into early stages of the neanic phase, but 
rarely if ever into later life. Here as with the torsion of the visceral hump 
of the gastropod the change was coenogenetic, but it has brought in its 
train, or opened the way for, series of other changes such as the marked 
variability of form in the oysters and various degrees of coiling in Gryphcea 
and Exogyra. Nevertheless, even in such an advanced form as Gryphcea 
incurva this attached stage is preceded in development by the prodisso- 
conch which exhibits primitive or palaeomorphic characters. These 
observations appear to be equally applicable to other organisms which 
have become attached by other means such as a byssus or by spines. In 
each case the character that has been introduced coenogenetically does 
not displace but plays its part along with those which belong to the 
ancient category. 

Proterogenesis {the extension of nezv characters from early to late 
stages of development): 

The coenogenetically introduced characters discussed above are either 
confined to the early stages of development or, if they last into adult life, 


do not undergo further expression or change. In the case now to be 
considered they extend gradually into later stages. Recently Schindewolf 
in Germany and Spath in England have done good service by emphasising 
the existence of palaeontological evidence for characters appearing coeno- 
genetically and extending, in subsequent generations, through later stages 
into the adult. In 1925 Schindewolf proposed the term ' proterogenesis ' 
for this principle of ontogenetic anticipation. In 1933 he wrote a fuller 
account of the principle and furnished a number of examples of his own 
as well as from other writers. 

The conception that the larval characters may exert an important 
influence upon adult organisation is not a new one. It is indeed familiar 
to biologists under the heading of paedomorphism. It was also dimly 
foreshadowed in the writings of much earlier workers. Thus for example 
Haeusler (1887), dealing with certain foraminifera of the family Miliolidce 
from the Lias of Banbury, showed that forms, now referred to the genera 
Nodobaciilaria, Ophthalmidium, Spirophthalmidium, form a series ranging 
from the condition in which the shell is straight, except for the be- 
ginnings of a coil at the embryonic end, to one in which the whole shell 
is coiled. He ventures to suggest that the first is the more primitive 
condition and that, during evolution, the process of coiling extended into 
later and yet later stages until it eventually dominated the whole shell. 
It should, however, be noted that he produced no evidence for the 
actual sequence in time of these members of this series, and it will be 
shown later that a quite different explanation is feasible. 

Schindewolf, in a treatise which deals with this subject at some length, 
assembles a variety of illustrative examples. They are a mixed lot and 
include some which do not really exemplify the principle he is discuss- 
ing, but, as will be shown later, belong to a quite different category. 
For the present our attention must be limited to genuine cases of pro- 
terogenesis (paedomorphism), that is, to cases in which new characters 
appear early in development and extend during evolution into later life. 

The simplest, clearest, and at the same time the most fully authenticated 
example which Schindewolf describes is yielded by fossils from the 
Ordovician rocks of the Scandinavian Baltic belonging to the nautiloid 
family of the Lituitid^. The central genus Lituites is characterised by 
the fact that while the major portion of the shell is straight, the early 
formed portion is coiled. On the basis of the principle of recapitula- 
tion it has usually been assumed that Lituites was the retrogressive 
descendant of a completely coiled ancestor. Schindewolf, however, 
describes a series of forms (Fig. 3) which commences in the Vaginaten 
Kalk with the genus Rhynchorthoceras in which the shell is wholly straight 
or only slightly curved. This is followed in the Platyurus Kalk by a 
variety of forms, including Lituites itself, which exhibit various degrees 
of coiling. The series ends in the Chiron Kalk in Cyclolituites in which 
the shell is almost completely coiled. 

Other examples quoted by Schindewolf are far from being convincing. 
Reference to a paper on certain foraminifera by Rhumbler (1897) from 
which he culls several cases reveals a flimsiness of stratigraphical evidence 
which rules them out of court for any serious discussion of the problem. 



Indeed, Rhumbler in summing up his own conclusions says, ' We see 
therefore that the adult stage is just as good for generating new structures 
as is the embryonal end of the shell.' This can hardly be regarded as 
giving strong support to the principle of protcrogenesis. 

I do not propose to discuss his references to evidence drawn from 
human development, for we cannot hope to understand the principles 
which govern the development of such highly complex organisms as 
man until we have straightened out some of the tangle in which our 
ideas of the development and evolution of simpler forms have become 





Ancistroceras. Lituites. 



Fig. 3. — Diagram showing the distribution in time and the development of some 
representatives of the nautUoid family Litnitdce. (Modified from Schindewolf .) 

From time to time over a period of years Spath has made references 
to examples illustrative of the principle under discussion. They have, 
however, usually been buried in a mass of systematic detail that has made 
it difficult for others to extract who have not his unrivalled knowledge of 
a great multitude of ammonites. For this reason we look forward to 
the publication of his Catalogue of the Liparoceratidce in which he 
has incorporated his evidence and views in a more accessible form. 
Meanwhile he has indicated the lines of his evidence in a recent paper 
(1936) and has done me the great kindness of giving me a personal 
demonstration with the help of a typical suite of specimens, and thus 
enabled me to give the following brief summary. 

Dr. Spath claims that the various members of this family arose out 
of a stable stock of forms referable to the genus Liparoceras, which ranges 


from the upper part of the Jamesoni zone of the Lower Lias up into the 
Margaritatus zone of the Middle Lias. These are characterised by 
shells that are closely coiled and are very inflated. Associated with these 
are a number of variations which are less closely coiled and not quite so 
inflated. In the Ibex zone and the lower part of the Davcei zone occur 
forms, of the genus Androgynoceras, in which the inner whorls are not 
inflated, and are ornamented with stout ribs, and possess that cluster of 
features which characterises the Capricorn ammonite. The outer whorls 
of these, however, revert to the condition seen in Liparoceras. In the 
upper part of the Davcei zone forms occur in which the Capricorn 
condition extends into the adult stage to the complete exclusion of the 
Liparoceras combination of characters from the life-history. It seems, 
therefore, that the Capricorn condition enters the stock as a set of new 
characters in the early neanic stage of development of the early genera- 
tions and proceeds during evolution through late neanic stages to the 
adult in subsequent generations. Other features, such as the forward 
bend of the ribs on the venter, so characteristic of Otstoceras, and the 
deep lateral lobe in the suture line of Becheiceras, he assures me likewise 
put in their first appearance in early development and subsequently invade 
the later growth stages of succeding generations. 

It may be noticed that the extension of the new features into later 
developmental stages is accompanied by a corresponding delay in the 
time of appearance of the older features. This latter phenomenon was 
also observed by Buckman, who proposed for it the descriptive term 
' Bradypalingenesis ' (1920). So near was he, and yet so far away from 
realising that some principle other than recapitulation was at work in 
development and evolution. 

Deuterogenesis and Tachygenesis {the appearance of new characters at the 
latest stage in development and their extension to earlier stages). 

Looking at the facts of recapitulation from the prospective point of 
view it will be realised that new trends of change, exhibited by the various 
gentes discussed in the former part of this address, show themselves for 
the first time in an incipient form in the adults of earlier species, and 
become increasingly emphasised in the adults of subsequent generations. 
Meanwhile the incipient phase passes by an acceleration of develop- 
mental processes (tachygenesis) into the early life of these generations. 
In other words, new characters, or rather trends of change, may enter 
the stock in the later stages of development, and the changes passed 
through in development in later generations go beyond and overlap those 
seen in the earlier. This mode of entry of new characters may be 
described as deuterogenesis in contradistinction to coenogenesis. 

There is no need to describe specific examples of deuterogenesis in 
detail, since every case of recapitulation looked at prospectively provides 
all that is required. Thus in the gens Z. delanouei, etc., the shortening of 
the cardinal septum starts in the adult of Z.parallela, and the shortening 
of all the septa starts in the adult of early forms of Z. disjuncta. Similarly 


the coiling manifested in late forms of the gens Grypheea incurva were 
anticipated in late stages of growth in the earlier forms. 

' Mutation.' 

Fenton in the work already mentioned describes a very large number 
of new species, sub-species and ' forms,' and provides numerous diagrams 
and tables which show their morphological relationships, their times of 
appearance and their ranges in time. An inspection of these reveals the 
fact that, whilst in some groups the new types appear in sequence at 
relatively wide intervals of time, in others they come on rapidly, and in 
yet others they appear almost if not quite simultaneously. In this last 
case he suggests that they may have arisen by ' mutation ' in the De 
Vriesian sense. He finds difficulty, however, in definitely asserting this 
to be the case because the group of new types may be arranged in a 
continuous evolutionary series. Personally I feel no difficulty in believing 
in the simultaneous appearance, in a large population, of types which 
fit into a series, for such could be regarded as one more phase or degree 

a b. c. d. e f 

Fig. 4. — Diagram showing a series of clymenid ammonoids. a-c, Kampto- 
clymenia. d, Triaclymenia. e, f, Parawocklumeria. (From Schindewolf .) 

of rapidity in production. There are not wanting facts which indicate 
that this simultaneous or sub-simultaneous appearance may be more 
common than is generally realised. Several examples may now be 

Among the examples quoted by Schindewolf in support of the principle 
of proterogenesis is one drawn from the cephalopod family the Clymenidee, 
which lived during the Devonian period. It consists of a number of 
genera and species in which, at one end of the series, the shell has the 
normal type of spiral coil (Fig. 4) with an almost circular outline through- 
out development. In the next member of the series the innermost 
portion of the spiral has a triangular outline. In other members of the 
series the latter form of outline finds every degree of expression up to 
one in which it prevails at all stages of growth, including the adult. The 
series as it stands may be quoted in support of either the proterogenetic 
or the tachygenetic view, according to which end of the series is taken as 
the starting point. Schindewolf adopts the former. It is natural to 
look to stratigraphical evidence as the adjudicator between the two, but 
according to Schindewolf's account, all these grades appear simultaneously 
in the lowest stratum ; and the simpler forms, that is to say those in 
which the triangular outline is exhibited only in the innermost whorls, 
are progressively eliminated until in the uppermost strata only those 


remain in which all coils are affected. It may, of course, be said that 
more careful collecting from the lowest strata may show that these grades 
do actually follow one another in time ; but taking the evidence at its 
present face value it points to the simultaneous appearance of all grades 
of the series, and suggests that the process at work is neither tachygenesis 
nor proterogenesis but simultaneous mutation in the biological sense of 
the term, and that the close resemblance to progressive evolution with 
the passage of time is not due to evolution but to elimination. 

The conclusion thus suggested is so startling that the question naturally 
arises as to whether any parallel to it is furnished by other groups of 
fossils. For an answer it is unnecessary to seek further than Schindewolf 's 
own examples. Among these is one, which has already been mentioned, 
from among the foraminifera in the family Miliolides, which bear a 
striking resemblance in form to the cephalopod family Lituitidce. Haeusler, 
who is Schindewolf's authority for this example, tells us that the material 
he describes came from the Lias of Banbury and was supplied to him by 
Mr. Walford. The writings of the latter (1879) show that he collected 
the material from a layer of blue clay only three feet thick at the base of 
the Upper Lias. 

In this connection it is interesting to note that Rhumbler in dealing 
with Bigenerina and Textularia, which are also quoted by Schindewolf in 
support of the principle of proterogenesis, says that the change from 
biserial to uniserial is so quick that the two forms occur side by side in 
the same geological layer. In view of this it is just as reasonable to 
regard this as a case of simultaneous mutation as of proterogenesis. 

In dealing with the Ostrea irregulare-Gryphcea incurva series attention 
has already been drawn to the coenogenetic mode of appearance of the 
habit of attachment. It may be noted here that the area of attachment 
already exhibits a very wide range of extent in this very early liassic 
species. Within the genus Ostrea this wide range remains quite constant 
even to-day, but in Gryphcea this is not the case. Hitherto it has usually 
been thought that in the evolution of the more fully coiled species the 
area undergoes a progressive reduction in extent. This is not, however, 
quite the correct way of stating the facts, for every grade of size already 
existed in the O. irregulare stock. What really takes place is not a pro- 
gressive reduction of area but a progressive elimination of larger areas, 
leading to an increasing preponderance of small areas. This process of 
elimination was certainly a vastly slower process than the original pro- 
duction of the wide range of variation in size. So far as our knowledge 
goes at present it seems as though this wide range was the result of some- 
thing akin to an explosion of mutations. 

Among ammonites reference may be made to the subcraspedites fauna 
of the basement beds of the Spilsby Sandstone. Here side by side in the 
same layer, which is only several inches thick, occur a series of forms 
ranging from S. prtmitivus, in which the whole shell possesses a fine 
ornamentation, to S. cristatus, in which very coarse ribbing is dominant. 

It will no doubt be said that the deposits containing these very varied 
forms are highly condensed, and that future work will prove that the 
several varieties follow one another in a definite order of time. Meanwhile 


the condition of preservation of the specimens in the actual deposits 
proves that the individuals v^rhose remains have been found were practically 
contemporaneous with one another. 

In conclusion it may be said that, though the case for such an explosion 
of serial mutants cannot be regarded as established, there is sufficient 
evidence to warrant us in taking the suggestion seriously. Should its 
occurrence be established it would provide a marked contrast to the 
type of mutation made familiar by experimental work. The contrast 
should probably be regarded as due to differences in method of study 
and of material. The experimenter breeds with isolated and controlled 
pairs, whilst nature breeds in a large freely mixing population with pairs 
drawn together by instincts which for the time being are beyond the 
experimenter's ken and across which his methods may be cutting. Made 
matches do not necessarily yield the same results as love matches. 

The Inter-relationship of Processes. 

While, for the sake of clearness, the several processes concerned in the 
survival during development of old characters and in the arrival of new 
ones have been considered separately, this is not the mode of their occur- 
rence in Nature. Here the processes may manifest themselves side by 
side or in sequence in the same series of organisms or different processes 
may be dominant in closely allied forms. 

Inasmuch as the particular individual that is being studied is the last 
of an almost infinitely long series of individuals each of which started life 
as a single cell, it seems inevitable that there should be some similarity 
between them in the succession of stages passed through in development 
and attained in evolution. This similarity is proportional to the proximity 
of the ancestor to the individual that is being studied. The facts put 
forward in the earlier pages lend strong support to this point of view and 
emphasise the importance of recognising this similarity, which is indeed 
the basis of all theories of recapitulation, as the background of all the 
other processes we have been considering. These processes do but render 
some portion more hazy and others they hide from view. 

On to this background of survivals from the past are superposed all 
new characters. These, generally speaking, belong to one or other of 
two categories, viz. : 

(a) Unit characters or biocharacters — features which appear fully ex- 
pressed from the outset and undergo no subsequent change, e.g. 
torsion in gastropods, areas of attachment in lamellibranchs. 

(6) Trend characters or bioseries — features which at the time of appear- 
ance are almost imperceptible but which in subsequent development 
and evolution become progressively more fully expressed, e.g. 
length of septa in corals, coiling in Gryphcsa. 

Unit characters may appear coenogenetically, that is to say, at some 
early stage in development. Their appearance may open the way to 
other changes of a serial quality. Thus, for example, the twisting of the 
visceral hump in gastropods was followed by the progressive reduction. 


of the gill and other structures on the morphological left side of the 
mantle cavity, and by a tightening up of the twist in some parts of the 
nervous system which is the despair of the student who is dissecting his 
first gastropod types. Though these changes cannot be followed in 
fossils, they are indirectly reflected by certain features in the shell such 
as the slits and siphons of the mouth margin, or they are associated with 
types of shell such as those of Pleurotomaria, Littorina, Cerithium, and 
thus throw some sidelights upon the geological history of these anatomical 
changes. Hitherto no cases of unit characters appearing deuterogeneti- 
cally have been detected. 

Trend characters, on the other hand, arise either coenogenetically or 
deuterogenetically and proceed proterogenetically or tachygenetically 
towards later or earlier stages in life-history respectively in successive 
generations. In both cases the advancement of the trend is accompanied 
by a displacement of homologous characters — -that is to say, characters 
situated in or on homologous parts. In the former case displacement is 
towards late life and culminates in the disappearance of the older characters 
at the end of life. In the latter displacement is towards early life and 
ends, usually at the junction of the embryonic and neanic phases, in the 
elimination of these characters. This phenomenon has long been known 
as lipopalingenesis. 

A priori there seems to be no reason why both types of development 
should not proceed simultaneously in a series of solitary organisms for 
different sets of characters, but hitherto I have failed to detect any 
examples of this. That they may occur in sequence or simultaneously in 
closely allied organisms is well illustrated by the history of certain colonial 
forms, more especially the graptolites. As long ago as 1923 Miss EUes 
in her illuminating presidential address to this Section drew attention to 
a manifestation of the phenomenon now referred to under the heading 
proterogenesis. Speaking more specifically of thecae she says, ' it may 
be noted at this point that all progressive development (anagenesis) 
occurs at the proximal and, therefore, youthful region of the rhabdosoma.' 
But, she goes on to observe, ' when retrogression (catagenesis) occurs it 
is in this same proximal region that the signs of former elaboration are 
retained.' In other words, the retrogressive changes proceed according 
to recapitulatory principles. 

Miss EUes's statements have been recently amplified and fully illustrated 
in a paper by Bulman in which he gives a useful and suggestive summary 
of the present state of knowledge of the evolution of graptolites. Only 
two examples, selected from his account, may be mentioned here. The 
first is a progressive series, viz. Monograptus raitzhainensis-Rastrites 
maximus. Here the thecae, that are tubular and distinctly separated from 
one another, appear for the first time at the proximal end of the stipe of 
the early member of the series. In later representatives the thecae of 
this type extend progressively along the whole length of the stipe and 
thus clearly exemplify the principle of proterogenesis. Nevertheless it 
should be noted that the degree of elongation of the thecae increases " 
towards the distal end and that the degree thus attained in early types 
passes backwards towards the proximal end in later types. In this stock 


then proterogenesis of one feature and tachygenesis of another are pro- 
ceeding simultaneously in one and the same series of organisms. 

A second series, viz. Rastrites peregrinus-Monograptus urceolus, is 
retrogressive and illustrates the second half of Miss EUes's statement. 
In it the primitive closely approximated triangular type of thecas re- 
appear deuterogenetically at the distal end of the stipe, and in later 
members of the series they extend tachygenetically to early and yet earlier 
stages of the development of these. In association with this the less 
primitive tubular and isolated thecae are gradually eliminated until only 
four or five are to be found at the proximal end. 

Though in these two examples proterogenesis and tachygenesis happen 
to coincide with changes hitherto described as anagenetic and catagenetic 
it must not be supposed that these are synonymous terms, for in other 
cases the coincidence is reversed. Thus, for example, in the Liparo- 
ceratidce the passage from the inflated whorls of Liparoceras to the much 
thinner whorls of the ' Capricorn ' would usually be regarded as an 
example of catagenesis, nevertheless the origin and extension of the 
Capricorn condition provides, as we have already seen, a typical example 
of coenogenesis and proterogenesis. It is difficult to refrain from ex- 
pressing the hope that Spath will now work out for us the other half of 
his story, to wit, the origin of Liparoceras itself. I am inclined to suspect 
that will it provide us with a good example of deuterogenesis and tachy- 
genesis. But when we begin to hope, to suspect, and to prophesy, it is 
a sign that the springs of knowledge are drying up and that it is time to 
cease talking. 


Bather, F. A. 1915 Geol. Mag., 393-403. 

Beer, G. R. de. 1930 Embryology and Evolution, Oxford. 

Bisat, W. S. 1924 Proc. Yorks. G. S., 20, 75, pi- xi. 

Buckman, S. S. 1920 Type Ammonites, 3, n- 

Bulman, O. M. B. 1933 Biol. Rev., 8, 311. 

Butler, A. J. 1935 Geol. Mag., 120. 

Carruthers, R. G. 1906 Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., 356. 

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Fenton, C. L. 1931 Public. Wagner Free Institute, 64. 
Garstang, W. 1921 Journ. Linn. Soc. (Zool.), 35, 84, 98, 99. 

1928 Brit. Assoc. Rep., Address, Section D, 84. 

1929 Quart. Journ. Micro. Sci., 72, 62. 

George, T. N. 1933 Biol. Rev., 8. 

Haeckel, E. 1866 Generelle Morphologie der Organismen, Berlin, 7^ 9. 

Haeusler, R. 1887 Neues Jb. Mineral., 190-194. 

Hurst, C. C. 1893 Nat. Sci., 2, 193. 

Jackson, R. T. 1892 Mem. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., 5. 

Lang, W. D. 1907 Geol. Mag., 22, 23. 

192 1 Catalogue of Cretaceous Bryozoa, Brit. Mms., xxi. 

Lillie, F. R. 1930 The Development of the Chick, liew York, 6. 

MacBride, E. W., and Spencer, W. K. 1938 Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. B., 229, m. 
Morgan, T. H. 1925 Evof.ution and Genetics, 27, 28. 
R,^w, F. 1927 Am. Journ. Sci., 34, 141, 148, 


Rhumbler, L. 1897 Verh. deutsch. Zool. Ges., 179. 
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- — ■ ■ 1936 Palaontologie, Entwickelungslehreund Genetik.'Beihn. 

Smith, Burnett. 1906 Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phil., 52-76. 
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■ • 1933b Pal. Ind., 702. 

1936 Q.J.G.S., 92, 445-452. 

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In my title to this address I have used the term Oceanography, and I 
should like at the outset to enter a protest against the use of this word in a 
narrow and restricted sense, as a synonym of hydrography or the physics 
and chemistry of sea water. I must maintain that Oceanography is a com- 
prehensive term, equivalent to the science of the sea. It includes within 
its scope not only physico-chemical work, coastal surveys, soundings and 
studies of tides and currents, which may collectively be referred to as 
hydrography, but marine zoology and botany as well, together with some 
parts of geology and even of meteorology. It is in this broad sense that 
the word is understood on the Continent. 

The great advances which have been made in the study of oceanography 
may perhaps be said to have begun about seventy years ago, when the 
first marine biological station was established at Naples, when Maury was 
studying winds and oceanic currents, and when zoologists had just become 
aware of the new and unexplored realm of nature which exists in the 
depths of the sea. Before many years had passed H.M.S. Challenger 
made her celebrated voyage, and since then numerous expeditions have 
added to the wealth of our knowledge. Some of them, following the 
example of the Challenger, had zoological research as their main objective, 
but almost all of them made valuable contributions to our knowledge of 
the hydrography of the areas they explored, while, in recent times in 
particular, many research vessels have concerned themselves exclusively 
with this branch of oceanography. Notable results have also been 
obtained by ships with other primary objects : we owe, for instance, the 
greater part of our comprehensive knowledge of the Antarctic fauna to 
expeditions whose principal aim was geographical exploration. 

The great marine expeditions have given us much knowledge that could 
not have been obtained in any other way ; it is to them that we owe our 
acquaintance with the oceanic and abyssal faunas and a very great deal 
of information on the currents and other hydrographical features of the 
ocean basins. For such work there is still a vast scope, many areas which 
would richly repay investigation by modern methods and many which 


are still unexplored. But oceanographic expeditions have their limitations, 
for as a rule they are only able to remain for brief periods in any one 
locality ; in consequence they have seldom been able to obtain data on 
seasonal changes or fluctuations in hydrography, they cannot make any 
but the briefest observations on living animals and they cannot follow 
their life-histories. At marine stations, though only limited areas can be 
dealt with, these and many other studies can be carried out, and such 
work thus forms the counterpart to that of the expeditions. Once the 
success of Dohrn's station at Naples was perceived other similar marine 
biological laboratories were founded and in more recent times several 
institutions have been established which confine themselves to the study 
of hydrography. In Europe and in North America, though there is still 
ample room for expansion, we may consider ourselves well supplied, at 
least so far as biological stations are concerned, but in other parts of the 
world the facilities are for the most part quite inadequate. In many 
biological studies we are now reaching a point where observations on 
other faunas are essential to further progress, and a well-equipped tropical 
station in one of the richest areas of the Indo-Pacific region is rapidly 
becoming an urgent necessity. 

There is, in this very brief outline, another and more recent develop- 
ment to be recorded. In 1895, when Sir William Herdman presided over 
this section at Cardiff^, he spoke of the results of the Challenger expedition 
and urged that in the interests of the national fisheries an expedition 
should be fitted out, to last two years, to make a systematic exploration of 
the waters surrounding the British Isles. He evidently realised what is 
sufficiently obvious to us to-day, that expeditions of brief duration cannot 
supply all that we require and that for the study of the life history of almost 
any marine animal at least a whole year is needed. Matters did not take 
exactly the turn that Sir William Herdman advocated, the two-year pro- 
gramme was never undertaken ; but a better course was adopted in the 
creation of state fishery laboratories, most of them with their own research 
ships. Though the activities of these departments are naturally restricted 
to economic problems they have contributed most handsomely to the 
study of oceanography. To marine zoology in particular they have 
brought great benefit, for by their intensive studies they have given us 
complete, or almost complete, accounts of the natural history of a number 
of fish, with detailed information far beyond what we possess for any other 
marine organism. To acquire this knowledge, which is clearly necessary 
for the scientific study of fishery problems, is a long and arduous task and 
as yet it is by no means finished. We are not yet able, and may never be 
able to make two fishes grow where one grew before ; but the application 
of scientific methods is showing the way in which stocks of fish can be 
utilised to best advantage, and the success of fishery prediction must have 
struck even the most casual observer. It is not too much to say that the 
fundamental knowledge by which the major problem of the conservation 
of the stock can be solved has already been obtained, and this is a matter 
of vital importance to the fishing industry. 

The rapid progress which has been made in oceanography is thus, in 
my estimation, due to these three agencies : to the expeditions, the marine 
stations and the fishery departments. The expeditions can reach areas 


which cannot be touched in any other way, while the marine stations and 
fishery departments have the great advantage of continuous observation. 
The only oceanic region in which continuous observation has been 
attempted is the Antarctic where the ships of the Discovery Committee 
have been working for the past thirteen years. Such work has proved 
to be highly remunerative in results and similar regular long-term investi- 
gations, designed to elucidate problems connected with the Gulf Stream, 
are now beginning in the western North Atlantic. 

If I were asked to specify those branches of marine biology in which 
we have recently made the greatest progress I should say physiology and 
natural history. Very wonderful advances are being made in our under- 
standing of function in marine animals, and this is due to the great volume 
of important work achieved by those whom I may call the zoological 
physiologists. Their researches are throwing a flood of light on many 
difficult problems, and if I do not discuss their work in detail to-day it is 
not that I do not recognise its significance and value, but rather that I feel 
incompetent to do it adequate justice. 

In natural history we have made great strides. Work in this branch of 
biology has, I believe, been stimulated by the fishery departments, for 
when the importance and interest of the intensive study of individual 
species of fish was recognised, zoologists became anxious to apply the 
same methods to other marine animals. Though the need for correct 
identification will always remain fundamental, the days when the zoologist 
felt that his work was ended with a systematic diagnosis and the writing 
of a label have long since passed, and in recent times most excellent work 
has been done on the life-histories of marine animals and on their relations 
to their organic and physical environment. In all groups of organisms 
from diatoms to whales progress has been made, and for a goodly number 
of species we can now answer the simple questions that spring to the lips 
of every visitor to an aquarium : ' What does it eat ? ' ' How does it 
breed ? ' ' How long does it live ? ' 

A most important feature of animal life in the sea is the constant 
occurrence of large variations in abundance, and these, though they may 
not be greater, appear to be more general in their incidence than in land 
animals. We owe this knowledge mainly to the exact work carried out 
by the fishery departments, but though it is of fish that we have the best 
data there is no reasonable doubt that marine invertebrates are affected in 
the same way. 

Annual fluctuations in the abundance of a fish may be very great. One 
year may be exceptionally favourable, with production far above normal, 
to be followed perhaps by several years of scarcity ; and it is not uncommon 
to find that fish belonging to one year class are fifty times as numerous 
as those of another. These great fluctuations, which are the foundation 
on which fishery prediction is based, are for the most part to be attributed 
to events which happened in the early months of the fish's life ; and when 
we consider the manifold perils, meteorological, physico-chemical and 
biological, to which the eggs and larvae of a marine animal are subject, 
it is little wonder that there may be such great differences from one year 
to another, nor is it a matter for surprise that the precise reasons for good 
and bad spawning seasons are as yet unknown. 


Some very valuable information on fluctuations in year classes of fish 
has recently been collected by the International Council for the Exploration 
of the Sea.^ The object of the Council was to summarise data on good 
and bad survival years in some of the principal food fishes, and the reports 
from the specialists who were appointed to undertake the work are of 
particular interest. For some fish the available information was found 
insufficient ; but for cod, haddock, herring and plaice the data are adequate, 
at least for some areas. The results show that in different parts of the 
north-east Atlantic there are with rare exceptions no coincidences in 
good or bad spawning seasons, even if one species only is considered, and 
the evidence thus is that the fluctuations which are observed are regional 
in their incidence. 

There is, I believe, good reason to hope that with improved knowledge 
of the spawning areas and more exact information on the environmental 
factors during the critical period the causes of these annual fluctuations 
will in due course be discovered. 

But, of recent years, it has become apparent that in addition to the 
annual fluctuations there are other over-riding influences at work, which 
not only affect the abundance of marine animals, but may bring about 
great changes in their distribution. Since I have been at Plymouth I 
have been impressed with the very marked changes that have taken place 
in the western half of the Channel during the past seven or eight years, 
and the evidence points to the existence of long-period fluctuations which 
are superposed upon the normal annual fluctuations. 

For the past thirteen years Mr. F. S. Russell ^ has been studying the 
young fish taken in the plankton at Plymouth and has made regular col- 
lections by standard methods in the neighbourhood of the Eddystone. 
His observations thus give a picture of what is happening on the offshore 
grounds in this area. He finds that from 1931 onwards there has been an 
alarming decrease in the abundance of larval fish. At first this decrease 
occurred in the comparatively small number of summer spawning fish ; 
but it has now extended to the spring spawning fish also (see Table H, 
p. 91). If we compare the average numbers for the four-year period 
1934-37, with those for the same period ten years ago, 1924-27, we find 
that the larvae of summer spawning fish have now been reduced to little 
more than one-fifth of their former abundance, while the numbers of the 
young of spring spawning fish have dropped to one-third. It is par- 
ticularly to be noted that all species of fish are similarly affected, and bear- 
ing in mind the evidence I have already mentioned on good and bad 
survival years, this fact alone is sufficient to show that the decrease is not 
due to a chance coincidence in annual fluctuations. 

This change which has come about in recent years is not shown only 
in larval fish ; it is unfortunately apparent also in the Plymouth herring 
fishery, which has declined to such an extent that it is now virtually non- 

^ ' Comparative Studies of the Fluctuations in the Stocks of Fish in the seas 
of North and West Europe.' Conseil Internal, four I'Explor. de la Mer. Rapp. 
et Proc.-Verb. des Riunions, CI, part 3, 1936. 

^ F. S. Russell, ' The Seasonal Abundance of the Pelagic Young of Teleostean 
Fishes in the Plymouth Area,' Parts I-V, Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc. XVI, 
p. 707 ; XX, p. 147 ; XX, p. 595 ; XXI, p. 679 ; XXII, p. 493 (1930, '35- '36, 
'37. '38). 



existent. Mr. Ford, who has made a close study of this fishery since 1924, 
has kindly supplied me with the figures shown in Table I. This Table 
gives the returns of the fleet of steam drifters from Lowestoft which 
annually visit Plymouth in the winter, together with Mr. Ford's observa- 
tions on the composition of the catch. 

As with herring fisheries elsewhere, it will be seen that the catch, which 
is best indicated by the average weight per steamer landing, has shown 
marked fluctuations — the seasons 1924-25, 1927-28, and 1929-30 were 
much above the average. These, however, are normal annual fluctuations 
and they are due, as Mr. Ford has shown,^ to the great abundance of 
five-year old fish : there were specially successful spawning seasons in 
1920, 1923 and 1925. 

Table L — The Plymouth Herring Fishery, 1924/5 — 1937/8 

Percentage composition 


of catch by age* 


landed cwt. 

Number of 

weight per 

(Dec .-J an.) 


6 years 
and under 

Over 6 











82 18 





66 , 34 





83 17 





81 19 





71 29 





72 i 28 

193 1-2 








































The significant point in this Table is, however, the marked change in the 
composition of the catch which began in 1931-32 — that is to say in the 
winter of the year in which the summer spawning fish larvae showed their 
first signs of decline. Prior to 1931-32 the younger herring, not more 
than six years old, always formed at least two-thirds of the catch. In 
that season the younger fish were only 52 per cent, of the total and from 
then on there has been a rapid deterioration, until to-day there are less than 
20 per cent, of the younger and more than 80 per cent, of the older. 

' E. Ford, ' An Account of the Herring Investigations conducted at Plymouth 
during the years from 1924 to 1933,' Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc, XIX, p. 373 


* Data obtained by E. Ford. 


This change in the constitution of the herring shoals was not immediately 
reflected in the size of the catches, which for some years were maintained 
at a good level by the considerable stocks of older fish. But as these 
passed out they were not replaced by any adequate numbers of the younger 
year classes and in recent years the fishery has been profoundly affected. 
Formerly the number of Lowestoft drifters which visited Plymouth for 
the herring season rarely fell below 75 and was sometimes well over 100 ; 
during the past season only one came. And in similar fashion the weight 
of fish landed has fallen from a figure which sometimes reached 80,000 cwt. 
to one of under 30 cwt. 

It is interesting and perhaps significant to note that as Mr. G. P. Farran 
has shown ^ the stock of herring on the north coast of Donegal has shown 
a pronounced decline in recent years. The decline began in 1930, some 
eighteen months before the change in the constitution of the Plymouth 
shoals was first seen, and the industry based on this fishery has suffered 
greatly. Conditions at Plymouth and on the Donegal coast are not 
identical, for the successful spawning seasons in the latter area were 1920, 
1924 and 1925, whereas at Plymouth they were in 1920, 1923 and 1925. 
The annual fluctuations have thus not operated in exactly the same way. 
Mr. Farran tells me, however, that the shortage of herring in recent years 
has been accompanied, just as at Plymouth, by a great reduction in the 
numbers of the earlier year classes, and it is thus possible that the same 
long period fluctuation is affecting both areas. 

Since 1931, when the depression in the Plymouth area began, there 
has been a marked change in the amount of phosphate in the offshore 
waters. Records made by Dr. W. R. G. Atkins and Dr. L. H. N. Cooper 
show that the phosphate is at its maximum in the winter, in December 
and January, and since the phytoplankton crop is limited by the amount 
of phosphate in the water, the winter records give a good indication of 
the quantity of food which will be available for fish larvae. The records 
show a heavy decrease in phosphate beginning in 1931, and, as seen in 
Table II, there is an evident relation between the amount of phosphate 
and the abundance six months later of the larvae of summer spawning 
fish. If the average phosphate values for the two four-year periods 
1924-27 and 1934-37 are compared we find that the decrease has been 
about 35 per cent. The fact that the larvae of summer spawning fish were 
the first to feel the adverse conditions, and that those of the spring spawn- 
ing fish were not seriously affected until 1935, can in theory at least be 
explained in terms of nutrient salts ; a reduced crop of phytoplankton 
will mean a smaller supply of zooplankton, and this will mostly be con- 
sumed by the spring larvae, leaving little or none for those that come later 
in the year. 

The herring on which the Plymouth fishery depends are mature fish 
running up Channel to their breeding places on the Cornwall and Devon 
coasts. On this migration they are not feeding and, presumably, they 
are unaffected by plankton conditions. It is possible that the disastrous 
change which has occurred is due to a long series of unproductive spawning ' 
seasons caused by the abnormal conditions of the Channel water and lack 

' G. P. Farran, ' The Herring Fisheries off the north coast of Donegal,' Journ. 
Dept. Agriculture for Ireland, XXXIV, no. 2 (1937). 



of food for the larvae ; if that is so the herring has failed in exactly the 
same way as the other fish whose larvae Mr. Russell has studied. There 
are, however, reasons for believing that this may not be the correct explana- 
tion, for the herring spawn in winter and thus diflfer strikingly from the 
majority of fish we have been considering. They are evidently able to 
find sufficient food at a time when the plankton is at a minimum and they 
are not dependent on the rich zooplankton which follows the spring 
outburst of phytoplankton. It is perhaps more probable that the earlier 
year classes of herring have responded to the abnormal conditions in the 
Channel by forsaking their usual line of migration, and that they now go 
to other spawning grounds. 

Table II. 

in preceding 

Young Fish 
(less Clupeoids) ' 



winter • 

% deviation 



Total no.' 

S. elegans 

S. seiosa 

from mean 



-=- 1000 




> + 16 


> +27 


+ 27 




+ 9 




+ 36 




— 2 




+ 23 


+ 23 

















- 16 














- H 














- 16 







- 14 







- 16 

Renewal of the phosphate in the Channel appears to be largely depend- 
ent on an inflow of mixed Atlantic water, which is rich in phosphate 
because it contains water that has upwelled at the edge of the continental 

« For further particulars see L. H. N. Cooper : ' Phosphate in the EngHsh 
Channel, 1933-38, with a comparison with earlier years,' Journ. Marine Biol. 
Assoc, XXIII, 1938 (in press). 

' The numbers of young fish caught in half-hour oblique hauls of the standard 
2-metre net, expressed as the sums of the monthly average catches. Hauls were 
made weekly, so far as possible, the number varying from 42 to 52 per annum. 
[Data by F. S. Russell, published in part in Conseil Internal. Mer, Rapp. et Proc- 
Verb. des Riunions, C, part 3, p. 9 (1936)]. 

« The total number in the standard hauls referred to above. Data by F. S. 


shelf ; and from the evidence I have laid before you it seems probable 
that the normal water movements off the mouth of the Channel have 
undergone marked alteration in recent years. Direct proof of this is 
lacking, for we have no observations in the waters to the west of the 
Channel, but evidence of it is afforded by the very interesting discovery 
which Mr. Russell has made that certain planktonic species may be used 
as indicators of water-masses.^ A relation of this kind has been found 
in a number of plankton species, but it is here only necessary to refer to 
those belonging to the genus Sagitta, and these owing to their abundance 
are the most useful. 

Of the species of Sagitta, S. serratodentata is typical of the open Atlantic, 
S. elegans of the mixed Atlantic water and S. setosa of the Channel water. 
The first of these is only to be found on rare occasions off Plymouth when 
the inflow of Atlantic water is exceptional. 

The importance of the species of Sagitta as indicators of water move- 
ment was first recognised by Prof. Meek, but Mr. Russell's data from 
Plymouth only began in 1930, and the records are therefore not as com- 
plete as could be desired. It is, however, known that for some years 
prior to this date the offshore plankton in the neighbourhood of Plymouth 
was of the kind characteristic of the mixed Atlantic water : it was a very 
rich plankton with such forms as Meganyctiphanes and Aglantha. It was 
this type of plankton which was found in 1930, and in the regular series 
of tow-net hauls made in that year Mr. Russell found that there was 
94 % of S. elegans and only 6 % of S. setosa. In the following 
year, when the deficiency of phosphate and of summer spawning fish 
larvae first became manifest, there was, as will be seen from Table II, a 
conspicuous change in the Sagitta population : of S. elegans there was 
only 17 % while there was 83 % of S. setosa. Since then S. setosa 
has always greatly preponderated in the catches, with a percentage of 

93 or over, with the single exception of 1936, when there was 60 % of 
S. setosa and 40 % of S. elegans. There is no doubt there was a small 
incursion of mixed Atlantic water in the Channel in this year, but it 
was apparently insufficient to alter the trend of events. 

Attention may be drawn to the high sensitivity of this new method of 
distinguishing water-masses. Once the distinctions between the species 
of Sagitta have been mastered it is an easy method to handle, and it will 
no doubt be widely employed in the future. 

We thus have evidence from four separate sources of the changed 
conditions which have prevailed in the Channel since 1930-31. These 
sources are (i) the winter phosphate maximum ; (ii) the numbers of fish 
larvae ; (iii) the constitution of the spawning herring shoals ; and (iv) the 
predominance of one or other species of Sagittn. 

The picture, to my mind at least, is convincing : one gains the impres- 
sion that if only we had fuller knowledge corroborative data from many 
biological sources would be forthcoming. 

The view that the large alteration which has occurred is linked with 

' F. S. Russell, ' On the Value of certain Plankton Animals as Indicators of 
Water Movements in the English Channel and North Sea,' Journ. Marine Biol. 
Assoc, XX, p. 309 (1935) ; ' Observations on the Distribution of Plankton 
Animal Indicators ... in the Mouth of the English Channel, July, i935. 
ibid., XX, p. 507 (1936). 


hydrographical changes is corroborated from farther afield. Since 1926 
continuous records of the currents in the Straits of Dover have been made 
from the Varne Lightship with the Carruthers drift indicator. Water 
can enter the North Sea both from the English Channel and round the 
north of Scotland and Dr. Carruthers infers that these v^^ater-masses are 
opposed to one another and act in a sort of ' buffer relationship.' At the 
Varne Lightship the relative strengths of these two forces are indicated 
by a change in the direction of the current. Dr. Carruthers ^" has calcu- 
lated the direction of the residual current for each year since 1926 and the 
figures which he has given show that from 193 1 onwards this residual 
current has svioing towards the north and has considerably less of the 
easterly component which it possessed in the earlier years when high 
winter values for phosphate were observed at Plymouth. 

A point worthy of consideration is whether a similar series of adverse 
years has occurred in the past, but on this unfortunately we have no 
reliable data. The statistics of the herring industry are almost the only 
source open to us, for we have no regular observations on fish larvae 
prior to 1924, and it was not until five years later that the importance of 
Sagitta was recognised. But before the War, the herring industry was 
conducted on different lines, from sailing vessels, and we have figures 
only for the aggregate catch from which it is not possible to draw any 

In 1915 and 1916 Mr. D. J. Matthews first began the determination 
of phosphate in Channel water. His results, though not obtained by the 
methods now in use, have a high degree of accuracy, and they suggest 
that in those years there was a deficiency of phosphate comparable with 
that in recent times. Unfortunately the Plymouth herring fishery was 
greatly reduced during the period of the war and we have no reliable 
statistics for comparison. 

We may suppose that this long-period fluctuation at the mouth of the 
Channel will end in due course, but we have no means of knowing when 
this will happen. When the change comes it will be heralded, we believe, 
by the return of Sagitta elegans in large numbers, and by a marked increase 
in the winter phosphate maximum. The fisherman will presumably not 
find any immediate improvement in the bottom fish. As yet he has 
perhaps scarcely realised the full extent of the depression which started 
some years ago, and when there is a return to better conditions he must 
wait until the increased numbers of larvae grow to fish of marketable 
size. It is possible, however, that bottom-living fish have been migrating 
into the area and that he may thus in some measure escape the worst 
effects of the depression. If the younger herring have forsaken their 
spawning grounds and gone elsewhere, we may hope that they will at 
once return in force when conditions improve, and that the Plymouth 
fishery will rapidly be re-established. If, however, they have throughout 
held to their former migration routes, and the present dearth is due to 
lack of suitable conditions for the larvae, they are in the same position as 
the bottom fish and a number of years must elapse before the fishery can 
be resumed. 

" J.N. Carruthers, ' The Flow of Water through the Straits of Dover," Part II. 
Min. Agric. Fisheries, Fishery Invest., ser. ii, XIV, pp. 15, 64, Table VI (i935)- 


You will, I think, have noticed that in this outline of recent events I 
have made no reference to other hydrographical data, such as salinity 
and temperature, and I must needs do so now lest you suspect me of 
suppressing evidence which is not in accord with the story I have told 
you. For the plain fact is that the observations we have of salinity and 
temperature do not fit into the picture. 

For many years past Dr. H. W. Harvey has followed the temperature 
and salinity changes at the western end of the Channel, ^^ and during the 
period since 1924 he has found that the most conspicuous movements 
were large incursions of low salinity water in May 1928 and in March 
and April 1936, while in 1932, 1933 and 1934 (especially in 1933) patches 
of water with unusually high salinity moved eastwards up the Channel. 
So far as can be seen these movements show no correspondence with the 
marked biological changes which have occurred : it is in the phosphate 
data only that a correlation can be found. 

In the year 1921 there was an exceptional influx of Atlantic water, 
which filled the Channel ^^ and flooded into the North Sea. Salinity 
and temperature were much above normal and numbers of unusual 
planktonic organisms of Atlantic origin were found in the North Sea.^' 
Recent experience at Plymouth might lead one to think that such an 
influx as this would bring benefit to the herring fisheries, but actually 
it was just the reverse, for at Plymouth and in the North Sea, at Lowestoft, 
Yarmouth, Grimsby and North Shields, the herring fishery was much 
below normal.^* 

In recent years also a number of unusual planktonic forms have 
entered the Channel, brought apparently by incursions of low salinity 
water flowing round Ushant ; but these movements have had no effect 
on the depleted phosphate supply. 

It thus appears that incursions of Atlantic water into the Channel 
may bring advantage to the biology of the area or may be detrimental, 
that no obvious connection between the biological data and temperature 
and salinity is noticeable, and that so far as we can at present see the 
only correlation that can be established is with phosphate. The ex- 
planation lies, I believe, in our very considerable ignorance of the 
constitution and origin of the water-masses which from time to time 
enter the Channel. 

There is evidently more than one way in which an influx of Atlantic 
water may be advantageous. It may, in the first place, bring water with 
a high content of phosphate and other nutrient salts which will subse- 

11 H. W. Harvey, ' Hydrography of the Mouth of the EngUsh Channel, 1925-28 
and 1929-32,' Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc, XVI, p. 791 (1930) ; XIX, p. 737 


1* J. R. Lumby, ' The Sahnity and Temperature of the Southern North Sea 
and Enghsh Channel during the period 1920-21,' Publications de Circonstance, 
no. 80 (1923). 

1* A. C. Hardy, ' Notes on the Atlantic Plankton taken off the east coast of , 
England in 1921 and 1922,' ibid., no. 78 (1923). 

1* J. R. Lumby, ' Salinity and Water Movements in the English Channel 
during 1920-23,' Min. Agric. Fisheries, Fish. Invest., ser. 2, VII, no. 7, p. 18, 
fig. ix (1925). H. W. Harvey, ' Hydrography of the English Channel,' Conseil 
Internal. Rapp. et Proc.-Verb. des Riunions, XXXVII, Rapp. Atlantique, 1924, 
pp. 82-84 (1925). 


quently yield an abundant plankton. Or, secondly, though deficient in 
phosphate, it may bring in large quantities of phytoplankton or zoo- 
plankton, the product of a former richness in phosphate. This plankton 
will afford an immediate food-supply for larval fish and other animals, 
and when it dies down the phosphate will be regenerated and will serve 
for further plankton production in the future. 

It is thus what we may call the biological condition of the water that 
is of importance, and this no doubt is to some extent determined by the 
season of the year. At times, in summer, the surface water may be 
largely devoid of both plankton and phosphate and an influx of such 
water, even though its high salinity may indicate an oceanic origin, will 
bring no improvement to biological conditions and may indeed be harm- 
ful. In winter, when the thermocline has broken down and surface 
phosphate has been renewed by convection and by stormy weather, an 
influx may prove of advantage. But it is perhaps more probable that 
upwelled water, rich in the nutrient salts which are always to be found 
in the lower layers of the ocean, is the potent source of surface enrichment, 
and of the conditions in which such upwelling occurs we are very largely 
ignorant. We lack the necessary data and can merely speculate on what 
may be happening from analogy with what is known in other areas. 

Some twenty-five or thirty years ago Mr. D. J. Matthews ^^ published 
a series of papers on the physical conditions in the English Channel and 
adjacent waters, and to this day his work remains one of our principal 
and most valuable sources of information. He showed that to the south 
of Ireland there is an extensive cyclonic or counter-clockwise circulation, 
which may at times reach as far south as 48^° N., and nearly a quarter of 
a century ago he suggested that this circulation might prove of consider- 
able biological importance. * If the strength of the cyclonic system varies 
from year to year, so will the character of the water at any place within 
its influence, such as the areas of the drift-net fishing off the mouth of 
the English Channel and off the south coasts of Ireland.' There can 
scarcely be a doubt that the vagaries of this circulation have a profound 
effect on conditions in the Channel. If we possessed, as unfortunately 
we do not, a continuous series of observations on the oceanographic 
conditions to the south of Ireland and on the edge of the continental 
slope, the variations in this cyclonic system could be traced, and even 
though it might then appear that the ultimate causes of the present 
depression are linked with changes in the Atlantic circulation, and thus 
still out of reach, the information which would be gained would un- 
doubtedly throw new light on the problem. 

I have dwelt at some length on these events in the Plymouth area 
because they afford a good example of a long-period fluctuation and 
illustrate the way in which observations drawn from widely different 
lines of inquiry are linked together. From other sources also there is 

1' D. J. Matthews, ' Report on the Physical Conditions in the Enghsh Channel 
and adjacent Waters in 1903 : in 1904 and 1905 : in 1906,' Internal. Invest. Alar. 
Biol. Assoc, Rep. I, 1905 ; Rep. II, part ii, 1909 ; Rep. Ill, 1911. ' The Surface 
Waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, South of 60° N. Lat., Sept. 1904 to Dec. 
1905,' ibid., Rep. II, part i, 1907. ' The Salinity and Temperature of the Irish 
Channel and the waters South of Ireland,' Fisheries, Ireland, Sci. Invest., 1913, 
iv. 1914. 


good evidence of long-period fluctuations in fisheries, and though the 
hydrographical changes to which they may uhimately be traced are not, 
as it appears, the same as in the Channel, they show that major alterations 
extending over a long term of years are by no means unusual. 

In 1925 the Norwegians discovered great numbers of cod on the banks 
surrounding Bear Island, and ever since that year, except in 1929 when 
ice interfered with the operations, the fishery has been maintained, many 
trawlers visiting the banks annually to take toll of their wealth. Iverson,^® 
from whose paper my information on this fishery is derived, states that 
there was a former occasion when cod were plentiful in this area. That 
was from 1873 to 1882. Between 1883 and the time when the present 
fishery began the grounds were examined on a number of occasions, but 
very few cod were found and the results were unprofitable. It was so 
in 1924, the year which preceded the present period of abundance. 

Another instance is afforded by the cod fishery in West Greenland. 
At certain times large concentrations of cod appear on this coast and 
spread as far north as Disko Bay, affording a profitable fishery ; but after 
a term of years their numbers suddenly decline and a protracted period 
of scarcity follows. In 191 7 cod were found in West Greenland in great 
abundance and the fishery on this coast has been maintained up to the 
present day. Prior to that, as Jensen and Hansen show in their interest- 
ing historical account, ^^ the grounds were tested on a number of occasions 
without finding stocks of cod in marketable quantity ; but early records 
indicate that there were at least two periods, in 1820 and in 1845-49, when 
cod were present in great numbers. In recent years it has been found 
that some of the cod spawn in Greenland waters, while others migrate 
for this purpose to Iceland. Marking experiments show that there is an 
interchange of cod across the Denmark Strait, and there is reason to 
believe that most of the fish found on the Greenland coast during periods 
of abundance have come from Iceland, either as fry carried in the west- 
going current or by migration of mature fish.^^ 

To these two instances of large-scale changes in the fish population 
in northern waters many others could be added and all are apparently 
due to the same cause — to the fact that in recent years the entire 
area from Greenland to Bear Island has become appreciably warmer. 
Berg 1^ has collected much information on the effects of this rise in 
temperature, Saemundsson ^° has given an interesting account of the 
alterations which have occurred in the fauna of Iceland, while Stephen ^^ 
has shown that marked changes have also taken place in the British 
marine fauna. Berg, quoting from Schischow, gives figures of the very 

"■^ T. Iverson, Rep. Norwegian Fishery and Marine Invest., IV, no. 8 (1934). 

1' S. Jensen and P. M. Hansen, ' Investigations on the Greenland Cod,' Conseil 
Internal. Rapp. et Proc.-Verb. des Reunions, LXXII, pp. 1-41 (1931). 

1^ E. S. Russell, ' Fish Migrations,' Biol. Reviews, XII, pp. 324-5 (1937). 

1' L. S. Berg, ' Rezente Klimaschwankungen und ihr Einfluss auf die geo- 
graphische Verbreitung der Seefische,' Zoogeographica, III, Heft i, pp. 1-15 


2" B. Saemundsson, ' Probable influence of change of temperature on the 
marine fauna of Iceland,' Conseil Internal. Rapp. et Proc.-Verb. des Rdunions; 
LXXXyi, no. I, pp. 1-6 (1934)- 

"^ A. C. Stephen, ' Temperature and the incidence of certain species in Western 
European Waters,' Journ. Animal Ecology, VII, p. 125 (1938). 


remarkable increase in the herring taken on the Murman coast since 1931. 
The quantities taken in that year and in 1932 and 1933 were respectively 
23 times, 29 times and 68 times as great as the largest catch in the ten 
preceding years. 

It is clear that an increased sea-temperature, probably of the order of 
i-o to 2-o° C, has allowed various species of fish to extend beyond the 
normal limits of their distribution, with the result that it has been possible 
to establish productive fisheries in areas which formerly would not have 
yielded an adequate return. It is evident, I believe, that at some future 
date conditions will revert to normal and that a time will come when these 
lucrative fisheries will cease to exist. 

In the present state of our knowledge we can do little more than guess 
at the reasons for the increased temperature in these areas ; but the only 
source from which warm water can come is the Atlantic drift, and it 
therefore appears that in recent years this drift must either have increased 
in volume, or, if the volume remains constant, in the temperature of the 
water it carries. 

As you will have seen, I have in this address tried to draw a distinction, 
which I believe to be a real one, between two kinds of fluctuations, both 
of which have a pronounced effect on the marine fauna. Normal annual 
fluctuations are a constant feature. They form the basis of fishery pre- 
diction and our information, such as it is, is that their incidence is 
restricted : a fishery for a certain species in a particular place will be 
affected, while other species in the same place, or the same species in 
another place will be unaffected. And it is to be assumed that the causes 
of such annual fluctuations, though of these we know but little, are also 
restricted both in space and in time. 

In contrast are what I have called long-period fluctuations, which 
extend over a term of years and involve much larger areas. Such 
fluctuations as these are due to a widespread change in one or more of 
the hydrographic factors in the environment, and large numbers of species, 
if not all, are aff^ected simultaneously or within a short period. Long- 
period fluctuations may mask the effects of the annual fluctuations and 
at times they will render fishery prediction unreliable. 

In the illustrations I have given you I have spoken chiefly of fish, 
because it is of fish that we have best knowledge ; but it will I think be 
evident that invertebrates are influenced in the same way and I believe 
it may truly be said that all marine animals show great variations in abund- 
ance. You will also not fail to note that though these fluctuations are of 
the greatest economic importance they are equally of very high scientific 

The evidence I have given you indicates that long-period fluctuations 
may be brought about in entirely different ways. In the Channel, as it 
appears, the change can be traced to a deficiency in phosphate, while in 
more northerly areas it is due to an increase in sea-temperature. But, 
though there is this wide difference, the two sets of circumstances have 
this in common, that they originate in the open Atlantic, at the edge of the 
continental slope or farther to the west. It is here, in oceanic waters, 
that the causes of these large alterations in European fisheries must be 


Vladivostok, though it is ice-bound each winter, lies in the same 
latitude as Marseilles. This is only one of many facts which impresses 
us with the climatic advantages that we derive from the warm water 
of the Atlantic drift, and it might be thought that an investigation of 
the causes which underlie this phenomenon would long since have been 
undertaken by those who reap such great benefit. Yet, to the present day, 
these problems remain unsolved and, as Dr. Iselin has recently shown, '^^ 
three mutually conflicting theories are extant regarding the circulation 
of water in the North Atlantic. 

Fortunately there are signs that a period will be set to our ignorance. 
On the American side of the Atlantic the Woods Hole Oceanographic 
Institution is making a study of the Gulf Stream and of the effect of wind 
velocity and direction on the strength of a current. There is to be 
British co-operation in this programme, based on the Bermuda Biological 
Station. The Royal Society is administering a Government grant which 
has been given for the purpose, and additional staff for the Bermuda 
station and a small research ship have been provided. Data recently 
obtained by the Woods Hole Institution show that the transport of water 
in the Gulf Stream has varied by as much as 20 per cent, in fourteen 
months, and it may well be that this figure is below the normal range of 
variation. When the observations over the five-year period which is 
contemplated have been carried out we may hope to know far more than 
we do at present of the Gulf Stream and its effects on circulation in the 
North Atlantic. 

During the present year a German research ship is making a prolonged 
investigation of the hydrography of the North Atlantic, and only two 
months ago research ships from Denmark, Norway and Scotland were 
co-operating with her in studying extensive areas from the Azores to 

From such combined attack we shall learn much and there is every 
reason to believe that the main features of the circulation in the North 
Atlantic will shortly be understood. But though we may look for results 
of the highest importance from these investigations it is evident that they 
will not solve the biological problems with which we are faced ; for the 
work in the eastern Atlantic is an isolated set of observations, most 
valuable as a contribution to our knowledge of the general conditions, but 
affording little help in solving the problem of long-period faunistic fluctua- 
tions of which I have spoken. It is the deviations from the normal 
which are of paramount importance to the biologist, and it is only by 
repeated observations made over a series of years that they can be detected. 

To make such observations at sufficiently close intervals of time and 
space over the whole of the north-east Atlantic is clearly not within the 
bounds of present possibility ; but when we have gained an adequate 
knowledge of the normal system of circulation it is to be expected that 
certain critical positions or regions will be discovered, and that regular 
data from those places will give information from which the variation in 
the whole system can be deduced. Even such a programme as this is 
far beyond the resources we now possess ; but I believe that the need for 

'^ C. O'D. Iselin, ' Problems in the Oceanography of the North Atlantic,' 
Nature, vol. 141, p. 772 (1938). 


systematic oceanographic work in the eastern Atlantic will be more and 
more acutely felt as time goes on, and I feel convinced that it is the only 
way in which we can ever reach an understanding of the reasons for the 
large fluctuations in our fisheries. 

There is much work to be done nearer at hand in improving and 
co-ordinating the collection and publication of data from our own coastal 
waters — a matter to which the International Council for the Exploration 
of the Sea is now giving careful attention. It appears, however, that the 
research ships employed by the maritime countries of Europe are for the 
most part fully occupied with their own domestic fishery problems and 
can only occasionally find opportunity for oceanographic survey. Thus, 
unfortunately, it is not a question of devising a programme which will give 
the regular data that are needed, but of attempting to obtain the necessary 
information with resources which will almost inevitably prove to be 
inadequate. Yet, with the knowledge we now possess and the new 
methods which have been evolved, it is certain that very valuable results 
could be achieved by a comprehensive study of the fluctuations in the 
hydrography and plankton, and the work that is now beginning in the 
western Atlantic will lose much of its value if we are unable to obtain 
comparable data in our own waters. 

Before concluding this address I feel I should call attention to the 
urgent need throughout a very large part of the British Empire for greater 
activity in the scientific administration of the fisheries, for to me at least 
it is apparent that the lessons which long years of experience have taught 
us in this country are not generally understood elsewhere. 

The plain fact is that in the Empire as a whole we are deplorably 
deficient in fisheries administration. To this broad statement there are 
of course some exceptions. By reason of its situation in Europe the Irish 
Free State is obviously one of them, and it has taken its full share in the 
progress that has been made during the present century. Another 
exception is Canada, where a vigorous fisheries service, with a competent 
scientific staff, has been at work for many years. Newfoundland, a 
country whose fisheries are of predominant importance, not long since 
suffered a shattering blow in the loss of the whole of its laboratory build- 
ings by fire, but it will recover from this disaster and we may hope that 
the work which had such a brilliantly successful beginning will shortly be 
resumed. Australia has now made a fresh start after the tragic loss of the 
Endeavour and has at last taken the wise step of founding a Common- 
wealth fishery department. These are the high lights, and there are one 
or two colonies, such as the Straits Settlements and Ceylon, which give 
relief to what is otherwise a very sombre picture. In South Africa with 
its astonishingly rich fishing grounds and vast length of coast-line the 
fishery staff is utterly inadequate, and in India, where fisheries research has 
immense possibilities, there is apparently little hope that proper action 
will ever be taken. In India fisheries are what is known as a trans- 
ferred subject : that is to say they have been handed over by the central 
Government to the provincial administrations. The result is that some 
provinces may have a scientific staff of one, others have none at all, while 
Madras, which is much the most enterprising and publishes a Fisheries 
Bulletin, has three. In such conditions fishery work on any adequate 


scale is clearly out of the question and it is not possible even to begin the 
acquisition of the fundamental knowledge that is essential to future 
progress. Japanese trawlers, taking advantage of the complete lack of 
development of the Indian off-shore fisheries, are now visiting the Bay 
of Bengal in increasing numbers, and there is perhaps a possibility that 
their activities will cause the Government of India to realise how back- 
ward they are in fishery administration. It is evident that little or nothing 
can be expected from one or two men working in isolation and that only 
an all-India service, with the esprit de corps that such a service would 
have, can be sufficient for India's growing needs. 

It has taken more than a quarter of a century of intensive co-operative 
effort by most of the leading European nations to build up the information 
that we now possess of the fisheries round our coasts, and though with 
existing knowledge and the better methods that have been devised it 
might be possible to reach the same stage in a shorter time, the accumula- 
tion of the necessary facts must inevitably be a slow process. Adminis- 
trators are still prone to expect a rapid solution to any question which 
they submit to scientific inquiry ; but in almost every problem which 
touches marine biology it is essential to possess a background of funda- 
mental knowledge which can only be acquired by long years of patient 
study. If there is one lesson to be learnt from the history of fisheries 
research — one that cannot be too heavily stressed — -it is that the oppor- 
tunity of dealing effectively with a fishery problem will generally be lost 
unless this basic knowledge has been obtained in advance and is ready for 

Even in our home waters, which have been examined so long and so 
closely, our information is not within sight of being complete : in almost 
every branch of fisheries work there are new fields to be explored, new 
methods to be tried, and many large gaps in the knowledge we possess. 
But it may at least be said that we have made a beginning, that we are 
aware of the deficiencies and are trying with the facilities we possess to 
make improvements. 

In many other parts of the world, however, not even a beginning has 
yet been made ; ignorance is profound and there is no background of 
knowledge which can be utilised. It is no great exaggeration to say that 
in Africa and throughout almost the whole of the vast stretch of the Indo- 
Pacific region there is scarcely a fish whose life history is fully known and 
whose various stages from egg to adult can be recognised. Of such 
matters as age, rate of growth, spawning periods, food and migrations 
we are equally ignorant, nothing is known of the incidence of fluctuations 
and nothing of the seasonal or other changes in the environment. It is 
surely time that the importance of such knowledge was recognised and 
that early steps were taken to lay the foundations of fishery science 
throughout the Empire. 

When speaking of long-range fluctuations I expressed the view that the 
facilities we at present possess in Europe are insufficient to give us all the 
data we need : regular observations over a much extended area are 
required if we are to reap the full advantages of the knowledge we have 
gained. In the present state of international politics we can expect little ; 
but when, in God's good time, the nations begin to turn their armaments 

D.— ZOOLOGY loi 

to better uses, and the mass production of ploughshares begins, let us 
hope it will not be forgotten that there is also a harvest of the sea. 


Berg, L. S. 1935 Zoogeographica, 3, 1-15. 

Carruthers, J. N. 1935 Min. Agric. Fisheries, Fishery Invest., ser. II, XIV, 

15, 16, Table VI. 
Cooper, L. H. N. 1938 Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc. 23 (in press). 
Farran, G. P. 1937 Journ. Dept. Agriculture for Ireland, 34, no. 2. 
Ford, E. 1933 Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc. ,\9,^-]^. 
Hardy, A. C. 1923 Publications de Circonstance, no. 78. 

Harvey, H. W. 1925 Conseil Internal. Rapp. et Proc.-Verh. des Reunions, 
XXXVII, Rapp. Atlantique, 1924, 82-4. 

1930 Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc, 16, 791. 

1934 Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc, 19, 737. 

IseUn, C. O'D. 1938 Nature, 141, 772. 

Iverson, T. 1934 Rep. Norwegian Fishery and Marine Invest., 4, no. 8. 
Jenson, S., and Hansen, P. M. 193 1 Conseil Internal. Rapp. et Proc.-Verb. des 

Reunions , 72, r-41. 
Lumby, J. R. 1923 Publications de Circonstance, no. 80. 

1925 Min. Agric. Fisheries, Fish. Invest., ser. 2, VII, no. 7, 18, 

fig. ix. 

Matthews, D. J. 1905 Internal. Invest. Mar. Biol. Assoc, Rep. I. 

1907 Internal. Invest. Mar. Biol. Assoc, Rep. II, part i. 

1909 Internal. Invest. Mar. Biol. Assoc, Rep. II, part 2. 

191 1 Internal. Invest. Mar. Biol. Assoc, Rep. III. 

1914 Fisheries, Ireland, Sci. Invest., 1913, iv. 

Russell, E. S. 1937 Biol. Reviews, 12, 324-5. 

Russell, F. S. 1930 Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc, 16, 707. 

1935a Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc, 20, 147. 

1935b Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc, 20, 309. 

1936a Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc, 20, 595. 

1936b Conseil Internal. Rapp. et Proc.-Verb. des Reunions, 100, 

Pt. 3. 9- 

1936c Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc, 20, 507. 

1937 Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc, 21, 679. 

1938 Journ. Marine Biol. Assoc, 22, 493. 

Saemundsson, B. 1934 Conseil Internal. Rapp. et Proc.-Verb. des Reunions, 

86, no. I, 1-6. 
Stephen, A. C. 1938 Journ. Animal Ecology, 7, 125. 








A. Geography and the Social Sciences. 

B. Geography and History . 

C. Evolution of Life and Culture. 

D. Relations of Culture and Race. 

E. General Ecological Approach to Problems in Cidttire. 

F. Correlations in the Distributions of Languages. 

G. Ecological Notes on the Aryan Problem. 
H. The Race of the Early Aryan- Speakers . 
I. Graphs of Culture Growth. 

J. Determinism v. Possibilism, in Canada and Europe. 

K. Culture in the Twentieth Century. 

L. Bibliography. 

A. Geography and the Social Sciences. 

I much appreciate the honour of addressing the Geographical Section in 
my old Alma Mater, especially in this fine monument to the importance 
of Geography directed by my former sledge-mate, Prof. Debenham. 
Many presidential addresses have been devoted to a survey of the pro- 
gress made in one or another branch of our very varied discipline during 
the past twenty years. This is a safe and sane programme — but is not, 
I think, so likely to stimulate research as the unsafe and, as some would 
say, insane attempt to forecast somewhat of the advancement of Science 
in our special field during the next twenty years. There seems indeed 
something incongruous in a scientist from the Antipodes trying to say 
something new on the subject of culture amid these colleges renowned 
for their study of arts and letters. How can the experience of a geo- 
grapher, based on the study of contours, isobars, isotherms and all the 
other isopleths which adorn modern maps, help us to obtain a more valid 
interpretation of that elusive concept which we call culture ? In my 
address I propose first of all to consider the field of cultural geography ; 
then to discuss a technique which I have found invaluable in research in 
that subject ; and finally to suggest that modern education would do well 


to reduce greatly the study of certain fields of culture which were too 
strongly emphasised even in the Middle Ages, but which still occupy 
our young students to the exclusion of other far more important aspects 
of culture. 

Our field, fellow geographers, can, I believe, be made the most interest- 
ing in the realm of a general education. Partly because it deals with the 
vital facts of our environment ; partly because it is so comprehensive ; 
and partly because it is so objective. In these days of queer ideologies 
and freedom from canons, it should be all the more valuable that we, 
in our discipline, can chart our data and so make clear our problems, and 
in a sense prove our conclusions. At Chicago, one of the three leading 
universities in U.S.A., the whole of the various disciplines were grouped 
into the four divisions of Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Social 
Sciences, and Humanities. But there were a few liaison subjects which 
were too widespread in their interests to fit into any rigid division. 
Geography was one such subject, so that our large staff (and we had 
four full professors) was given a place on the Boards of both the Physical 
and Social Sciences. It is this feature of Geography which helps to give 
it a special place in a general education. 

If we look back at the relation of education to these four divisions of 
knowledge, we see a most interesting evolution. First of all, in the 
fourteenth century, the protagonists of the new Humanism waged a bitter 
fight against the Church and the Schoolmen. In the end the modernistic 
views of the humanists won, and we call this epoch the Renaissance. Next 
around 1600, the physical sciences were damned by the leaders of reaction, 
only to emerge triumphant in their turn. Some eighty years ago the 
biological sciences, in the persons of Darwin and Huxley, advanced truths 
which were anathema to the orthodox. Few educated folk attempt to 
oppose these truths now. But to-day the social sciences are challenged 
by the forces of reaction. I will only instance the perverted use of 
anthropology and sociology to advance the views of some of the totalitarian 
nations. We geographers can do yeomen service, as I see it, to clarify 
some of these issues if we teach tolerantly and scientifically what is 
becoming known as Cultural Geography, 

I could talk for half an hour on the question of the field of geography 
and yet not make my meaning so intelligible as the impression you will 
gain from the study of Fig. i for a few minutes. The diagram suggests 
that the field of geography (the large circle) contains eight subdivisions 
which in turn are linked with eight major disciplines (Griffith Taylor 
1937). Thus geography links the four ' environmental sciences ' of 
Geology, Physics, Astronomy, Botany, with the four * human sciences ' 
of History, Anthropology, Sociology and Economics. There are vast 
uncharted areas on the borders of regional geography — the core of our 
discipline — which merge into the eight subjects specified. Among pro- 
fessional geographers the great majority will always carry on the vital work 
in the central fields — but we may always hope for Raleighs, Drakes, 
Hawkins, and Dampiers, who will explore far afield and extend our realms. 
They will perchance trespass on other empires ; and doubtless some 
conservative historians and anthropologists will call them buccaneers 
or pirates. Dropping metaphor, I firmly believe that by applying 



techniques learnt in the realms of geography, biology and geology — and 
carried across to anthropology, history and sociology — such pioneers will 
ultimately earn the respect of the leaders in the * purer ' social sciences. 
But I must caution any piratical young geographer who cruises in strange 
waters that his reward, if any, will probably be a posthumous one. 

It seems advisable to consider for a moment definitions of the fields 
of geography. Like many other geographers, I have put forth my own 
definition, and it runs somewhat as follows, ' Geography is concerned with 
description, localisation and explanation of the data which relate man to 
his material environment.' As I see it, the essential feature is the localisa- 
tion (i.e. charting of the data in question) with a view to explaining 
their distribution. In a word we should make maps not solely as an 

Fig. I. — The Liaison Character of Geography, using 'Environmental' Sciences 
to explain Social Sciences. The map of the continents suggests the 
ecological character of Geography. 

end in themselves, but with a view to explaining the phenomena in 
question (Griffith Taylor 1935). Perhaps, before proceeding farther, 
some apology is necessary for the introduction of so many diagrams into 
a presidential address. My excuse is that my subject is Geography — 
and Geography without maps is, to my mind, as little worth while as 
Hamlet without the Prince. 

B. Geography and History. 

Let us now consider how the techniques of geography and allied sciences 
can be usefully employed in helping the social sciences. There are, of 
course, many ways in which charting data is helpful to the historian or 
anthropologist, but curiously enough many workers in the sister disciplines 
are extremely sceptical of the value of such a technique. I cannot do 

E 2 


better than quote a paragraph from a recent paper by my good friend 
Ellsworth Huntington on this very topic (Huntington 1937). 

' The majority of historians feel that they need a knowledge of 
geography. Therefore, those among them who belong to what we 
may call the standard group devote an early chapter to a somewhat 
elementary but accurate account of the geography of their selected 
region, and then forget about it. Many historians are conscious 
that the Alps are really a barrier, and that the climate of Russia as well 
as of India is different from that of Belgium. Nevertheless, taking 
their work as a whole, an astonishing number of historians seem to 
regard a court intrigue as more important than the influence of 
climate, relief, occupations, and so forth, upon national character, 
or upon specific historical situations. This is not the fault of the 
historians. The fault lies simply in the fact that both history and 
geography are still in a very crude state of development.' 

' The route to a higher development has been explored a little by 
the economic historians. According to their view, man's need of 
food, clothing, shelter, and the other good things of life, has been 
the keynote of history. Like the standard historians they have done 
yeoman service, and no word here said should be interpreted as dis- 
paragement. Yet many of them seem to have little knowledge of 
the way in which geographic environment influences not only the 
available resources, but man's desires, and the degree of energy with 
which he works to satisfy them. . . . These differences arise in part 
from the geographical environment as well as from the historical 
development of a culture. Their effect on economic conditions and 
historical events is profound.' 

I am reminded of a recent congress of historians in which I heard one 
of the chief speakers hold up to ridicule the idea that certain historical 
sequences in Scotland could be correlated with the Old Red Sandstone. 
From the applause, his fellow-historians agreed with him. To the present 
speaker nothing is more likely than that such a relation existed ; and 
indeed I propose to show one or two examples of the same type. 

The first example is taken from the finest collection of liaison studies in 
English with which I am acquainted. Here the various periods of 
English history are treated as separate stages of growth ; in each of which 
the effect of the environment on man is shown to be as important as it is 
to-day. I refer to the Historical Geography of Britain, edited by H. C. 
Darby. Here is history of an unusually valuable type ; and it is food 
for thought that the authors are, as far as I know, all geographers. Is it 
going too far to say that most historians have felt so little need to study 
physical correlations that such a work could not be presented by them ? 

No historian would deny the vast importance of the wool trade in the 
fourteenth century. We owe to Dr. Pelham a map of the Sussex Weald 
(Fig. 2) which shows clearly how closely this trade depended on a geo- 
logical condition — the outcrop of the Cretaceous Chalk. I do not assert 
that this is the most vital feature of the wool trade in this period — but it 
did determine the site, which no historian can ignore. 

Another example from America explains a peculiar and characteristic 



culture-complex in the State of Kentucky. Everyone has heard of the 
Blue-Grass Country around Lexington, and its association with horses 
and racing. It is rather sharply marked off from neighbouring areas, and 
its site is exactly determined by the geological structure (Fig. 3). The 
Blue Grass Region is an * Eroded Dome ' much like the Weald. Here 
the fertile Trenton formation (of upper Ordovician age) is surrounded by 
rather sterile Carboniferous rocks. A similar eroded dome surrounds 




Fig. 2.— The Wool Industry in Sussex about 1350, determined by the Chalk 
Cuesta of the South Downs (based on R. A. Pelham). The black squares 
represent from 500 to 1,000 sheep in a parish. 

Fig. 3. — Correlations between Geology (Eroded Domes) and Horse-breeding in 
U.S.A. Figures indicate approximately ' Horses per square mile.' 

Nashville to the south. In Fig. 3, I show the close correlation between 
the Ordovician beds and the density of horses in these regions of Kentucky 
and Tennessee (Finch and Baker 1917). Such comparisons show how 
the geographer can help the historian to elucidate culture in almost any 
district in which he may be interested. 

Few students seem to have made use of graphical methods in investi- 
gating their historical problems. These are, of course, the chief charac- 
teristic of geographical research. Especially is this true in regard to the 
use oihopleihs (lines of equal abundance), which can be applied to cultural 



facts, almost as readily as to such features as temperature or elevation. 
In Fig. 4, a number of isopleths illustrating the spread of the Renaissance 
are charted. 

In diagram I some of the chief teachers of Renaissance ideas about 
1350, such as Petrarch and Boccaccio, are localised. Later writers dealing 
with the ' life of the times in living languages ' (a phrase which in part 
describes the Renaissance) were Wyclif, Froissart and Chaucer. Hence 
toward the end of the fourteenth century we see the new ideas moving 
north up the ' Way of Light.' In diagram // (Fig. 4) I have stressed the 
spread of printing as perhaps the most characteristic feature of the second 
period of the Renaissance (1450 to 1550). Modern research (by J. H. 
Hessels and others) seems to refer the invention of movable type to Costar 
of Haarlem about 1446. It has spread to Mainz and the vicinity by 
1460, moving along the ' Rhine-Way,' and reached Rome by 1465 and 

Fig. 4. — The spread of Renaissance ideas in three stages, showing the effect of 
the ' Way of Light ' and the ' Rhine Way.' 

Paris by 1470. We have here an interesting example of a culture spread- 
ing along a new route, far removed from the familiar ' Way of Light.' 
Other isopleths showing the rapid spread of printing throughout western 
Europe by 1480 are also charted. 

In the third diagram of Fig. 4, I have plotted the ' schools ' of the 
famous teachers in the third period of the Renaissance (1550 to 165c). 
Here I have not attempted to draw isopleths. But when I labelled each 
teacher as concerned either with science or letters, it was surprising to 
find that practically all the former were to be found in the eastern portion 
of the map, and all the latter in the western part. This is an interesting 
distribution which is in part no doubt associated with the leading religions 
of the two areas. The conservative west held by the old Catholic faith 
for the most part, while the eastern region was that where the reformed 
religion had the chief control. This distinction in turn is of course bound 
up with the deep-seated inheritance of Roman culture in France and Italy, 
which was wanting east of the Rhine. The votaries of mediaeval science 
were not encouraged by the orthodox Roman Catholic Church, so that 
naturally they were not numerous in the western part of diagram ///. 

In the social sciences, we are dealing with disciplines of an intermediate" 
character. In much of their content, they are not so susceptible to 
rigorous proof as are many of the problems in the physical sciences, and 
in this they resemble the humanities. But like the latter they have the 


great educational advantage that they deal definitely with man rather than 
with lower forms of life or with physical phenomena. A disadvantage 
inherent in geography and allied subjects is the immense number oi facts 
whose assimilation would seem to be necessary in the study. This is 
wearisome in a scheme making for an all-round education, and in my 
opinion memorising facts should never be the vital factor in geography. 

You may have heard of the despondent negro preacher who complained 
that his flock was either so ignorant that they believed too much in ' de 
deuce, ^ or so sophisticated that they doubted everything. Students of 
cultural geography should also learn to ' doubt and deduce,' rather than 
to memorise the innumerable facts often presented without coordination. 
It is this training in deduction, accompanied by a healthy scepticism of 
orthodox dogmas until they have been tested and confirmed, which should 
be our aim. 

C I. Evolution of Life and Culture. 

To the geographer interested in culture-spreads, it seems likely that 
the one outstanding fact has often been neglected by sociologists. It 
should be clear that as long as man was controlled primarily by the same 
factors as the higher mammals his evolution is likely to proceed along 
somewhat similar lines. We shall find in many fields of research that 
we are dealing with the same phenomena, i.e. with progressive stages of 
evolution developing in the Old World ' cradle.' This concept can be 
illustrated in Mammals, Human Race and Human Culture alike. 

Matthew has shown that the cradleland and stages of evolution for 
various related groups of the higher mammals can be deduced wholly from 
their distribution in time and space (Matthew 1915). In Fig. 5 at B, I 
have summarised his conclusions in a block diagram, which shows that 
we are dealing with a typical example of what I describe later as the 
' Zones and Strata ' phenomena. Here is illustrated the problem of the 
vast biological changes involved in changing something like an antelope 
into a sheep. Needless to say millions of years have elapsed while this 
occurred. But the salient control was the marked environmental stimulus 
centred in south-central Asia. 

There is no reason to doubt that these special conditions continued to 
operate in this region from early Tertiary times up to the development 
of the first stable civilised communities of man — say, around 10,000 B.C. 
If we grant this postulate, then it would seem obvious that the variations 
in the human species (i.e. racial groups) would almost inevitably arise in 
the same region of great stimulus. These might be expected to develop 
in a much shorter period, say of the order of half a million years. The 
writer has demonstrated this thesis in many books and papers. 

Finally, major culture-changes are also essentially responses to environ- 
ment — though far more rapid than biological changes. There is, to 
the writer, no region more likely than south central Asia where the 
tremendous development from the nomadic hunter to settled village- 
dweller was so likely to occur. I pointed out this inherent geographical 
advantage nearly twenty years ago ; and since that time I have watched 
the students of culture driven from Egypt to Mesopotamia, and finally to 



some, still indefinite, region to the north in their efforts to find the cradle 
of civilisation. (I shall return to this aspect of the subject later.) 

Thus we arrive at the interesting result that major racial evolution and 
major cultural evolution occurred in much the same region ; in spite 
of the fact — often pointed out — that there is no inherent connection 
between a given race and a culture associated with it. The time-factor 
is very different in the two phenomena. In the field of Race, during the 
short period of the recent centuries, we have only seen the origin of a 
few hybrid groups, all unimportant except perhaps for the Mestizos of 
Latin America. But we have observed new cultures travel all over the 
world ; their speed of expansion increasing with every passing year. Thus 
tobacco spread far and wide within a century after Raleigh brought 
it to Europe. Nowadays the son of the head-hunting Papuan delights 
to drive a motor launch, and the second generation from the cannibal 
Fijian is filling the medical services in those tropic isles. 

C 2. General Discussion of the Zones and Strata Theory. 

It was his use (on world maps) of the isopleth method in charting the 
criteria of race, in conjunction with the findings in W. D. Matthew's 
memoir ' Climate and Evolution,' which led the writer to publish the 
' Zones and Strata Classification of Races ' in 1919. The general principles 
of this concept are illustrated in Fig. 5. Here three parallel cases of 

Fig. 5. — Block Diagrams illustrating the ' Zones and Strata ' Concept applied to 
Culture (Evolution of Transport) ; Mammals (Artio-dactyls) ; and Major 
Races. In each case the centre of evolution is in the centre of the zones, 
and the most primitive types have been thrust to the margins. The strata 
appear on the vertical edges (at right). All much generalised. 

evolution are considered. All anthropologists- will agree as to the explana- 
tion of the block diagram on the left. Here we see zones of Methods of 
Transport (ox-team, horse-bus, motor-car and aeroplane) arranged round 
the city of Sydney — the only settlement of note for sixty years in Australia. 
The ' strata ' resulting from this evolution in Sydney and gradual migration 
to margin, are indicated on the vertical edge of the block diagram. 
Clearly there is a common cradleland, where commercial activity is greatest 
in the centre of the zones — and the primitive types now occur precisely 
where they did not originate. 


Turning to Fig. 5 B, we find the same process illustrated in the evolu- 
tion of the Artio-dactyls (or even-toed mammals) based on data given by 
Matthew (1915). The antelopes are earliest and are displaced farthest 
from the centre. The sheep are latest and still characterise the common 
cradleland. The fossil strata are in accord, using the palaeontologist's 
' Law of Superposition.' No biologist doubts that the zones and strata 
in the case of these mammals indicate the order of migration and of 
evolution for the Artio-dactyls. 

The writer believes that primitive man was differentiated into the five 
major races long before the later races reached Western Europe. This 
evolution almost certainly took place in Asia and occurred before the last 
Ice Age. It certainly far antedated early Neolithic times. ^ Hence early 
man of such a primitive type can surely be considered as obeying the same 
laws of migration as the higher mammals. If now the pre-Columbian 
distribution of the major races (Negro, Mediterranean and Alpine) be 
plotted in a block diagram (Fig. 5 C), we find a series of zones and strata 
closely resembling the two already charted. It is difficult to escape from 
the conclusion that the centre of Asia is the commdn cradleland where 
evolution progressed most actively in the case of primitive man — just as 
Matthew has shown it progressed most actively here to produce new types 
of the earlier mammals. Indeed, we can almost exactly parallel the spread 
of the rhinoceros from Asia with the spread of the negroes, while the spread 
of the Pleistocene Equidae is the same as that of Alpine man (Matthew, 
Figs. 20 and 17). 

The centre of stimulus in Fig. 5 A was the commercial progress in the 
city. In the case of the mammals and man it was the stimulating climate 
of south central Asia. I have shown in a number of books and papers 
(see bibliography) that this region in the past has been characterised to a 
marked degree by such climatic features, but lack of space prevents my 
covering this ground again. 

C 3. Corridors into the Continent. 

It is of considerable interest to use our knowledge of the relative 
accessibility of the other continents from Central Asia, and to see how 
the consequent migrations agree with the ' Zones and Strata ' hypothesis. 

Most anthropologists accept Asia as the cradleland of the later, i.e. the 
Alpine, Mediterranean and Australoid, Races. If we are to assume that 
the earlier negroes or negritoes evolved in Africa, then we are faced with 
several cumbrous inconsistencies. Where did the negroes (and negritoes) 
of Melanesia and thereabouts come from } If Africa is suggested, the 
obvious reply is that it is far simpler to assume that both African and 
Melanesian negroes come from south Asia, i.e. the same centre of racial 
evolution as did the other races. Moreover, the ' Zones and Strata ' hypo- 
thesis leads us to believe (even if this be not actually proven) that primitive 
races persist in the marginal lands, precisely where they did not evolve. 

1 It is probable that the first Alpine peoples reached Fiance (Solutre, etc.) 
in Aurignacian times [vide A. Keith) ; and Koeppen dates this as far back as 
74,000 years ago. Neolithic times in France were only 8,066 years ago (Keith 
1931 and Koeppen 1932). 


The same arguments apply to the negritoes, and lead us to accept an 
Asiatic cradleland. 

What was the relation of Africa, Australasia, and America to the 
Eurasian land-mass during the later Ice Ages — when we may surely 
picture these earlier racial migrations as occurring ? Surely something 
like this. The easiest of access was Africa, for only the Red Sea — 
probably much less of a barrier then — separated that region of deserts 
and savannas from the South Asiatic cradleland. 

Australasia was the next most accessible. During the Ice Ages no 
doubt the broad low area of Sunda Land with the almost dry Bali-Timor 
ridge led man to the large low ' Sahul Land ' and so to Australia (Griffith 
Taylor 1937). In the Interglacial period both Sunda Land and Sahul Land 
were drowned as the result of the filling of the oceans by the melting 
ice caps. Hence we may postulate that Australia and Melanesia were, on 
the whole, much harder to reach than was Africa in those early days. 

As regards America, all migrations must pass via north-east Siberia. 
In the Ice Ages this was covered with an ice cap (Griffith Taylor 1930) 
which would definitely discourage migrations. During inter-glacials 
the Behring route might be quite feasible — and doubtless during such 
a period a few tribes of Australoids or kindred folks reached America. 
Possibly during the close of the Wurm Ice Age the Eskimo reached 
America while their congeners, late Palasolithic man, were reaching 
Western Europe. The main migrations into America seem to have 
occurred in the warmer periods (say of the Achen retreat of the ice, or 
between the Buhl and Gschnitz minor advances of the ice in Europe) 
some ten to twenty thousand years ago. 

Now, assuming these geographical relations, what should we expect 
to find } Primitive man was thrust out of south central Asia (primarily 
by climatic changes leading to greater cold or aridity) and would know 
nothing of the outlying areas. He would, no doubt, move off in several 
directions (to south, south-west or south-east) more or less equally. 
Thus the greater proportion of the earliest (Negro) migrations would 
inevitably reach Africa (the easiest outlet, on the whole), while a smaller 
number would reach Melanesia by circumventing the very difficult 
tangle of mountains in south-east Asia and crossing the * stepping 
stones ' of the East Indies ; and, if fortunate enough, making use of the 
alternately open and drowned corridors of Sunda and Sahul Lands. 
This ' paired ' dispersion to west and east is illustrated in Fig. 7. 

As millennia passed the more accessible lands of Africa would fill up, 
and Australia would receive a much larger proportion of later (Australoid) 
migrations. Finally as the latest migrants were thrust from Asia, the 
American corridor became available — and this is why we find so large 
a proportion of the last or Alpine-Mongolian Race in the New World. 
A glance at the arrangement of the zones (Fig. 7) will show that this 
series of migrations is fully corroborated. 

C 4. Scandinavian Climate. 

Let us now consider the environmental conditions somewhat more in 
detail. In the first place the migrations were probably extremely slow, 



and were made quite unwittingly by the primitive peoples concerned. 
They would all be hunters, preying on wild animals or upon wild fruits 
and grains. With the onset of any Ice Age, the forests, steppes, and 
tundras move slowly but en masse to the south. A fall of temperature 
of 12° F. is the maximum effect. This temperature range (by the ordinary 
ratio explained in any text-book of climatology) ^ is normally equivalent 
to a journey of some 800 miles toward the Pole. Such a migration of 
vegetation would perhaps change half the Siberian forest into tundra, 
and change the whole central Asiatic desert belt into steppe, while much 
of the southern forest belt would gradually turn into desert. 

Research in Scandinavia has made it much easier for us to reconstruct 

Fig. 6. — Correlations of Climate and Culture, showing the Northward March of 
the Ice-Cap, the Vegetation Zones and Primitive Man in Scandinavia since 
the close of the Wurm Ice Age. The front of each diagram shows the Strata 
in section. 

the movement of ice-caps, vegetation-zones, and of man himself (Griffith 
Taylor 1934). De Geer and others working on the Varve-clays have 
dated the moraine of the waning Wurm Ice Age as it developed in 
South Sweden. They place it about 18,500 B.C. This is shown in Fig. 6, 
at A, where Sweden is shown buried under the great ice-cap. Peat bogs 
in North Germany and Denmark show that tundra plants were growing 
south of the ice-cap at this time. Man had apparently not yet appeared 
in Sweden. 

In block-diagram B (Fig. 6) we see that the ice-front has retreated 
northward half-way along the Swedish Peninsula. This is dated about 
9000 B.C. At that time the peat bogs in Germany show remains of 
fir-trees, and here also we find the artefacts of Neolithic man. Apparently 
Palaeolithic man found the tundra and steppe very unattractive and so 
never settled on the Baltic. The next diagram C shows us a further 
retreat during 5,000 years. The fir now covers Southern Scandinavia 

» Off China the world isotherms change 1° f. for about i degree of latitude. 



.# ^ 





c, X k 

Nl ly ^ tt < ^ 


and oak-trees cover North Germany. Bronze tools are found in the 
bogs in the oak stratum — showing that a higher culture has moved north 
with the ice-retreat. Finally, at the dawn of history, conditions were 
like those to-day. The beech is now the dominant tree on the Baltic — 
and its advent was marked by the coming of Iron Age man. Here, then, 
we have a dated set of zones and strata, and we can be sure that similar 
movements of vegetation and man, northward and southward, accom- 
panied every one of the Ice Ages throughout the Pleistocene. 

The general distribution of Races over the World, before the period 
of modern marine migrations, is given in Fig. 7. I have devoted nearly 
twenty years to this ' Migration-Zone ' theory of racial evolution and 
classification, the main features of human ecology. I mention it here 
primarily because it demonstrates that all the progressive nations of the 
world are built up of the same three stocks, 'Alpine, Nordic and Mediter- 
ranean.' When this thesis is accepted, then much of the evil structure 
based on ' race-prejudice ' must fall to the ground. In my opinion, race 
prejudice is but another name for ethnological ignorance. 

This is a very encouraging idea, for cultural differences of language, 
education and religion can be entirely changed in a generation, whereas 
a real racial barrier is much more difficult to overcome. Thus the world 
must wait a long while for the negro problem (based on a real racial 
difference) to be solved. But racial differences exactly like those separat- 
ing Europeans, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Polynesians and Amerinds 
have all been smoothed away in Europe itself ; where (in my opinion) 
their component stocks came into contact with each other long ago in 
Neolithic times. 

D. Relations of Culture and Race. 

One of the main results of a knowledge of cultural geography is a much 
clearer conception of the distinctions between race, nation, language and 
religion than most educated people possess. It can be well illustrated, 
as we shall see, by maps in connection with the spread of the Jewish 
people. Moreover, this study clearly defines the danger resulting from 
powerful political groups dabbling in sciences of which they are ignorant. 

We are surely all agreed that the term Aryan can only be applied to 
speech ; and that Nordic indicates a ' breed ' and can only be applied 
to race. But few folk realise that the term ' Jew ' should only be used in 
connection with religion. It is much too common an experience to have 
to argue with folk, however influential, who insist on talking of a ' Jewish 
Race.' We need a new term to express a group linked by purely cultural 
characters such as language or religion. For such groups I have been 
extending the use of the word * cult.' For instance, in Canada, we have 
in reality no ' French Race ' (since Frenchmen may belong to one of 
three distinct races), but only a ' French cult ' linked by common language 
and religion. So also we should learn to speak of a ' Jewish cult,' since 
this large group is linked closely by religion and to a lesser degree by 
language. The Jews, like the Germans, are of two different races. If 
they come from Poland they belong to the Alpine race ; if from Spain 
they are of Mediterranean race, like all the original Jews of Palestine. 



Since this problem illustrates very concretely the way in which the 
social sciences are vitally concerned in world politics, I will dwell on it 
briefly. It is illustrated in the two maps in Fig. 8. On the left we see 
the logical linguistic divisions in Europe, which are undoubtedly Aryan 
and Altaic. Here also is shown in black the realm of the German nation. 
In the right-hand map (Fig. 8) are the race divisions in Europe, i.e. 
Nordic, Alpine and Mediterranean. The German nation is half Nordic 
and half Alpine. The Jew belongs to a ' cult,' but the dominant Jews 
in Europe, including about three-quarters of the whole body, are broad- 
headed Alpines like the rest of the mid-European peoples. The most 
logical explanation is that the Polish Jews are the result of the widespread 
conversions carried on by the Jews in eastern Europe. For instance, in 
A.D. 740 the Khan of the Khazars (who lived north of the Black Sea) 
was converted, and many of this large nation of medieval traders 


8. — [a) Map of Europe showing the distribution of Aryan and non- Aryan 
(i.e. Altaic) Languages. The area of the German Nation is also charted. 
[b) Map of Europe showing the distribution of the Nordic Race (dotted), 
and of the folk who profess the Jewish Religion. The Alpine and Mediter- 
ranean Races (M) are also indicated. 

followed his lead (Griffith Taylor 1936b). Racially the Khazars were 
akin to the Turks, i.e. they were Alpines; and they are also known 
as the Royal Scythians. Indeed the Polish Jews still call themselves 
Ashkenazim, which is a Hebrew word meaning ' Scythian.' 

A year or two ago the German authorities were specifically excluding 
the German Jews as of ' non -Aryan race.' Of course racially they are 
Alpines like the south Germans, and their language is best called Judeo- 
German. Anyone with a slight knowledge of German can understand 
the following sentence ' Es ist gar alles kein Neues nicht unter der Sunn.' 
Yet this is Yiddish, which is mostly a medieval German dialect learnt 
in the Rhineland (Wiener 1899). It has a considerable addition of 
Hebrew words, in the same way that English includes much Latin, but 
English does not thereby become a Romance language. . Nor does 
English change its Saxon character when it is written in Pitman's short- 
hand. The Semitic script used in Jewish newspapers disguises, but 
does not change, the essentially Aryan basis of Yiddish. Thus the 
accurate student of social science would describe the Jews as a composite ' 
culture-group (' cult ') with a specific religion, most of whom are Alpine in 
race, and speak an Aryan language [a dialect of German) which is written 
in a peculiar script. 



E. General Ecological Approach to Problems in Culture. 

Let us see how ecology can help the study of the evolution of languages. 
The early settlers of New England came mainly from Suffolk and the 
adjacent south-east of England. They carried to America the pro- 
nunciations of early Stuart times, and some of these have changed con- 
siderably in England since their departure. In the fifteenth century 
words like dark, far, farm, star, etc. were spelled and sounded derk, fer, 
ster, etc. So also clerk and new were pronounced clerk and noo in this 
part of England. About the time of Elizabeth the pronunciations dark 
and nioo were growing in favour, and have since become universal in 

The older forms were carried to America and survive in rustic New 
England. So also certain Elizabethan and Stuart ballads are perhaps 
better preserved in the isolated mountain hamlets of the Appalachians 
than in most of England. Many old words have become archaic in 
England which are still in common use in much of America (Wyld 1920). 

Fig. 9. — Linguistic Evolution indicated by the distribution of early pronuncia- 
tions and folk-lore, which survive in marginal regions. An illustration of the 
' Zones and Strata Concept.' Three ' strata ' are suggested on the front 

Examples are fall (autumn), guess (think), stdezvalk, whittle, greenhorn, 
cordwood, gotten, cracker (biscuit), shoat, etc. Here again, as we saw in 
race, the primitive is ' pushed to the wall ' far from the cradleland. No 
one imagines that Shakespeare lived in the Appalachians because some of 
his language is now perhaps more common there than at Stratford ! 
But many philologists have thought that Sanskrit originated in Lithuania ; 
whereas Lithuanian is a marginal survival of an early Aryan akin to Sanskrit, 
thrust out from the common cradleland in south central Asia. 

These stages in the evolution of the details of a language are charted 
in Fig. 9 which illustrates the principle of the ' Zones and Strata Concept ' 
fairly clearly. As before, we see that the primitive type is pushed to the 
margin, while the later types appear first in the central cradleland. Of 
course conditions have changed so greatly in America in the last fifty 
years that it is now an independent centre of stimulus—possibly the 
greatest in the world in regard to modern culture — and Britain is borrow- 
ing new terms from the U.S.A. There is, however, not much difficulty 
in detecting such new centres of culture in dealing with problems of the 
evolution of early culture in the Eur-Asian world. For the most part 
they progressed fairly regularly from south-east to north-west. This is 
indicated in the following graph dealing in a general fashion with certain 
phases of progress in the last 6,000 years. 



This diagram (Fig. lo) illustrates the necessity for defining the amount 
of correlation involved in a given comparison. It is, of course, obvious 
that the shift of power is not wholly determined by the lower temperature 
of high latitudes. There is, however, no doubt that physical vigour is 
somewhat higher at lower temperatures, though Huntington is convinced 
that the optimum occurs at 63° F. ; while the best mental work is done 
in regions with an average temperature near 45° F. (Huntington 1938). 
These facts must have a bearing on the evolution of all forms of culture. 
Probably of equal importance in the shift of empire are other factors 
such as ' freedom from invasions.' Invaders attacked Europe from Asia 
and Africa at first ; and later, Britain was saved by her insular position 
from many continental attacks. Command of the Atlantic seaboard, and, 
chief of all, readily accessible coal supplies also contributed to this shift 
to the north-west. 

We may use as an illustration of the value of the ' Zones and Strata 
Concept ' that complex of races and cultures which characterises the 

Fig. 10. — Correlations of Temperature and Empire. Other factors are discussed 

in the text. 

Indian and Pacific areas. The writer has had the advantage of travelling 
widely in Eastern Asia and in the Pacific, and this has focused his atten- 
tion on the general principles underlying dispersion in this area. It is 
quite obvious that every widespread characteristic in Polynesia has 
migrated from west to east — and that any cultural contacts with America 
can be completely ignored in a general study. Let us examine the data 
in Easter Island — the farthest of these isolated groups from Asia (Fig. 11). 
It is almost 14,000 miles from the Caspian area to Easter Island, yet I hope 
to demonstrate a culture sequence stretching across all this vast expanse. 
Two remarkable features in Easter Island are the well-known stone 
statues and the undeciphered script incised on wooden tablets. There is 
no reasonable doubt (as the Routledges (19 19) have shown) that the 
statues, with their bird-man decorations, are of the same culture-complex 
as is common in the Solomon Islands, some six thousand miles to the 
west (Fig. 11). Hevesy (1933) and Hunter (1934) are satisfied that the 
script, the only one used by Polynesians, is connected with the remarkable 
Mohenjo Culture which flourished in the Indus region about 3000 B.C." 
It is true that objections have been raised by Metraux (1938) that the script 
was not understood by any living Polynesian, and that the tablets of mimosa 
wood, etc., are not likely to be many centuries old, some indeed being 



modern in origin. The present writer tliinks that these objections are not 
very relevant. Our own alphabet is said to originate from not very similar 
signs used by miners in Sinai, though all the links are not yet clear. 
The question surely is to determine the origins of the remarkable Easter 
script — and to my mind, the Mohenjo theory is plausible and indeed 
probable. Moreover it offers a good illustration of clues which may be 
furnished by an ecological approach. 

Let us consider some of the major culture changes in the Indus region. 
Gordon Childe (1934) gives data as to the races which have been discovered 
at Mohenjo. Australoids, Mediterranean, Armenoids and Mongoloids 
were all present. There can be little doubt that the first settlers (before 
3000 B.C.) were the aboriginal ' Australoids ' who spoke a Munda language. 
Many members of this zone of peoples are now found ' pushed to the 
margin ' in the East Indies and in Australia. It is represented by 


M«ffi «ll 

it i^fwo 

aooo f^- 

V e.RS.TER\k 





Fig. II. — The spread of cultures from India eastward ; showing the Munda, 
Australoid culture at the bottom, covered by Dravidian, Polynesian, Aryan- 
Buddhist and Moslem ' strata.' In the Inset are compared some signs from 
the Mohenjo and Easter Island scripts. All much generalised. 

Stratum i in Fig. 11. The general belief is that the Mohenjo culture 
was due to the later ' Mediterranean ' races who spoke Dravidian lan- 
guages. This constitutes Stratum 2, and in the writer's opinion is to be 
linked with Dixon's ' Caspian Race ' in the Polynesian area (Dixon 1923). 
We have little knowledge of the period from 2500 B.C. to 1500 B.C. in 
India, when the great Aryan migrations overwhelmed North India. But 
it is significant that the earliest stone monuments in India, which are 
found at Rajagrha (Rajgir) near Patna,^ are of a cyclopean character quite 
unlike the work of the later Aryan builders, and rather resemble the 
mysterious early stone monuments of the Pacific (Fergusson and Burgess 
1880). I have suggested that this culture-complex spread out as Stratum 3. 
The Aryan-Sanskrit complex (Stratum 4) never reached Polynesia, but 
was carried to Java and dominated that region for several centuries after 
200 B.C. In North India Buddhism (Stratum 5) flourished after 500 B.C. 

' The Jarasandha monument (of unknown date) is a square truncated pyramid 
85 ft. wide and 28 ft. high. It is built of large uncemented blocks of stone 5 or 
6 ft. across. It resembles the truncated pyramids and Marae of Polynesia. 


and was carried to Java about the eighth or ninth century of our era. 
It did not displace the older Hindu pantheism — but flourished alongside. 
Around A.D. 1400 the Moslems (Stratum 6) conquered Java, and the Indian 
religions found a refuge in the island of Bali further east, where they still 
flourish. It is not, of course, suggested that the Polynesians migrated 
from India, for they probably lived originally in south-east Asia. But 
their culture probably followed the same route as that used by the Buddhist 
and Moslem teachers in historic times. 

We may dwell for a few minutes on the recent discoveries in the vicinity 
of Persia. In Mesopotamia the earliest culture of Sumer is known as 
' al Ubaid ' (Childe 1934), and this contained copper tools and is younger 
than cultures from Susa and the adjacent Persian Plateau. 

To the north near Nineveh is the ' Tell HalaflF Culture ' with wheeled 
vehicles, but with no metal. This is much older than anything dis- 
covered in Sumer near the Persian Gulf. Still older are the lowest 
cultures of Samarra in the same region, where they occur in debris 
seventy feet below a temple dated about 2450 B.C. Childe corroborates 
my statement (of 1919) as to the cradleland of man, with his comment 
that the early cultures of China resemble those of Anau in Turkestan 
(Fig. 11). It is significant that Zoroaster, the first great religious teacher, 
lived in this same vital region. Thus we see that the centre of the zones 
of the races of man in Turkestan (as charted in Fig. 7) is also likely to be 
near the cradle of civilisation. 

F. Correlations in the Distributions of Languages. 

The evolution of nations is one of the most interesting and important 
problems engaging the attention of the social scientist. A common 
language is often the chief ' cement ' which links the various races and 
' cults ' to form a nation. Hence languages merit our careful study. 
Few problems in Science are so difficult as those concerning the inter- 
relations of the main language-groups. Since here we have to do with 
an evolving complex arising in something like a cradleland and affected 
by wide migrations, it seems likely that some light on the subject may be 
obtained by charting the data in the form of the ' Zones and Strata ' 

The distribution of the main groups of languages is given in a generalised 
fashion in Fig. 12. The ecology of language indicates that the order of 
evolution in the Occidental area is in the following sense, the marginal 
languages being the earliest : — Bantu, Hamitic, Semitic, Basque, Su- 
merian, ' K ' Aryan, ' P ' Aryan, and latest or ' Satem ' Aryan. The 
problem is, of course, complicated (as in -Biology) by the fact that 
independent evolution takes place after the branching of the parent 
languages. Thus it seems likely that Proto-Gothic branched off from the 
Aryan stock before Sanskrit. Yet English (a descendant of Proto- 
Gothic) is a more advanced language (i.e. more analytic, simpler and easier 
to learn) than is Sanskrit. 

The following summary (Worrell 1927) gives simple definitions of the 
language classes. In primitive languages like Bantu, parts of speech were 
differentiated by the attachment of different relationship-words — which. 



ni -M O in « 

J3 O 

be en d 

O _ 
•d !^ " « 

.■u 3 o 

•^ "rt 

bD ^ 

bi" 13 3 S 
•- ^ D bo '^ 

'. , "^ J3 ^ 4) 





e S ^ b o 

P rt rt -d 



Oh o 

■ - <3 •- - 

. o o h P< 

2"^ 3 2 2? 

-M i« 1-1 -d J> 

c^ o <"-^ 5f 

^ o ™ 

•a <t> p +5 3 

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ti QU "-w CO ;^ 

en 3 

O O 

*S '-P +J 

O tn o 

a-, a ^ 

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S fl rt 

- <u 2 

c« 6 

.2 o (ij 

"^ O O 

<1 T3 5P 

I o) d 


u O 


•d g 

O o 

6 d 


tn , 


q3 d >^ 
Q :> 

3 -M 

o y 


JJ o § 
J3 a> ry 
4-> to «5 


however, did not fuse with them. Vowel harmony of all the syllables of 
such a compound often developed as a means of marking off the group. 
This is Agglutinative speech. It survives in the Bantu tongues {prefixing 
type) and in the Altaic (e.g. Turkish) as a suffix type. 

The Hamitic-Semitic group carried agglutination so far that the re- 
lationship-words fused at last with the chief words to which they were 
affixed or prefixed, and speech became amalgamating. Words were also 
systematically modified by internal vowel-change to give regular altera- 
tions of meaning. Dravidian speech is agglutinative — affixing and in- 
fixing, so that it is rather generalised and may be the ancestor of several 
of the other main languages. 

The Aryan group developed external suffixes to indicate variations, 
and so produced infl£ctional language. The three groups Hamitic, 
Semitic and Aryan also tend to rely on relationship-words and on word- 
order, and increasingly to neglect the word-forms. Thus they become 
analytic. There is little doubt in the writer's mind that this sequence 
(e.g. from Bantu to such an Aryan language as Persian) represents lin- 
guistic evolution, in much the same sense as the sequence ' amoeba to 
man ' represents zoological evolution. In both cases many groups 
branch off from the main stem producing minor independent evolutionary 
groups. In both cases some descendants stagnate, while others advance 
rapidly, as stated earlier. 

Before Aryan scholars yield to despair because the foundations of 
Aryan are ' wrop in mystery,' a promising field would be to explore 
Dravidian or Altaic for the ancestors of the Aryan. For instance, there 
are three possible explanations for the accepted resemblances of Finn to 
Teutonic. The one usually accepted is that Finn has borrowed from 
Teutonic. But it is also possible that Teutonic has borrowed its ' pecu- 
liarities ' from Finn. A third view worth considering is that border 
(e.g. primitive) languages like Keltic or Teutonic, still retain speech 
characteristics which have been carried over from the more primitive 
speech (now preserved as a marginal language-zone) from which the Aryan 
group as a whole evolved. On this view the features common to German 
and Finn may be an inheritance from the common mother-tongue of 
Aryan and Altaic. 

The lesson to be derived from the ' Zones and Strata ' technique is that 
marginal languages should be compared with each other. This means 
that far-distant speeches may be very well worth comparing. From this 
point of view, we should actually expect that Basque would resemble 
some Amerind language ; that Gaelic would resemble Pharaoh's tongue ; 
and that early Sinitic, early Altaic and early Dravidian (i.e. marginal 
languages) should be studied to learn something about Proto-Aryan. 
Thus the writer by no means despairs of the solution of the Aryan 

These ideas have long been engaging the writer's attention. In 1921 
he published a generalised diagram, which was probably the first utilising 
the ' Zones and Strata Concept ' as applied to Linguistics. With a few 
minor alterations it is reproduced as Fig. 12. Here the concept of a 
central cradleland of culture is adopted. But we must ever bear in mind 
that we are primarily concerned with events which occurred before 


5000 B.C., for all the major language families had differentiated before 
that period. 

The cradleland is represented as sending forth successive flows of lava 
from a centre of eruption. These form concentric zones about south 
central Asia, and each flow pushes its predecessor to the margin. The 
eff"ect of one flow on its neighbour — involving some contact and assimila- 
tion — is also rather usefully indicated. The flows reach the four ' pen- 
insulas ' of Asia (i.e. Europe, Africa, America and Australasia) according 
to the relative advantages of the connecting corridors. I have elaborated 
this concept in several essays already published (Griffith Taylor 1936c). 

G. Ecological Notes on the Aryan Problem. 

We may use the stage-diagram to correlate our scanty knowledge as to 
the early wave-fronts of the Aryan languages. There are three fairly 
definite subdivisions of Aryan : (i) the early Kentum or' K' speeches like 
Gaelic and Latin, (2) the Intermediate ' P ' languages like Welsh (with 
which we may associate Teutonic and Greek for convenience), (3) the 
later Satem languages like Slav and Indian. 

Turning to Fig. 13, some idea of our knowledge of the language dis- 
tribution in Sumerian times is given in the lowest map of the series. 
At this time Hamitic languages were used by the Pharaohs in Egypt, akin 
to those still spoken by the Berbers in the Atlas Mountains. Semitic 
languages characterised Arabia and Syria, as they still do. Sumerian 
itself has some resemblances to the Altaic, though its affinities are not yet 
clearly understood. In Europe at this early date there were racial allies 
of the present-day Hamitic-speakers — all of Mediterranean race — living 
in the western regions, who probably spoke Hamitic according to Rhys 
and Jones (Griffith Taylor 1936a). Central Europe was occupied by early 
migration of Alpine ' Brakephs ' (broadheads), of whose language we 
know nothing. It was almost certainly not Aryan, and something akin 
to ' Basque ' seems most likely. This problem is taken up later. In 
view of the important corridor linking Turkestan with China by way of 
the Tarim Basin, I have ventured to suggest that a linguistic kinship 
between early Chinese (Sinitic) and Sumerian or early Aryan is only to 
be expected. 

In the second map (Fig. 13 at B), for the period around 1200 B.C., we 
are on surer ground. Vast migrations of ' Satem '-speakers had poured 
into India from Turkestan. The Hittites, who seem to have spoken an 
Aryan tongue somewhat akin to the Kentum Group, were in control of 
Anatolia. Semitic was now the chief language of Egypt and Mesopotamia. 

In central Europe (if we adopt the suggestions of H. Peake) Kentum 
languages were spoken in the regions east of the Alps, while Brythonic 
(one of the Intermediate ' P ' type) was that used by the Cimmerians of 
the Ukraine and Caucasus areas. It seems logical to assume that many 
Satem-speakers still remained in Turkestan, and were perhaps allied to 
the Sarmatian tribes. 

In the next map (for 400 B.C.) we see the first great Aryan conquest in 
the Near East, that of the Persians. They spoke a Satem language, and 
it is probable that their Sarmatian kin were occupying the European 



Fig. 13. — A Stage-Diagram giving a tentative reconstruction of the distribution 
of European languages at various epochs. Black areas are the Primi- 
tive (marginal) ' K' Aryan languages. It is suggested that the early- 
Mediterranean Race spoke Hamitic, and that the early Alpines spoke 
languages akin to Basque, Abkasian (and Amerind ?). Aryan developed 
near the Caspian Sea and spread out in waves. The outer ' ripple ' {K) was 
akin to Gaelic ; the second (P) akin to Welsh. The latest type was the 
Satem group. 


steppes about this time. The latter may have been the ancestors of the 
Slavs, who already seem to have settled in the Vistula Basin. Mean- 
while the marginal i^-speakers (Gaelic, etc.) had reached Britain and 
Ireland, and still occupied parts of France. The distribution of place- 
names in Central and Western Europe clearly shows the migration of waves 
of Gaelic and Welsh speakers across much of these areas. 

The conditions some seven centuries later (a.d. 300) are shown in the 
next map which deals with Europe during the zenith of the Roman 
Empire. The marginal primitive Aryan language Latin had been carried 
far and wide ; so that it later gave rise to Italian, French and the other 
Romance tongues — which are clearly offshoots of the ' K ' group of Aryan. 
Brythonic (Welsh) was spoken in England, South Scotland and Wales 
at this time, and probably in parts of the continent beside Brittany, 
Possibly some Hamitic dialects still persisted in the Scottish Highlands, 
as suggested by some of the Ogam inscriptions. Gaelic (a ' iC' language) 
was spoken in Ireland and in most of Northern Scotland. 

Of great interest is the discovery that a Kentum language, called 
Tocharese, was still in use north of the Tarim Basin in Central Asia about 
this time (Fig. 13, at D). Tocharese seems, however, to have some 
affinities with the Intermediate and Satem groups also. Hence it may 
well be fairly close to the generalised Aryan ancestor from which all three 
groups of Aryan have descended (Childe 1936). It is suggested in the 
diagrams that this Kentum speech had been continuously used east of 
Turkestan since early Aryan times. 

The medieval distribution of languages, and of the three subdivisions 
of Aryan, is shown in the top map. To-day Gaelic is almost the sole 
representative of a little-altered primitive Aryan speech — though the 
much-evolved derivatives of primitive Latin are still very important 
languages (Jespersen 1894). Hamitic has died out in Europe. Altaic 
has encroached in Hungary and Finland, and displaced Hittite and Greek 
in Anatolia. Semitic has driven out Hamitic in much of North Africa. 
' Satem ' Aryan, in the form of Russian, is in turn displacing Altaic 
throughout much of U.S.S.R. 

The conclusion to be drawn from this tentative geographical approach 
to the Aryan problem is that the waves of language have spread from 
Turkestan towards India, Persia and Europe. There seems to be no 
support for the origin of Aryan in the German or Lithuanian regions, 
a theory which has been strongly upheld by a number of notable 
continental philologists. 

H. The Race of the Early Aryan- Speakers. 

Let us turn to another aspect of the Aryan problem. What race first 
spoke the Aryan languages .' (The name Wiro has been given to this 
unknown ' race.') To-day Aryan is spoken by Alpines in central Europe, 
by Nordics in the north and Mediterraneans in the south. There can 
be little doubt that originally these dissimilar races ' despised ' each other 
as bitterly as any pair of ignorant and opposed ' cults ' do to-day. It 
seems logical to assume that each of the three original races at first had 
a somewhat distinct culture, including language. How can we advance 


our knowledge of their early linguistic history ? There are several tech- 
niques in use. The oldest method is to study ihe syntax and etymology 
of related languages (i.e. Aryan), and learn, from their many variations, 
which was the original. Unfortunately, for many years this technique 
was fatally hampered by the idea that language ' decayed ' by losing 
inflections — ^whereas this phenomenon is one of the clearest signs of 
evolution. However, there can be little doubt that the unwieldy Kentum 
languages of the western margin are closer to the original Aryan than the 
Satem languages of the centre and east of the Aryan realm. 

Let us use an ecological approach. If we plot these languages on the 
map, it seems highly likely that the Mediterranean folk of south and west 
Europe spoke Hamitic (or its derivative Semitic) before they were con- 
quered by Aryan speakers. The research of Rhys and Jones {The Welsh 
People, 1908) makes this entirely probable as regards Gaelic and Welsh. 
But our chief interest is concerning the original speech of the Nordics. 
It is usually taken for granted that they spoke Aryan, and of a type not far 
from Proto-German ! I do not know any reason for this belief except the 
volubility of the high priests of the Nordic fetish. We have seen that it 
is possible that the marginal European of the south-west originally spoke 
Hamitic. Let us apply the same reasoning on the northern margin of the 
Aryan realm. Here dwell the Nordics — and it is very important to 
remember that many of the Finns are Nordic, as are some of the northern 
Asiatic peoples such as the Ostiaks of the Yenesei. These Finns and 
Ostiaks speak Altaic. Applying our general Ecological Law of Lin- 
guistics, we should expect that some marginal languages (i.e. Altaic) have 
been replaced by later languages (Aryan) migrating from the cultural 

It is very significant that some of the characteristic features of the 
Teutonic group of Aryan remind one of similar features in the speech of 
the Finns and Ostiaks. For instance, ' strong ' verbs like those of 
German (and English) are quite common in Ostiak {Encyc. Brit., 
1929). Moreover, Finn and Ostiak have more inflection and less of 
agglutination than most other Altaic tongues. There is, therefore, some 
ground for the suggestion that the Nordic folk of Germany and Scandi- 
navia, originally spoke an Altaic language (like Finn or Ostiak) : and only 
relatively lately in linguistic history learnt an Aryan tongue. Indeed, 
there seems little doubt that the earliest-known Nordics of central 
Sweden, like those of Finland, spoke Finn, not Teutonic. This specula- 
tion as to the ancestral tongue of the ' Blonde Overlords ' is not likely 
to be acceptable in Teutonic circles. 

The Basque problem has intrigued philologists for a century. The 
language is quite different from Aryan, but has some slight affinity with 
three distant groups, Abkasian in the Caucasus, Altaic, and certain 
Amerind (i.e. American Indian) tongues (Fig. 13). So far as I know no 
one but myself has suggested any satisfactory reason for the relation 
between Basque and Amerind. Yet if we study the zones and strata of 
Europe there is one curious feature. Peake (in The Bronze Age) has" 
suggested that the earliest Aryan tongues (Gaelic, etc.) reached central 
Europe from Asia by way of tribes of Alpine race about 1500 B.C., or 
thereabouts. But there were folk of Alpine race in Europe for some four 


millennia before this period, for instance all the Danubian peoples who 
moved across Europe in the third millennium B.C., and many still earlier, 
such as the Men of Ofnet. What did they speak ? Look further afield to 
the other side of the Old World (Fig. 7). At this date (say the sixth to the 
third millennia B.C.) it is generally believed that hordes of Amerinds were 
pouring into North America from central and east Asia. As I showed 
in 1919 they were of much the same race as the Alpines entering 
Europe. I suggest that the Pre-Gaelic Alpine invaders of Europe were 
members of the same linguistic zone and spoke Basque. Later, Europe 
was invaded by the last-evolved group in the cradleland who spoke 
Aryan. These ' Wiros ' transferred their languages to almost all the 
other tribes in Europe excluding the Basques and Finns. In the rugged 
valleys of the Caucasus, relics of Pre-Aryan language, such as Abkasian, 
seem to have survived. In its syntax it resembles both Basque and many 
Amerind tongues. 

Following the principle of ' doubt and deduce,' I venture to sow many 
seeds of linguistic heresy which I hope will prove fertile in the minds of 
some young researchers. Let us consider the typical marginal languages 
of Europe, i.e. Gaelic and Welsh. It seems to be rather generally believed 
that these have always been spoken by the dark highlanders and their 
allies of Mediterranean race in Wales and Ireland. A great deal of natural 
pride is based on this belief in this age-long association. But our ' Zones 
and Strata ' theory suggests that these marginal peoples only recently 
learnt these languages from entirely different races. The writer believes 
that Hamitic speech (akin to the language of the Pharaohs) was spoken 
in most parts of Britain while the Greeks were learning Homer. The 
Berbers, Tuaregs and other still more marginal folk of North Africa are 
of the same race and still preserve their old speech without change (Fig. 13). 
It is to be hoped that Berber will not be made compulsory for the un- 
fortunate youngsters in the Irish Free State as the result of this address ! 
As regards France, we have very little knowledge of the languages spoken 
as late as 200 B.C. which are called Gaulic. Study of the migrations of 
the Kentum Aryans shows that the western tribes probably spoke some- 
thing close to Gaelic — but intermediate between this speech and Latin. 
The writer has never been satisfied with the general belief that French is 
entirely a derivative of Latin. If the western K Gauls used the same 
linguistic roots as did the Romans, why is not French largely based on 
Gaulic roots, with the presumably characteristic suffixes, etc. ' worn oft ' 
according to the usual development of a language .-' I may make my 
point clearer by an exaggerated analogy. Supposing we knew nothing 
of the English language before 1750, we should be far from correct if we 
assumed (because English resembled German) that it was largely due 
to the Hanoverian culture of that date. 

Few developments in world history are more remarkable than the spread 
of the Romance languages which are of course largely based on Latin. 
It is well to realise that Latin is one of the most marginal and, therefore, 
one of the most primitive of Aryan tongues. Jespersen pointed this out 
many decades ago — but there is such a halo around Latin that this has 
not yet become generally known (Jespersen 1894). Many philologists 
still maintain that the striking change from Latin to French and from 


Anglo-Saxon to English is one of ' decay.' They would seem to deplore 
the loss of the cumbrous and countless inflections. A study of language- 
distribution would show them that the languages still more marginal 
than Latin have even larger development of inflections. For instance, 
they are peculiarly abundant in Australian aboriginal speech and in West 
African languages ! I venture to predict that philologists will soon accept 
the following general ecological and cultural ' law ' : Marginal languages 
are primitive, and characterised by cumbrous inflections ; they evolve 
by loss of inflections and by the development of an analytical character ; 
this gradual change is illustrated by the concentric zones of actual lan- 
guages. This ' law ' was pointed out by the writer in a tentative dis- 
cussion of Language Evolution in 1921 (Griffith Taylor 1921), when 
the general ' key * to the whole process (suggested in Fig. 12) was first 

I. Graphs of Culture Growth. 

It is often of great help to the research student in cultural problems if 
he can make a mental picture of the processes involved in culture-spreads. 
In the following section I have endeavoured to realise such a picture. 

City growth of a type which is familiar to every geographer is illustrated 
in the stage-diagram given in Fig. 14. Here four stages in the develop- 
ment of the City of Chicago are represented in a sort of isometric pro- 
jection. The years chosen were 1846, 1873, 1899 and 1926. The diagram 
is a modification of the ' Zones and Strata Concept,' and emphasises the 
fact that ' the Zones of to-day are the Strata of to-morrow.' 

The maps extend about 16 miles south and 10 mUes north of the geo- 
graphical centre of Chicago. In the lowest map is shown the site of the 
fort which was built in 181 6 ; just where the voyageurs paddled up the 
Sourh Chicago River to reach the boggy divide, which alone separated 
the Mississippi Basin from the Great Lakes Basin. In 1828 there were 
three inns and about a dozen huts near the Forks of the small Chicago 
river. Farms existed in Madison Street in 1833, though to-day the nearest 
farm is about 15 miles away to the south. So also private houses have 
been displaced about 8 miles to the south. Forest covered much of the 
area south of Madison and this has been displaced about 30 miles to 
the south (Hoyt 1933). 

In 1873 factories developed along the small river, while the best 
business section was still near the Forks. The old negro quarter was 
I mile south of the river near State Street. It now occupies an elongated 
belt from 3 to 7 miles away from the old city centre. The better residences 
are also migrating to the periphery. In the last map (for 1926) skyscrapers 
have developed along the lake from for a dozen miles, as well as in the 
old centre of the city. Very large Polish, Czech and Italian communities 
build up most of the population to the west of the city centre. 

Crop-farming has now been pushed right out of the city limits, though 
small truck-farms are still to be found on some vacant lots. Within this" 
fringe comes a zone of small two-story houses which are built mostly of 
wood. Still nearer the centre is a zone of better residences both north 
and south of the city, wherever industrial pursuits are not too prevalent. 



The factories alternate on the west with large areas of wooden or brick 
houses occupied by foreign labourers. 

The heavy broken lines (linking the four stages in Fig. 14) indicate 
the gradual growth of the city. Obviously this growth (as shown in 
Fig. 14) resembles a cone, starting at the original humble houses of the 
first settlement and gradually expanding (as a ' small-house zone ') on 
all sides as time progresses. The later type of building can also be 

se-rreff looses l.i."| 

Fig. 14. — A ' Zones and Strata ' Diagram Showing the Evolution of Chicago for 

Eighty Years. ^ 

Notice that the older types of structure now occur on the periphery. The 
(skewed) squares are four miles across. The heavy broken line linking the 
four diagrams indicates the spread of the outer zone of simple wooden houses. 
(C/. Fig. 15.) 

represented by such conical growth-forms. The phenomenon is much 
like the series of concentric craters built up by the lavas in a gradually 
increasing volcano. Each lava-flow may be supposed to cover part of 
the preceding flow, but to push some of the mobile earlier lava still farther 
to the periphery. The whole concept as applied to culture-spreads has 
been illustrated in Fig. 12 earlier in the address. 

Since these ' craters of growth,' as I have named them, help us con- 
siderably in our search for affinities of isolated tribes, speeches or cultures, 
I have developed the concept somewhat further in the next diagram 
(Fig. 15). Here the second ' crater ' illustrates how the Mediterranean 



Race has developed in space and time. Starting from a small group of 
people, who originally lived somewhere near the Caspian Cradl eland, this 
race has gradually spread out as the millennia passed until to-day it is 
found all round the margins of Eur-Asia, as well as in North Africa. On 
the west the Mediterranean zone is complete — -as the rim of ' crater 2 ' 
suggests. On the east the later Alpines have burst through in their 
journeys to Polynesia and America. But isolated tribes of the Mediter- 
ranean Race, such as the Ainu and Lolo, still maintain the growth and 
spread of their forefathers. (This zone is shown, in plan, in Fig. 7.) 
Within the ' Mediterranean Crater ' we may picture an ' Early Alpine 
Crater,' which however is not sketched. Below (and concentric with) 
Crater 2 we may imagine ' Crater i,' which shows a much earlier racial 
distribution, that of the negritoes. Here the crater did not develop 
symmetrically — but extended primarily to the south-west (Congo, etc.) 
or to the south-east (New Guinea, etc.). However, the general conditions 



Ne grito /^ace 

>. Ken ti/m Speec h 

''4: ^rrier/ncf Speech 
'. ?1kd,/-^ Race. 

CflSPIff^ CFf/tOLB 

Fig. 15. — ' Craters of Growth ' are Space-Time diagrams illustrating the irregular 
spread of a culture-type from the point of origin (as suggested in the corner.) 
Compare the broken line in Fig. 14. 

of growth are the same as in the other craters, and definitely explain the 
connection of the Congo negritoes with the Tapiro and Aeta off south-east 

Turning now to the realm of language, we can illustrate their distribu- 
tions by the same technique. As I have explained earlier, it seems highly 
probable that the main language-stems originated in south central Asia, 
just as did the races — but far later. It must again be emphasised that 
there is not likely to be any permanent connection between an expanding 
race and an expanding language. Both may originate in the same area — 
but language moves so rapidly and is so easily transferred that it is highly 
unlikely that its limits would long agree with those of race. 

We may if we like picture the three ' craters ' on the right of Fig. 15 
arranged one above the other, Altaic below, Kentum on top. As regards 
No. 3, it is suggested that the resemblances of the Indian Dravidian 
languages to the Altaic (of Siberia) is due to their having a common origin 
somewhere in the region between. Two ' dead ' languages may have 
a place in the south-west of this growth-pattern (Fig. 15 at 3). These 
are Sumerian, spoken near Bagdad in 3000 B.C., and Mitanni, spoken in 
north Syria between 1550 and 1350 B.C. Both of these, according to 
some authorities, have resemblances to Altaic and Dravidian. They 


may be near ' Proto-Aryan,' which almost certainly next developed in 
this same area of culture origins. 

There is little doubt that the main Aryan-speakers of Europe entered 
the western continent (following many Alpine migrations who did not 
speak Aryan) long after the majority of Mediterranean and Alpine tribes 
(constituting the Amerinds) had migrated to the north-east and so reached 
America. I have elsewhere suggested that the Basque-speakers belong 
precisely to this ' horizon ' (if I may use a parallel geological concept) 
between Hamitic and early Aryan. Hence on ' Crater 4 ' I have suggested 
that Basque is the sole relic in west Europe of a pre- Aryan tongue which 
may be equated with some forms of Amerind speech. 

Still later in development, and occupying the upper position of our 
three concentric language craters, is the Kentum type of Aryan. It 
spread only a little to the north-east from our hypothetical cradle — where 
Tocharese was spoken in Chinese Turkestan (near Turfan) as late as 
A.D. 200. Some Hittites spoke something like a Kentum tongue (as their 
numerous scripts indicate) in Anatolia about 1300 B.C. Kimmerians 
from the Ukraine probably carried the Keltic languages westward across 
Europe, though perhaps their language was more like Welsh than Gaelic. 
Latin, the typical Kentum speech, seems to have reached Italy (via the 
Alps) about 1200 B.C. These data build up ' Crater 5 ' in Fig. 15. 

To the cultural geographer the chief value of these representations of 
growth is that they emphasise the necessity for looking for missing 
kindred-groups around the margins of a given centre of culture. Secondly 
they suggest the way in which one group of languages may give rise to 
another. For instance, the Satem-Aryan group developed near the cradle- 
land from the Kentum- Aryan. The hypothesis also suggests that many 
Amerind languages will be found to have risen from a Proto-Altaic. As 
stated in an earlier paragraph the writer, on the whole, thinks that the key 
to early Aryan may be found in the Dravidian tongues of Southern India. 

J. Determinism versus Possibilism. 

During the twentieth century the trend of geography has been away 
from the belief of Ritter in Providential control, and from Environmental 
control as expounded by Ratzel towards the ' Possibilism ' concept of 
Vidal de la Blache and his school. The latter geographers picture any 
particular region as offering almost innumerable possibilities of exploita- 
tion to Man. Our material evolution, in their opinion, is essentially a 
matter of our own choice depending on which of the possibilities we 
choose. I have come to a different conclusion, no doubt primarily 
owing to my experience in pioneer countries like Australia and Canada, 
where the possibilities offered by Nature to Man are more meagre than 
in Britain or U.S.A. Indeed of these three schools, which we may label 
the Theocratic, the Geocratic and the ' We '-ocratic, I definitely belong 
to the second. However, I propose to illustrate by the correlative method 
first in a pioneer country like Canada, and secondly in the old-established 
culture-complex of Europe, that man is not really a free agent — but 
definitely a product of his environment. 



The stage-diagram forming Fig. i6 may help to explain how this idea 
of ' choice of possibilities ' has arisen. It is true that in Southern Ontario 
we have seen man at first dependent chiefly on fur, then on lumber, then 
on farming, hydro-electric power, and mining. But all these in turn 
depend on Nature's bounty, and, given sufficient knowledge, could be 
predicted as the inevitable development of an expanding nation in the 
given environment. 

In the lowest stage in Fig. i6, we see a generalised economic map 
about 1750, showing that fish, farms, and fur had expanded to the limits 

Fig. 16. — A Stage-Diagram of Industrial development in Canada from 1750 to 
1930. It supports a deterministic attitude towards man's occupation of a 

approximately there shown (Griffith Taylor i936d). Some sixty years 
later, by 1810, farming had spread approximately to Detroit ; while 
Mackenzie was exploiting for furs the river-basin named after him. By 
1870 mining was becoming of some importance, and gold (Au), silver (Ag), 
and iron (Fe) mines were being exploited both near the St. Lawrence 
and on the Fraser River. Still more important, Selkirk had, over fifty 
years earlier, settled his isolated band of farmers on the silts of Lake 
Agassiz in the heart of the continent. About 1 880 the modern migration 
to the wheat-fields of the prairies began, in the last and uppermost 
stage we see in a generalised fashion the conditions to-day. The whole 



north of the Dominion is being exploited not only for furs but for metal 
mines ; the latter in part by air-transport. Agriculture has covered most 
of the inland prairies, and will extend north (and into the Clay Belt) as 
indicated by the crosses. Manufactures have spread along the 
St. Lawrence from Montreal to Ottawa and Windsor, in large part owing 
to the bountiful water-power (Taylor i936d). 

But while there have been these striking advances and changes in the 
type of industry, man has not really been a free agent. His advance from 
fur-hunting to wheat-growing is only possible where rain and sun and 
soil are satisfactory. All the fur country cannot be utilised for wheat, 
even if man so wishes. Using a foreign example, we shall never see 
hydro-electric^ power or coalfields leading to the development of factories 

Fig. 17. — The evolution of the social groups in Europe is almost wholly deter- 
mined by the environmental controls of Climate, Topography and Coal ; as 
shown in the Insets. Figures are density per sq. mile. 

in that half of the southern continent known as ' Empty Australia,' how- 
ever much man may wish to replace the sparsest of pastoral occupation 
by better-paying industries. On the other hand, it seems clear to the 
writer that in the future the immense coal resources of Alberta must 
inevitably be utilised, as the more accessible coalfields are used up else- 
where. Man may very probably some day ' choose ' (as the ' Possibilist 
School ' would say) to give up ranching in the drier parts of Alberta, and 
turn to manufacturing based on the almost inexhaustible coal. But he is 
none the less controlled by his environment. 

Exaggerating somewhat, I feel that Man's part in the programme of 
a country's evolution is not unlike that of a traffic policeman. He can 
accelerate, slow or halt the traffic, but he does not alter its direction. 
This ' Stop and Go Determinism ' has no supporters among the historians, 
and not many even among geographers. But it expresses something of 
the conclusions that I have arrived at from my lengthy study of the 
difficult environments of Australia and Canada. 


Let us turn now to Europe, where the population has approached 
closer to a state of equilibrium under modern conditions than anywhere 
else in the world. Do we find that the present groups depend on racial 
or on national or on tribal characteristics ? Only in a very minor degree. 
The ultimate pattern of the European population is ' Geocratic,' i.e. it is 
almost wholly determined by Environmental Control. In Fig. 17 is shown 
this population-pattern, and in the small insets A, B, and C, are shown 
the climatic and structural correlations. The sparsely settled areas in the 
north (Ai, A2, A3) are in the realm of King Frost, who has resisted all 
invaders (Fig. 17, inset at A). In the south-east (B and E) are regions 
ruled by King Drought. Of the remaining sparse areas, F is also too 
dry for notable settlement, while G and G2 are Young Mountains (inset B). 
The remainder of Europe has a good climate and is accordingly somewhat 
densely populated. The densest areas of all (T, X, Y and Z) have their 
populations determined by King Coal, i.e. by the presence of the coal 
trough (Inset C), which in turn results from the geological environment 
of 200 million years ago. 

To sum up, we can safely affirm that man's use of Nature's endowment 
in various countries must be based on a scientific understanding of their 
relative values. Systems of high protection and of autarchy run directly 
contrary to this ' natural ' law ; and, as usual, if Man tries to direct his 
industrial evolution in a way for which his environment is not suitable, 
he himself is the sufferer. 

K. Culture in the Twentieth Century. 

As in all preceding ages education is still a battleground between 
conservatives and liberals, or, in less polite terms, between reactionaries 
and iconoclasts. Too often the reverend elders in charge of a nation's 
education forget that their chief purpose should be to train the. young idea 
rather than to protect the literature of a bygone age. It is a dangerous 
task to attack vested interests, and in the field of culture, classical interests 
are still powerful in school, college and university. Since most cultured 
folk receive the main part of their education in the years from fourteen 
to twenty-two it is vital to spend these precious eight years wisely. I do 
not believe that the curriculum in many of the schools in the British 
Empire — at any rate those with which I am familiar in Australia and 
Canada — is wisely chosen. It is because I feel that the social sciences, 
especially such topics as are discussed in this address, are far more im- 
portant to the youth of this generation than almost any other branch of 
culture that I raise the somewhat trite issue of Classics versus Modernism. 
The youth of to-day has not time for both. • 

We have noted in our discussion that primitive ideas persist in marginal 
areas. Perhaps it should not surprise us, therefore, that in the two 
distant Dominions mentioned, classical teaching is given an undue place 
in schools and colleges ! When St. Augustine reached Britain about 
A.D. 600 with a mission to educate the barbarians, he first found it necessary 
to establish grammar schools to teach the classical grammar. Not until 
students knew Latin could they begin to study the mathematics, logic, 
music, theology and the rudimentary science of the day. Undoubtedly 



we are a conservative people ; so that many folk seem to think what 
was good enough for St. Augustine ought to be good enough for us ! 

This is perhaps the main reason why so many of our schools still give 
the lion's share of their time to the acquisition of an inadequate knowledge 
of the Latin language. Latin is, of course, of small importance in helping 
the average man to-day to pass on to other subjects which he really needs. 
Be it understood that the Latin and Greek languages should, in my opinion, 
most certainly be studied in the universities for the same reasons that we 
study Anglo-Saxon and other sources of our language, and to the same 
extent. There is no need to learn Greek to understand Greek philosophy. 

Would that the classical protagonist realised the real value of the Greek 
education as taught by Aristotle, and would encourage its adaptation to 
modern times. Plato and Aristotle in 350 B.C. did not occupy the in- 
valuable time of their students by wearisome repetition of the vocabularies 

" EDUCATION ' )()^\ 

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which mosroj-jVcfe 
ftu&rrolia ^ 

The World of Today 


Lahn of aOOOj;ear--5 ogo €? q-p 

FiG. 18. — A knowledge of the fundamentals of modern culture is far more vital 
to the youth of to-day than studies which have survived since the days of 
St. Augustine. 

of the Egyptians, from whom the Greeks derived much of their culture ; 
or of folk-tales written in some foreign language two thousand years before 
their date. They trained youth to deal intelligently with existing conditions. 
We may not all agree with the scathing words of a well-known writer 
(E. D. Martin), who states that culture did not mean for the Greeks 
' the accumulation of dead and inconsequential knowledge, the only 
purpose of which was a pedantic display of erudition ' (Martin 1926) ; but 
we must suit our education to the twentieth century. 

We must train our young folk to deal intelligently (i.e. scientifically) 
with existing conditions. It will be of interest to draw from my own 
teaching experience in this connection in Australia, Chicago and Canada. 
In the former continent we see six million Anglo-Saxons living in a hot 
arid continent with an environment resembling North Africa and quite 
unlike any portion of Europe, not to mention the British Isles (Fig. 18). 
Bordering the Commonwealth on the North are 300 million Indians, 
400 million Chinese and 60 million Japanese. The empire of the last 
reaches to the borders of Australasia. Yet it is safe to say that the students 
in the better schools, as I knew them in Sydney, learned little or nothing 


of these environments and of their effect on the inhabitants ; or about 
the huge over-populated areas to the north menacing the Australian 
Commonwealth. Conditions of matriculation meant that they spent one- 
fifth of their time in schools studying classical languages — though only 
a few per cent, would ever use this subject at the university or in later life. 

In Ontario I find that conditions are not much better. Here also we 
have a pioneer country, with the welfare of the citizens far more directly 
controlled by the natural environment than in older regions like Britain. 
Here also in my opinion we have too great a stress laid on the classics in 
the general education. The schools here as elsewhere are controlled by 
matriculation conditions. It is perhaps sufficient to compare some of the 
social sciences with classics at the University of Toronto.* There are 
twenty professors (i.e. assistant professors or higher) in classics, while the 
total for the five independent and newer departments of Sociology, 
Psychology, Anthropology, Archaeology and Geography is only sixteen. 
The number of students in the second group is of course far greater. On 
the other hand at Chicago — one of the three leading universities in the 
States — Geography (as regards both students and staff) is on an equal 
footing with classics ; and throughout most of the U.S.A. the legend that 
culture is impossible without classics is nearly dead. I hope and believe 
that education in this respect is better planned in Britain than in the 

There is something very wrong with the world to-day. Our outlook on 
life is confused whether we are concerned with material, mental or spiritual 
values. As Lord Samuel has recently pointed out. Science in modern 
times can be trusted to look after material things, but philosophy and 
religion are still in the melting pot. In his opinion, that frontier where 
science and philosophy meet, and where the conclusions of one are handed 
across to be the premises of the other, should be taken as the vital centre 
in the wide realm of thought. To my way of thinking this explains the 
value of a study of cultural geography. It is a fair example of such a 
transfer of concepts from science to a somewhat philosophical field. 

What should be the training of the educated man to-day ? If we omit 
the specialised knowledge he needs for his profession, then we might do 
worse than adopt Aristotle's idea, ' To deal in the best way possible 
(i.e. scientifically) with existing conditions.' Let us replace the bygone 
Trivium of grammar, rhetoric and dialectic by one in sympathy with 
modern aims. I like Wells' summary in this connection. ' The end and 
aim of all education is to teach ... of the beginnings of life upon this 
lonely little planet, and how these beginnings have unfolded ; to show 
how man has arisen through the long ages from amidst the beasts, and 
the nature of the struggle God wages through him ' (Wells 191 1). In 
effect, to make folks realise that evolution is still progressing, and that 
they themselves are living factors in the process. 

Three subjects seem to be vital in the scheme of education outlined 
above. First Biology, which deals with the evolution of man as an animal ; 
secondly. History which deals largely with the growth of his ideals and" 
institutions ; and thirdly Geography which deals with his present, often 

* Professors in classics and philosophy are almost wholly appointed by the 
affiliated Colleges themselves. 


varying, environment which is inevitably moulding himself. This to my 
mind is the ultimate reason why Geography can be claimed as one of the 
three fundamentals of modern education. I should like to see Wells' 
Outline of History, or some similar generalised study of cultural evolution 
(and I have tried to write two, myself !), made compulsory for all high 
schools. A knowledge of this aspect of culture will be far more helpful 
in the present world-crisis than much of the present curriculum. 

The aim of civilisation, as I see it, is not to prepare for a better world 
beyond this earth, but to prepare a better world on this earth. Our 
immediate objective should be a world of peace. This can only be attained 
by studying world problems, especially those involving other nations 
and cultures. It would seem desirable to swing the attention of youth for 
a generation or two from the problems of physical science to the more 
difficult and dangerous problems of social science. There is no risk 
to-day, though there was in the past, in stating that the earth is a globe, 
revolves around the sun, and is of infinitely small importance in the 
Cosmos. But there is grave danger in many circles in stating the truth 
about Communism, Socialism, Judaism, Nordicism and many other 
-isms which conflict with established or dictatorial interests. These 
creeds are cultural facts, which can be most readily understood by 
a graphical presentation. It is no quibble to say that they are to-day 
more vital to the man of culture, i.e. with a well-rounded education, than 
is the well-recognised and valuable culture based on art, music, or classics. 
Thus the geographer whose interests lie not only in the economic but 
also in the cultural field can feel that he is working right on the battle-front 
in man's progress towards a higher type of civilisation. 

L. Bibliography 

This Address is an expansion of certain chapters of my last two books, 
Environment and Nation and Environment, Race and Migration, both of which 
have been published at Toronto, Oxford and Chicago, by the University Presses. 
ChUde, V. G. 1934 ^^'"^ Light on the Most Ancient East, London. 

1936 The Aryans, London. 

Dixon, R. 1923 Racial History of Man, New York. 

de Hevesy, M. G. 1933 ' Sur un ecriture oceanienne,' Bull. Soc. Prehist. Fran. 

Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1929 Article on ' Philology.' 

Fergusson and Burgess. 1880 The Cave Temples of India, London, p. 33. 

See also 1929 ' Indian Architecture,' Ency. Britt. 12. 
Finch and Baker. 1917 Geography of the World's Agriculture, Washington. 
Hunter, G. R. 1934 The Script of Harappa, London. 
Huntington, E. 1937 ' Geography and History,' Can. J. Econ., Toronto. 

1938 Season of Birth, New York. 

Hoyt, H. 1933 Land Values in Chicago, Chicago. 
Jespersen, O. 1894 Progress in Language, London, p. 36. 
Keith, A. 1931 New Discoveries Relating to Man, London. 
Koeppen, W. 1932 ' Age of Man in Europe,' Anthropos, p. 955. 
Martin, E. D. 1926 The Meaning of a Liberal Education, New York. 
Matthew, W. D. 1915 ' Climate and Evolution,' Attn. Acad. Sci., New York. 
Metraux, J. 1938 ' Easter Island Tablets,' Man, London, January. 
Routledge, S. 1919 Mystery of Easter Island, London. 

Taylor, Griffith. 1919 ' Climatic Cycles and Evolution,' Geo. Rev., New York. 

1 92 1 ' Evolution and Distribution of Race, Language and 

Culture,' Geo. Rev., New York. 

1930 ' Racial Migration Zones,' Human Biology, Baltimore. 

F 2 


Taylor, Griffith. 1934 ' Ecological Basis of Anthropology,' Ecology, Chicago. 

1935 ' Geography, the Correlative Science,' Can. J. Econ., 


1936a Environment and Nation, Oxford, p. 108. 

1936b Environment and Nation, Oxford, p. 417. 

1936c ' Zones and Strata Theory,' Human Biology, Baltimore. 

i936d ' Fundamental Factors in Canadian Geography,' Can. 

Geog. Jnl. 

1937a Enviromnent, Race and Migration, Fig. 28. 

1937b Environment, Race and Migration, p. 460. 

Wells, H. G. 191 1 The New Machiavelli, London. 

Wiener, L. 1899 History of Yiddish Literature, London. 
Worrell, W. H. 1927 Races in the Ancient Near East, New York. 
Wyld, H. C. 1920 History of Modern Colloquial English, London. 






In my choice of subject to-day, I fear that I have exposed myself to two 
serious charges : that of tedium and that of presumption. Speculations 
upon methodology are famous for platitude and prolixity. They offer 
the greatest opportunity for internecine strife ; the claims of contending 
factions are subject to no agreed check, and a victory, even if it could be 
established, is thought to yield no manifest benefit to the science itself. 
The barrenness of methodological conclusions is often a fitting complement 
to the weariness entailed by the process of reaching them. 

Exposed as a bore the methodologist cannot take refuge behind a cloak 
of modesty. On the contrary, he stands forward ready by his own claim 
to give advice to all and sundry, to criticise the work of others, which, 
whether valuable or not, at least attempts to be constructive ; he sets 
himself up as the final interpreter of the past and dictator of future 

My sense of immodesty is greatly enhanced by the occasion and place 
of this gathering. As economists we are singularly happy in having this 
meeting of the British Association in Cambridge. There is no need for 
me to emphasise the unique contribution which this University has made 
to economic studies in recent times ; the great names of masters dead 
and living are in all our minds. And here I come, a tyro from a Univer- 
sity, which, albeit the home of revered economists — may I be forgiven for 
mentioning Locke, Senior, W. F. Lloyd and Edgeworth^must in the 
modern period recognise its own juniority of status, and dare to lay down 
the law in this holy of holies. In the sphere of methodology the Cambridge 
economists have contributed much both by way of parenthesis in their 
major works and by occasional papers. I must refer also to the classic 
treatise on Scope and Method by Dr. John Nevile Keynes, who is still 
happily with us. 

As a small extenuating circumstance I may mention that after taking 
my degree at Oxford I spent an all too brief but highly stimulating period 
here as the pupil of Mr. Maynard Keynes. And it is a source of par- 
ticular pride and pleasure to me that on the first meeting of the Association 
in Cambridge thereafter I should re-visit it in this honourable capacity. 

My substantial excuse for choosing methodology to-day is that I feel 


a strong inner urge to say something. Also the time appears to be fitting. 
English writers have been on the whole wisely chary of the subject ; but 
recently there has been an outcrop of speculation upon it. There is 
Prof. Robbins' brilliant essay. My differences from him on certain 
matters of emphasis will become manifest ; his effective and conclusive 
exposure of many popular fallacies regarding the nature and assumptions 
of pure theory considerably lightens my burden. Prof. Fraser has con- 
tributed some important articles, and his book on Economic Thought 
and Language lies on the borderland of methodology. Most recently we 
have Mrs. Wootton's jeremiad. ^ While her case against too grandiose 
claims for our subject is unassailable, I am confident that a circumspect 
statement of its achievement and utility would be proof against her shafts. 
Most melancholy of all I find her unappetising programme for the future 
development of economics. 

A word of warning is in place at the outset. In view of the prospective 
intensification of economic studies in this country, it might be thought 
timely to lay down the lines or set up some finger-posts for the work which 
might most profitably be done. Such an attempt would indeed be 
presumptuous and would depart altogether from proper methodological 
procedure. The principles by which progress in a science proceeds can 
only be reached by observing that progress. They cannot be deduced 
a priori or prescribed in advance. There are no doubt certain general 
logical rules to which all genuine advance in knowledge is subject. The 
study of these constitutes logic itself. Each science or discipline has its 
own special limitations and conditions ; its method of progress has its 
own special characteristics ; within the wide field of logical possibilities 
some are selected as especially adapted to its problems ; it is with this 
selection that methodology is concerned. And for this reason the 
methodologist is bound to occupy the rear and not the vanguard. He 
studies the specific nature of the selected principles after the selection has 
been made. Methods of course change from time to time ; but the actual 
worker on special problems is more likely than the methodologist to be 
able to judge the best line of advance. The methodologist's contribution 
is more indirect. 

It is when they endeavour to adopt a forward position that the methodo- 
logists are most apt to lapse into barren controversy. The historical 
school scolds the deductive school and the deductive school scolds back. 
Captions and battle-cries are devised. The ' institutionalists ' appear on 
the scene. These rival schools endeavour to prescribe what economic 
method ought to be. The function of the methodologist is to say what it 
in fact is, or, more strictly, has so far been. The proper and final reply 
to the would-be reformer is, ' Stop talking and get on with the job ; apply 
your method, and, if it is productive, you will be able to display your 

On first glance this relegation of the methodologist to the rear might 

seem to give public endorsement to what has all the time been the inward 

suspicion of the pioneer that he is an utterly useless being. But in fact 

by reducing his claims he at once becomes much more useful. The 

^ Cp. also Dr. Lancelot Hogben, Political Arithmetic, Introduction. 


forward worker is inevitably influenced by methods used in the past ; 
methods that have already achieved good results may be expected to 
achieve more ; tools ready to hand are taken up. By going over the old 
ground and making a stricter survey, the methodologist may considerably 
modify this influence of the past upon the present. For instance, by a 
minute examination of assumptions he may show that there are certain 
limitations in principle to the productiveness of a given method and that it 
has in fact already yielded all the results that its assumptions allow. Or, 
he may show that propositions usually deemed to constitute constructive 
knowledge do not in fact do so, but consist essentially of definitions of 
the terms employed. Or, he may show that conclusions often presented 
as the fruits of deductive reasoning were suggested by observation of the 
facts and have no other support, the premises used in the pedagogic 
demonstration being hypotheses otherwise unsupported. These elucida- 
tions may alter the forward worker's sense of proportion and the reliance 
he implicitly places on certain tools. They may give him a greater 
understanding of the nature of past achievements and so insensibly 
influence him in his gropings towards fresh discovery. To do this is 
very different from trying to lay down the lines on which he ought to work. 

This survey of economics is confined to what may be called its 
scientific aspect — namely, the formulation of general laws and maxims. 
Many economists are, naturally, concerned with much besides this. 
They are concerned with the bare description of institutions, with com- 
piling statistics and presenting them in an informative way. Study of 
this sort may be regarded as contemporary economic history. It has 
serious methodological problems of its own, which are not considered 

It must not be inferred that this paper is solely concerned with so-called 
deductive economics. Quite the contrary. Its purpose is to emphasise 
the limitations of deduction and the importance of observation of the facts. 
Facts may be observed for their own intrinsic interest, or as tending to 
establish or overthrow some generalisation. It is the latter type of 
observation that falls within this survey. 

It may be of assistance at this point to sketch out certain broad con- 
clusions which the following reasoning seeks to establish. An advance 
statement of this kind may make the course of the argument more easy 
to follow. 

I propose to divide what is commonly regarded as the pure theory 
of traditional economics into two sharply distinguished sections. Con- 
fusion appears to me to have arisen from the failure to make this distinc- 
tion. On the one hand there is the theory of value and distribution ; 
on the other there is the maxim that productive resouixes should so be 
distributed among occupations as to yield an equi-marginal social net 
product. 2 

The theory of value and distribution seeks to show how a number of 
circumstances taken as given (the fundamental data) — ^namely, the pre- 
ferences and capacities of individuals and the available resources — serve 
- Cp. Prof. Pigou, Economics of Welfare, ist ed., pt. ii, ch. 2, sec. 5. 


to determine a structure of output and prices. If a change in these data 
occurs, the theory professes ability to predict the consequences within 
certain Hmits on the price-output structure. This professed abiHty to 
predict impHes that we have available certain general laws concerning 
the succession of events, causal laws in fact. Rigid demonstrability and 
certainty, of an almost geometric kind, are claimed for them. Since the 
laws concern the succession of phenomena they must have an empirical 
basis ; and since the phenomena of economics are notoriously highly 
complex and unamenable to scientific handling, it is a paradox that the 
laws derived from their study should have the high degree of certainty 
claimed for them. 

The paradox is resolved when we consider that the laws in question 
are deducible from a single simple principle (Robbins), itself based on 
experience, but on an experience far wider than that vouchsafed by the 
study of markets and prices and extending back to the earliest phases of 
man's self-conscious existence — namely, the Law of Diminishing Utility 
or the Law of Demand, to be defined more precisely presently. The 
experience is so broad that the principle may be taken as an axiom of the 
highest possible degree of empirical probability. 

But against this very high degree of probability of the principle and the 
laws deduced from it must be set their complementary degree of generality. 
The degree of generality is indeed so great that, I shall submit, the power 
of prediction vouchsafed by them is almost nugatory. 

Next, economists, even the most theoretical, have been prone to give 
advice on the basis of theory. And I believe that economists would claim 
that much of the advice so given since Adam Smith has been valid. A 
type of the advice I have in mind, though this by no means covers the 
whole field, is the recommendation of free trade. Now it will at once 
occur to the critic to ask how, if it is true that the laws of value and dis- 
tribution are so general that they yield but a nugatory power of prediction, 
can a quite copious array of advisory propositions, admittedly based on 
pure theory, be justified. 

The reply is that these prescriptions are based on the other department 
of what is commonly regarded as pure theory. They are derived from the 
maxim that productive resources should be so distributed among occupa- 
tions as to yield an equi-marginal social net product. The nature and 
justification of this maxim must be considered. 

In order to derive from it precepts, which are applicable in the real 
world, certain knowledge about that world is necessary. This knowledge 
does not, however, relate primarily to causal sequences, nor does it consist 
of a bare enumeration of particular features and events. It arises rather 
from a simultaneous chart or survey of the -economic field and the main 
work of the cartographer is analysis and classification. This analytical 
work is required both as a preliminary to the construction of the map and 
to the derivations of specific causal laws from the law of demand. I 
venture to submit that it is this identity of the preliminary groundwork 
which has tended to obscure the fundamental distinction between the 
set of conclusions which relate to causal sequences and involve predictory 
power on the one hand and the comprehensive but simultaneous con- 


spectus of the field as a whole, on which the validity of the prescriptions 
depends, on the other. 

I regard this division of analysis into two departments as of importance, 
(i) because it reconciles the fairly copious array of economic precept with 
the very limited power of prediction, and (ii) because only by it can the 
empirical grounds of our general propositions be properly sorted out. I 
should add that recent methodological speculation appears to attach too 
much importance to the part played by the general theory of value and 
too little to that of the equi-marginal maxim in the history of economic 

Recently economists have had the very proper ambition of obtaining 
greater knowledge of causal sequences than is vouchsafed by deductions 
from the Law of Demand. The phenomena of the Trade Cycle have been 
a special stimulus in this direction. But once they leave the plane of high 
generality which pertains to those deductions, their generalisations are 
likely to have a much lower degree of probability. All the difficulties 
associated with the complex and unamenable nature of the phenomena, 
which they have to study, come to the surface. They must say goodbye 
for ever to the claims to certainty which they could make, so long as they 
remained within the confines of their geometrical system. From being 
one of the most exact, albeit narrowly circumscribed, sciences, economics 
of necessity becomes one of the most conjectural. 

Yet the conjecture of the trained observer may be of value. In the 
recent period economists have already offered advice on the basis of their 
conjectures in this dubious field. To this department belong many of 
the recommendations concerning control of the trade cycle ; they are 
based on propositions concerning causal sequences not derived from the 
Law of Demand : on propositions, therefore, which are to some extent 
conjectural. Hence the recent conflict of prescriptions, of which we have 
heard so much. Thus we may account for the transition from the 
unanimity of advice, common in the last century, of which free trade is a 
good instance, to present-day disagreements. The former was based on 
the analytical map, making no claim to causal knowledge ; the latter is 
based on the necessarily conjectural propositions of cycle theory, which 
must make such a claim and are conjectural precisely because they entail 
such a claim. 

But the new realm of conjecture, though it may drive out the old know- 
ledge from its position of central interest in the economist's mind, does 
not invalidate that knowledge. It will be a thousand pities if the con- 
flicting nature of prescriptions of the new type, which economists are right 
to give, albeit without claim to certainty, since they must give of their best, 
undermines the authority of the advice given on the basis of the analytical 

I now proceed to a more detailed examination. What remains is 
divided into four parts. The first I call the economic criterion, which 
deals with the nature and authority of the prescriptions given on the basis 
of the analytical map. The second is the theory of value and distribution, 
which considers the scope and validity of the causal knowledge derived 
from the Law of Demand. There remain the recent strivings after causal 


knowledge outside that ambit. Within this field I carve out a section 
named dynamic theory for reasons which will be explained. The residual 
section I call empirical study. This must not be taken to imply that the 
knowledge considered in the earlier sections is not based on experience. 
I expect the studies falling under this fourth head to be the most important 
in the future ; but owing to my rearguard position I shall not be able to 
say much about them. I hope that appreciation of the necessary limita- 
tions to the scope of the other types of knowledge may serve to stimulate 
the new empirical work. 


The Economic Criterion. 

The train of thought here to be considered is derived from Adam Smith. 
His chief claim to fame consists in his origination of it, his work on this 
topic having far greater cogency and authority than his particular formula- 
tion of the labour theory of value or his speculations on the forces deter- 
mining wages, profit and rent. Furthei-more I conceive it to be the central 
core of classical economics, entitled to an easy priority over the theory of 
value and distribution to which more recent writers, by reason of the 
growing precision of its formulation, have tended to give pride of place. 

The contribution of this department of theory must be considered 
under two heads : (i) the choice of the criterion itself ; (2) the mechanisrn 
for testing how far existing or proposed arrangements and practices fulfil 
its requirements. 

The criterion may be defined dogmatically as follows : If an individual 
prefers a commodity or service X to Y, it is economically better that he 
should have it. Similarly, if the individual prefers work X to Y, or dislikes 
it less, it is economically better that he should do it. The economic good 
is thus the preferred. If we may adopt Prof. Robbins' method of regard- 
ing the inner structure of thought rather than the verbal formulation of it, 
this choice of a criterion may be attributed to Adam Smith. 

The act of choice cannot be regarded either as a discovery or a hypo- 
thesis, though it partakes to some extent in the nature of each. He per- 
ceived that by means of it, it would be possible to make sense of the 
confused and conflicting arguments of economic doctors and reduce chaos 
to order. This choice involved scientific insight of a high order. Its 
merits may be judged by its fruits. 

In appraising institutions and practices and making recommendations 
the economist has this criterion in mind ; it constitutes his standard of 
good and bad. 

Zealous protagonists for the scientific character of economics have 
been disposed, especially recently, to define the advisory capacity of the 
economist somewhat differently. Realising that in fully developed 
sciences, laws of causation have primacy of position and practical maxims 
issue as corollaries from them, they have been unwisely eager to assimilate 
economics to this category. Consequently they have suggested that the " 
economist in his advisory capacity should state that a given interference 
will lead to certain consequences X, Y, Z . . . and then remain silent, 


leaving his client to decide whether X, Y, Z ... is a state of affairs 
which he wishes to bring about. This formulation is in manifest conflict 
with the actual practice of economists. If the methodologist urges that 
this ought to be their actual practice, he trespasses beyond his proper 
province, which has already been defined. Also this formulation claims 
both too much and too little. 

It claims too much because it gives an exaggerated idea of the 
economist's power of prediction at the present juncture. It claims too 
little because it entails that his advisory power is confined within the narrow 
limits of his predictory power. Moreover it would make him present his 
information in a form in which it would be of no use to his client. 

Suppose, for instance, an import duty on what is under consideration. 
He may feel confident that this will cause the price of wheat and wheaten 
bread within the country to be higher than it would otherwise be. He 
knows also that the duty will have effects on the prices of other com- 
modities, on the incomes of various classes, on the foreign exchanges and 
the circulation of money. But he cannot put these effects into quantitative 
terms and in some cases he may not know the direction of the conse- 
quential movements. To do so he would have to have much more detailed 
causal laws at his disposal than there is any immediate prospect of his 

But even if he could know all these things, his advice would still be in 
a form of little use to his client. Having heard all the prospective charges, 
the client will want to know whether the last state of affairs is in sum 
better or worse than the first and will be unable by his unaided intelligence 
to decide. 

By resorting to his analytical map, presently to be described, the 
economist may be able to come by a short cut to the required answer. 
He may be able to say outright and with substantial authority that on the 
whole the individuals of the community will be in a worse position, even 
although his power of predicting the actual course of prices and incornes 
is negligible. Any definition of the economist's advisory scope, which 
does not recognise this, is unrealistic and fails to do justice to the use- 
fulness of the economist even with his present limited powers. 

Strictures upon the economist's proneness to give advice come also 
from another quarter — namely, politicians or moral philosophers. What 
right, they say, has the economist to lay down that such and such ought 
to be done, since this depends in part upon the ends sought ? Sure! 
the economist must wait until the ends are furnished to him by the 
politician. This criticism is not valid. 

The economist is entitled to his criterion of individual preference. 
The politician may then say to him, ' I am not so much interested in indi- 
viduals getting what they prefer, as in the country being self-sufficient. 
What I want to know is how to achieve this.' But there are an infinite 
number of ways of achieving it. Which shall the economist prescribe } 
The politician may add : ' Oh, well, I want to do it in the most economical 
way.' The economist then interprets this as meaning that subject to the 
overriding condition of self-sufficiency, individuals are to get what they 
prefer. Without his own criterion he cannot choose among the infinite 


variety of possibilities. Thus he has to employ it, even when a specific 
end is furnished to him.^ 

He uses his criterion both to give advice simpliciter and to give it sub- 
ject to an overriding end furnished to him. If it were true that there is a 
latent ethical or political bias when he gives advice simpliciter, it would 
be equally true when he advises on the means to achieve an end laid down 
by moralists or politicians. Without his own criterion, he is entirely 
stultified. With it, he can give advice of precisely equal validity and 
freedom from ethical bias whether a specific end is furnished to him or not. 

We proceed to our second head within this field of thought : the 
mechanism for testing whether the requirements of the criterion are ful- 
filled. Here again our main debt is to Adam Smith. He perceived that 
the complex phenomena of markets and prices might be regarded as the 
result of the efforts of individuals to inform each other of their preferences. 
This is the basis of the analytical map. He correctly maintained that 
economic study arises from the fact of division of labour. Robinson 
Crusoe directs his energies in relation to his own standard of preferences ; 
he needs no outside advice. He may indeed misdirect his efforts from 
ignorance of agriculture or engineering ; in this the technicians in these 
subjects can alone correct him ; the economist has no place. The need 
for the economist arises from the division in person between the producer 
and the consumer. 

Economists have constructed a map or model in which individuals 
are seen informing each other of their preferences. (It may help the 
reader to regard this map as ' the theory of perfect competition,' provided 
that all reference to the sequence of events is excluded from that ' theory.') 
In order to construct the map in a way which corresponds with the 
observed phenomena of the real world, certain important analytical work 
was necessary. The relevant propositions may be stated in the form of 
truisms or tautologies, such as that the price of an article is equal to the 
sum of rewards to all persons contributing to its production, or again, if 
services of the same type get equal rewards in different occupations, the 
prices of commodities will be proportional to the quantity of services 
required for their production.* The intellectual intuition behind these 
formulations is primarily one of classification. Indeed, it may be said 
that the major part of traditional economic theory consists of classification. 
Classification is a highly respectable scientific activity of which economists 
have no need to be ashamed. By referring more to it and less to so-called 
' laws ' their claim to scientific status, albeit more modest, would be less 

2 The position may be more complex. The economist may be asked to pro- 
vide not for absolute self-sufficiency but for a higher degree of it than obtained 
before. He will then be able to lay down the conditions for the attainment of 
the greatest amount of economic advantage in connection with any given degree 
of self-sufficiency, and he may be able to give some idea of the successive rates 
of economic sacrifice involved in the attainment of successively higher degrees 
of self-sufficiency. 

* More strictly, the prices of commodities will be the sums of parts a, b, c . . . 
charged in respect of services A, B, C . . ., the value of each of which parts will 
be proportional to the quantity of the corresponding service used. 


The map is to some extent hypothetical. It supposes that various 
activities may be interpreted as notifications of preferences. On the other 
hand it is drawn with reference to the facts of the situation, assuming, if 
appropriate, such matters as private property, private ownership of land, 
unequal division of wealth, even special types of banking institution, 
company organisation, etc., and traces how the mutual notification, which 
it supposes to be intended, operates in these conditions. 

Two points may be noted, (i) By means of the map we are enabled 
to get a view of the economic field as a whole. This is necessary for 
prescription. A particular piece of legislation may be well designed to 
secure its specific object. All reasonable men will wish to know, and it is 
the economist's task to say, how this fits in with the larger purpose, for 
which the whole economic mechanism is designed. To what extent does 
the specific objective militate against or further the more general purpose ?^ 
This can be studied by reference to the analytical conspectus. (2) Our 
right to interpret observed phenomena as constituting the mutual expres- 
sion of preferences depends in the last analysis on introspection. An 
observant visitor from Mars who knew nothing of the nature of desire, 
purpose and will, might well be unable to make this necessary link ; he 
could become expert in the knowledge of causal sequences, but for lack 
of the necessary interpretation would be unable to give advice on the basis 
of the conspectus.'' 

The map is related to the criterion of preference by this principle, that 
the more effective the system of mutual notification attained, the more 
fully are preferences likely to be realised. Reference may be made to the 
example of an import duty on wheat. We may know enough of the 
existing organisation of markets to be sure that this will impose an obstruc- 
tion to effective mutual notification. We infer that in the presence of this 
obstruction preferences are less likely to be secured. The validity of this 
inference depends upon the correctitude of our interpretation of existing 
market processes. It is independent of knowledge how individuals will 
react to the obstruction,' namely, the consequent course of prices, wages, 
etc., which we should have to know if we were required to give a full 
statement of consequences before prescribing, but which we only could 
know if our causal knowledge were fuller than it is. 

How far the facts of real life correspond to those envisaged in the map 
is a matter of observation and it should be subjected to continuous check. 
Economists of the past were perhaps too hasty in assuming exact corre- 
spondence. On the basis of the assumption and the criterion that the 

* If I interpret him aright, this account is in accordance with the view expressed 
by Prof. Robbins in his section on ' rationality ' in the concluding section of the 
Nature and Significance of Economic Science. Cp. also Prof. G. Cassel, Funda- 
mental Thoughts on Economics, p. 14. 

' This is in principle the position to which Prof. Cassel would reduce 
economists by e.xtruding all reference to utility from economics. Cp. Funda- 
mental Thoughts on Economics , pp. 66-70. In another place, however, he recog- 
nises the fundamental part played by the notion of need, which is only another 
word for utility, cp. Theory of Social Economy, vol. i, pp. 8-9 (tr. McCabe). 

' In exceptional cases the precise nature of this reaction relevant. 
Our map read in conjunction with our interpretation of the market should warn 
us if there is any probability of this. 


economic objective was to achieve the preferred position the maxim of 
laissez-faire was exalted and a wealth of recommendations vouchsafed. 

These may be defended at least negatively. A given interference, 
unless specifically designed to shape the real world to a closer approxima- 
tion to the map, is likely to distort it further from it. In this case reference 
to the criterion makes valid condemnation possible. 

More recently there has been a proper tendency to go beyond this 
negative attitude and to consider what interferences might be introduced 
to make the real world more like the map. Recommendations of this sort 
must be based on a vigilant observation of the actual working of real 
institutions (but they do not rest on causal laws or predictory powers). 

In this connection reference may be made to the formulation by Prof. 
Pigou, already referred to, that the marginal social net product of resources 
in difi^erent occupations should be equal. Time forbids me to consider 
the definitions and classifications required to support this. It is the 
necessary but not sufficient condition for the fulfilment of the criterion 
that individuals should get what they prefer and may be regarded as a 
(partial) re-statement of it. 

The fact that a large part of Prof. Pigou's Economics of Welfare consists 
in the appraisal of institutions and proposals in the light of his criterion is 
evidence that this line of thought still has vitality. 

Recent theorems relating to Imperfect Competition, which in my own 
mind at least have a direct intellectual connection with Prof. Pigou's 
consideration of Increasing Returns in the light of his criterion, appear 
to have their principal value, not in the realm of causal laws or prediction, 
but as an endeavour to show in an orderly and systematic way how real 
markets are distorted by comparison with those of the map. 

In spite of these interesting developments I feel that there is a danger 
that this part of economic speculation, the field of its most signal triumphs 
in the past, may suff^er an undeserved neglect, whether owing to the 
economist's absorption in rival interests or to his discouragement at the 
overthrow of free trade. A mistaken methodological ban on advice- 
giving might also contribute something. 

The widespread growth of government interference makes this function 
more and not less important. Officially sponsored rationalisation schemes, 
arrangements for the semi-public operation of services, public policy with 
regard to road and rail transport, marketing board arrangements all require 
vigilant scrutiny in the light of the criterion, to say nothing of more full- 
blooded socialist programmes. Even if public policy appears to violate 
the advice which the economist would give simpliciter, this is no excuse 
for him not to take an interest in the fulfilment of his criterion subject to 
the overriding demands of policy. He may think that there is no case for 
giving agriculture special protection ; in the face of the opposite policy 
he has scope enough to criticise the arrangements introduced to give effect 
to it. If he loses interest in this field of thought, the country is only too 
likely to get tied up with red tape and be subject to vast avoidable wastage. 

One further topic remains for consideration in this section. 

The preference criterion which forms the basis of the kind of investiga- 
tion here considered was stated in a form not involving the comparison 


of the claims of different individuals with one another. The preferences 
notified in the model market are of the form that a given individual 
prefers an nth unit of X to an 7;/th of Y. The need of one individual is 
not compared with that of another. 

Yet one is tempted to make such comparisons. For example, Marshall 
says in the Pmiciples that the marginal utility of twopence is greater in 
the case of a poorer man than in that of a richer. If such comparisons are 
allowed, recommendations for a more even distribution of income seem 
to follow logically. They give scope for a wide range of recommenda- 
tions not sponsored by our original criterion. 

Objection to this enlargement of the field of prescription may be based 
on two grounds. 

(i) It may be urged that the economist hereby goes outside his proper 
' scientific ' field. This point is strongly urged by Prof. Robbins. 
Whether the wth unit of X has greater or less utility than the mth. of Y 
to a given individual may be made the subject of test. He can be given 
the choice. But there are no ' scientific ' means of deciding whether the 
72th of X has greater or less utility to individual P than the wrth of Y has 
to another individual Q. The choice can never be put. This implies 
that we cannot decide whether two pence have more utility to a mil- 
lionaire or a beggar. Yet we may have a shrewd suspicion. But this, 
we are told, is ' unscientific,' for lack of a test. This objection would be 
very weighty if economics itself were a mature and exact science. Yet 
in fact its achievements outside a limited field are so beset on every side 
by matters which only admit of conjecture that it is possibly rather 
ridiculous for an economist to take such a high line. 7Te7T;ai.8£U[j,evou yap 
eaxiv ettI tocoutov to dcxptPe? etul^yjtsiv >ca6' exacrxov y£VO(;, ecp' ocrov y) tou 
TTpayixaxo? cpuoi? i-K\Zzjz-a.u^ Can we afi"ord to reject this very clear 
finfiing of common sense ? Of course great caution must be exercised 
in not pushing the matter too far. Since the evidence is vague, we must 
not go further than a very clear mandate from common sense allows. 

It is not altogether certain that the gulf between the prescriptions of the 
classical economists and those of, shall I call them, the welfare school 
is as great as Prof. Robbins implies. There is no doubt that the marginal 
utility of twopence to a given man at a given time and in given other 
circumstances is less if he has ^^ 1,000,000 a year than if he has ^zs, a year, 
since he will spend the £2:^ on things which he prefers per id. of cost to 
the things on which he would spend the remaining ^999,975. The further 
postulate that the twopence has lower utility to a millionaire than to a 
£2^ per annum man is based on some sort of assumption about the equality 
of men in regard to their needs, which must not be pressed too far. But 
so also do the prescriptions favourable to free markets. For the indi- 
viduals who gain by the opening of a market are often difi'erent from those 
who suflFer some loss. Consider the Repeal of the Corn Laws. This 
tended to reduce the value of a specific factor of production, land. It can 
no doubt be shown that the gain to the community as a whole exceeded 

* Aristotle, Ethica Nicomachea, 1094b. ' For an educated person should 
expect to obtain precision in each branch of study to the extent which its nature 


the loss to the landlords — but only if individuals are treated in some sense 
as equal. Otherwise how can the loss to some, and that there was a 
loss can hardly be denied, be compared with the general gain ? If the 
incomparability of utility to different individuals is strictly pressed, not 
only are the prescriptions of the welfare school ruled out, but all pre- 
scriptions whatever. The economist as an adviser is completely stultified, 
and, unless his speculations be regarded as of paramount aesthetic value, 
he had better be suppressed completely. No ; some sort of postulate of 
equality has to be assumed. But it should be carefully framed and used 
with great caution, always subject to the proviso ' unless the contrary can 
be shown.' In the case of the free market arguments there is usually no 
characteristic attaching peculiarly to the beneficiaries of restriction other 
than that they are beneficiaries. In the case of the uneven distribution 
of income, there are many special characteristics of the rich as a class to 
which due consideration must be given. 

(ii) Objection may be raised on more general grounds which appear to 
me to have greater weight. The distribution of income is intimately 
connected with the balance of social and political forces, the study of 
which is outside the economist's province. In prescribing here he knows 
without being told that there are other considerations. This is not to say 
that he should avoid all questions with political entanglements, for then 
again he would be almost completely stultified. Most vested interests 
can whip up some political support. It is a matter of degree and sense 
of proportion. 

It might further be urged that since redistribution is a straightforward 
matter widely understood, the economist might well leave it alone, since 
he can but reinforce in technical language an argument already before 
the public. Projects of redistribution, however, may have complicated 
ramifications which the economist is especially qualified by his other 
training to trace out. For instance, in his Public Finance Prof. Pigou has 
worked out with great elaboration the principles and consequences of a 
redistributive system of taxation. It may safely be said that this work 
would have been beyond the powers of any but a highly trained economist. 


General Theory of Value and Distribution (Static Theory). 

We now enter the territory which has increasingly come to be regarded 
as the special domain of the economic theorist. It is here that we find the 
laws relating to the succession of phenomena, claiming a high degree of 
authority, on which prediction is based. 

It is not altogether clear why this department of thought has been 
so greatly elevated. The trouble may have begun with Ricardo. He 
wrote : ' in different stages of society, the proportions of the whole 
produce of the earth which will be allotted to each of these classes, under 
the names of rent, profit, and wages will be essentially different ... to 
determine the laws which regulate this distribution is the principal problem 
of Political Economy.' Why the principal problem ? We are not told. 


The method of procedure is to take certain elements in the situation as 
given — namely, the preference lists of individuals for goods and services, 
the terms on which they are willing to contribute their assistance in pro- 
duction and the current state of technology ; and to take other elements 
as unknowns — namely, the prices of all commodities and of factors of pro- 
duction, the amounts of commodities which will be produced and of 
factors which will be employed, and the precise methods of production 
among the variety of these technically possible which will be used. If 
the elements taken as known were in fact known, it would be possible to 
write down a number of equations expressing some of the unknowns as 
functions of the others. The object of this procedure would be to provide 
means of showing how changes in the fundamental data, desires, etc., 
will govern the course of events. 

I regard the most notable intellectual achievement in this department 
to be the classification of factors of production required as preliminary to 
the formulation of the equations. (This classification has also proved of 
great service in elaborating the analytical map already considered.) 
There is the analysis of the contribution of capital to production as con- 
sisting essentially of waiting. There is all the work concerning the rela- 
tion between direct and overhead costs. The so-called law of rent has 
given rise to a number of dichotomies of great interest. The concept of 
profit as a reward for skill and judgment has been rendered fairly precise. 
Prof. Knight has shed a penetrating light upon the relation of profit 
to uncertainty-bearing, but some puzzles here remain. Meanwhile 
Mr. Keynes has produced another concept, liquidity-sacrifice, which bids 
fair to find a place as an independent factor ; it needs further elaboration, 
and its relation to the general concept of uncertainty-bearing requires 
precise definition. 

These concepts are then applied and their values are expressed as 
unknown quantities in a number of forms of functional equations. These 
relate to the demands for commodities considered as functions of the 
prices of commodities, the quantities of factors used to produce commodi- 
ties considered as functions of the prices of factors, and the quantities of 
factors on offer considered as functions of their prices. Satisfaction is 
expressed if there are as many forms of equations as there are unknown 

But we run at once into this difiiculty that the matters taken as known 
for the sake of argument are in fact not known. We may write down 
that the quantity of a commodity demanded depends on its price and on 
the prices of other commodities. But this does not take us far unless 
we know the precise law of dependence. We can only say that there 
should be an equation here, and if it could be written out along with a 
number of other equations, we should be able to determine the value of 
the unknowns and the effect of any specified change upon them. But in 
fact we have not got these equations, but only a number of blank forms, 
which are nothing more than aspirations to have such equations ! 

If this were the end of the matter, this department of theory would 
yield no causal laws and no power to predict whatever. The situation 
is not quite so bad. It is at this point that the Law of Demand is brought 


into play. With its aid we are able to say something about the demand 
equations. We say that they will have this in common, that the quantity 
of a commodity demanded will be less the higher its price. ^ We are still 
unable to formulate the demand equations precisely, but we have this very 
general piece of knowledge about their structure. Having regard to it 
and also assuming that the other equations relating to supply and produc- 
tive methods are not of a very odd structure, ^° limited powers of prediction 
with regard to the direction, though not the quantitative value of changes 
consequent upon a change in fundamental data, are rendered possible. 

How do we come by this law of demand ? Here we are certainly at 
the very centre of traditional economic theory. I do not believe this to 
be based on an observation of markets in the ordinary sense. There the 
confusing influence of many forces is operative, and though scatter 
diagrams may give a faint suggestion of the law, we hold it with much more 
feeling of assurance than they would vouchsafe. 

Consider the Law of Diminishing Utility. Is this based on some 
psycho-physiological principle, the diminishing reaction to stimuli ? 
Is the main constructive part of our theory based on a generalisation 
borrowed from elsewhere, the verification of which depends on the 
observations of others .? I do not think so. I believe the matter to be 

It appears to me that we have here an a priori axiom, albeit based in an 
indirect way on observation. In markets we are concerned with com- 
modities divisible into parts. The parts are homogeneous in one respect, 
namely in all their sensible properties, so as to be perfectly substitutable 
one for another, but heterogeneous in another respect, namely the use 
to which they may be put. The parts may be used separately. Each 
occasion of their use has its own importance. Not each occasion is likely 
to have precisely the same importance, save in an exceptional case. This 
is all that is required for the law of diminishing utility. If supply is 
restricted, use will be confined to the most important occasions. This 
appears more general than, and independent of, the law of diminishing 
reaction to stimuli. The axiom arises directly out of homogeneity in 
one respect and heterogeneity in another. That homogeneity and 
heterogeneity thus reside together in exchangeable objects is of course 
known by observation, ultimately by introspection and the assumption 
that other selves exist and have similar states of consciousness to our 
own. The existence of the law explains how it is possible to make pre- 
diction on the basis of equations, which themselves seem and claim to be 
independent of detailed economic investigation. 

With the aid of the general law of demand we are able to predict some 
immediate consequences of changes in fundamental data. But we cannot 

* Even to this there may be exceptions. Cf. Marshall, Principles of Economics 
(8th ed.), p. 132. 

1" It is possible that the crucial point in the argument by which Mr. Keynes 
throws doubt on the consequences usually supposed to flow from certain changes, 
on the basis of the theory of value, is his demonstration that the real supply 
schedules of the prime factors are, owng to actual offer terms being expressed 
in money, precisely of the odd structure required to invahdate the reasoning. 


go far. In the absence of more precise quantitative knowledge we soon 
run into alternative possibilities. 

This being so, the next step would appear to be to obtain more precise 
knowledge. This must come from empirical investigation. But when we 
leave the sure ground of the law of demand in its general form, we are at 
once confronted with the appalling problems which the shift and change 
in the economic scene with its plurality of causes and unamenability 
to experiment present. Heroic attempts have been made by such workers 
as Dr. Schultz to obtain quantitative laws of demand, and Prof. Douglas 
has made assaults on other parts of the structure of equations. Interest- 
ing results have been obtained and more are to be expected. 

If this is really the heart and centre of economic science, all our resources 
should be put at the disposal of such investigations. But is it ? We come 
back to the obiter dictum of Ricardo. Can it be justified ? 

It may be hazarded that there has been some concentration on the 
development of this part of pure theory, precisely because to a certain 
point it was possible to proceed by way of deduction from our demand 
axiom. But when we proceed beyond this point it is necessary to make 
hypotheses about alternative possibilities, and, although with the aid of 
mathematical tools elaborate chains of deduction may be forged, the basis 
remains hypothetical. It does not seem probable that the predictory 
power in the theory of value can be enlarged, save by such empirical 
observations as make it possible to fill in the blank-forms of equations 
with quantitative data. 

This may be done. It should be noted that the results obtained will 
at best not have a very high degree of probability. Yet it must be said 
that if real equations could be substituted for the present empty forms, 
even if the former were conjectural and hazardous in the extreme, economics 
would be on its way to looking much more like a mature science than 
it does at present. Only by abandoning the theological claim to cer- 
tainty and explicitly allowing a wide margin of error can economics rebut 
the charge of scholasticism and claim scientific status. 

To sum up. The adoption of individual preference as the criterion 
for testing arrangements has proved convenient for getting a systematic 
ordering of thought. Incompletely but validly formulated as the principle 
that the marginal social net product of productive resources should be 
equal, it may be used to test existing arrangements or proposals. A 
map may be constructed, resembling our economic system, in which 
individuals notify each other of their preferences. Interferences may be 
condemned for not taking account of this map. Alternatively inter- 
ferences may be recommended designed to make our economic system 
resemble the map more closely. Both kinds of advice spring from and are 
dependent on a vigilant observation of the actual working of our system. 
It is highly important that this part of the economist's function should not 
fall into desuetude. 

The causal laws of static theory are deducible from the law of demand. 
This is well based on a very wide experience ; it is in no need of veri- 
fication ; further attempts to verify it could not add to the assurance with 
which we already hold it. But the laws are of a very general form and little 


prediction can be based upon them, nor are they the source of the recom- 
mendations of traditional economics. More specific laws would have to 
be based on detailed empirical research and would be highly conjectural. 
While great interest attaches to such empirical work, it is not clear that 
this should be the main avenue for future developments ; but, if it is 
not to be, then the general theory of value must itself be displaced from its 
central position. 

Dynamic Economics. 

There is no reason why the quest for causal laws should be limited to 
those propositions which may be derived from the law of demand. We 
may well expect future progress to lie outside that ambit. 

Out of the wide field of possibilities I choose for first consideration one 
department, which I propose to call dynamic economics. In using this 
terminology I am aware that I am departing from recent usage. There 
has been a tendency to use the expression broadly for any set of generalisa- 
tions lying outside static theory. More specifically it has been used for 
the study of the influence of expectations — but these may find full ex- 
pression in a system of static equations — or, again, for the study of time- 
lags in a process of adjustment to a new static condition. These studies 
all have their own place. 

I believe that there ought to be alongside of static theory a body of 
laws relating to the increase (or decline) of economic magnitudes, and that 
with the aid of a very few empirical generalisations, having high authority 
if somewhat less than the law of demand itself, it may be possible without 
more ado to construct such a body of laws. I conceive the analogy 
between the relation of dynamics to statics in mechanics and that of this 
branch of economics to the static theory to be much closer than that im- 
plied in recent uses of the word dynamics in economics. While the equili- 
brium price determined by the maintenance of a steady flow of demand 
and supply corresponds to a state of rest, new equations would be formu- 
lated to determine regular movements in the economic magnitudes under 
the influence of growth of population, savings, inventions, etc. 

This line of thought is not, of course, new. The classical economists 
attached great importance to the alleged tendencies of rent to rise and 
profits to fall. Such considerations are not absent from Marshall. But 
generalisations of this kind have tended to recede from view owing both 
to their conjectural character and to the more precise formulation of static 
propositions in a mathematical garb. The existence of this formulation 
has in turn tended to lead monetary and trade cycle theorists, who are 
interested in change as such, to regard the phenomena of their study in 
terms of transitions from one static equilibrium to another. It may be 
that they would be greatly assisted if they could regard them as departures 
from or oscillations about a path of growth ; but they can only do this 
eff'ectively if the laws governing increase are as precisely formulated as the 
static laws. We need a system of fundamental equations using simplify- 


ing assumptions ; cf. the frictionless surface, etc., in which rates of increase 
will themselves figure as unknown terms. 

One reason for holding development along these lines to be needed 
is the unsatisfactory condition of the theory of interest in static economics. 
I refer now not to the results reached by Mr. Keynes in his important 
study of the dual nature of capital supply (waiting and liquidity-sacrifice), 
but to a still more fundamental difficulty, i"- Using the assumptions 
required for static price determination, namely persistence of tastes, 
technology and supply of factors unchanged, the demand for new saving 
at any given rate of interest is zero, since so long as the fundamental 
conditions and the equilibrium are maintained, the volume and method 
of production must be unchanged. To put the same thing in other words, 
the static equations determine the price of capital and the quantity of it 
which will be used. It is the quantity of capital in use which, along with 
the quantity of land and labour in use, remains unchanged throughout 
the maintenance of a given equilibrium. But if the quantity of capital in 
use is the same the rate of saving is zero. I have the impression that 
writers, other than the most careful, tend to get one dimension wrong at 
this point, and suppose that the ' laws of supply and demand ' (static 
theory) may determine not the quantity of capital but the amount of 
saving, i.e. rate of increase in the quantity of capital at a given level.'^^ 

That it is possible to reach interesting conclusions on the basis of the 
static assumption of no saving may be seen from Mrs. Robinson's article 
on the ' Long Period Theory of Employment.' The paradoxical air of 
that essay may well be due precisely to her strict adherence to the static 
assumption. The fact that she quite properly compels us to consider the 
true effect of any change in the light of its consequences in the state of 
equilibrium only reached when all saving has fallen to zero, suggests 
that it would be expedient to tackle the problem more directly. In 
place of a succession of static equilibria we need the concept of motion 
under the influence of steadily operating forces. 

" I regret that it is not possible within the scope of this paper to consider, 
from a methodological point of view, the great contributions to thought recently- 
made by Mr. Keynes. My division into sections was necessarily guided by 
reference to economics as a whole, and his contribution, although internally 
highly coherent and constituting a unified structure, belongs in part to all my 
divisions, so that a full discussion would not be wholly relevant to and would 
unduly swell any one. See Econometrica, January 1937 ; R. F. Harrod, 
Mr. Keynes and Traditional Theory. 

1* We might imagine a static state as follows. People would save out of earned 
income in their early years and invest in life annuities such sums as would make 
their income rise at a rate which would make its marginal utility fall at a rate 
equal to the rate of interest. Meanwhile the rate of interest would be fixed at a 
critical level, sufficient to make them hand on their inherited capital intact, 
despite their inferior regard for their heirs. These conditions would, on the 
assumption of a stationary age distribution, make saving equal to zero. If their 
regard for their heirs happened to be as great as their regard for themselves, then, 
with a positive rate of interest and supposing the state of bliss described by 
Ramsey in his well-known article not to be reached, there would be some positive 
saving, and the assumptions of the static theory would be mutually inconsistent. 
Similarly a socialist state in conditions otherwise static should arrange for 
positive saving. 


The laws will govern the relation between and determine the mutual 
consistency of the rates of increase of various magnitudes, e.g. working 
population, technical powers, quantity of capital, of circulating medium, 
etc. Some empirical foundation is necessary. Bare study of mutual 
implications will not yield much, since there is an infinite variety of pos- 
sibilities. But I have the impression that a few basic empirical laws, of a 
generality not much inferior to that of the law of demand in statics, may 
yield, in connection with the study of mutual implications, an elaborate 
structure of deductive theory. 

An example of a basic empirical generalisation may be found in the 
proposition put forward by Mr. Keynes in his recent work, that at a given 
rate of interest people will save a larger absolute amount from a larger 
income. We could get still further if we could establish, but this is 
perhaps too audacious for the early stages, that people save a larger pro- 
portion of a larger income. Both these propositions are clearly open to 
empirical verification. They will be subject to ceteris paribus clauses 
regarding the distribution of income and institutional arrangements, but 
these would probably not impair their high scientific utility. The 
statistical work of verification required is no doubt substantial, but light 
compared with that required to fill in the blank forms of the static theory 
equations. The phenomena are much more amenable to the attainment 
of reliable results in this field than in that of static supply and demand 
schedules. The de facto growth of society assists the former while it 
hinders the latter type of statistical enquiry. 

May I be excused for touching on a theory in which I believe, subject 
of course to the eroding researches of historians of thought, that I have 
certain proprietary rights ? If it is true that the most important factor 
governing the demand for new capital is the rate of growth of the system, 
and the most important factor governing its supply is the absolute size 
of the system, then, having regard to the truism that demand must be 
equal to the supply, a host of interesting conclusions should follow. 
Premises containing these peculiar mathematical relations should surely 
be a gift, precious beyond compare, to economists of mathematical bent 
seeking new conclusions. I risk saying that if, when trade cycle theory 
comes to be established on firm and agreed foundations, these relations 
are not judged to have central causal significance, I shall be dumbfounded. 


Empirical Studies. 

I now come to the most difficult, the most tentative, and withal the most 
important section, the search for causal laws outside the realm of deduc- 
tions from the law of demand or the simple laws of growth. 

Having previously tended to belittle the causal significance of the theory 
of value and distribution, I should like to pay tribute to the high import- 
ance of the work of classification, not achieved without much toil and the 
insight of genius, which is the groundwork of that theory as well as of the 
analytical map. This is likely to prove a valuable and indeed indis-. 


pensable tool for further investigation, and the empiricist, however radical, 
is likely to flounder if he is unable to use it. In the classificatory work I 
include truisms like the quantity theory of money, and the wages fund 
theory, which serve to give precision to the concepts. 

How shall I proceed into this unmapped territory ? At this stage 
there should be no dispute on matters of principle. On the one hand, 
for every proposition purporting to relate to the succession of events it 
must be possible to point to the empirical evidence. Any attempt to 
assume superior airs may be met with the rejoinder that if empirical 
evidence is lacking, the proposition can be no more than a definition of 
the terms which it employs. On the other hand, attention must be paid 
to the mutual consistency of generalisations and each one must be valued 
according to the extent to which it contributes to making the whole system 
more coherent. 

One might draw up a methodological classification by reference to how 
the investigator spends his day. There is armchair cogitation ; there is 
the application of statistical technique to the great body of statistical raw 
material already available, which may well require an elaborate apparatus 
and assistant workers ; there is the compilation of fresh statistical material 
by work in the field ; there is also the field work directed to gaining a 
closer knowledge of how institutions actually work and the motives which 
govern behaviour. It may safely be said that all these kinds of activity 
have utility ; they may be regarded as ' factors ' in the production of 
economic truth to be mixed in due proportions in accordance with the 
general principles of production ; what is a due proportion depends in part 
upon the abilities and temperaments of the workers available. I will only 
add that the institutional arrangement whereby most professional econo- 
mists are heavily burdened with teaching and administrative duties may 
militate against a sufficient admixture of the more laborious forms of 
statistical and field work. The remedy for this, now already in process 
of application, is the endowment of full-time workers of the right tem- 
perament and the provision of adequate laboratory equipment and skilled 
assistants. It may be noticed with satisfaction also that statistical method, 
on which economic advance depends, has recently displayed a great 
vitality under the influence of such distinguished pioneers as Dr. Ragnar 

There is, however, a more fundamental difference between the outlook 
of the more and the less empirically minded. This consists of a difference 
of judgment as to the most hopeful source of clues for the future develop- 
ment of the subject. On the one hand there are those — I believe that it is 
fair so to represent the view of Prof. Wesley Mitchell — who believe that 
clues are most likely to be obtained by the diligent scrutiny, arrangement 
and rearrangement of the empirical data. The facts will one day speak 
for themselves. By patient and continuous observation the investigator 
will find the appropriate generalisation borne in upon him. On the other 
hand, some believe that clues are more likely to be found by an inspection 
of the existing body of theory. Close examination of it will reveal gaps, 
and in those very gaps may be found clues suggesting new generalisations 
which will render the theory more coherent, or even wider generalisations 


leading to a revolution of the kind which occurs from time to time in 
physics. Or, more moderately, they may lay some stress on observation, 
but urge that this should be done very much in the light of existing theory, 
to test hypotheses directly suggested by that theory. 

Both schools must be given our cordial blessing. Past achievements 
are still too exiguous for us to be sure which is the method most naturally 
adapted to our study. 

It is sometimes claimed that the major part of established generalisa- 
tions have been reached in the less empirical way. But my feeling is that 
the great fruitfulness of the analytical map in yielding valid prescriptions 
has obscured the extreme paucity of our knowledge with regard to causal 
sequences. Two circumstances militate against the more deductive 
method. One is the impossibility of the crucial experiment. In the 
mature sciences which rely mainly on this method, such as physics, or, 
to name a more recent comer, genetics, the crucial experiment is of central 
importance. Secondly, it is extremely difficult to test hypotheses by 
the collected data of observation. The operation of the plurality of 
causes is too widely pervasive. Thus numerous hypotheses are framed 
and never submitted to decisive test, so that each man retains his own 
opinion still. 

I do not wish to press these considerations hard, but only sufficiently 
to upset the complacency of dogmatic upholders of one exclusive method. 
To give a contrary example, I believe that in so far as the monetary 
explanation and the demand-for-capital-goods explanation of the trade 
cycle be regarded as rival hypotheses suggested by theoretical considera- 
tions, the course of events in this country and the United States in the 
last ten years enhances the probability of the latter. It should be possible 
to devise statistical methods to increase the cogency of this indication of 
experience. I assume that even the more deductive or hypothetical 
method of advance should be fortified by statistical verification. 

It is a doubtful point whether the more radically empirical method has 
been as barren as is sometimes suggested. To give a rather trivial ex- 
ample, Gresham's Law is an instance of the facts speaking. However 
convincing the ex-post theoretical explanation of the phenomena, the 
process of discovery was by observation rather than hypothesis. A more 
striking example may be derived from trade cycle studies. It is an 
accepted generalisation, not indeed possessing the universal validity of 
the law of demand but none the less of substantial authority and interest, 
that in the upswing of production prices have a rising tendency and in the 
downswing a falling tendency. It may safely be said this could not be 
deduced from the propositions of static theory nor from that part of 
monetary theory which is deducible from them. Falling prices would 
be regarded as an equally (if not more !) likely accompaniment of rising 
output and vice versa. The generalisation is a direct result of observation, 
an excellent example of the facts speaking for themselves. And if theo- 
retical explanations have subsequently been woven round it, this must not 
blind us to the true source of our knowledge. If rather crude observa- " 
tional data can yield appetising morsels of this sort, may we not legiti- 
mately hope that when subjected to refined statistical treatment they will 


yield more fruit in plenty ? It will still be necessary to relate such 
generalisations to each other and to those of a more deductive origin in an 
orderly fashion. 

Having made this plea for the more radical empiricist, I will conclude 
by mentioning one or two types of investigation suggested by the present 
condition of theory. If I make no mention of others now under way, I 
hope it will be understood that this is not because I regard them as unim- 
portant, but for lack of space and because the former happen to have 
caught the speaker's eye first. 

Emphasis has recently quite properly been placed upon the importance 
of expectations with regard to the future in determining the present 
actions of the individual, and upon the slender basis of knowledge on 
which he is obliged to form his expectations. Speculation upon the 
consequences of this may therefore be regarded as arising directly out of 
theoretical considerations. 

Ignorance with regard to the future drives the agent back to an im- 
perfectly rational dependence upon past experience, particularly his most 
recent experience. It is reasonable on this basis to make the hypothesis 
of a time-lag between certain adjustments. By introducing a systematic 
lag it is possible to give a mathematical demonstration that an oscillation 
of behaviour must result. The interesting survey by Dr. Tinbergen 
(1935) in Econometrica discusses a number of hypotheses of this 

Statistical verification may proceed from two ends. On the one hand 
it may be possible to verify the particular lag assumed by reference to two 
statistical series. On the other the cycle mathematically deducible from 
the assumption of such a lag may be compared as to its general features 
with the real cycle. One might hope that even with the data already 
available the determination of lags in this empirical manner might give us 
a theory of the trade cycle, which would be self-consistent and consistent 
with the broader generalisations of theory and also subject to fairly 
approximate empirical verification at both ends. Fortified by such tests, 
with what far higher degree of confidence might we call upon legislatures 
to take remedial measures ! I may add that the framework of equations 
within which the lag hypothesis should be applied are those of dynamic 
economics. This gives another reason for wishing an early precise 
formulation of these. 

I now pass to an entirely different type of empirical work. General 
considerations suggest that the entrepreneur acts under the influence of 
certain defined forces. When we come to examine these, it is surprising 
how largely the entrepreneur must be ignorant of their precise value. This 
is evident enough in the case of capital outlay, decisions regarding which 
must be based on prognostication. But even current output is properly 
determined by reference to the value of the loss or gain of customer good- 
will and to that of ' user cost ' (Keynes), both of which depend upon 
prognostication. And apart from the future, there are other matters of 
uncertainty. Correct behaviour in the field of imperfect competition, and 
this is the greater part of the whole field, presupposes knowledge of the 
value of marginal revenue, which in its turn requires knowledge of the 


current elasticity of demand. Yet even that magnitude of central import- 
ance, which theorists are apt so glibly to take as given, is one about which 
many entrepreneurs are quite in the dark. 

Having regard to the fog of uncertainty, by which the entrepreneur 
is thus shrouded, it has seemed to some of us in Oxford that valuable 
information about how he does in fact steer his course might be gained 
by the method of direct question. It is desirable to obtain a wide sample 
and to conduct the questionnaire in such a way as to make it probable that 
the victim will speak his true mind. I select two lines of thought for 

1. Theory may assume that the change in a certain magnitude, e.g. 
the rate of interest, will cause a defined change in the entrepreneur's 
behaviour. But in fact if his margins of possible error owing to uncertainty 
about various factors are very wide, such a specific change, even although 
definitely known, may be treated by him as of too small account to affect 
his reckoning. The method of direct question does not seem an 
unreasonable one for obtaining reliable information about this. 

2. The entrepreneur lives by action ; even if ignorant of the relevant 
data, he must decide one way or another. Nor can each and every de- 
cision be reached by an independent act of judgment ; some rules of 
thumb are necessary to the efficient conduct of a business. In the 
absence of data, the rules must be supplementary to those envisaged in 
static theory. What are they ? Again this seems a suitable subject for 
direct question. Generalisations may be possible and valuable, even if 
confined to certain types of industry. For instance, an irrational but 
systematic and consistent treatment of overhead costs might give rise to a 
pattern of behaviour of significance in the trade cycle. 

I believe that we may be on the eve of a great advance in economic 
theory, taking us right outside the ambit of the static system of equations. 
The wealth of statistical data, together with the indications resident in 
the trade cycle that the succession of events is governed by laws still 
undiscovered, should be a spur to the inventiveness and enthusiasm of 
every student to whom the ways of science make appeal. He may 
reasonably feel that any day he may light upon some general relation of 
wide validity, satisfying to the intellect and capable of yielding vast benefit 
to humanity. The prospect is an inspiring one. 

Kindled by it, the worker who is an economist at heart will reject with 
contempt proposals for relegating him to the banausic work of the mere 
cataloguer. Nor will he be likely to wish to take up a position of polite 
subordination to the sociologist or anthropologist, as Mrs. Wootton has 
recently suggested. All honour be to those allied branches of investiga- 
tion into human behaviour. I hope that I have indicated that the 
economist should take a broad view ; he should be very much awake to 
the possibility of obtaining hints from and using the results of workers 
on the periphery of his subject. But if the status of a subject may be 
judged by the number and width of its general laws established on a 
firm foundation, then, even adopting my very modest assessment, the 
economist may still claim without insolence that his subject is more mature 
than other sociological studies. And it may be added that the wealth and 


precision of the data at his disposal suggest that a further advance on 
broad front is likely to occur in the near future. The notion that investi- 
gators in other branches of social study should be asked to help forward 
their lame brother economist and guide him on his proper path must, in 
the interest of intellectual honesty, be set down as fatuous and derisory. 

To some minds it may seem that in the field of the social studies, 
workers who treat of human values in direct, simple and intelligible terms 
are the most useful members of the fraternity. But not to minds well 
informed of the progress of the sciences. To reach general laws it is 
usually necessary to abandon the straightforward terms of common sense, 
to become immersed for a time in mysterious symbols and computations, 
in technical and abstruse demonstrations, far removed from the common 
light of day, in order to emerge finally with a generalisation which may 
then be retranslated into the language of the workaday world. 

Zealous humanitarians may be impatient for quick results. All men 
of goodwill may see without more ado that there is much amiss with the 
world. Should not social students postpone their abstruse intellectual 
problems, of fascination mainly to themselves, and get together in a sort 
of academic tea-party to list our known abuses and our known resources 
and arrive at a programme of reform on the basis of mutual goodwill ? 
And do they not in fact, so the critic proceeds, bury themselves in unintel- 
ligible jargon, because they fear that, if they proceeded with their more 
immediate duties, they would disturb vested interests, incur social odium 
and signally fail to feather their own nests ? 

The criticism misconceives the duty of the student and the true source 
of his power for good. It may be the case that much could be put to 
rights without further scientific knowledge. But the sociologist will agree 
that if known abuses are not redressed it is not for lack of a catalogue of 
them or even for lack of men of goodwill. He may not be able to formu- 
late the sociological or psychological laws by which society is held in a 
fatal equilibrium of internecine hostility. But his experience will lead 
him to suspect that the equilibrium is not likely to be shattered by the 
breath of an academic tea-party. Nor have academic students a monopoly 
of goodwill or the power to express it. 

Only in one way can the academic man change the shape of things, 
and that is by projecting new knowledge into the arena. In goodwill 
he may partake in greater or less degree along with more practical persons, 
and he is at liberty to join with them in political parties or social welfare 
groups. His specific contribution is the enlargement of knowledge and 
particularly of the knowledge of general laws. The task of the economist 
is rendered arduous by the intractable nature of the phenomena which he 
has to study ; but he is better placed than other social students, and, if 
he turn a deaf ear to cavillers, the past achievements of his subject and 
its present vitality may buoy him with a reasonable hope. 


Aristotle. Ethica Nicomachea, 1094b. 

Cassel, G. Fundamental Thoughts on Economics, 1925, 14 and 66-70. 

Theory of Social Economy, vol. i, 8-9 (tr. McCabe). 


Douglas, P. The Theory of Wages, I934- 

Fraser, L. M. Economic Thought and Language, 1937. 

Harrod, R. F. Econometrica, January 1937, ' Mr. Keynes and Traditional 

Hogben, L. Political Arithmetic, Introduction, 1938. 
Keynes, J. M. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936, 

ch. vi. ; and generally. 
Keynes, J. N. Scope and Method of Political Economy. 
Knight, F. H. Risk, Uncertainty and Profit. 

Marshall, A. Principles of Economics (8th ed.), 132 ; and generally. 
Pigou, A. C. Economics of Welfare (ist ed.), pt. ii, ch. 2, sec. 5 ; and generally. 

■ — Public Finance. 

Ramsey, F. Economic Journal, December 1928, ' A Mathematical Theory of 

Ricardo, D. Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, Preface, i. 
Robbins, L. Nature and Significance of Economic Science, 1932, 77-82 ; 85-6 ; 

and generally. 
Robinson, J. Essays in the Theory of Employment, 1937, ' Essay on Long Period 

Theory of Employment.' 
Schultz, H. Statistical Laws of Demand and Supply, 1928. 
Smith, Adam. Wealth of Nations. 
Tinbergen, J. Econometrica, July 1935, 'Annual Survey: Suggestions on 

Quantitative Business Cycle Theory.' 
Wootton, B. Lament for Economics, 1938. 






I . By custom Section G, in conferring the high honour of its presidency, 
turns alternately to the practising and to the academic sides of the engineer- 
ing profession. I suspect that the practical man has less trouble in pre- 
paring a presidential address, for his work has wide appeal. By contrast 
few are interested in teaching or in specialised research, and consulting 
reports of recent meetings I have not been surprised to find that academic 
presidents, for the most part, have either dealt with semi-political matters 
like the state of patent law, or given reviews of progress in particular 
fields of engineering. 

Seeking a theme for my own address this morning, I resolved to find 
if possible some topic that concerns us all ; and one topic I thought might 
usefully engage our attention, which past presidents seem to have left 
alone. We have had discussions of particular problems — the organisation 
of applied research, the training of recruits for industry ; but in no year 
since the war have we attempted a general stock-taking — to view the trend 
of engineering science regarded both practically and academically, both as 
an art and as a field for study, teaching and research. And meanwhile 
all the circumstances which should influence our policy — the trend of 
modern physics, the attitude of industry towards the university graduate, 
the nation's organisation for applied research — have altered profoundly. 
Is not the time appropriate for an attempt to bring them under review, 
seeking now to foresee and plan for changes that are inevitable, rather 
than wait for action to be forced on us by pressure from without .'' 

Here then is the reason for the title of my address. The outlook of 
engineering science is changing, as I believe, for reasons which for the 
most part are beyond our control ; and it is changing fast. ■ From day to 
day, absorbed in immediate duties, we may not be conscious of the change : 
it is not fast enough for that. But now and again (and a meeting such as 
this affords a convenient opportunity) we ought as I think to step back 
and take a wider view. The trend of engineering concerns us all, and the 
policy to be adopted in the face of changing circumstances. Neither can 
we, whose profession is teaching, aff'ord to disregard changing conditions 
in industry, nor can you, because your work is practical, afford to be 
unconcerned in the state of engineering schools where now the men are 


being trained who within another quarter-century will be leaders in their 

I will not waste your time protesting my inadequacy for the task I set 
myself : it is patent, and I think it does not matter. Even if I could 
speak with authority, the ground is too wide to be covered in an hour's 
address ; nor am I so much concerned now to win adherents for my views, 
as to provoke thought and discussion where I believe them overdue. 

2. Such as they are, I shall try to present my views under three main 
headings : (i) our policy in regard to the teaching of engineering science ; 
(2) our policy in regard to engineering research ; and (3) ' foreign policy ' : 
our relations with the community. Throughout it will be the keynote 
of my argument that whatever may have been the circumstances of the 
past, those of to-day forbid a policy of isolation ; so that whether academic 
or practical we must do our planning in collaboration, because ultimately 
our objectives are the same. It will make for brevity if I may use the 
words ' engineering ' for the practical, ' engineering science ' for the 
academic aspect of our profession, so making partial distinction between 
application (the art) and study (the principles). But the separation is 
artificial, and should be permitted only for temporary convenience. Our 
objectives are the same, and frontiers should be ignored in our discussion 
of common policy. 

3. Engineering was defined by Thomas Tredgold as ' the art of direct- 
ing the great Sources of Power in Nature for the use and convenience of 
man ' : engineering science I define, conformably, as ' science studied 
with a view to application '. It can trace its ancestry (I suppose) back 
to Archimedes or even further ; for its name shows geometry to have 
originated in surveying — a branch of engineering science as defined just 
now. But notwithstanding this very respectable pedigree it was not, 
I think, until 1 840 that our subject was admitted into the select circle of 
university studies, not until much later that its status was acknowledged 
by the award of an honours degree. Here as in other subjects wise 
conservatism will resist light-hearted innovation, but here a die-hard 
conservatism may not take shelter in long-established tradition. Our 
history is short, and it covers very eventful years : a policy that was 
right before the war may not be the best policy to-day. 

Nor can we safely argue from experience gained in allied subjects of 
university teaching. For engineering science is not, like chemistry or 
physics, a separate branch of natural philosophy, but natural philosophy 
studied from a particular standpoint and with a special purpose. Thus 
the planning of instruction for our undergraduate students is a problem 
very diff"erent from the planning of an honours course in chemistry ; 
because the chemist will use later, for his work in the world, the same 
technique that he has used in his university laboratory, whereas the engineer 
is being prepared for work quite different— his lectures and laboratory 
courses are not so much of practical value in themselves as a means of 
training him to think. 

There is a further point of difference, in that the content of our subject 
is determined not only by the growth of knowledge but by the trend of 
practice ; it includes all natural science that has been applied to the 
service of man. It is a commonplace that the boundaries of natural 


science have so extended that no man now can hope to comprehend the 
whole of physics, or chemistry, or any other field : specialisation has 
become imperative. But engineering science embraces all these fields ; 
its boundaries extend not only continuously, as knowledge grows in 
tracts already surveyed, but at times by a sudden accretion of new terri- 
tory — as when recently the new technology of plastics came to replace, 
for many purposes, older methods of fabrication in wood or metal. Thus 
a problem strictly speaking insoluble confronts, and will always confront, 
all schemes of training for industry : What should be the content of a 
university training .'' What is to be our policy in the face of this con- 
tinuous accretion of knowledge, seeing that there is no corresponding 
increase in the capacity of undergraduates to absorb ? 

4. I mean to offer later some tentative answers to these questions, but 
now I am concerned with something more important. The time I say 
is past when they could be discussed as it were in vacuo, without regard 
to developments outside ; and the same is true of the other main activity 
of engineering schools, which is original research. Policy must be dictated 
by circumstances, and in research our circumstances have changed most 
drastically since the war : first, by the trend of modern physics, which 
has profoundly altered the relations of pure and applied science ; secondly, 
by a quite unprecedented growth of industrial and governmental institu- 
tions concerned with scientific experiment. We see this change of 
environment if we study the records in past reports of grants made 
by our Association to special committees charged with the study of 
particular problems. From 1832, when it called for a report on the 
state of knowledge in Hydraulics (a report which ended on the wistful 
note : * It only remains for us to notice the scanty contributions of our 
own countrymen. While France and Germany were rapidly advancing 
upon the traces of Italy, England remained an inactive spectator of their 
progress '), through the 'sixties, when it made its invaluable contribution 
to electrical engineering by providing accurate standards, and up to quite 
recent times, the Association has done much through the agency of these 
special committees. But the fact that now its funds are less widely 
devoted to such aims need not, I think, be matter for regret. Provision 
exists elsewhere, and its contributions now are of different kind. 

Supposing that like the fat boy I were minded to ' make your flesh 
creep ', could I not find argument here for pessimism in regard to the 
future of engineering schools ? As to research, I have always held that 
in universities it must find justification not in what is consequential — 
the utility of its results — but in what is intrinsic : the urge of the scientist 
to discover, like the urge of an artist to create, is something that will not be 
denied. But will the engineering laboratory continue to be essential, 
if more and more the trend of engineering practice is towards applica- 
tions of fundamental chemistry and physics, and especially if provision 
for ad hoc experimentation continues to extend as it has in the past twenty- 
five years ? Can we gainsay that our science is not, like chemistry and 
physics, a separate branch of natural philosophy, but natural philosophy 
studied from a particular standpoint and with a special purpose .'' Well 
then, does it not follow logically that we, as non-specialists, must look to be 
ousted ultimately as specialisation becomes more intense ? Will there 


continue to be a demand for engineering graduates ? Will not the demand 
of industry be more and more for specialists, trained in laboratories 
appropriate to the purer sciences ? 

5. I have my answers to these questions : I am not really pessimistic ! 
But I have put the case for pessimism, being convinced that these argu- 
ments must be faced and countered now, by intelligent foresight, if 
they are not to accumulate uncomfortable force in years to come. They 
are, as I maintain, arguments that concern us all, though more immediately 
the concern of academic engineers like myself. That view may find 
acceptance or it may not, but in one field you will agree, I think, that 
engineers whether practising or academic must stand side by side : I 
mean in the field of ' public relations ', of their concern with the bearing 
of their work on the life of the community. It is a matter which of late 
has greatly exercised the minds both of our Association and of thinkers 
and publicists in the world outside, and it too must receive attention in a 
conspectus of engineering such as I attempt to-day. Inevitably, as I 
believe, its consideration will lead us into wider and deeper issues, and for 
that reason I shall turn to it last in my address. Then more than ever 
I shall be conscious of my inadequacy to my theme ; but the task must be 
attempted, and I take shelter behind my statement that the only purpose 
of this address is to provoke discussion by others better qualified. 

And now, having outlined my headings, I confront the necessity of 
committing myself. It is no light ordeal to one who represents the smallest 
of our engineering schools, that he should incur the reproach of pretending 
to know how things should be done ! I implore the indulgence of my 


6. No one I think will question that a dilemma confronts all teachers of 
engineering science : no two of us, I fancy, will agree in detail regarding 
the action by which it should be met. On the one hand more and more 
specialised knowledge finds application in engineering practice : on the 
other our industrialists — now, with rare exceptions, well disposed to the 
engineering graduate whom once their predecessors regarded with a blend 
of amusement and contempt — seem agreed in demanding that students 
shall come to them not as incipient specialists or as trained technicians, 
but as men who have been educated to take wide views, trained to think 
and qualified to negotiate and to control. Here are conflicting demands, 
to be reconciled as best we may in the construction of our time-tables. 
Inevitably they conflict, since days have not lengthened, nor is there any 
noticeable increase in the power of the average undergraduate to absorb. 

Faced with this dilemma, different teachers propound difl^erent solu- 
tions — none claimed as wholly satisfactory or as disposing finally of a 
problem which inevitably will become more acute. That as I see the 
problem is its crux. It is not enough to be opportunist and to find a 
makeshift solution now, because of all sciences engineering is the least 
static. Unless we plan radically, though our trouble be allayed for the 
time it will inevitably return. 

Since I claim no authority for my views, some vigour in presentation 


is perhaps allowable. I maintain that it is both an easy and an unsatis- 
factory solution that they propound, whose recipe in effect is either a 
lengthening or an intensification of our academic courses. The lengthen- 
ing may be overt — the addition of another year to the honours course— 
or it may be concealed in a demand for a higher standard at entry, which 
would mean if adopted a more severe specialisation at school. The 
alternative, which I have termed intensification, is to load still further our 
already heavily loaded time-tables : whatever knowledge will or raay be 
useful to the practising engineer, that knowledge must be acquired and 
therefore (for this is the essence of the argument) it must be represented by 
courses in our lecture lists. 

It will be said that I am entitled to call this policy unsatisfactory, not 
to call it easy. But I am impenitent ; for what I mean by easy is this 
facile assumption that a subject once on the lecture list will be taught and 
therefore learned. I am aware that at the age of twenty or thereabouts 
a student's power of memorisation can be almost uncanny ; moreover it 
can be (and I am afraid often is) stimulated by intensive ' coaching '. But 
what concerns us now is his ability to absorb, and this I believe to be a 
quantity much more obstinately constant. Excepting the really first- 
class man (who is not the essence of our problem) I maintain that planning 
must be conditioned, first and foremost, by ineluctable limits to the 
instruction we can give with confidence that it will really be assimilated. It 
is easy, I repeat, to proceed on the assumption that lectures delivered are 
lectures absorbed ; but the fallacy of that assumption will be shown 
by our third-class students in their examination scripts, by our better 
students when they come to attempt research. 

As it seems to me, the real and difficult duty of a professor is to decide, 
not what subjects of instruction should be included because of value, but 
what can be omitted on the ground that, pushed into a mind already taxed, 
it will push out something still more valuable. Choice is hard, for there 
is so much that he would wish to include, so much that has undoubted 
value ; yet the choice must be made. It will be made harder for him by 
his colleagues, though from motives of the highest. Abraham Lincoln 
used to tell of the farmer who said, as to wanting more land, ' I ain't 
greedy ; I only wants what jines mine.' So every lecturer worth his salt 
will want, as he approaches the allotted boundary of his subject, to move 
that boundary just a little back, into fields he sees that are rich and fruitful. 
It is as though a raft were being equipped for passage on a course as yet 
unknown, and every lecturer were proffering stores of some different kind. 
All are of excellent quality, and every kind may be needed in some circum- 
stance which can occur. Yet attempting to take all, the raft will surely 
founder : that is the dominating consideration, and we forget it at our 

Neither in a lengthening nor in an intensification of engineering courses, 
as I believe, shall we find more than a temporary and makeshift solution 
of our problem ; and this for a reason that is fundamental. However 
long we make our terms, however full our time-tables, and however great 
be the capacity of our students to absorb, still we shall have failed to 
satisfy the demand of industrialists for men of personality, educated to 
take wide views. I hold it a profound mistake to believe (or to plan as 


though we believed) that all that universities can give to the young 
engineer is given in their engineering schools. Specialisation is easy, 
if the demand of industry were for specialists ; but that, as I tried just 
now to show, would be a sorry outlook for ourselves, and we ought to be 
glad that in fact the demand is plainly different. Glad, but not com- 
placent : for to meet that demand deliberately, instead of merely assuming 
that it will be met, we shall have to adopt a standpoint very different from 
what is customary in discussions of ' training for industry '. We must 
not lightly assume that ' first year work ' can be done at school without 
detriment to the cultural education which industry has begun to value ; 
or that we have done our duty by our students, when every hour of the 
working day is absorbed by some lecture or laboratory course, and no 
appreciable time is left for those divergent pursuits which we lump 
together under the heading of ' undergraduate activities '. In my experi- 
ence it is these activities — too often forgotten in our planning — which do 
most to develop the qualities that are desired in our products. Their 
scientific and technical training must be our first concern ; but seeking 
to fulfil this duty we must not plan as though automatically, in any odd 
hour that we leave vacant, our other aims will be realised. 

7. I am not so foolhardy as to obtrude my personal views in detail, 
but in principle I will try to state them plainly, and I will outline now one 
possible scheme of action in this business of planning. First of all we must 
decide the purpose which our honours courses are meant to serve. Here 
my view is at least clear-cut : their purpose is to train recruits for industry, 
and the taking of honours in a final examination should indicate an 
assimilation of engineering principles adequate in a man who is starting 
a professional or industrial career — but not more than this. It may be 
objected that this view makes no provision for the really first-class man : 
I agree that it makes no special provision, but not that this is an objection ; 
because to me, as I have said already, the first-class man does not seem the 
essence of the problem. 

For what, after all, is this first-class ability, that it should demand an 
examination specially designed to detect it ? Is it something that would 
escape detection otherwise ? If you mean qualities of such value to 
industrialists that they should seek it even at the cost of higher salaries, 
then I suggest that we ought to inquire of industrialists, whether in their 
view these qualities can be expected to reveal themselves in a written 
examination. I suspect that the answer will be something of this kind : 
* In examinations as they are to-day, it matters little to us whether a man 
has taken a first- or second-class, provided that his personality is suitable. 
He must have the requisite personality, and his knowledge of engineering 
principles must be real and ready — ready to be turned to the various 
problems that arise in our particular activities. But what we want we are 
as likely to find in your second class as in your first.' 

If, on the other hand, when you talk of first-class ability you mean 
ability to do research, then I am prepared to hazard an answer of my own. 
Research ability reveals itself as ability to do research. Examinations are 
not its best detector : their proper function is to test that what has been 
taught has been absorbed, and research cannot be taught — or even its 
methods — except informally, in the course of some actual investigation. 


If this is first-class ability, let it reveal itself in the only way that leaves 
no doubt, by research actually performed. Restricting our examinations 
in the way that I have suggested, we shall provide the requisite oppor- 
tunity ; for what the normal student can absorb only in three years the 
' really first-class ' student will be able to absorb in two. We shall have 
time to give him what he really needs, which is training specially suited 
to the individual. 

Do not think I want my views (even assuming that they are sound) 
to have result in closer standardisation. As Sir Henry Tizard emphasised 
in his presidential address to Section L at Aberdeen, in education diversity 
is a sign of health. But speaking for myself alone I would say : On all 
counts let us shun ' harder papers ' in our examinations ! No one could 
claim that they are tests of personality, and very seldom, as I believe, 
are they concerned with new principles not to be covered in easier papers. 
(How should they be, seeing that ours is not a separate branch of science, 
but science studied with a special purpose ?) At the worst they are founded 
on some special course of lectures, delivered with a view to some special 
paper : a vicious circle in truth ! At best, too often they provide for the 
intending specialist a test of knowledge in mathematics, chemistry or 
physics which could be acquired better, and tested as well, if a more 
restricted examination in principles were followed by further study of 
those subjects in their special schools. 

8. Secondly, in discussing this and consequential problems I would 
call industrialists into council. In the jargon of Section F, they and we 
are in the relation of consumers and producers ; and though in the past 
it was our part to stimulate demand by producing something that they 
needed without realising the fact, we cannot now afford to disregard the 
consumer's point of view — as in some fields, it seems, British producers 
are prone to do. But I mean more than this : I mean that the time is 
past, or all but past, when his three years at a university and his two years 
of apprenticeship could be regarded as wholly distinct phases in the train- 
ing of an engineer, to be planned both separately and independently. 
Most of us will remember, either from hearing or from reading it, the 
paper on ' Training for Industry ' which last year, at Nottingham, Mr. 
Fleming and Dr. Willis Jackson (now Professor) presented to this Section. 
To me its most striking feature was its view of engineering training as an 
integrated whole, as five years devoted to a single objective. Whether or 
not we should agree regarding details in our planning for those five 
years, this I believe to be a most important principle. Much in the same 
way medicine (of all professions the nearest to ours, I think, in its nature 
and requirements) calls for university preparation followed by practical 
experience in the hospitals. Like medical schools we should plan, I 
think, with all five years in mind— not think of our responsibility as ending 
with the conferment of a degree. 

And to industrialists, having called them into council, I would say : 
' Let us seek to work out a plan whereby you may be provided with 
the recruits you say you want — men who with adequate knowledge of 
engineering principles combine some breadth of background, who by 
intercourse with men of other training have gained some maturity of 
bearing. To achieve this end it is essential, as I believe, that we forbear 

G 2 


to regiment them too strictly in the five years we are apportioning ; we 
must not forget the importance of leisure to the formation of personality. 
And here I fancy that you no less than ourselves will find your details apt 
to negative your principles : you too in my experience are inclined to fill 
the whole of every available day. But to show that we mean business we 
teachers now, as a first step, ask you to scrutinise our syllabuses and say 
from your experience whether items could be omitted either (i) as never 
likely to be applied in practice, or (2) as being easily and more appropriately 
learned in works. We do not engage to drop a subject because you have not 
found it useful : that may be an accident of your particular interests, and 
even though no industrialist finds it useful (speaking professionally) we 
must still reserve a right to teach what we believe to have educational 
value. But every item on your list we will undertake to scrutinise care- 
fully^ — to put, so to speak, on trial ; and I for my part do not doubt 
that thereby we shall find much that has crept into our courses more by 
accident than design.' 

I leave the problem there, for in detail my views should be expressed 
in the council that I advocate, where they can be countered, rather than 
here as it were ex cathedra. Stated broadly, my thesis is our need of 
' lightening ship ', and here I would only emphasise that I am not advo- 
cating the exclusion from lectures of all matters excluded from a syllabus. 
As engineering advances, inevitably as it seems to me things that were 
essential tend to become rather of academic or historical interest. Con- 
crete examples are dangerous ; but I feel that forms of link motion, with 
which every engineer had to be familiar in days when the reciprocating 
steam engine had no serious rival, should be discussed now (in a non- 
specialised course) rather as examples in the theory of velocity and 
acceleration images, and ought no longer to have a place of their own in 
the syllabus. 


9. I turn to research. Other teachers will feel as I do that life would 
be a duller thing if teaching were all, if we ceased to have that zest for the 
unsolved problem, and the rarer thrill of a problem solved, that every 
researcher knows, though his problem be of interest to himself alone. 
What answer then can we make to the pessimistic forecast, that engineering 
research at universities is doomed to ultimate extinction, because as 
engineering comes to make ever fuller use of mathematics, physics and 
chemistry, more and more its problems will be such as only specialists 
in those subjects can investigate, while for ad hoc experimentation generous 
provision exists, and will increase, in government institutions and in the 
research departments of our larger works .'' Here too, as I see it, is a 
challenge we must face together, whether we be users or purveyors of 
research. Demand will react on supply, and supply on demand : unless 
in collaboration we shall not plan aright. 

For my own part I am persuaded that here, where the case for pes- 
simism seems at first most strong, it is most easily answered. I do not 
believe that departments of engineering will either cease from research 
activity or be merged in departments of physics or chemistry, for the 


reason that though engineering is not a separate branch of natural philo- 
sophy, but natural philosophy studied with a view to application, yet the 
attitude of the engineer to his problems is as I believe something both 
peculiar and worth preserving. 

It will suffice to explain my meaning if I make comparisons with the 
mathematician and physicist, leaving others better qualified to deal in 
like manner with the chemists. Wherein, then, does the outlook of the 
engineer differ from that of the physicist ? Mainly, I think, in that his 
problems are inexorable, and he recognises them as such. The physicist 
despairing of progress along a path attempted, is free to try some 
other : the engineer has to solve the problem as it is presented, and some 
solution he must have, even though it be only approximate. It has been 
the fashion of late to jeer at the engineer's ' factor of safety ' — changing 
its name to ' factor of ignorance ', and asserting that like charity it covers 
a multitude of sins. We must I think admit the criticism to be largely 
true as regards the past : too often factors of safety have been a refuge 
and an excuse rather than the extra assurance that they ought to be. But 
they have come down greatly of late, since aeronautics set an added value 
on weight-saving achieved without loss of efficiency ; and the time I think 
is near when they will have values strictly dependent on the reliability 
of our materials. As ' factors of uncertainty ' they will always have a 
raison d'etre. 

Now uncertainty of this kind does not, as I see the matter, enter into 
the physicist's scheme of things at all. (He has his own ' uncertainty 
principle ' — so quaintly advanced in recent years as an argument for human 
free will ; but I can conceive no argument for free will based upon the 
variability of constructional materials, — the Victorians missed no path to 
spiritual comfort there !) The physicist's problems are fundamental, 
and he is not the man to let them be complicated by additional difficulties. 
If corrosion is a potential source of trouble, then he will use gold if need 
be ; if magnetic flux is calculable only for one or two particular shapes, 
then he will use those shapes. Because throughout he is free to choose ; 
his shapes are not dictated by constructional or manufacturing require- 
ments, nor his materials by considerations of strength or cost. 

Simple illustrations are best : let us visualise the attitude to elasticity 
of a physicist who still retains some interest in nineteenth-century physics. 
He will be interested in Hooke's law, and in its interpretation as a statistical 
average of effects due to forces from very many atoms. He will recognise 
two distinct types of strain, the first involving change of dimensions 
without change of shape, the second change of shape without change of 
volume ; and he will devise ingenious experiments for measuring the 
two relevant elastic moduli. In this connection he will study Saint- 
Venant's theories of torsion and of flexure, and he may even pursue the 
harder parts of elastic theory with the aim of eliminating errors in measure- 
ment that result from straining due to weight. But speak to him of the 
strength and distortion of an engine crankshaft — a matter of interest in 
practice, so long as engines tend to fail by torsional vibration ; and if you 
find him interested then — well, he is an engineer in disguise ! For 
speaking qua physicist he will say : * I see that both torsion and flexure 
are involved — that is, both of the two fundamental types of strain ; but 


why study these in a body of such appalling shape ? ' And the engineer 
can only reply : ' Because I must. This shape was not evolved for its 
intrinsic interest, but its strained form is important none the less — and 
very difficult to calculate.' There you have the clash of interests : the 
physicist wants his problems unalloyed, the engineer is not free to choose. 
' Go to the applied mathematician, thou sluggard ! ' is likely to be the 
final word. 

Well, and suppose he does ? Will he find what he is seeking — a power 
of analysis that turned on his problem will lead to its solution ? No : 
he will find that mathematical analysis, developing in its own way, has 
come to include a very beautiful technique for solving the general equa- 
tions of elasticity, but the body in question must have one of a number 
of shapes — among which his crankshaft is not included ! Again he is 
sent away empty-handed, but now for a different reason. The applied 
mathematician is not, as the physicist was, interested only in principles 
(usually — -as was said by Sir Horace Lamb (1924) in writing of early 
elasticians — it is a relief to him when he finally arrives at his differential 
equations, and feels really at home) ; but he is interested in method, and 
his zest of discovery is experienced in applying new methods, let their 
limitations be what they must. 

10. So, as I see the matter, in this and countless other problems of 
practical engineering — problems far too difficult for routine investiga- 
tion — there will still be scope for academic engineers : they have a point 
of view, and it is needed. In particular they possess a sense which the 
modern ' high-brow ' mathematical physicist at times seems almost to 
boast of having discarded : they can visualise — which is what is meant, 
really, by this talk of ' nineteenth-century model-making '. Hard things 
have been said in recent years about the Victorian physicist : one gathers 
that his love of ' models ' was a vice which led him from the light, acquired 
by debasing association with engineers. ' . . . When the physicist sought 
an explanation of phenomena his ear was straining to catch the hum 
of machinery '. Well, the work of nineteenth-century physicists is 
still, I fancy, a fairly potent argument in their defence ; and I hope that 
we engineers, working in fields that they explored, will avoid undue 
humility in our answer to these taunts. I for one am defiant — and there- 
fore perhaps impertinent ; but as a gesture of defiance I will maintain 
that the tools of these mathematico-physical critics — theories of orbits, 
elastic solids, fluids compressible and incompressible, wave motions — 
were made for them by men who could visualise — ' model-makers ' — 
and are applied by them now to problems which often they do not under- 
stand or even seek to understand, relying instead on intermittent experi- 
mental verification to show that they haven't yet gone wrong ! I think 
it quite a sound line to follow in a fog, but I cannot see reason for so much 
self-congratulation. ^ 

1 So H. Jeffreys in Nature, April 23, 1938 (p. 71S) : ' The modern quantum 
theories have begun by direct and successful attempts to co-ordinate what we- 
know, without attending to the details of any deeper interpretation, and as a 
matter of method I think that their procedure is right. I should disagree, 
however, with the elevation of the rejection of unobservables into a magic 
philosophical principle.' 


However that may be, engineering as I see it still calls for this nineteenth- 
century gift of visualisation, and if now mathematical analysts see fit to 
eschew visualisation, that is no concern of ours except as meaning that we 
must go our own way. I feel profoundly certain that in the engineering 
student who intends research a gift of visualisation must be fostered 
deliberately : he must develop intuitions not only in geometry plane and 
solid, but of membranes, gases, elastic solids, incompressible fluids. It 
is a gift very difl^erent from a gift for observation, because a solid may be 
visualised clearly which is unlike any solid that he has ever seen. So in 
hydrodynamics the fluid that he visualises has no colour, scent, taste, 
viscosity, compressibility, surface-tension : it is a fluid in his own brain, 
and it is unlike real fluids in this at least, that its presence there does no 

11. I ought not to spend more time on this heading of my thesis, yet 
one point I would try to make because it has been very much in my 
thoughts during the past three years. So far from our being always 
dependent on professional mathematicians, I suspect that the time is 
coming when we shall have methods of our own for doing most of what, 
hitherto, we have looked to them to do for us. Those methods will not 
be exact in the mathematical sense, but I think they will be none the 
worse for that, even philosophically speaking. For there is, as it seems to 
me, something wrong philosophically in an approach which envisages 
even the possibility of an exact solution to any actual problem. In practice 
data are subject to a margin of error, no less than the quantities required ; 
yet in theoretical work (perhaps as a bad result of the examination system) 
we almost invariably start as though the data had absolute certainty. 

On two occasions in the past three years this Section has borne with 
patience my exposition of ' Relaxation Methods ' — an attempt to construct 
a ' mathematics with a fringe '. Grateful for that indulgence, I will not 
weary you this morning with a recital of problems which have been 
attacked with success up to date. Some you will hear of later, when short 
papers are given by my research students in accordance with a scheme 
which Section G is trying as an experiment this year. I will only say that 
I have been astonished as well as gratified by the way in which problems 
regarded as difficult have yielded to the new attack. 

12. You are thinking, perhaps, that I lay too much stress on theory 
and on calculation, that I have been talking only of the ' high-brow ' 
sort of study that would have been the preserve of physicists before the 
war. But that is how I visualise the trend of university research, con- 
sidering how generous is the provision which now exists for more ad hoc 
and expensive studies. Inevitably, as I believe, there will be some shift 
of the focus of our interest, — schools of engineering will find problems 
diflFerent from those which engaged their energies a generation ago. 
It is not that those problems have lost importance or been solved, but that 
better facilities now exist elsewhere, and can be made available. When a 
problem can be turned over to trained men who will work on it full time, 
common sense suggests that it is uneconomic both of brains and money 
to pursue it at universities in hard-won spells of leisure from the duties 
of teaching and administration. 

Moreover, though paradoxical is it not the fact that engineers, usually 


regarded as more practical than the pure physicist, are for that very reason 
more concerned to calculate correctly ? The physicist at every stage can 
test his theory by experiment : in engineering, nine times out of ten, the 
only real check on calculation — a test to destruction — is too expensive 
and dangerous to contemplate. Here, I think, is the real explanation 
of what I have termed ' factors of uncertainty ' : they are needed because 
we can rely neither on our materials nor on our calculations, and only 
improved methods will enable us to reduce them. 

Confessedly (for I do not claim to be propounding more than a personal 
point of view) I think of university research as approximating more and 
more closely, with the passage of time, to what in the last century was 
called pure physics. Avoiding mention of the living, I would say that it 
is in Osborne Reynolds and Ewing — yes, and Clerk Maxwell, Rayleigh, 
Kelvin, Heaviside in some of their manifold activities — that future pro- 
fessors of engineering will find the models which they should aspire to 
emulate. Their aim will be, not so much to make inventions in the manner 
of Bessemer, Parsons, Otto, Diesel, or to test the working of large prime 
movers (that will be done at works and in the research institutions), as 
to break new ground in the physics that has application to engineering — 
more especially near the ' border-lines ' that tend always to be drawn too 
sharply when research is highly organised. Where controlled research 
has become too systematic, there they will try to be a disturbing factor ; 
and having made their small disturbance, they will seek not to pursue the 
new problems themselves, but as soon as possible to turn them over to 
men who command greater facilities but have less freedom of choice. 
As I envisage the future, it is the universities who must maintain that 
irresponsible quality which otherwise research is in danger of losing, pre- 
cisely because now it is taken so seriously, as a matter of national concern. 


13. So I come to my third heading — ' public relations ', or engineering 
as it concerns the community. Time is short, and here my remarks must 
be very brief. In any event I should not have wished to say much- 
conscious that I am trespassing on ground belonging to a specially ap- 
pointed joint committee of the Engineering Institutions, and should be 
better occupied listening to its chairman Sir Clement Hindley. 

Briefly, here too my thesis is that we should avoid undue humility ! 
The times are out of joint, and having attained to command of Nature 
greater than the world has seen before, because man has not learned to 
use his mastery wisely, illogically now (as it seems to me) he inclines to 
question the value of that mastery, and the labours that have given it. 
In particular I want to record my protest against what seems to be an 
implication in much that is written nowadays, that because the range 
of engineering includes guns, battleships, aeroplanes, tanks, therefore 
engineers are to be regarded as a class more than others responsible for 
the horrors of modern war. 

Here are words spoken by Sir Alfred Ewing, in a presidential address 
to the Association (1932) which I keep to read ever and again, for its 
showing of what at the best an engineer's outlook may be : 


' An old exponent of applied mechanics may be forgiven if he expresses 
something of the disillusion with which, now standing aside, he watches the 
sweeping pageant of discovery and invention in which he used to take unbounded 
delight. It is impossible not to ask, Whither does this tremendous procession 
tend ? What, after all, is its goal ? . . . 

' The cornucopia of the engineer has been shaken over all the earth, scattering 
everywhere an endowment of previously unpossessed and unimagined capacities 
and powers. Beyond question many of these gifts are benefits to man, making 
life fuller, wider, healthier, richer in comforts and interests and in such happiness 
as material things can promote. But we are acutely aware that the engineer's 
gifts have been and may be grievously abused. In some there is potential 
tragedy as well as present burden. Man was ethically unprepared for so great 
a bounty. . . . The command of Nature has been put into his hands before 
he knows how to command himself.' 

Here too are words spoken somewhat earlier, in his wonderful James 
Forrest Lecture, 1928, on ' A Century of Inventions '. In them still more 
clearly, as I read them, he seems to feel as engineer a sense of special 
responsibility : 

' I used, as a young teacher, to think that the splendid march of discovery 
and invention, with its penetration of the secrets of Nature, its consciousness of 
power, its absorbing mental interest, its unlimited possibilities of benefit, was 
in fact accomplishing some betterment of the character of man. . . . But the 
war came, and I realised the moral failure of applied mechanics. . . . We had 
put into the hand of civilisation a weapon far deadlier than the weapons of 
barbarism, and there was nothing to stay her hand. Civilisation, in fact, turned 
the weapon upon herself. The arts of the engineer had indeed been effectively 
learnt, but they had not changed man's soul. . . . 

' Surely it is for the engineer as much as any man to pray for a spiritual 
awakening, to strive after such a growth of sanity as will prevent the gross 
misuse of his good gifts. For it is the engineer who, in the course of his labours 
to promote the comfort and convenience of man, has put into man's unchecked 
and careless hand a monstrous potentiality of ruin.' 

To which I personally would answer : ' Yes, for the engineer as much 
as any man, but no more.' And when, in more recent pronouncements, 
I find the charge so glibly formulated — ' It is engineers who have given 
men these potent weapons of destruction : on them more than others, then, 
rests the responsibility for their use ' — then, admitting the premise, I 
protest against the deduction. I would say rather : ' On them as much 
as on others (but no more) rests the responsibility for their use.' Do not 
think that I imagine the load thus shared will be light for all. I have no 
illusion about the weight of responsibility — it is appalling ; but I hold 
that we must share it equally, as citizens, not look for scapegoats when we 
have been free to choose either our path or leaders to direct us. 

14. I can conceive no subject in which, more than this, clear thinking 
is wanted to-day : the desire to hand on responsibility is so deep-seated, 
and the will to believe that we could have had the benefits of science 
without its risks and its temptations. But knowledge is of good and evil : 
it is of its essence that we cannot know how to cure poison without know- 
ing poison and its action, how to control and use explosives without 
acquiring power for harm as well as good. We may elect either to shun 
it or pursue, but we cannot have it both ways. Either we must choose, 
deliberately, impotence as preferable to the power of doing evil, or we 
must accept knowledge for the double-edged tool it is, vowing to use it 


wisely. We may not say to the scientist, ' Keep searching, but let your 
discoveries be such as must benefit and cannot hurt us ' ; or pretend that 
the use we make of science is something outside our responsibilities as 
citizens, a thing imposed upon us by science itself. Knowledge is not 
moral : good and evil are its opposite sides, inseparable in its very 
nature. I have no quarrel (though no sympathy) with the plea we some- 
times hear, for a cessation of scientific activity : it is arguable that on 
balance knowledge is undesirable. But when men talk of ' beneficent ' 
and ' destructive ' science as though we were free to pick and choose, 
then I say that they have not even begun to understand what science is. 

Holding these views, I find it matter for regret that so often our concern 
with the impact of science on the life of the community, which is good 
and healthy, is expressed in a manner that is neither. Too often we seem 
to be weakly apologising for results that have followed our activities, as it 
were because we did not take sufiicient care. Need the geneticist apologise 
for having increased the earth's fertility, because we have found no better 
use for plenty than to destroy food while thousands are in want ? Ought 
doctors to regret that by coming to a fuller understanding of disease they 
have lengthened the span of life in a world where birth rates are falling ? 
Here and in countless other instances, science impinging on the life of the 
community has set problems that will tax to the utmost its courage and 
intelligence ; the hardest and clearest thinking will be wanted, and it is 
right that engineers and scientists should seek to contribute their share. 
But I think that we only confuse the issue when we intervene as specialists 
in discussions which concern us really not as specialists but as members 
of a community. 

15. Whether in these days, when all but a small minority seem con- 
vinced of the necessity of rearmament, the engineer is still regarded as 
scapegoat or has (for a time) been transferred to the role of saviour, I 
have no means of judging. But if any still reproach him for making what 
all men now seek to buy, I would answer that horror is not peculiar to 
modern war ; all war is horrible, both in nature and by purpose, and wars 
are made not by engineers but by communities. No war is righteous, 
though it seem so at the time ; or inevitable, except as a penalty of national 
sins : pride, greed and indolence ; and those more contemptible because 
weaker sins, vacillation of purpose, persistence in shams, clinging to safety 
even at the loss of honour. 

More and more frequently, in lectures and in editorials, the decline of 
international standards is noticed with consternation and lament. Naturally, 
perhaps, in this country we are apt to see it mainly as an increasing 
tendency towards ' repudiation of law and order in favour of brute force \^ 
revealed most clearly in states that have abjured the democratic ideaJ. 
But I think that the malady is at once deeper and more general. Dare we 
claim that our own policy has shown no falling away from earlier belief 
in straight-dealing, generosity, and the sanctity of contracts ? 

Increasingly, as it seems to me, nations incline to put trust in the adroit- 
ness rather than the sincerity of their statesmen. Ethics are out of fashion, 
and while as individuals we may still admit the moral imperative, the 

* Vide Nature, May 28, 1938. 


notion that naotives recognisable as moral can have place in international 
affairs seems now to be rejected as impracticable idealism. Force and 
deceit, it appears, although unpleasant are held to have ' survival value ' : 
the gangster compels our unwilling admiration, at least in the field of world 
affairs. But what if there should be something in the notion, that because 
success in the life-struggle can come not only by individual strength but 
also by ability to associate and combine, morality has survival value as 
being (thus regarded) one of the factors which make association possible ? 
A bank may come to ruin not only through fraudulent or incompetent 
direction, but because its depositors, panic-stricken, seek each his own 
legitimate interests at the expense of the common weal : may not a less 
narrow concept of moral obligation be necessary to the continuance of 
our civilisation, even as wider than national horizons are necessary in the 
spheres of economics and finance ? Perhaps this ' idealism ' is not so 
impracticable after all ? 

Collective security attained by higher standards of fair dealing — it is 
an epitome of man's progress from the cave to association in the village, 
in towns, and in nations, and I see no ground for believing that the notion 
can never transcend national barriers. Men write as though it were 
new — a product of post-armistice utopianism. That it is not new let these 
sentences, none written less than 100 years ago, bear witness (Guedalla 

' Soyez sur qu'en politique 11 n'y a rien de stable que ce qui convient aux 
interets de tout le monde ; et qu'il faut regarder un peu plus loin que soi-meme.' 

"... although the aggrandizement and security of the power of one's own 
country is the duty of every man, all nations may depend upon it that the best 
security for power, and for every advantage now possessed, or to be acquired, 
is to be found in the reduction of the power and influence of the grand disturber.' 

' If we lose our character for truth and good faith, we shall have but little to 
stand upon in this country.' 

' I would sacrifice Gwalior, or every frontier of India, ten times over, in order 
to preserve our credit for scrupulous good faith, and the advantages and honor 
we gained by the late war and the peace. . . . What brought me through many 
difficulties in the war, and the negociations for peace ? The British good faith, 
and nothing else.' 

If this be utopianism, then some of our historical judgments will need 
revision ; for all were said or written by Arthur, Duke of Wellington — 
a man not lightly to be charged with saying what he did not mean. 

16. You will say, now I am drifting perilously near to politics ! It is 
precisely the point I want to make : I say that inevitably, when instead 
of science we discuss its impact on the life of the community, we must 
verge on politics, because what concerns the community is politics, both 
etymologically and in fact. The old convention, that science should have 
no politics, seems to me sane and wise : how to preserve it if as scientists 
we are to concern ourselves with the life of the community, that is a 
question I must leave to others more subtly-minded. For myself I see 
no reason why as scientists we should meet to discuss anything but science. 
Contrary to common belief, it is not our habit to pursue science throughout 
the whole of every day ; and on all counts I hold it were better that we 
came to political discussions in hours- of leisure, unlabelled, than give 


support to a notion that political problems will yield to something known 
as ' the scientific attack '. Talk to me of the scientific approach in physics, 
and I shall have an idea of what you mean, though you will easily bewilder 
me with detail : talk to me of ' scientific approach ' to problems of real 
life, I shall suspect you of indulgence in mere jargon. 

This is not to assert that science unfits a man for political discussion : 
if only because by training men of science are prepared to believe that 
problems of urgency may yet be hard, I hold on the contrary that some 
scientific leaven is beneficial in almost any body of administrative 
humanists. It is a protest against our facile modern use of the word 
' scientific ' (which if it means anything connotes a special kind of approach 
to special problems) where ' trained common sense ' is the faculty which 
is really needed. In science we seek to explain phenomena which we 
believe to be outside man's control : it is the faith in which our work is 
done — for if the facts were not inexorable, and could be altered at man's 
pleasure, how could we hope to find enduring ' laws ' ? But politics is 
concerned with action in fields where we believe that we can influence 
results : I see no reason to believe that the same technique will serve. 

17. Rather than seek to defend our activities from the charge that evil 
can come of knowledge misapplied, might it not be better that we under- 
took a harder task, trying to instil into the mind of the public a clearer 
notion of the aims with which real scientific work is done ? For what is 
that notion now, in these days of ' popular science ' ? At best, a picture 
of life lived monastically by men who care nothing for the world outside 
their laboratories, but spend their energies unceasingly in the quest for 
more and more knowledge of less and less. (Is it surprising if the public 
question the right of such men to leisure, seeing that by their carelessness, 
as it appears, forces are unleashed which may bring our civilisation to 
utter ruin ?) At worst, an uncomprehended picture of modern ' wonders 
of science ' — gifts which these same men have conferred upon their 
fellows, altruistically wresting from nature the secrets of spiritual and 
material benefit ; so that somehow, while the astronomer fosters humility 
by telling the vastness of interstellar space, Heisenberg's principle of 
determinacy is thought to bring mystic comfort to men oppressed by the 
notion of all-pervading law. Equally unfounded, it is I believe the other 
side to that sense of responsibility for the consequences of science, about 
which I have spoken already ; and on a more material plane it is the main- 
stay of the patent medicine business 1 For it has given us a public super- 
ficially acquainted with ' recent progress in science ', yet in reality no less 
ignorant, and more gullible, than was the public of Victorian days. 

Never have greater powers of exposition been devoted to the ' populari- 
sation ' of science : when, I wonder, shall we find like powers devoted to 
the harder task of a real apologia } To telling, not of the treasure found, 
but of the quest ; to showing the true man of science (for it is the fact) 
neither as care-free dilettante nor as philanthropist, but seeking truth like 
the artist, because he must ? That, I maintain, is the real spirit of science, 
be it pure or applied ; a spirit that breathes in every book of science" 
worth the name : to make of difficulty a stimulus, to be unwearied in 
determination to do good work. Is it not there, rather than on a favourable 
trade-balance of benefits conferred, that we who have chosen science 


should stand in our defence ? Were it not better that the public be told 
plainly : This is our work, which we do because we must ? 

1 8. A lead has been given, and we may be proud that the giver was 
an engineer ; for the gleam is seen in that noble presidential address by 
Sir Alfred Ewing from which I have quoted already : 

' The quest of truth goes on endlessly, ardently, fruitfully. And yet with 
every grain of knowledge we realise more clearly that we can never really know. 
To understand, as Einstein lately said, is to draw one incomprehensible out of 
another incomprehensible. From time to time we discover a fresh relation 
between pbserved phenomena, but each of the things which are found to be 
related continues to evade our full comprehension ; and that is apparently the 
only kind of discovery we can achieve. Our joy in the quest itself never fails ; 
we are constantly learning that it is better to travel than to arrive.' 

That I say is the spirit ! Let us have the courage of the artist to exalt 
our calling, and while deploring the folly that has led us and other men 
to misuse them, let us not weakly question that the gifts of science hold 
potential good. Fairly regarded, the record of engineering is not such that 
we need feel ashamed of our calling. Again to quote Sir Henry Tizard 
(1938) : 

' There is nothing new in the fact that experiment and invention are trans- 
forming the habits of men and are adding to their problems. What is new is 
that we are all more aware of it, because the rate of change has been steadily 
increasing. . . . Bad news is, as a rule, better copy than good news. But can 
it seriously be argued that any section of society is worse off and living under 
worse conditions than a hundred years ago ? Broadly speaking, the natural 
result of all scientific discovery has been greatly to improve the conditions of 
life and all our social relations, in spite of — or possibly even because of — the fact 
that scientific workers have been too busy doing their own jobs well to worry 
about other people's.' 

So Dr. Johnson to Mr. Boswell : ' My dear friend, clear your mind 
of cant. . . . You may say, " These are bad times ; it is a melancholy 
thing to be reserved to such times "... You may talk in this manner ; 
it is a mode of talking in Society : but don't think foolishly.' 


Eddington. The Nature of the Physical World, 209. 
Ewing, Sir A. 1928 A Century of Inventions, 20, 21. 
Guedalla, P. 1931 The Duke, 317, 241, no, 114. 
Lamb, H. 1924 The Evolution of Mathematical Physics. 39. 
Tizard, Sir H. 1938 Nature, 735. 




Prof. V. G. CHILDE, 


I DO not intend to inflict upon the Section an abstract discussion of 
archaeological method. Ten years' of excavation throughout the Old 
World have yielded results startling enough to affect our concrete picture 
of human history. From this vast field I want to gather together some 
new facts that should mould our total synthesis. But my aim in so doing 
will be not to attempt in an hour an impossible reconstruction of human 
history. I shall rather focus attention on some new data which will 
permit a concrete answer to a rather abstract question. Why is a pre- 
historian asked to preside over a section in this Association from which 
historians, as such, would be de facto excluded ? And if a prehistorian 
have some title to occupy this eminence, denied to a historian, how far 
are British prehistorians, including my humble self, conforming to the 
obligations conferred by this privilege ? In a word, on what grounds can 
prehistory in general and British prehistory in particular claim to be 
a Science ? 

Is prehistory experimental ? Yes, but only within very narrow limits, 
and in a restricted sense. I have recently described experiments to show 
how the puzzling phenomenon of vitrifaction may have been produced 
by our prehistoric forerunners. We knew the results of their activities ; 
we formulated hypotheses to explain how these results were attained ; 
we actually conducted under controlled conditions some of the suggested 
operations, and found that one would produce the desired result. In 
the same way Breuil and Coutier have demonstrated how an Acheulian 
hand-axe may have been made. But possibilities of this sort of experi- 
ment are very limited. Normally only one sort of experiment is open to 
the archaeologist, an experiment that can never be repeated — I mean 

Or does prehistory work ? Can it formulate general rules that serve 
as guides to successful action ? Yes, but again in a very limited sphere. 
No one who has been privileged to see Dr. Wheeler's excavations at Maiden 
Castle, can fail to recognise in his brilliant sections the effective application 
to the particular of general laws inferred from accumulated experience 
and from observation of the site. Prehistorians can indeed go further. 
In many regions the general aspects of prehistoric culture have been so 
far reduced to a system and pattern that we can say where a given 


phenomenon should be sought, and what should be found at a given site. 
Given the right maps, one can soon find out where in Great Britain to 
look for an unrecorded long barrow or hill-fort. When Anatolia was still 
a blank archsologically. Dr. Frankfort was able to predict in a general 
way what would turn up when excavation began. This sort of prediction, 
verifiable by experiment with the spade, clearly gives the same sort of 
guidance as hypotheses in natural science. But only, mark you, as to 
how to acquire fresh knowledge. 

In the end our claim to be scientific is mainly this. We base our 
deductions upon solid facts— relics and monuments — which are available 
for all to examine and relations between them which, if no longer sub- 
sisting, have been objectively recorded with photographs and diagrams 
and verified by the greatest possible number of independent observers. 
We rely in our discussions on such substantial and public data, not upon 
any mystic revelations, vouchsafed once and irrevocably to a prophet or 
a Fiihrer, nor upon the ambiguities of sentences spoken or written by 
individuals now dead. Prehistorians ' first enquire diligently into the 
nature of things and then proceed more slowly to hypotheses for the 
explanation of them.' Or to quote a leader in Nature last April, ' The 
study of man must be based on impartial and objective study of the facts, 
and not on forcing the facts to fit a biased and distorted dogma.' 

How slender is this thread that links prehistory to natural science has 
been demonstrated all too glaringly by the distortion of the subject that 
we can recognise beyond the Channel. ' The forcing of facts to fit a 
biased and distorted political dogma ' has, as Nature showed, in certain 
quarters made anthropology ' a science travestied in masquerade.' The 
writer was referring particularly to the theory of Nordic racial superiority. 
He might equally have referred to lapses into scholasticism in another 
quarter. ' Good results in scientific research depend upon their correct 
orientation — upon the acquisition by the investigator of the sole truly 
scientific methodology — that of dialectic materialism. A mercUess com- 
bat against any sort of alterations in Marxism-Leninism is a particularly 
urgent necessity,' ran the leader in the first number of Sovietskaya 

Let us not complaisantly exaggerate our neighbours motes ! Some of 
the latest German works on prehistory are just as objective as works on 
mathematics. The second number of Sovietskaya Archeologiya de- 
nounced the scholasticism of the first as sabotage and called for ' an 
intensive, methodical and objective study of the primary sources ' to 
replace dogmatic schematism. And if any archaeological dogma were 
officially imposed by a totalitarian British State, it would I fear be more 
sterile than Nordicism or pseudo-Marxism.- Its character can be fore- 
cast all too well from the talks broadcast just a year ago and subse- 
quently printed in the Listener. That sort of farrago is what an insular 
bureaucracy might make canonical had it the chance ! Would the bureau- 
crats be alone to blame 'i Do professional archaeologists always keep so 
closely within the bounds of definite evidence .' 

The prehistorian's aim is to reduce to an ordered and intelligible system 
the scattered and isolated splinters of evidence collected through surveys, 
excavations and chance discoveries. But only a few regions and short 


periods have as yet been so thoroughly explored and investigated that the 
facts of themselves mike an intelligible pattern. We have to fill up the 
gaps with guesses and assumptions. In constructing his synthesis, said 
Dr. Randall Maclver at York, ' the general writer is often carried far 
beyond the possibilities of strictly logical proof. But so long as the author 
keeps his fancies and his facts distinct, he can remain perfectly scientific' 
Speculations outrunning the ascertained facts are indeed necessary for 
the strictly scientific purpose of ascertaining fresh facts and guiding 
research — so long as fact is kept distinct from hypothesis. But in London 
Prof. Radclifi^e-Browne complained that in ethnology ' generalizations are 
the postulates with which the subject starts, not the conclusions which it 
aims to attiin as the result of the investigations undertaken. The pro- 
cedure is often that of disciples of a cult rather than of students of science.' 
Can a like complaint be levelled against archjeology ? 

The title of my address is intended to recall an assumption which has 
exercised a profound formative influence on arch^ological studies, which 
is indeed held by many as an axiom above discussion. In 1899 Montelius 
stated this faith in the book, entitled, like my address, ' The Orient and 
Europe.' ' At a time when the peoples of Europe were so to speak without 
any civilisation whatsoever, the Orient and particularly the Euphrates 
region and the Nile valley were already in enjoyment of a flourishing 
culture. The civilisation which gradually dawned on our Continent was 
for long only a pale reflection of Oriental culture.' 

In 1899 such a statement was very much more an aflirmation of faith 
than a deduction from accumulated data. When our spiritual ancestors 
first turned for light to the East, they gazed on an uncharted plain, its 
limitless horizon broken only by the Oriental mirage or the dust-clad 
ruins of pyramids and ziggurats. In 1899 the Palace of Minos was still 
a mound where olives grew and Sargon of Agade still reigned placidly in 
the empty firmament of the fourth millennium B.C. To-day the dust 
stirred up by excavating spades settles to disclose a landscape no longer 
uncharted. Beneath the ziggurats and behind the pyramids we can 
descry Tel Halaf villages and Badarian cemeteries. Sargon has been 
dragged down from his remote pinnacle and set among mortal men 
a thousand years later. Exploration has left no terrain incognitam wherein 
to picture the sun recuperating when forest obscured his light on the 
Dordogne. We can no longer plead ignorance as a pretext for treating 
a successful working hypothesis as an axiomatic truth. We must instead 
make the hypothesis explicit and scrutinise it anew in a light that is no 
longer mythical. 

But even before we begin to apply the touchstone of experiment to it, 
we find that Montelius' statement is itself a complex of postulates. His 
hypothesis rests upon other assumptions and has given birth to corollaries, 
which, treated as facts, have been used to re-enforce it. These too must 
be first made explicit and tested by experience. 

Montelius tacitly assumes diffusion. Dr. Harrison at Bristol ex- 
pounded convincingly the logical justification for the general diffusionist 
assumption implicit in the passages I quoted. But in general terms 
diffusion must remain a postulate incapable of rigorous proof. That 
does not justify us in treating it as an axiom applicable to every special 


case ; if we are scientists rather than devotees, each case of alleged 
diffusion must be examined on its merits. At York Dr. Randall Maclver 
reminded the Section of a rigorously objective criterion by which the 
opportunity for diffusion may be scientifically established. * When the 
natural distribution, as known to geologists, of rocks, ores, or other 
natural products is artificially changed, there can be no doubt that man 
has been at work.' In other words, if we find in one region, in this case 
say Central Europe, substances naturally occurring only in another, 
e.g., the Mediterranean basin, intercourse between the communities 
inhabiting the two regions is unambiguously proved. And intercourse 
implies the opportunity for diffusion of ideas. Graebner and Schmidt 
have formulated criteria for enhancing the probability of diffusion 
between two regions — the number of traits common to the suspected 
areas and the continuity of their distribution. How far have fresh 
discoveries and the co-operation of petrologists and conchologists de- 
monstrated intercourse between Europe and the Near East and enhanced 
the likelihood of diffusion by multiplying the traits common to both 
areas and filling in gaps in their distribution ? 

Montelius' phraseology implies another assumption that is really a 
corollary of the first. He is implicitly comparing Oriental cultures with 
contemporary cultures in illiterate Europe. But how compare cultural 
phases, dated by written records, with those where ex hypothesi no such 
records survive } You all know the postulate by which Montelius and 
his colleagues resolved the antinomy and set out to frame a general time- 
scale applicable alike to Europe and Asia. He notes that type-fossils, 
used to distinguish typological periods in Europe, recur in historical 
periods in Mesopotamia, Egypt and the yEgean. In accordance with 
his general assumption he assumes that the age of the type-fossils in the 
Orient provides a terminus post quern for dating the European periods 
which they serve to define. The rigorous application of this principle 
by the present and former occupants of this chair has had results little 
expected by Montelius. The neolithic period, for instance, then a hoary 
giant reckoned in millennia, has been squeezed to the stature of a slim 
Minoan youth. And yet, precisely at this moment, geologists and palaeo- 
botanists have come along with chronological systems of their own for 
dating in terms of solar years the earlier periods of European prehistory. 
These tend to enhance the antiquity of the Old Stone Age. The gap 
between the geological and historico-archaeological record is widening. 
The old hiatus is becoming more distended. When Montelius wrote, 
the mesolithic had just been created to bridge it. To-day it will take a 
lot of microliths to fill the chasm ! 

I have unmasked a formidable conspiracy of assumptions masquerading 
as facts. Let us critically examine the evidence put in for their defence. 
Restated in simpler, but still not altogether unambiguous terms, the 
statement quoted from Montelius resolves itself into the following pro- 
positions, treated as axioms : (i) Civilisation in the Orient is extremely, 
ancient ; (2) Civilisation can be diffused ; (3) Elements of civilisation 
were in fact diffused from the Orient to Europe ; (4) The diffusion of 
historically dated Oriental types provides a basis for bringing prehistoric 
Europe within the framework of historical chronology ; (5) Prehistoric 


European cultures are poorer than contemporary Oriental cultures, 
i.e., civilisation is later in Europe than in the East. To-day, none of 
these propositions except No. 2 need be treated as ' postulates rather 
than as conclusions from the results of investigations.' For the excava- 
tions published during the last five years have provided abundant data 
by virhich to test the axioms' validity. 

The high absolute antiquity of Oriental civilisation has been very 
dramatically confirmed by excavations in Mesopotamia and Syria and 
Anatolia. Opportunities for applying the criteria, already enumerated, 
to the possibility of diffusion between the Orient and Europe have been 
multiplied. Discoveries in Anatolia at Ali§ar, Alaca, Kusura, Thermi and 
Troy have in fact revealed long missing links between Mesopotamia 
and the ^gean. Heurtley's work in Macedonia, taken in conjunction 
with the publication of the relics from Vinca, has established the con- 
tinuity of neolithic culture from the /^gean to the Danube. We no 
longer have to compare two remote areas separated by an ambiguous 
tract of unexplored territories, but can survey a continuous province 
over which cultural phenomena interlock from the Tigris to the Rhine. 
The opportunities for the diffusion, assumed in axiom 3, can be estimated 
in the light of the phenomena observed herein. 

The validity of the chronological axiom 4 is to some extent confirmed 
by the enhanced likelihood of diffusion revealed by the exploration of 
intermediate regions and by the discovery in Mesopotamia and in 
Anatolia of an imposing number of the type fossils, long familiar to 
European prehistorians. But these have turned up in such unexpectedly 
early contexts that the conclusions Montelius drew from them forty 
years ago need drastic revision. Only when European chronology has 
been thus revised, can the earliest cultures of the Orient and Europe, 
as concretely revealed by the latest excavations, be compared. The 
result will be to transform the fifth axiom from a postulate into a 

Let me first summarise the results of excavations in Hither Asia that 
tend to establish the first axiom — the antiquity of Oriental culture. 
The beginning of the historical or Dynastic period in Egypt and Sumer 
now constitutes a fairly accurately dated horizon. The coincidence of 
Egyptian and Mesopotamian sources is now close enough to permit of 
this horizon being dated with general consent about 3100 i 100 B.C. 
The latest additions to knowledge resulting from Frankfort's masterly 
operations at Tel Agrab, Tel Asmer and Khafaje, have not only to be 
mentioned as enhancing the likelihood of diffusion and providing fresh 
data for European chronology, but intensify our appreciation of the high 
level of Oriental civilisation and emphasise the long duration of the 
Early Dynastic Age. The Sin Temple at Khafaje was rebuilt five times. 
In the same period the Temple of Abu at Tel Asmer underwent four 

And the Early Dynastic period itself was far from the beginning of 
urban life. In the Tigris-Euphrates delta it is preceded by two periods, 
termed respectively the Jemdet Nasr and Uruk phases, during which 
monumental buildings were already being erected. At Erech, below the 
earliest dynastic temple ruins, the German excavators uncovered the wall 


stumps of a gigantic edifice that had been reconstructed once or twice 
in the Jemdet Nasr period. These walls in turn rested on ruins of a 
no less imposing building, the Red Temple ; a veritable cathedral adorned 
with a mosaic of clay nails and with friezes of stucco beasts. The Red 
Temple itself was twice remodelled and was after all only the successor 
of a still earlier, but no less monumental, cathedral, termed in view of 
its unusual stone foundations the Limestone Temple. Now you do not 
build a cathedral every fifty years, even if it be built only of mud brick. 
This series of three prehistoric temples with their several reconstructions 
must cover a period of several centuries. (Incidentally writing was 
invented during that period.) 

But even in the Limestone Temple we are dealing with a highly- 
organised urban civilisation presupposing centuries of experimentation 
and development. Some aspects of that development are explicitly 
revealed in the archaeological record. From the floor level of the Lime- 
stone Temple the Germans sank a shaft, 17 m. or just under 60 ft. deep 
to virgin soil. It was dug entirely through the debris of prehistoric 
dwellings. As one winds down the ramp into that dizzy abyss one can 
distinguish in the pit wall 18 layers marked by hearths, floors, stumps of 
walls and heaps of sherds and artifacts. As Dr. Randall Maclver has 
insisted, nothing could be more perilous than an attempt to estimate in 
years the time taken for such an accumulation to form. But I must 
confess that nothing has driven home so vividly the antiquity of settled 
life in the Tigris-Euphrates delta as the descent of that great shaft. 
Admitting that I am now guessing perhaps rashly, I cannot believe that 
the al'Ubaid culture represented in the lower levels at Erech is later than 

4500 B.C. 

But no one has ever suggested that the geologically very recent delta 
of Lower Mesopotamia was the cradle of food-production. It is in fact 
evident that the al'Ubaid farmers who settled on the freshly emerged 
land-surface there, brought with them from older regions a culture 
already mature. And in the last five years the excavations of Mallowan 
and Speiser in Assyria and Syria have given us glimpses of what preceded 
al'Ubaid in the Fertile Crescent. It is true that history does not fully 
dawn there till relatively late — till the time of the Dynasty of Akkad 
indeed. But relations with Lower Mesopotamia were so close and so 
continuous that the archseological record provided by the prehistoric 
levels of Gawra, Nineveh and Chagar Bazar can be proved parallel to 
that from the protohistoric levels of Sumer. Imported Assyrian pottery 
actually found at Tel Asmer thus shows that Gawra VI is at least Early 
Dynastic and Gawra Villa not later than Jemdet Nasr in Babylonia. 
Below the last-named level come four or. five architectural periods, 
Gawra Vlllb to XII, presumably parallel to the Uruk period of Sumer. 
So when we find in Gawra XIII pottery and other relics typical of the 
earliest or al'Ubaid phase of Sumer's prehistory, we have no reason to 
doubt that al'Ubaid in Assyria is virtually contemporary with al'Ubaid 
in Sumer. But Gawra XIII already boasted a cluster of three handsome- 
and monumental temples, decorated with painted buttresses and niches 
and grouped round a court 20 m. by 14 m. in area. 

And the al'Ubaid temples at Gawra are perched upon a tell, formed 


from the ruins of older settlements and rising already 25 to 30 m. above 
the plain. Below the al'Ubaid foundations come settlements belonging 
to the Tel Halaf culture. Mallowan found the same culture beneath, 
and therefore older than, al'Ubaid remains at Arpachiya, 38 ft. below 
the historical horizon at Nineveh and in deep layers at Chagar Bazar. 
The Tel Halaf culture is accordingly older than the al'llbaid— if you 
want a guess, I would hazard 5000 B.C. as a moderate date — but it is no 
less sophisticated. Monumental circular buildings, cobbled streets, 
delicate and beautifully painted vases, ingeniously carved stone beads 
and stamps already used for sealing property attest already a well-organised 
society, an advanced economy, highly developed craftsmanship. If the 
collection of pit-dwellings and wattle-and-daub huts sheltering under the 
gigantic ramparts of Maiden Castle be termed a city, can we deny that 
name to the Tel Halaf settlements at Arpachiya ? Its cobbled streets 
disclose a community as well organised for works of public utility as 
were Iron Age Britons for defence preparations. Even the economic 
aspect of city life is represented. The richest house at Arpachiya would 
seem to have belonged to an artist-craftsman presumably producing for 
sale, not merely for the satisfaction of domestic needs. And even long 
distance trade is dramatically attested by a shell of Cypraea vitellus 
imported from the Persian Gulf to the Tel Halaf village at Chagar Bazar 
on the Khabur. 

The Tel Halaf culture must have flourished for several generations. 
Mallowan uncovered at least five building levels at Arpachiya and seven 
at Chagar Bazar. And yet at Gawra, Nineveh and Chagar Bazar, the 
oldest Tel Halaf foundations rest upon the ruins of villages characterised 
by painted pottery of the Samarra style. Guessing frankly once more 
these might take us well back into the sixth millennium B.C. 

Yet the culture revealed even in these remote depths resembles the 
European neolithic only in the most formal sense — in the continued use 
of polished stone adzes and some other tools. The earliest cultures of 
the Fertile Crescent, like its Early Dynastic cities, are so unlike anything 
we know in Cis-alpine Europe before Roman times, are economically 
so far ahead of Koln-Lindenthal or Skara Brae or even Toszeg as to seem 
almost incommensurable. Yet some comparison is inevitable if Montelius' 
fifth postulate is to be objectively criticised. 

The abruptness of the contrast may to-day be softened by reference 
to a region that is more than spatially intermediate between Mesopotamia 
and Europe. During the last five years a promising beginning has been 
made in reducing to a system Anatolian prehistory. The results are 
relevant not only to the antiquity of Oriental culture, but also to the 
probability of the diflFusion postulated in axiom 3 . 

The results of the long campaign conducted at Alisar Hiiyiik by the 
Oriental Institute of Chicago which were published this year have given 
the first definite clue to the culture-sequence on the plateau. In particular 
they provide the skeleton of a chronology. Recorded history began 
relatively late in the Halys basin ; continuous records disclosing names 
and dates do not go back beyond the foundation of the First Hittite 
Empire in the twentieth century B.C. But intercourse between Anatolia 
and Mesopotamia is attested by business documents several centuries 


earlier and by tradition as far back as the reign of Sargon of Agade. It 
is faithfully reflected in the archasological record. 

Below the Hittite foundations on the acropolis at Alisar (but not on 
the terrace) came a deposit with Cappadocian painted ware now termed 
Early Bronze Age or Alisar C. Below that, five building layers, account- 
ing for II m. of deposit, represent the Copper Age or Alisar B. This 
must end by 2000 B.C. A beginning towards 3000 B.C. might be inferred 
from an imported Mesopotamian cylinder of Jemdet Nasr style, stone 
figurines like those regarded as Anatolian intruders in the Early Dynastic 
layers of Gawra and Tel Asmer, and animal pendants of stone remark- 
ably like those from the Early Dynastic temple of Sin at Khafaje. To 
this same Copper Age belong the ruins and burials at Ahlatlibel near 
Ankara. It was a period when commerce was sufficiently organised 
for metal to be common and seals to be useful. 

But beneath the lowest Copper Age floors von der Osten's shaft 
pierced 8-5 m. of debris, divisible into seven building levels, before 
reaching virgin soil. The earliest Anatolian culture, represented by 
Alisar A, is already so advanced that it is accurately termed Chalcolithic. 
However sparingly used, copper, silver and lead were common enough to 
indicate well-established commercial channels of distribution and special- 
ised producers. Stamp-seals were already employed. But certain pot- 
forms and fabrics are already comparable to the Central European ; two- 
handled tankards, like those of the Hungarian Copper Age, occur in the 
topmost layers only (Ali§ar A2) ; for the rest lugs take the place of handles, 
but a distinctive shape is a high-pedestalled bowl, at first with a remarkably 
Danubian profile. The fabric is self-coloured, black to red but generally 
muddy and sometimes particoloured — black inside and round the rim, 
but brownish below on the exterior. The Anatolian Chalcolithic seems 
rooted in the fourth millennium B.C., but how far back remains quite 

Despite conspicuous divergences the Copper Age and Chalcolithic 
cultures of Central Anatolia are patently related to, and continuous with, 
those of north-western Anatolia, long known from Schliemann's excava- 
tions at Troy. And there re-excavation under Blegen has substantially 
enhanced the impression of the antiquity of Anatolian culture. If the 
Americans have not yet provided unimpeachable data for determining the 
absolute age of the earlier ' cities,' they have at least filled in and expanded 
the scheme propounded by Schliemann and Dorpfeld. The Troy that 
the Achaeans might have sacked about 1200 B.C., did Lord Raglan allow 
us to believe in a Trojan War, was not VI but Vila. Troy VI goes 
back on the strength of Helladic imports to 1500 B.C. Cities V, IV and III 
turn out to be quite important settlements, divisible into several archi- 
tectural levels and making up together a formidable accumulation 4 m. 
deep. Troy II, thus separated from the Mycenaean horizon, can no longer 
be brought down to the Shaft Grave epoch, however neat Aberg's typo- 
logical comparisons may look. It is firmly anchored in the third millen- 
nium whatever its precise limits may be. And Troy I below it wa§ 
already a city girt by an imposing wall. Its citizens were executing 
monumental sculptures that provide a new limiting date, on Montelius' 
assumption, for the statue-menhirs of Atlantic Europe. And by this 


time, as Miss Lamb has shown at the contemporary Lesbian township of 
Thermi, copper and even bronze were already being worked, celts might 
have hammered flanges, battle-axes were used in war, while trade brought 
marble vases from the i^gean Islands. And remains of a still earlier 
phase of culture may be discerned at Kum Tepe. Soundings there pro- 
duced pedestalled bowls like those from the earliest Chalcolithic of Alisar 
that seem still missing in Troy I and the contemporary Lesbian site. 

The experiments in Anatolia thus go far to re-enforce with objective 
facts the antiquity and relatively high level of Oriental culture assumed 
in axiom i. Moreover, taken in conjunction with Heurtley's excavations 
in Macedonia, they concretely demonstrate connections between Asia 
and Europe that are the precondition for admitting axiom 3 and provide 
a crucial instance for testing axiom 5, i.e. for comparing demonstrably 
contemporary cultures in Europe and Asia. Heurtley has convincingly 
demonstrated the Anatolian ancestry of the Early Macedonian Bronze 
Age culture ; it begins with fully developed horned tubular lugs growing 
from the bowls' rims. The evolution of this odd type that appears fully 
formed in Europe can be traced stratigraphically on the Asiatic side. It 
emerges as a finished product first in phase B at Thermi ; its earlier stages 
are illustrated in phase A. For once we have, fully documented, a cultural 
spread which is irreversible ; in this concrete instance axiom 3 becomes 
a conclusion from ascertained facts. 

But, implanted in Europe, Anatolian culture appears poorer than its 
Asiatic parents. Even in phase A Thermi was quite a township, the con- 
temporary Troy I a fenced city. Their economy was so far advanced that 
copper and even bronze could be used for tools as well as weapons ; metal 
was so plentiful that quite a lot was left lying about for Miss Lamb to find. 
The Early Macedonian settlements which are not older than Troy I give 
the impression of rustic villages. For all the metal collected among their 
ruins, they might be neolithic. Macedonia was still veiled in mists which 
the Oriental sun must pierce before an economic system comparable even 
to the Anatolian could function. 

But if the Early Bronze Age culture of Macedonia is unambiguously 
rooted in Asia, the later neolithic culture which it supersedes is no less 
securely linked with that of Vinca and Tordos in the Middle Danube 
basin beyond the Balkan ranges. Comparison of the Macedonian relics 
with those from the Morava-Middle Danube-Maros sites shows that we 
are dealing not with two cultures but with different facies of one and the 
same culture. Common to both regions are stone adzes of shoe-last form, 
bone combs, bracelets of Spondylus shell, clay figurines, clay altars, 
carinated bowls and chalices on solid pedestals in dark-faced, parti- 
coloured and red-slipped wares decorated by incision, fluting, stripe- 
burnishing and painting in black or white on red sometimes with spiral 
motives and embellished with lugs modelled as animal heads. A veritable 
cultural continuum traversing the Balkans connects the ^Egean coasts 
with the Danube basin. We may reasonably speak of a Vardar-Morava 
culture extending from the coasts to the Maros. 

How such a continuum was constituted remains a question for debate 
elsewhere. Its absolute antiquity in Macedonia cannot be defined with 
precision owing to the difficulties of applying the Minoan-Helladic systems 


to what may have been a cuhural backwater and the uncertainties in the 
systems themselves. Even the position of the Vardar-Morava culture 
in the Danubian sequence remains ambiguous. Though the deposit at 
Vinca is lo m. thick and comprises type-fossils of Danubian II, the methods 
of excavation and publication do not permit of the distribution of the relics 
between stratigraphically defined periods. For our purpose the supreme 
importance of the Vardar-Morava complex is that it establishes at least 
once a continuity of culture from the /Egean to the Danube basin. What- 
ever be the chronological horizon of that continuity, its existence enhances 
enormously the significance of the south-eastern analogies to cultural 
phenomena in Central Europe. It provides a justification for admitting 
axiom 3 — diffusion from Asia to Central Europe is likely. 

Fortified by this conclusion let us turn to axiom 4 — the prehistoric 
chronology of Central Europe. There the cultural sequence is reasonably 
clear at least north of the Bakony and the Little Carpathians. The 
divisions which I tentatively suggested ten- years ago have on the whole 
been fully justified by recent research. A reference to the comprehensive 
survey of the Danubian and Western Cultures in Germany published 
by Buttler last year will show how well my scheme works. Thanks 
particularly to the work of Banner round Szeged it can even be extended 
to the Hungarian plain more fully than I could do. The Copper Age 
Bodrogkeresztur culture there is plainly the counterpart of the so-called 
Nordic and Bell-beaker cultures of my Danubian III in the Sudeten 
lands, and Banner's Koros culture may well fill up my period I. But to 
what Oriental cultures shall these several phases be compared } En- 
couraged by the newly -revealed proofs of intercourse, let us apply 
Montelius' fourth axiom to dating the Danubian sequence. 

The earliest bronze objects found in Central Europe (in graves and 
hoards of the Aunjetitz culture) include a whole constellation of specialised 
and arbitrary forms of ornament that are now known also in historically 
dated horizons. Ingot- torques have been found in Early Dynastic 
levels at Tel Agrab and recur in North Syria and in the Copper Age 
graves of Ahlatlibel in Turkey. Earrings and lock-rings with flattened 
ends are common in Early Dynastic Sumerian graves and in the ' treasures ' 
of Troy II ; racquet pins are found in the Royal Tombs of Ur ; the knot- 
headed pin goes back to Gerzean times in Egypt and appears at Troy II ; 
its principle was applied to Sumerian toilet sets in Early Dynastic times. 
By then tin bronze was already known to the Sumerians as to the Lesbians 
in the time of Thermi I. In a word all the type-fossils of the Early Bronze 
Age in Central Europe, and the technical discovery that defines the period, 
can be traced back to somewhere about 3000 B.C. in the Orient. On 
the strictest application of Montelius' axiom the beginnings of the Con- 
tinental Bronze Age should be nearer 2800 B.C. than 1800 ! 

And as far as Central Europe is concerned that chronology would involve 
no glaring contradiction. Oriental parallels can be found to the types 
that define earlier periods, while Mediterranean shells, imported even to 
the Rhine Valley, prove intercourse with the south-east right back to 
Danubian I. Stone battle-axes such as characterise period III are found 
already at Thermi I. The Early Dynastic levels of Tel Agrab have 
yielded rather degenerate specimens ; better battle-axes come from the 


al'Ubaid settlement at Arpachiya and from Gawra VIII-IX, that is 
equivalent to Uruk in Sumer. Hence Danubian HI could be equated 
with the Uruk period. 

Clay stamps, generally called pintaderas, appear in Danubian II (and 
in Koros sites that may be older). In form they closely resemble 
Asiatic stamp seals of stone and, like the latter, often bear a filled cross 
design. In Europe, such stamps, nowhere very numerous, are common 
only in the extreme south-east — Bulgaria, Wallachia, Transylvania, the 
Middle Danube plain ; stray examples reach Moravia ; still fewer the 
Upper Elbe and Oder basins. Such a distribution justifies their interpre- 
tation as copies of Asiatic stone seals. But in Asia prototypes can be 
found as early as Tel Halaf times and in the Chalcolithic layers of Alisar. 
And there there are pedestalled bowls remarkably like those characteristic 
of Danubian II. The upper limits for that period could accordingly be 
pushed back to Ali§ar Chalcolithic or even Tel Halaf. 

And that is not the end of our comparisons. As Spondylus shells were 
being imported from the Mediterranean even in Danubian I times, so 
some Danubian I vases are decorated with patterns in which Neustupny 
rightly sees a representation of a double-axe. For the models he looked 
to Minoan Crete. But double-axes were used in Assyria as amulets even 
in Tel Halaf times. So the terminus post quern provided by that motive 
can be relegated to a remote Tel Halaf period. 

Testing this long chronology in the other direction, it can still be made 
to work. Aberg and Reinecke have indeed insisted on Middle Helladic 
and Shaft Grave parallels to Aunjetitz bronzes of period IV. But on the 
whole Middle ^gean armament — rapiers, ogival daggers, socketed 
spear-heads — is typologically parallel rather to that proper to the Middle 
Bronze Age or period V, in Central Europe. A halberd from Shaft 
Grave IV is admittedly an Early Bronze Age type, but Forssander has 
plausibly compared its contours with those of a Middle Age sword from 
Hajdu Samson. The pottery from Middle Age Bronze graves at Vattina 
and from south-eastern Hungary includes many tankards and goblets 
with crinkled rims and grooved handles that might be copies of well-known 
Middle Minoan silver vessels. In a word a limiting date about 1700 B.C. 
for the Middle Bronze Age is defensible. 

And with the fall of the Mycenaean culture we have admittedly reached 
the Late Bronze Age or period VI of Central Europe. The barbarian 
invaders who sacked late Mycenaean Vardaroftsa, in the twelfth or 
eleventh century, brought ceramic traditions proper to the Late Bronze 
Age urnfields like Knoviz and Hotting. And this date is for once a 
terminus ante quern for the continental period. An even higher limit might 
be deduced from the fibulae and flange-tanged swords that appear in 
Greece during the thirteenth century. Accordingly the following scheme 
of European chronology might be defended : — 

Danubian VI 

(urnfield cultures fibulae and slashing swords) 1200 B.c 

Danubian V 

(Vattina ware, rapiers, ogival daggers, 
socketed spear-heads) .... 1700 B.C. 


Danubian IV 

(bronze, ingot torques, knot-headed pins, 
lock-rings) ...... 3000 B.C. 

If geologists and botanists can show good grounds for demanding an 
enlargement and prolongation backward of the neolithic age, archaeological 
chronology can be adjusted to meet theirs without violating Montelius' 
axioms. Danubian I, admittedly the earliest neolithic culture in con- 
tinental Europe, would still be limited by Tel Halaf. If the former have 
to be dated to the sixth millennium, the latter can just as reasonably be 
assigned a like antiquity. 

The foregoing dates are advanced only as extreme possibilities. The 
Oriental analogies cited provide under axiom 4 only upper limits for the 
corresponding period. It is not till the Late Bronze Age that we get a 
terminus ante quem from our comparisons. But for the moment let us 
adopt the maximal dates as a framework for comparing Asiatic and Euro- 
pean cultures. How would Montelius' general view of the relations 
between Europe and the Orient be affected by adopting the long chrono- 
logy outlined here ? What happens to his fifth axiom if the Central 
European Bronze Age began about 2800 B.C. ? 

By that date we should have the following picture of the tract we have 
been surveying. We should see in Egypt and Lower Mesopotamia 
populous cities, covering like Erech perhaps two square miles of area, 
governed by a well-established organisation, emancipated from immediate 
dependence on environmental conditions by extensive public works and 
a rich technical equipment and regular far-flung commerce and all fully 
literate. Then in Assyria and Syria come smaller cities, only slightly 
less richly equipped and still at least semi-literate. Further afield in 
Anatolia and peninsular Greece are fortified townships whose walls protect 
a variety of specialised craftsmen so well served by regular commerce 
that metal at least could be freely used for tools ; their citizens may already 
need and use seals, but seem to be illiterate. Next, in the Balkans and 
on the Hungarian plain, we find rustic townships occupied principally 
by farmers. Their rural economy is advanced enough to support a truly 
sedentary population, but virtually the sole outlet in industry for the 
surplus is offered by metallurgical employments, and trade is so imper- 
fectly organised that metal has to be reserved mainly for armaments. 
The same picture would apply to Bohemia and southern Germany with 
the important reservation that agriculture seems not to have advanced so 
far as to allow the population to be really stable. Denmark and southern 
Sweden are still frankly in the Stone Age. And still further north 
food-gathering is the sole economy. 

Look back as many thousand years as may be necessary to reach 
Danubian I times, which have been for this purpose equated with the 
Tel Halaf period in the Fertile Crescent. In the Orient we see already 
little townships permanently occupied by experienced farmers, comprising 
already expert craftsmen and supplied by trade at least with obsidian. 
In Crete and Thessaly too perhaps more self-sufficient farmers are still 
applying sufficient science to their fields to be able to live permanently 
on the same site. But beyond the Balkans nomadism reigns. The Koros 


herdsmen are roaming over the Alfold, tilling and grazing patches for a 
few seasons and then moving on. And Danubian I peasants are spreading 
over the loss, shifting their little hamlets of twenty or so households to 
new virgin fields every few years. And beyond the frontiers of the loss 
are only food-gatherers, fishing and fowling along streams in the forest 
or collecting shell-fish on the coasts. 

Yet earlier still beneath Tel Halaf villages we have glimpses of settled 
cultivators who, judging by the few items of equipment so far recovered, 
were at least as far advanced as the Danubians. 

Even on this extreme chronology Montelius' fifth axiom is justified. 
Oriental cultures are richer than the contemporary European. Moreover 
the first picture discloses a very significant cultural zoning. As we pass 
north-westward from the Orient we descend through regular gradations 
from the many-sided richness of urban civilisation to the stark poverty 
and immediate dependence on external nature of food-gathering hordes. 
Such a grading is exactly what would be deduced from Montelius' third 
axiom. Its discovery in the archasological record is the best demonstra- 
tion of diff"usion that I can imagine. I take it as confirming the diffusion of 
bronze-working with all its economic implications. 

But on the extreme chronology this demonstration could not be applied 
to food-production, to the more important discovery-complex that made 
possible what I term the neolithic revolution. The Vardar-Morava 
culture, that as yet alone establishes concretely continuity across the 
Balkans, could hardly be put so early in relation to Oriental cultures, 
however it may be related chronologically to Danubian I. Objective 
proof of cultural continuity, giving eflPective opportunity for diffusion 
between the Near East and Central Europe, would be still lacking. The 
belief that agriculture and stock-breeding, the foundations of any neolithic 
culture, were introduced into Europe from the Orient would remain only 
a probable hypothesis which, however much its plausibility has been 
enhanced, must await final confirmation or refutation in the observed 
facts of excavation. The Balkans are still but little known. Till the 
crucial experiments have been made there, it would be permissible to 
hope for confirmatory evidence in that quarter. 

Montelius' thesis has come unscathed through the severest test. Even 
on a chronology based on geological rather than archaeological premises 
and designed to meet the demands of an extraneous discipline, his axioms 
4 and 5 prove workable. If geologists demand dates of the order just 
outlined, archasologists can meet them without sacrificing any essential 
principles, but preserving intact their own proper methods and all the 
historically vital deductions therefrom. But these high dates for Central 
European prehistory have been advanced provisionally simply and solely 
to test the applicability of Montelius' method, and not as proven or even 
probable. To justify them archaeologically we have had to sacrifice 
many tempting comparisons and to explain away observed facts that must 
be admitted as relevant. 

Remember that down to 1200 B.C. no date in European prehistory 
could be justified archaeologically by an actual object of Oriental manu- 
facture found in Central Europe, still less by an admittedly European 
product in a historically dated context. We have had to rely exclusively 



on copies of Oriental models made in Central Europe. Remember 
further that all the types on which we have relied enjoyed a long popularity 
in the Orient : seals that could serve as models for Danubian II ' pinta- 
deras ' were current in Crete and Asia Minor throughout the third 
millennium and later. Battle-axes for comparison to those of Danubian III 
were brandished equally long in central Anatolia and first appear in 
peninsular Greece in Middle Helladic times. The type-fossils of 
Period IV only came into fashion in the East in the third millennium 
and fashions did not change abruptly. Knot-headed pins were still being 
worn in the third (Hittite) settlement at Kusura during the second 
millennium. Ingot-torques, racquet pins, lock-rings and earrings with 
flattened ends are common in Caucasian graves well after 1500 B.C. The 
archasological ' synchronisms ' so far considered are really just upper 

Accordingly till geologists present their demands with more unanimity 
and confidence, it is permissible to remind you of other comparisons 
between Central European and south-eastern phenomena that entail 
substantially lower dates for our prehistoric periods. Characteristic of 
Danubian II are cubical blocks of clay, with one, or rarely two, cups 
hollowed out in them and perforated at the corners. These have been 
convincingly explained as clay copies of Early Minoan block vases of 
stone. Thus interpreted, they would bring the limits of Danubian II 
down into the third millennium under axiom 4. 

Found allegedly in an Aunjetitz grave of period IV at Nienhagen in 
Central Germany was a clay cup ; its curious handle is strikingly like 
those of the metal Vapheio cups of Late Minoan I, most popular between 
1600 and 1500 B.C. Parallels between Aunjetitz weapons and those of 
the Mycenaean Shaft Graves of roughly similar age have already been 
mentioned — -and explained away. Still the amber beads from these and 
later Mycenaean graves should re-enforce the arguments for a parallelism 
between Central European Aunjetitz and Late Helladic Greece. The 
amber trade was a mainspring of the Aunjetitz commercial system. Did 
it involve nothing more than barter between barbarians in Denmark, 
Bohemia and Upper Italy ? The brilliance of the Early Bronze Age in 
Bohemia would become much more intelligible if that region were already 
connected by the amber trade with civilised Greece. The probability of 
such a connection is enhanced by Piggott's recognition among the amber 
beads from Kakovatos (Nestor's Pylos) of massive forms and space- 
plates in the Danish style such as often occur in graves contemporary 
with Aunjetitz. All these pointers converge upon a date for the be- 
ginning of the Central European Bronze Age a full thousand years later 
than the upper limits deduced from the metal ornaments. 

Such considerations are, however, frankly speculative and can if needful 
be dismissed. It is less easy to explain away certain actual ^Egean or 
Egyptian imports found in an apparently Early Bronze Age context in 
Central Europe. Segmented fayence beads occur in four graves near 
Szeged associated with pottery of the Perjamos type and in two Moravian 
graves with Aunjetitz pottery. Though the blue glaze is generally less 
well preserved, these beads. Dr. Stone assures me, agree perfectly in form 
and technique with those from Wiltshire and from Grave 1808A at Abydos, 


dated about 1400 B.C. Now admittedly the coincidence of Perjamos and 
Aunjetitz may not be altogether exact, and Aunjetitz and Perjamos ceramic 
forms and even knot-headed pins and ingot-torques outlast the bounds 
of the Early Bronze Age or Danubian IV as defined by hoards. But even 
if the relevant graves be transferred to the beginning of the Middle Bronze 
Age (Reinecke B), it is difficult to admit that Perjamos jugs and Aunjetitz 
mugs persisted virtually unchanged for 1400 years or to spread over so 
long a period even the 180 graves of the Szoreg cemetery from which some 
of our beads come. 

And the foregoing are not quite the earliest imports recognised in 
Central Europe. Willvonseder found a very small blue segmented bead of 
the sort made in Egypt from 1600 to 1300 B.C. at Leopoldsdorf near 
Vienna in a grave with a Bell-beaker. Of course, it is now recognised 
that Bell-beakers are not confined to period III ; some are contemporary 
with early Aunjetitz. Still taken altogether these undoubted imports 
provide really cogent arguments for the limiting date of 1500 B.C. proposed 
by Aberg for Aunjetitz. Clearly that would fit in beautifully with the 
more speculative considerations adduced above for earlier periods. And 
notoriously it is difficult to make a Bronze Age of two thousand years 
look credible outside the Central European and Britannico-Hibernian 
economic systems — in south France for instance. 

Perhaps then it may be legitimate to consider a short chronology such 
as I have previously advanced on several occasions as a still plausible 
alternative to the long one outlined to-day. Till incontrovertible evidence 
from the geological or botanical side makes it obsolete, it is still permissible 
to consider in conclusion how the low dating endorsed by the fresh data 
just adduced affects the general credibility of Montelius' hypotheses. 

In our previous pictures of the Tigris-Rhine tract we shall have to 
transpose individual items to fit a Central European chronology based on 
synchronisms through Greece with Egypt and altogether independent of 
Asia. We then get two scenes both disclosing the cultural continuity 
and gradation recognisable only in the first picture on a long chronology. 
At the beginning of the Central European Bronze Age towards the middle 
of the third millennium B.C., the following zones could be distinguished: 

(i) The metropolitan civilisations of Egypt and Babylonia. 

(2) Relatively provincial civilisations in Crete, Syria and Hittite Asia 
Minor, but all fully literate and truly urban. 

(3) Bronze Age towns in western Anatolia and peninsular Greece 
whose walls may enclose from 4 to 11 acres and defend not only smiths 
but also specialised potters and many other craftsmen. Most are illiterate, 
but literate urban civilisation is already dawning at Mycenae. 

(4) In Macedonia and the Balkans and on the Middle Danube stable 
villages exist ; their size can be estimated from the cemeteries comprising 
a maximum number of 180 graves. Besides farming the only specialised 
industry is metallurgy, and commercial organisation is too rudimentary to 
make metal generally available for tools. 

(5) In Czechoslovakia and South Germany a similar economy reigns, 
but the settlements are less permanent and the maximum number of 
graves so far reported from a cemetery is 100. 

(6) In North Germany, Denmark and South Sweden are bands of 


herdsmen and small hamlets of self-sufficing peasants still equipped with 
only stone weapons. 

(7) In the extreme north the sole source of livelihood is food gathering. 

Fifteen hundred years or so earlier the gradations would be similar but 
the zones would have contracted. We should see : — • 

(i) In Egypt and Mesopotamia true cities whose walls may already 
enclose nearly 2 sq. miles, relieved from immediate dependence on 
environmental accidents by public works and organised commerce, 
comprising a variety of artisans and officials including scribes. 

(2) Smaller cities in Syria less richly equipped and only partially 

(3) Copper Age townships in Anatolia and peninsular Greece with a 
walled area of 2 to 4 acres and a population comprising specialised smiths 
and some other craftsmen adequately provided by trade with metal and 
other raw materials. 

(4) In Thessaly, Macedonia and the Morava-Maros region beyond 
the Balkans neolithic villages are permanently occupied by experienced 
farmers who are content to do without metal. 

(5) North of the Maros Koros herdsmen and Biikkian troglod3rtes are 
grazing and tilling patches of loss and then moving on ; still further 
north Danubian I hoe-cultivators are shifting their hamlets of twenty 
odd huts every few years to fresh fields till they reach the confines of the 

(6) Beyond these on the North European plain are only scattered 
bands of food-gatherers hunting, fowling and fishing and collecting nuts 
or shell-fish. 

In each picture we see within a continuous area of interlocking cultures 
gradations such as would be deduced from the diffusionist postulate. 
But a comparison of the second picture with the first reveals just that 
expansion of the zones aff'ected by the neolithic revolution that would be 
anticipated were its effects being indeed diffused. The acceptance of 
axiom 4, the rigorous application of his chronological method alone, 
would virtually allow the graphic demonstration of Montelius' remaining 


Owing to the coincidence of the International Physiological Congress 
(Zurich, August 14-19, 1938), no separate meetings were arranged for 
this Section. 




R. H. THOULESS, M.A., Ph.D., 


The title that I have chosen for my address describes a larger field than 
it is possible to deal with adequately in a single hour. My aim to-day is 
to consider only some aspects of this question, illustrating my remarks 
by reference to those problems of visual perception with which I happen 
to have been most closely concerned. 

That we see with our eyes is known to everyone and has been known 
for a long time. That we see also with our brains is less generally realised, 
and the implications of this fact are relatively recent importations into 
the theory of vision. The full statement of the physiological mechanism 
of vision would include not only the sensitive retinal surface and the 
visual areas of the cortex but the whole system which includes retina, 
optic nerve, visual area of the cerebral cortex, and other sensory areas of 
the brain as well. 

I. The Transmission Theory of Vision. 

It is possible, of course, to study vision in such a way that everything 
except the activity of the retina is neglected altogether or relegated to a 
secondary position, and it was in this way that the scientific study of 
vision began. This is the point of view which we find in the work of 
Helmholtz and in much of the experimental research into vision which 
has followed his deservedly great authority. The basic assumption is 
that the essential process of vision is the formation of an optical image 
on the retina and its transmission to the visual centres of the brain by 
means of the optic nerve. Differences between the sensations transmitted 
to the brain and the finished perception which appears in experience 
were attributed to the action of the higher processes of judgment and the 
influence of past experience. 

This theory of vision, which we may call the ' transmission theory,' 
has behind it not only the weight of the authority of the great originators 
of the experimental study of vision. It has also the advantage of being 
the view of the man in the street. Its truth seems to many to be so 
axiomatic that its denial may have the appearance of wilful paradox. 

It is, nevertheless, now clear that the transmission theory is wrong, 


and that a wholly different way of approaching the problems of visual 
perception is necessary if we are not to be led astray. To say this is not 
to deny the greatness of the achievements of those investigators in the 
past whose work on vision was guided by this theory. Within a certain 
limited field, it proved itself a fruitful guide to research. This field was 
that of the sensory physiology of the retina. If we wish to discover what 
is happening on the retina we must arrange conditions of experiment so 
as to cut out, as far as possible, the complicating effects of the cerebral 
components of the visual part of the nervous system. This was what 
was done when the early experimenters made observations through tubes 
or on black backgrounds. So such workers as Helmholtz, Konig, Abney 
and a host of others made a firm foundation for a science of vision in the 
sensory physiology of the retina. The error, however, has sometimes 
been made of mistaking the foundations for the completed building. 
When we get rid of tubes and black backgrounds and open both eyes to 
look at objects surrounded by other objects we find that what we see 
follows other and far more complicated principles than the laws of sensory 

Against the successes of the transmission theory of vision in originating 
fruitful lines of research, we must set its failures. Fruitful in the field of 
sensory physiology, it left most of the field of perception a barren waste. 
Its underlying assumption was that any visual experience which could be 
exactly correlated with an event in the sense-organ was a true element of 
experience (a ' sensation '), while those that could not were regarded as 
due to the action of higher processes on these elements or were relegated 
to the class of ' illusions ' or mistaken judgments. There were many 
investigations of the perceptual experiences (such as that of depth) which 
were attributed to correct judgments about sensations, although the 
successes in this field were much less striking than in that of sensory 
physiology ; the ' illusions,' however, were almost wholly abandoned to 
anecdotal report. 

Fruitful experimental work on perception began when psychologists 
began to doubt the validity of the distinction between true perceptions 
and illusions. Katz, for example, in 191 1, devoted a considerable part 
of a book to a description of such differences between colours as are not 
due to differences between the local retinal stimulations. Thus the 
difference between the appearance of yellow and of red is accompanied 
by a difference in the bands of wave-lengths of light stimulating the eye, 
and is regarded on any theory as a real psychological difference. There 
is, however, also a difference between the appearance of a red book (a 
surface colour) and a red patch seen in the spectrum of the same brightness 
and the same composition of wave-lengths (a'film colour). This difference 
is accompanied by no difference in the conditions of local retinal stimu- 
lation and is, therefore, from the point of view of the transmission theory, 
an illusory difference. It was only when psychologists adopted what has 
been called the ' phenomenological ' point of view of regarding all differ- 
ences in appearance as equally reputable objects of experimental study, 
whether or not they were accompanied by differences in local physiological 
stimulation, that the serious experimental study of such things as the 
modes of appearance of colours became possible. 


II. Experimental Objections to the Transmission Theory, 

Although the way was undoubtedly paved for criticism of the trans- 
mission theory by earlier researches, the main attack on it developed from 
Wertheimer's investigation (published in 1912) of the so-called ' phi- 
movement ' which results from successive stimulation at certain intervals 
of two retinal points. This is one of many known examples of the 
appearance in perception of something which does not exist in the pattern 
of stimulation. On the retina there is only intermittent stimulation of 
stationary points ; in the perceived world there is movement. Wertheimer 
argued that this movement must be regarded as a genuine element in the 
total system of physiological events which determine the perception, and 
that it is not to be explained as an illusion of judgment. These experi- 
ments formed also the starting point from which Kohler launched his 
more general attack on the ' constancy hypothesis ' (i.e. the transmission 
theory of perception). 

Criticism of the transmission theory and exploration of the implications 
of the inclusion of the brain as a factor in vision might obviously have 
started from other investigations. It is not my purpose to discuss 
Wertheimer's work or the arguments that have taken place about it, but 
instead to invite you to consider these problems in connection with a 
field of experimental study with which I happen to be more familiar. 

We may begin by considering a simple experiment which can be 
performed by anyone with no more complicated apparatus than an oval 
table-mat or a sheet of cardboard and a pair of scissors. 

We place on a table an elliptical object with its long axis pointing 
directly to and from the observer. If his head is directly above the object, 
it will, of course, look elliptical. If now he moves his head from the 
position directly above, but still keeping it in the vertical plane passing 
through the long axis, the object will at first still look elliptical, but with 
a smaller apparent elongation than when it is viewed from directly above. 
If the head is now lowered, but still kept in the same plane, the apparent 
shape of the object becomes nearer and nearer to a circle. It then becomes 
truly circular and, if the head is still further lowered, the object appears 
elliptical again only now with the really longer axis apparently the shorter. 

So far everything appears to be as one would predict on the transmission 
theory by the elementary principles of perspective. Measurement of the 
actual angles at which these various appearances are found reveals, how- 
ever, a considerable discrepancy from the expectations aroused by the 
transmission theory. At the height, for example, at which the ellipse 
looks circular, it is found that the retinal image is not of a circle but of 
an ellipse with the vertical axis much shorter than the horizontal, that is, 
an ellipse flattened in the opposite direction. It is as if the shape that is 
seen (the phenomenal shape) is in between the real physical shape of the 
ellipse and the shape that is projected on the retina (which we may call 
the stimulus shape). 

The natural expectation on the transmission theory would be that the 
stimulus shape and the phenomenal shape would be identical. Plainly 
they are not, and the discrepancy is large enough to show clearly without 
any great refinement of measurement. Can we save the transmission theory 


by making some supplementary hypothesis to explain how the pheno- 
menal shape gets changed from its expected identity with the stimulus 
shape ? A suggestion that has been made is that the flattened elliptical 
shape as projected on the retina does produce its own ' sensation ' of 
shape, but that this sensation becomes changed by a process of judgment. 
Plainly it is not a judgment in the ordinary sense of reflective judgment 
since the subject is carrying out no conscious process of inference, but it 
is claimed that there is a more primitive unconscious process of perceptual 
judgment which is always modifying our sensations in accordance with 
the knowledge we have of the nature of the objects producing them. 

There are, I think, many objections to this explanation. First, it does 
not explain the fact which has to be explained. This is not that the 
subject judges the ellipse he looks at to be circular, but that, at that 
inclination, he sees it as circular. He may quite correctly judge it to be 
really an elongated ellipse, and if he is well informed about such experi- 
ments (but not otherwise) he may judge it to be making a retinal image 
which is a flattened ellipse. He may or may not make such judgments, 
but his immediate experience is of a circular shape. 

Secondly, a process of judgment is affected by the knowledge that the 
subject has about the facts relevant to the thing which is being judged. 
This, however, is not the case here. A subject who has not done these 
experiments before will think that his retinal image is circular when the 
inclined ellipse looks circular, whereas one informed about the nature of 
the experiment will know that it is not so. The angle of inclination of the 
line of vision at which it looks circular will be found to be in no wise 
affected by the presence or absence of such knowledge. We can, how- 
ever, make the subject see the inclined ellipse in its retinal shape by 
giving it a dark structureless background and making him look at it with 
one eye through a blackened cylinder. Now it will look like a circle only 
when the retinal image is circular, and under these conditions it will look 
circular whether or not he is told that he is really looking at an inclined 
elongated ellipse and not at a circle normal to the line of vision. Again 
knowledge of what he is looking at does not make any difference ; what 
is necessary for the apparent shape to be intermediate between the stimulus 
shape and the real shape is the actual presence of perceptual cues which 
indicate that the real object is an elongated ellipse with its long axis away 
from the observer. 

A last and most fatal objection is that this hypothesis requires at least 
that a sensation corresponding to the retinal image should have been 
transmitted to the brain in order that a judgment about it may take place. 
There is, however, no indication that this supposed sensation has any 
existence as an element of experience. Thesubject doing this experiment 
under ordinary conditions — with both eyes fully open — is quite unable 
to see the flattened ellipse which is the shape of the retinal image. He 
can do so, as we have seen, by altering the conditions of perception, as, 
for example, by monocular observation through a tube. This, however, 
is no reason for saying that in any sense he sees this retinal shape under 
ordinary conditions of vision. Obviously we cannot discover what is 
seen under one condition of perception by finding out what is seen under 
another condition of perception. Looking with one eye through a tube, 


we see a flattened ellipse ; looking with both eyes and no tube we see a 
circular shape, and the flattened ellipse which is the retinal shape is not 
an element in our experience at all. If it is not an element in our experi- 
ence, we cannot make a judgment about it of any kind, and the hypothesis 
of perceptual judgment is in no better position than that of reflective 

I know that it has sometimes been stated (e.g. by Gelb) that we can see 
an object in its stimulus character by adopting a special ' critical ' attitude. 
I think this, however, is a mistaken observation based on the undoubted 
fact that some subjects can, by adopting a special attitude, see the object 
more nearly to its stimulus shape ; they can reduce the effect of its real 
shape on the apparent shape, but I do not find that they can reduce it to 
zero, nor do I know of any evidence that anyone else has found this. 

We can test this question by asking our subject in the above experiment 
to try to place his head, not at the height at which the ellipse looks circular, 
but at that height at which he thinks it makes a circular retinal image 
(prohibiting him, of course, from partially closing his eyes or otherwise 
altering the conditions of perception). Now, if the retinal shape (the 
' sensation ' of the transmission theory) were itself an element of experi- 
ence, this should be an easy task. In fact, the subject does not find it 
easy. He has no immediate knowledge of when the retinal image is 
circular. He has immediate experience of the phenomenal or apparent 
shape, and on this he must base a judgment. If he knows nothing about 
effects of this kind, he will generally judge that the ellipse is making a 
circular retinal image when it looks circular to him. If he is better 
informed, he will judge that the retinal image is circular at some angle of 
inclination at which the ellipse looks elongated along its vertical axis, 
but any adjustment he makes is merely a guess and generally wildly 
inaccurate. Even if he happens to guess more or less correctly, he will 
say : 'I think this must be about the position, but the ellipse doesn't look 
circular here.' How could this be, if the retinal image were itself 
transmitted to the brain ? 

We are led from consideration of this experiment to the same con- 
clusion as was arrived at by Wertheimer as a result of his experiment on 
phi-movement, that the ' sensation ' corresponding to the conditions of 
local retinal stimulation, as an element in a complex perception, is a mere 
fiction. Although it is clear that the conditions of local retinal stimulation 
affect the resultant perception, we can find no trace of evidence that they 
do so by being transmitted to the brain as ' sensations.' 

HI. An Alternative way of treating Visual Perception. 

I have examined this experiment in detail because it seemed as good 
a text as any on which to hang a homily against the transmission theory of 
vision. Other, more familiar, psychological facts might have been used. 
Indeed it may be argued that even the familiar fact of the perception of 
depth cannot be explained on the transmission theory without doing 
violence to obvious facts of experience. Yet, for many reasons, our 
minds tend to cling to the transmission theory. Most of all, I think, 

H 2 


because it is simple and easily intelligible. It is indeed the explanation 
of visual perception which any person informed of the nature of the retinal 
image and of neural transmission of impulses would come to by his own 
reflection. The objections to it he would be unlikely to realise by 
everyday experience, since these depend on laboratory experiments and 
observations of which those who do not work in laboratories have, in 
general, no knowledge. 

The transmission theory is easily intelligible because it can without 
difficulty be explained by a physical analogy. Photographs might be 
transmitted telegraphically by forming an image on a plate made up of a 
large number of small photo-electric cells each of which was connected 
by a wire with a corresponding reproducing cell at the other end. This 
is not, of course, the method actually used for the telegraphic transmission 
of photographs, but it is physically a possible one. If the receiving 
electric cells are replaced by the retinal organs, the transmitting wires by 
the fibres of the optic nerve, and the reproducing cells by the nerve cells 
of the visual centres of the cerebral cortex, we have a perfect analogy to 
the physiological process of vision on the transmission theory. 

Yet this advantage of simplicity and easy intelligibility must be given 
up if the transmission theory does not fit the facts. We have so far 
criticised it only in connection with one experiment. Perhaps this will 
be a convenient place to summarise the whole case against it. 

First, there is a physiological difficulty as to the mechanism of trans- 
mission. Such a method of transmission as is suggested by the above 
analogy would require a number of wires equal to that of the receiving 
cells. This condition is not fulfilled by the visual system since the number 
of retinal end-organs is two hundred times as great as the number of 
fibres in the optic nerve. 

Secondly, a breach in the transmitting part of such a system would lead 
to a corresponding gap in the received picture. This expectation is not 
fulfilled in vision. We might explain away on the transmission theory 
the fact that we do not see a gap in the part of the monocular visual field 
corresponding to the blind spot, but Fuchs has shown that similar comple- 
tion may take place over a blind area of the retina caused by an acquired 
destruction of part of the optic nerve. 

Thirdly, if this theory were true it would be necessary that differences 
in the picture at the sending and at the transmitting end should always 
accompany one another. The experiment already discussed has given 
one example of that not being the case, since the impression of a circular 
shape may be given either by the circular retinal image given by a circular 
object at right angles to the line of vision, or by a retinal image which is a 
flattened ellipse if this is made by an object which is itself an elongated 
ellipse viewed at a suitable angle of inclination. 

There are plenty of other examples of this in visual perception ; indeed, 
except in those conditions of simplified perception which were character- 
istic of the early investigation of visual ' sensations,' exact correspondence 
between the details of the retinal image and of what is perceived is the 
exception rather than the rule. In Rubin's reversible figures, for example, 
we may have a pattern which is seen either as a row of black T's on a white 


ground or as a row of white fleurs-de-lys on a black background. Thus 
we have a single stimulus pattern on the retina giving rise to two wholly 
different perceptions. The after-image of a circle, moreover, will look 
large or small as it is projected on to a far or a near object respectively, 
although the area of retinal activity remains unchanged. And if a subject 
seated below the object glass of a projection lantern looks at a picture 
projected on to an inclined screen, he sees the picture as distorted although 
it is easy to demonstrate that his retinal image is identical with that which 
he would have received if the screen had been at right-angles to his line 
of vision. 

Such facts as these are not easily reconcilable with the theory of simple 
transmission of a retinal picture to the brain. That there is a close 
relationship between the condition of physiological stimulation of the 
retina and of the resulting pattern of visual perception is, of course, 
obvious and is denied by nobody, but the relationship may not be of the 
kind suggested by the analogy with telegraphic transmission. 

A better analogy for the modern view of perception is, I suggest, the 
construction of one of the charts published with weather forecasts. The 
lines of equal pressure on the charts are constructed from information 
received from various land stations and ships, just as the perceptual 
picture constructed by central activity depends on information received 
from the sense organs. If no information as to barometric pressure is 
received from a certain area, this does not mean that the corresponding 
area must be left blank, but that the person constructing the chart must 
fill it up by guess-work, which he generally does by constructing smooth 
curves consistent with the other information. In the same way, in 
Fuchs's experiments, it was found that central perceptual activity tended 
to fill in areas from which no information was received from the retina 
by simple completions providing ' good continuation ' with the figure 
received on the rest of the retina. 

This view of visual perception may be expressed in various ways. We 
may follow the Gestalt psychologists in speaking of perception as being 
due to the combined effect of ' external forces ' belonging to the pattern 
of retinal stimulation and of ' internal forces ' belonging to the central 
factor in perception. Or we may speak of the processes of retinal stimu- 
lation as ' cues ' for the resulting perception. These are different ways 
of expressing the same fact that perception is regarded as a central activity 
of which sensory stimulation is generally a determining cause, but not a 
necessary condition. 

The analogy of the construction of a weather chart suggests a possible 
way of looking at the process of visual perception which is alternative to 
the transmission theory and which, I think, gives a much better account 
of the experimental facts. It regards the mind (or the brain acting to 
some extent as a unitary whole) as active in perception, responding to 
information given by the sense organs and not merely reproducing a 
pattern of stimulation from the sense organs. 

We have shown that seen shape is a product not only of the shape of 
retinal stimulation but also of the perceived inclination in space of the 
object looked at. Other experiments (to be mentioned later) show that 


the seen size of an object is similarly a product not only of size of retinal 
stimulation but also of the perceived distance of the object, and that seen 
brightness is not a product only of the brightness of the retinal image but 
also of the perceived illumination of the object (being greater if the object 
is seen to be shadowed and less if it is seen to be strongly illuminated). 
Such facts as these show that a visual characteristic of an object is not 
(as we should expect on the transmission theory) a product only of the 
corresponding local stimulation of the retina or of a projection of this 
local stimulation on a corresponding area of the visual cortex. We must 
rather regard it as the product of the combined action of different activities 
of the visual cortex which also may make their contributions to other 
characteristics of the perceptual field. 

Thus apparent size is not the product only of size of retinal stimulation 
but is determined also by those cortical activities which give us the 
perception of depth (such as those aroused by binocular disparity of 
retinal images). If we do not accept the theory of ' perceptual judg- 
ments,' we must conclude that such factors as binocular cues to distance 
affect seen size as directly as they affect seen distance. In the same way, 
we must suppose that sensory cues indicating illumination and illumination 
gradients affect the seen brightnesses of objects as directly as do the 
brightnesses of their retinal images. 

We are led then to think of the visual cortex to some extent as acting 
as a whole in determining the properties of parts of the visual perceptual 
field. This whole activity is not, however, confined to the visual cortex 
since we perceive visually characteristics of objects whose sensory origin 
is not visual. Thus we see the surface of the table as smooth and hard, 
that of a carpet as rough and soft, a slug as slimy, and so on. These 
appearances certainly form part of our visual world and no effort of ours 
can get rid of them, although they are appearances referring to properties 
which come from other sense organs than the eye. Their appearance in 
the visual world can be best explained by supposing that not only do 
various parts of the visual cortex contribute to the visual appearance of a 
particular object, but also sensory areas of the cerebral cortex other than 
the visual areas. 

The converse fact that visual cues may contribute to other sense modali- 
ties than the visual is shown by the size-weight illusion. If we ask a 
subject to compare the weights of two canisters, a small and a large one, 
both weighing fifty grams, he reports that the smaller one has the greater 
apparent weight. The sense of resistance has, therefore, been determined 
not only by the sensory impulses from the muscles and joints but also by 
visual cues. Again we must remind ourselves (as in all the appearances 
which are here being discussed) that we are dealing with the relative 
phenomenal weights of the two canisters and not with judgments about 
their actual weights. If the subject puts the two canisters on opposite 
sides of a balance he will see that their weights are equal, so he will no 
longer judge that they are unequal. They will, however, still feel unequal 
to him. The phenomenal difference in weight contributed by the visual 
factor does not disappear when he has correct knowledge of the actual 
weights. This contribution from vision is a genuine determinant of 
phenomenal weight. 


IV. Individual Differences in Visual Perception. 

Let us now return to the experiment with the inclined eUipse to note a 
particular feature in it which is, I think, a characteristic of the perceptual 
processes that has often been ignored. This feature is the wide range of 
individual differences. Apart from such obvious differences as errors of 
refraction, colour-blindness, etc., the optical system of different individuals' 
eyes and consequently the conditions of local physiological stimulation 
on the retina for a given arrangement of external objects is very much 
the same. The perceptual responses of different individuals are, how- 
ever, widely different, so that any two of us in the same physical sur- 
roundings may create from them a very different phenomenal world. 

If two or three people perform the experiment I have just described, 
we shall find that the height at which they say the apparent shape of the 
inclined ellipse is circular is different to an almost incredible extent. 
One may see the ellipse as circular when his head is only a few inches from 
the table so that his retinal image is of a very much flattened ellipse, 
while another sees the ellipse as circular when he is looking well down 
on it so that his retinal image is itself not very far from circularity. The 
first individual shows a very great effect of the real shape of the ellipse in 
determining its apparent shape, the second shows a relatively smaller 
effect of the real shape on apparent shape. 

It is true that the exact height at which each subject reports the ellipse 
as looking circular is somewhat variable and may depend to some extent 
on his mental attitude, but the limits within which variation occurs in 
any one individual are small compared with the differences between 
different individuals. If a subject showing little effect of the real shape 
on apparent shape look at the ellipse from the height at which one with 
small effect sees it as circular, he will report that by no effort of imagina- 
tion can he make the ellipse look circular at that inclination, and he will 
generally add that he does not believe that any one else can. 

That these are real individual differences and not merely accidental 
variations in measurement is shown by the fact that they show great 
consistency from one time to another. I once retested, after an interval 
of two years, a group of twenty-five subjects for each of whom I had 
measured the apparent shape of an inclined object. They differed widely 
amongst themselves at each test, but the agreement between the two sets 
of tests was extraordinarily high. The coefficient of correlation was 0-92, 
which is as high as one expects to get in psychological measurements. 

There are, then, genuine and large individual differences between 
different persons in the apparent shapes of inclined objects. We may 
add that there are similar individual differences in the apparent sizes of 
objects at different distances and in the apparent whiteness of objects 
under different illuminations. In both of these cases, the same general 
law holds. If an object is moved to twice its previous distance from our 
eyes, it does not look half its previous size. It may, for different indi- 
viduals, look three-quarters of its previous size or nineteen- twentieths. 
With rare exceptions (which I shall mention later) the law holds that the 
apparent size is in between the retinal size and the real size. In the same 
way, if a piece of white paper is put into shadow so that it reflects less 


light to the eyes than a brightly lighted piece of black paper, it does not 
necessarily look less white than the black paper, although it may do so if 
the shadow is very deep. The seen whiteness is in between the ' real ' 
whiteness and the stimulus intensity of the retinal image. Again, in this 
tendency to see objects in their real whiteness irrespective of illumination, 
we find wide individual difi'erences. 

These effects have been generally described under the name ' the 
constancy tendency.' I do not much like this name since the distinc- 
tive feature of these effects is not that phenomena (or appearances) tend 
to remain constant while stimuli change. It is easy to arrange an experi- 
ment (such as that of the inclined lantern screen already mentioned) in 
which the stimulus remains constant and the phenomenon changes. A 
more fundamental feature of the effects seems to be that phenomena are 
determined not only by local stimuli but also by the perceived ' real ' 
characters of the objects causing the stimulus. I have, therefore, 
suggested that we should call these effects ' the tendency to phenomenal 
regression to the " real " characters of objects.' I have no wish to 
quarrel with those who prefer the term ' phenomenal constancy,' but it 
is convenient to stick to one name, so for the purpose of the present 
address, I shall speak of ' phenomenal regression,' and I shall call the three 
effects above described : phenomenal regression for shape, for size, and 
for colour, respectively. 

When we include under one name (whether ' constancy ' or ' pheno- 
menal regression ') these three tendencies to see objects more or less in 
their real shapes, sizes, and colour, irrespective of their inclination, 
distance and illumination respectively, we are implying that these three 
effects are all of the same nature. For this assumption, we need better 
evidence than the mere fact that all three can be described in similar 
terms. The direction in which to look for this evidence is suggested by 
the fact that in all of them there are wide individual differences. If now 
the individual who shows a large tendency to see things in their real sizes 
tends also to see inclined objects near to their real shapes and objects in 
different illuminations near to their real albedos, we have positive evidence 
to justify the natural suspicion that these are simply different aspects of 
one general tendency. 

We can easily determine by experiment whether or not this is the case. 
If we test a group of subjects in their tendency to phenomenal regression 
for shape, for size, and for whiteness, we find that those who have a large 
tendency to see the ' real ' size of an object tend also to have a large 
tendency to see the ' real ' shape and the ' real ' whiteness. The cor- 
relations between these tendencies are about o-6, which shows that they 
have a considerable factor in common. We can thus speak of individuals 
as having high phenomenal regression if their perceptions of apparent 
shape, size and whiteness are largely determined by the ' real ' characters 
of the objects looked at, while those whose perceptions are determined 
relatively more by the conditions of retinal stimulation (i.e. who see 
objects getting much smaller as they go farther away, and so on) we shall 
describe as those of low phenomenal regression. 

It may seem fantastic to suggest that there are such large individual 
differences in the way the world looks to different people since certainly 


most people are unaware of these differences until they have been shown 
to them by e^fperiment. This, however, should not surprise us when we 
remember that most psychological individual differences remain un- 
suspected until revealed by measurement. The enormous individual 
differences in imagery, for example, are not generally known, and most 
people imagine that others have much the same equipment of imagery as 
themselves. In the same way, a colour-blind person is rarely aware of 
the difference between his own and other people's colour perception 
unless his attention is drawn to it by his inability to perform some task 
such as that of recognising the difference between red-covered and green- 
covered wires in a cable. 

So it is with phenomenal regression. The shapes and sizes of objects 
in the phenomenal world differ widely for two people from the same 
view-point, but they are not aware of this difference since neither can see 
the world through the other's eyes and they have generally no occasion 
to discuss apparent shapes and sizes. One can, however, easily start a 
dispute between a group of people when driving through the country by 
asking them whether the cows in a distant field look larger or smaller 
than a sparrow perched on the hedge. The answers will be very different 
and each will think that he is giving the only reasonable answer and that 
others must have misunderstood the question. They will not easily 
understand that the origin of the different answers is that the phenomenal 
world does really look different to different persons. 

We may ask the question : Are there any laws governing these changes 
of phenomena with changing distance, inclination, and illumination, 
other than the fact that they differ from one individual to another (a fact 
which suggests lawlessness rather than law) and that their amounts tend 
to be approximately the same for any one individual ? It might be 
possible that there were no invariant relationships within these indi- 
vidual variations, and, however unsatisfactory that situation might appear 
to the scientific mind, it might be necessary to accept it. It does not 
appear, however, that things are as bad as this. I have found one invariant 
relationship, within a certain range of distances, for phenomenal size. 

If we measure, for a given individual, the apparent size of a disc at 
different distances we find that its linear dimensions decrease as the 
distance becomes greater, this decrease becoming slower as the distance 
is increased (as, of course, do the linear dimensions of the retinal image). 
The decrease of apparent size is always much slower than the decrease of 
retinal size (in accordance with the principle of phenomenal regression), 
and with those individuals who have high phenomenal regression it is much 
slower than with others. If apparent size is plotted on a graph against 
distance, therefore, we have a curved line, which, so far, gives us no law. 

If we now plot on a graph the apparent linear size of the disc at various 
distances for any one individual against the stimulus size (that is, against 
a size proportional to the retinal projection), a law emerges. All the points 
plotted fall on a straight line inclined upwards from the P axis. If pro- 
jected backwards towards the P axis it would not pass through the origin 
but would intersect the P axis above the origin. This means that the 
relation between phenomenal and stimulus linear dimensions of the object 
at different distances can be expressed by the equation P = a + b . S. 


Expressing this in words, we may say that for any one individual under 
uniform conditions of observation, the apparent linear dimensions of a 
disc at different distances change as if they were made up of the sum of 
two parts, one of which remains constant at all distances while the other 
is inversely proportional to the distance.^ 

If this were true for all distances it would lead to the odd conclusion 
that at no distance, however great, would the apparent size of an object 
be reduced to less than a certain amount (that represented by a in the 
above equation). This appears to contradict common experience, since 
we know that if an object is far enough away its apparent size can be 
reduced to zero. 

The above relationship was found for objects at distances ranging from 
30 to 400 cm. from the observer. The next step was to investigate the 
effect of still further increasing the distance. The law appeared to hold 
up to a distance of 10 m. One subject was tested beyond this point, 
and it was found that at greater distances than about 10 m., apparent 
size decreased with distance more rapidly than the law would indicate. 
No great reliance can be placed on this limit of 10 m., since it was 
determined for one subject only, but accepting this provisionally as the 
limit of operation of the law, we must restate it in the form that P^=a-\-b .S 
for distances of an object not exceeding 10 m. 

There are, no doubt, other regularities of phenomenal regression which 
it will be possible to express in the form of laws. I think it is encouraging 
to discover that, in spite of individual differences, the relationships within 
phenomenal space are not so chaotic as might at first sight appear. 

It seems most likely that the tendency to see the real characters of objects 
is one that increases through life, being least with young children. That 
seems to be indicated by common experience. Many of us may have 
noticed that young children are disappointed in the size of large objects 
when seen at a distance. I vividly remember my own disappointment 
when about forty years ago I first saw lions and elephants going along the 
street to a Barnum and Bailey's circus and found them contemptibly 
small. I think now that this was because I was at such a distance that 
their retinal images really were small. If I had seen them close up I 
think they would have appeared satisfactorily large. Since then I have 
noticed similar disappointments in other children. A small boy of about 
six seeing wild red deer for the first time at a distance of about 400 yd. 
said : ' Are those deer ? They only look as big as rabbits.' On another 
occasion he was taken to see the Queen Mary at the other side of the Clyde, 
He maintained that it was not big, not so big as a tug which was passing 
near his side of the river. 

This is only anecdotal evidence of no scientific value. What experi- 
mental evidence is there on the subject ? On the whole, the experimental 
evidence seems to support the expectations aroused by common observa- 
tion. Working with adult male subjects, I found a tendency for pheno- 
menal regression to increase with age. The group used was small (36) 
and the significance of the result was not sufficient for strong conviction 

1 An exception to this law is to be found in the rare cases of ' anomalous 
phenomenal regression ' who, over a certain range of distances, see objects as 
larger when their distance is increased. 


of its validity. Other evidence, however, points in the same direction. 
Beyrl found that children showed a greater tendency to see objects in 
their real sizes from two to ten years and that this tendency was even 
larger in an adult group. Brunswik found an increase in the tendency to 
see real whiteness through childhood at any rate up to the age of fourteen 

Against these findings, we have Katz's denial of an increase with age 
based on experiments of Burzlaff who found that it was possible to devise 
an experiment on size perception in which objects were seen as their real 
sizes at very early years. I do not think this experiment is relevant to 
the question. If the size experiment can be so arranged as to give coni- 
plete phenomenal regression for early years, this way of doing the experi- 
ment is unsuitable for determining whether or not the effect increases 
with age. A real increase may be masked by an unsuitably designed 

On the whole, it looks as if the tendency to phenomenal regression does 
increase with age. This suggests that the tendency is to some extent 
plastic to experience. This suggestion is considerably strengthened by 
the observation that although the tendency to see things in their real 
shapes and sizes was not absent in a group of artists, it was significantly 
less than in a control group of corresponding age. This might be ex- 
plained not as due to the artists' acquired habit of reacting to the stimulus 
characters of objects but as the result of selection, those of high pheno- 
menal regression not being likely to become artists since this characteristic 
handicaps them in learning to draw in perspective. The second explana- 
tion seems, however, to be ruled out by the further observation that there 
is no such difference to be observed between a group of art students and 
a control group of university students. The decisive factor in lowering 
the tendency to phenomenal regression in the artist group must, therefore, 
be the greater length of time during which they have formed the habit of 
reacting to the stimulus characters of objects. 

It is, nevertheless, very improbable that the tendency to phenomenal 
regression is wholly the product of experience. Kohler has shown that 
it is, at any rate, found amongst animals with less highly organised nervous 
systems than our own, since both chimpanzees and hens could be trained 
to take food from the whiter of two greys even when it was so much less 
illuminated than the other that its stimulus intensity was lower than that 
of the darker grey. Phenomenal regression to real colour is also reported 
to have been observed in fishes and in chicks of three months old. 

These facts have been claimed to disprove an empiricist theory of the 
origin of those properties of perceived space which determine phenomenal 
regression (e.g. by Koffka). This claim can hardly be maintained, since 
the empiricist may retort that we know nothing of the possible speed of 
learning of spatial relations or of the level of nervous development at 
which this learning is possible. We can, however, agree that these facts 
render the empiricist theory somewhat improbable. They do not, 
however, even offer an argument against the view that the tendency to 
phenomenal regression may be influenced though not originally produced 
by experience. The hypothesis that I would suggest is that a phenomenal 
space so organised in its properties as to produce the phenomenal regression 


effects is born with us, but that individual differences in the amount of 
phenomenal regression are largely or wholly determined later by individual 
experience. If phenomenal regression is to be regarded as a product of 
the organisation of individual phenomenal space, there may be other 
aspects of spatial organisation whose changes run parallel to the changes 
in phenomenal regression. It would, for example, be interesting to know 
whether there is a parallel change in size contrast effects with increasing 

V. Practical Consequences. 

It may be asked whether the kind of thing we have been talking about 
has any practical importance. It certainly may have. We test for such 
differences in the sensory physiology of the eye as colour-blindness 
because they may lead to practically important incapacities, and it is very 
likely that individual differences in the cerebral side of perception may also 
affect an individual's practical capacities. Some years ago I suggested 
that a person of high phenomenal regression might be expected to drive 
a car more easily through traffic than one with low. He sees a gap in the 
traffic in something near its real size before he drives up to it, whereas 
the person with low phenomenal regression sees it as smaller than it 
really is when it is at a distance. Neither, of course, adjusts his driving 
to the apparent size of the gap ; both must make a judgment as to its real 
size. The person with low phenomenal regression has, however, a much 
larger gulf between appearance and reality to bridge by means of judg- 
ment. Judgment being a slower and more uncertain process than per- 
ception, he may be expected to drive through gaps with more difficulty 
and less certainty than the individual who can trust to his immediate 
impression of size. The individual with high phenomenal regression may 
therefore be expected to drive more easily and better through traffic. 
This prediction appears to have been justified by a research in motor 
driving by the National Institute of Industrial Psychology, who found 
that a test of phenomenal regression showed a correlation with driving 

It has already been mentioned that some individuals show the odd 
peculiarity of seeing objects as larger when they go farther from the 
eyes. This may be called * anomalous phenomenal regression ' or 
' superconstancy.' It seems to be rare. I have found two cases in the 
course of testing over two hundred subjects. These showed the peculiarity 
(each over a certain range of distances) repeatedly and under different 
conditions of testing, so there is no doubt of its reality. One subject who 
was presbyopic was tested with and without "glasses and gave identical 
results, so it is not due to any peripheral defect of vision. Theoretically 
this condition is interesting. It seems strongly to indicate that the ex- 
planation of phenomenal regression is not to be found wholly in experience, 
since it is inconceivable that any experience should have taught the 
subject that, of two objects casting equal retinal images, the nearer is the 
larger. I can suggest no explanation. All that we can say at present 
is that the organisation of these individuals' phenomenal space is such that 
there is a reversal at some distances of the ordinary condition that an object 


producing a retinal image of a certain size is seen as larger when it is located 
at greater distance from the observer. 

The rarity of this condition might seem to make it of little practical 
interest. It may, however, be of considerable importance in motor driving. 
Following the same argument as before, we may see that the probable 
effect of this condition will be that the subject driving a car will see a gap 
at a distance as big enough to get through when, in fact, it is too small. 
Unless he has learned to make correct judgments to counteract this per- 
ceptual peculiarity, this would be as dangerous a condition for the motor 
driver as one can imagine. Further research is necessary, but at present 
there are indications that the condition may be dangerous. One of my 
subjects did drive a car but admitted having smashed a wing in getting 
through a gate. The other had found himself unable to learn to drive 
because he drove into gaps where he had no room to pass, and I have had 
one other case like the last reported to me. A condition which may be 
lethal to the motor driver is not unimportant even if it is found in only 
about I % of individuals. 

The effect of drugs on individual organisation of phenomenal space is 
an interesting problem. I have made only preliminary experiments on 
one subject in the hope that someone better equipped to experiment on 
drugs will take the enquiry further. The indication I obtained was that 
(as might be expected) alcohol decreased phenomenal regression while 
caffeine increased it. I think that it might be worth while for those 
investigating the effect of alcohol on motor driving to consider the 
possibility of disturbance of spatial perception as well as of speed of motor 
responses. That a change of spatial organisation can affect driving I am 
sure from personal experience. I was driving one night towards Buxton 
suffering from the effects not of alcohol but of fatigue (which probably 
affects spatial organisation in the same way as alcohol). At one point, 
I found my perception of the road so much disturbed that I had to stop 
my car and get out. The road seemed to narrow almost to a point in 
front of me ; I seemed to be driving not on a parallel-sided track but 
into a funnel. I recognise the condition now as one of extreme reduction 
of phenomenal regression. One result of this condition was an almost 
irresistible impulse to drive in the centre of the road. A persistent 
tendency to drive on the crown of the road is a common fault of many 
drivers. I suggest that it may be a fault characteristic of an individual 
with low phenomenal regression, and that if this were proved to be its 
origin, an understanding by the driver of the cause of his fault would put 
him into the way of correcting it. 

Mist and fog may disturb the perceptual world even of the motorist 
who is wise enough to avoid the effects of alcohol and fatigue. It is a 
matter of common experience that the apparent sizes and distances of 
objects undergo strange changes even in a slight mist. Exact measurement 
of the effects of fog and of such veiling glare as that of headlights shining 
through mist have been made by Martin and Pickford. 

I have one last indication of a possible practical importance in individual 
differences in phenomenal regression for which I am indebted to Dr. S. 
Bernfeld. He had a patient suffering from anxiety. One of her causes 
of fear was the change that took place in the sizes of objects as they 


approached her. An object at a distance looked very small, but be- 
came terrifyingly big as it approached her. Dr. Bernfeld was not 
able to make any experimental measurements of the variation for this 
patient of seen size vs^ith distance, but the condition is clearly recog- 
nisable from her description as one of extreme loss of the tendency to 
phenomenal regression. As to why approaching objects should look 
terrifying if phenomenal regression is very small, we can only guess. 
There is one observation in biology which suggests a clue. It has been 
pointed out to me by Dr. Cott that many creatures protect themselves 
from their enemies by sudden increases of size. It looks as if sudden 
increase of size of an object may be one of the situations innately provoca- 
tive of fear. We might even be tempted to speculate that one reason 
for the development of phenomenal regression might be as a protection 
of the individual against the fear-provoking situation of approaching 
objects increasing in apparent size. There seem to me to be other 
more likely explanations of the biological function of phenomenal re- 
gression to real size. I mention this only because it seems interesting to 
explore all possibilities, the improbable as well as the probable. 


The change that has taken place in the psychological study of vision 
during the last twenty-five years may be expressed in a summary way 
as a change from the time when it was treated as if vision were a function 
of the eye alone to a time when the eye and higher centres are regarded as 
co-operating in visual perception. The psychology of vision is not and 
cannot be merely the sensory physiology of the eye. At the present time, 
these wider aspects of visual perception offer a more fruitful field of re- 
search than do those of sensory physiology which have been so adequately 
dealt with in the past. Particularly, I should' like to suggest that indi- 
vidual differences in visual perception and the statistical study of these 
differences is a field whose surface has hardly yet been scratched. Let 
us hope that, in the next twenty-five years, psychologists may be as 
successful in resolving the many remaining problems of visual perception 
as were the great Helmholtz and his contemporaries in making a scientific 
study of the sensory physiology of the eye. 








Although few subjects are of more importance to the life of man than the 
physiology of plants, the investigation of this physiology is a field of 
endeavour which has attracted attention only comparatively recently. 
A few men, it is true, working in the eighteenth century with the scanty 
equipment of physics and chemistry then available, did indeed lay the 
foundations of the science of plant nutrition, but any deep insight into 
the mode of working of the plant was impossible until, on the one hand, 
the development of microscopical technique had rendered possible the 
determination of the internal structure of the organism, and, on the other, 
the physical and chemical sciences had so far developed as to provide the 
botanist with information which was fundamental for any sort of under- 
standing of what took place in the plant. While now the structure of the 
plant is largely known, the work of the physiologist still waits on the work 
of the physicist and chemist, and must, of necessity, lag behind develop- 
ment in physics and chemistry. Occasionally, indeed, the botanist, 
impatient of this state of affairs, has taken matters into his own hands and 
has advanced into the field of the physicist and chemist ; perhaps the 
outstanding example of this is afforded by the work of the botanist 
Pfeffer in attacking the problems of osmotic pressure, but this is not an 
isolated case. It is thus no accident that any depth of knowledge of the 
physiology of plants has been acquired in comparatively recent times. 

The first development in knowledge of the physiology of plants was, 
as I have already indicated, in the field of plant nutrition. It was made 
clear during the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries that 
the plant absorbed certain substances from its environment and that from 
these substances the plant body was built up. That the different organs 
of plants had different functions in this respect also became clear. But 
up to the middle of the nineteenth century the actual processes taking 
place in the building up of the plant body from the materials absorbed 
from the environment were not understood in the least. Nor is this to be 
wondered at. We know very well now that the complex activities of the 


plant are related to the protoplasm, but although the cellular structure of 
plants had been recognised with the work of Hooke, Grew and Malpighi 
in the seventeenth century, the discovery of protoplasm and appreciation 
of the supreme importance of this substance only dates from 1835, when 
Dujardin described the protoplasm, or sarcode, as he called it, of animal 
cells. The importance of protoplasm in the plant appears not to have been 
recognised until 1846. The credit for this is due to von Mohl, although he 
cannot, as Sachs asserted, be credited either with the discovery of proto- 
plasm or with the invention of its name. 

In spite of the fact that by the end of the first half of the nineteenth 
century the connection between protoplasm and life must have been 
evident, little attempt was made for many years towards a serious investiga- 
tion of the properties of this substance, or to determine the general 
activities of the protoplasm as manifested by every living cell. This may 
have been due partly to the traditional outlook on plant physiology, which 
had emphasised the nutritional relationships, and partly to the impetus 
given to other aspects of botany by Hofmeister's work on the life history 
of plants and by the publication of the Origin of Species, which diverted 
thought on botanical matters to problems of descent and comparative 
morphology. And yet even as far back as 1828 Turpin had put forward 
the idea that the cell is the elementary primary organism, and the plant 
built of these cells a sort of community or colony of such elementary 
organisms. This view appears to have enjoyed considerable popularity 
for a time. It is found in Meyen's Neues System der Pflanzenphysiologie 
published in Berlin in 1837, ^"d was held in no uncertain fashion by as 
distinguished a botanist as Schleiden, and even appears as late as 1861 
in the fourth edition of his Grundziige der wissenschaftlichen Botanik, 
although it should be pointed out that this was no more than an unaltered 
reprint of the third edition of 1849. Such a view is, of course, as wrong 
as one which takes no account of individual cell activities. Phenomena 
of nutrition, development and irritability combine to refute such an idea. 

There are, nevertheless, activities which are characteristic of all living 
cells. They all exhibit respiration in the sense of a release of energy from 
substances present in the cell, a release which in the very great majority 
of plants is brought about by the oxidation of carbohydrate or fat. Again, 
all living cells are capable of absorbing water and dissolved substances, 
and of giving out these materials under certain conditions. For an under- 
standing of these activities a knowledge of the system in which they take 
place is important, so that the study of the cell system, and in particular 
of the protoplasm, comes within the sphere of inquiry of the general cell 
physiologist. This includes the study of enzymes, which undoubtedly 
plays an extremely large part in protoplasmic activity. 

Thus investigations in general cell physiology fall for the most part into 
four groups, namely (i) those concerned with the chemical and physical 
constitution of the protoplasm and other cell constituents ; (2) the study 
of enzyme action ; (3) those dealing with absorption and excretion of 
water and dissolved substances which have, for the sake of convenience", 
generally in the past been referred to as problems of cell permeability ; 
and (4) those concerned with respiration. The first two are largely 
biochemical studies, and it is with the more purely physiological problems 

K.— BOTANY 215 

of respiration and salt and water relations that I propose mainly to deal 
in this address. 

Inasmuch as investigations into these various aspects of vital activity 
involve different techniques, it is not surprising that our knowledge of 
them has developed to a large extent independently. They are, of course, 
not independent, for it must be realised that the functioning of the plant 
machine depends on the harmonious working together of all plant pro- 
cesses. And that the various aspects of our subject mentioned above are 
closely connected is now, for the most part, fairly clear. It is obvious 
that, since all vital activity depends on the presence of protoplasm, the 
chemical and physical constitution of that substance must determine that 
activity, while, coming to details, many investigators have sought to connect 
the passage into and out from the cell of water, and particularly of dissolved 
substances, with the existence of limiting plasmatic layers of a constitu- 
tion different from the inner part of the protoplasm. The composition 
of the vacuole determines without doubt to a very great extent the absorp- 
tion of water by the vacuolated cell. This absorption is, however, also 
dependent on the presence of protoplasm, since when this is destroyed, 
the water relations of the cell are quite altered. Enzymes are only pro- 
duced by living tissues and their production presumably depends on the 
presence of protoplasm. Respiration, again, is a function of living cells, 
and, although exact proof may still be wanting, it is almost certain that 
enzymes are intimately concerned in the respiratory process. That the 
solute relations of cells are intimately connected with respiration is not so 
obvious, but that this is probably the case I indicated first in 1927, and later 
work has left this connection in little doubt, although the nature of the 
connection is not so evident. 

With regard to the protoplasm itself, it is now generally recognised that 
it forms a colloidal system of probably a number of phases in which the 
chemical constituents have as their basis water, proteins and complex 
fatty substances. Carbohydrates are also constantly present in protoplasm, 
but whether they are to be regarded as dead inclusions playing no essential 
part in vital behaviour, or whether they are necessary for the maintenance 
of protoplasm in its living condition, is not clear. Nor is it at all clear 
how these various substances are distributed among the various phases. 
It is sufficient indication of the doubt that surrounds the problem of the 
constitution of protoplasm that one authority on it emphasises its generally 
low viscosity, while another lays stress on its slimy character. One regards 
it as having the character of a suspensoid, another that of an emulsoid. 
If we accept the reports of observations on the physical qualities of 
protoplasm, and there is no reason for supposing that the majority of such 
observations are incorrect, we must inevitably conclude that protoplasm 
varies very considerably in its constitution from one object to another, 
and probably in the same material at different times. In general, how- 
ever, there is little difference to be observed under the microscope, or 
even the ultramicroscope, between samples of protoplasm from widely 
different materials, yet there must be fundamental differences between 
the protoplasm of different species. What these differences are, whether 
they are subtle chemical differences or differences in arrangement of 
molecules or molecular aggregates, is a matter on which our ignorance 


is exceptionally complete. Indeed, it looks very much as if some 
altogether new technique is required for any advance to be made in this 
direction, and in this connection I may refer to some remarks made by 
Sir William Bragg last November in his Anniversary Address to the Royal 
Society. He pointed out that there is to-day a very considerable interest 
in magnitudes which are too small to be examined under the microscope 
and too large to be studied conveniently by X-ray methods. While with 
the microscope it is possible to observe the presence of particles with a 
diameter of about o-i5(ji. (1,500 A.U.) and while the ultramicroscope can 
reveal the presence of particles as small as 5m[ji (50 A.U.), neither the 
microscope nor the ultramicroscope can reveal any details of structure 
in objects as small as this. On the other hand. X-ray methods have 
enabled the arrangement of atoms and molecules to be determined with 
great accuracy, but they do not enable the details of larger structures 
to be determined. The invention of a method for determining the 
structural details of particles larger than those with which X-ray analysis 
can deal, and which are yet too small for the microscope to resolve, could 
not fail to provide the general physiologist with a powerful weapon with 
which to attack the problem of protoplasmic constitution. 

At present, then, we must be content with recognising in the protoplasm 
a system in which an essential feature is the possession of a large internal 
surface, with all that this involves, in which there are various phases of 
different chemical composition, a composition roughly but by no means 
accurately known. One of the characteristics of this system is that, in 
so far as it can be regarded as a system in equilibrium, it is in a state of 
dynamic, not static, equilibrium, for all the time it is absorbing oxygen 
and giving out carbon dioxide. The process does not end in this, for it 
involves the loss of material, if not from the protoplasm itself, from 
material held in the protoplasmic complex, and this material must there- 
fore sooner or later be replaced, so that the respiration process must in 
any case be linked up with a movement of material into the cell , from the 
outside environment, either directly from this or through the medium of 
some other cell or cells of the plant body, most frequently indeed also 
after profound chemical changes in the material so absorbed. 

That plants, like animals, absorb oxygen and give out carbon dioxide 
was recognised by Ingen-Housz and de Saussure towards the end of the 
eighteenth century, but for long the greatest confusion of ideas prevailed 
on this question, a confusion which was only dispersed by Sachs with 
the publication in 1865 of his book on the Experimental Physiology of 
Plants. Sachs not only made clear the parts played by the respective 
gaseous exchanges involved in photosynthesis and respiration, but he 
laid stress on the universality of the respiration process, and emphasised 
the fact that it is a property of every living cell. Thus, in his text-book 
of Botany published in 1868 he wrote : ' The respiration of plants con- 
sists, as in animals, in the continual absorption of atmospheric oxygen 
into the tissues, where it causes oxidation of the assimilated substances 
and other chemical changes resulting from this.' And further : ' But 
in all the other organs also — in every individual cell— respiration is con- 
stantly going on ; and it is not merely the chemical changes connected 
with growth that are dependent on the presence of free oxygen in the 

K.— BOTANY 217 

tissues ; the movements of the protoplasm also cease if the surrounding 
air is deprived of this gas ; and the power of motion possessed by 
periodically motile and irritable organs is lost if oxygen is withheld from 
them ; but if this happens only for a short time the motility returns when 
the oxygen is again restored.' This is, as far as I am aware, the first 
reference to the fact that respiration is a constant function of cell activity. 
Although this doctrine has been accepted without adequate proof, it 
must be admitted that no evidence has been adduced against it and it 
has never been disputed, and it is clear that respiration is as much part 
of the field of general cell physiology as the absorption and excretion of 
water and dissolved substances. Although Sachs is thus to be credited 
with establishing the view of the constant incidence of respiration in cell 
activity, neither he himself nor his pupils contributed a great deal towards 
the elucidation of the respiratory mechanism nor to the part played by 
it in cell activity, although a few important investigations were made in 
his laboratory, and later in that of his pupil, Pfeffer. The greatest 
activity in this field was displayed by Russian investigators, and, com- 
mencing in 1875, there has issued a constant stream of records of re- 
searches on plant respiration from Russian workers, among whom 
Palladin and Kostytschev were particularly conspicuous. 

As work on respiration proceeded it came to be more and more supposed 
that enzyme activity played a leading part in the respiratory process. 
But it must be admitted that whereas during recent years considerable 
advances have been made in elucidating enzyme systems in animal cells 
and relating them to the processes of respiration, the part played by such 
systems in plant respiration is still rather a matter of speculation than of 
indisputable fact. Indeed, in spite of much careful and painstaking work, 
our knowledge of the enzyme systems themselves is still very chaotic. 

If experimental observations have been interpreted aright, and if it is 
a fact that every living cell respires, then we must conclude that respira- 
tion is something most inextricably connected with 'life. Yet it seems to 
me that explanations of the function of respiration in the plant are not 
altogether satisfying. Let us examine the views of the great authorities 
of the past on this question. Sachs wrote : ' The loss of assimilated 
substance caused by respiration would appear purposeless if we had only 
to do with the accumulation of assimilated products ; but these are 
themselves produced only for the purposes of growth and of all the 
changes connected with life ; the whole of the plant consists in com- 
plicated movements of the molecules and atoms ; and the forces necessary 
for these movements are set free by respiration. The oxygen, while 
decomposing part of the assimilated substance, sets up important chemical 
changes in the remaining portion, which on their part give rise to diff'usion 
currents, and these bring into contact substances which again act chemi- 
cally on one another, and so on. The dependence on respiration of the 
movements in protoplasm and motile leaves is very evident, since, as has 
been mentioned, they lose their motility when oxygen is withheld from 
them. These considerations lead to the conclusion that the respiration 
of plants has the same essential significance as that of animals ; the 
chemical equilibrium of the substances is being constantly disturbed by 
it, and the internal movements maintained which make up the life of the 


plant.' That is, the function of respiration is to provide the energy for 
plant movements and for the building up of materials of higher energy 
content than the assimilates synthesised in photosynthesis. Pfeffer's 
statement is less precise. ' A continual supply of energy is necessary for 
the maintenance of vital activity, and hence the possibility of aerobic or 
anaerobic respiration is a primary essential for all vital processes, including 
those which do not involve any direct consumption of kinetic energy.' 
This is simply a statement that for a plant to remain alive a continuous 
supply of energy is necessary, and that this is provided in respiration. 
Palladin's viev7 vfus much the same as Sachs's. ' Plants grow, and in 
growing they produce various metabolic changes and movements of 
materials. It thus comes about that work of various kinds is performed 
in living plants, and this necessitates the consumption of energy. . . . 
The processes of living plants in which organic reserve substances are 
oxidised by oxygen are quite analogous to combustion, and this vital 
oxidation is known as respiration.' Kostychev regarded respiration as 
yielding the necessary release of energy for important vital processes, 
and he pointed out that ' most syntheses of organic substances, such as 
the synthesis of proteins,' and ' the various types of architectural pro- 
cesses of tissue differentiation ' require a supply of energy, although it 
must be admitted that what exactly he meant by the latter group of 
processes which, as far as energy requirements were concerned, were not 
included in the former, is not obvious. At any rate it is quite clear that 
the general view of respiration, put in as precise terms as possible, is 
that it provides energy for certain plant movements, and for the building 
up of substances of higher energy content than the products of photo- 
synthesis which serve as the substrate. 

While it is not clear that all plant movements obtain the necessary 
energy for their occurrence from respiratory activity, no doubt some do, 
and there is every reason to believe that the energy required for the pro- 
duction of various constituents of the plant arises from the same process. 
But having agreed to this, can we really be satisfied that we have obtained 
a complete explanation of the function of respiration ? In the case of 
germinating seeds, growing organs, the formation of flowers and fruit, 
this view seems completely adequate, but we must remember that storage 
tissues such as potato tubers and carrot roots respire at a by no means 
negligible rate, and that the same is true of senescent organs such as 
mature fruit. Indeed, such tissues, notably those of the apple, have 
provided some of the most interesting data of plant respiration. With 
what movement, or with what synthesis of materials, is respiration of the 
cells of a mature apple concerned ? Such considerations lead one to 
wonder whether respiration is not concerned in some much more subtle 
way with the maintenance of life. It does look as if the mere maintenance 
of the protoplasm in a living condition depends on the continuous occur- 
rence of these processes which manifest themselves in the oxidation of 
organic material to carbon dioxide and water by means of absorbed- 
oxygen. The only exception to this rule is found in certain so-called 
' resting ' organs, such as seeds, in which the amount of water present is 
very low, and in which, presumably, the protoplasm is in some very 
different state from that of active cells. 

K.— BOTANY 219 

If we cannot answer this question we can, at any rate, attempt an 
examination of the functions of respiration of which we feel more certain. 
The most universal of these, as we have seen, is the provision of energy 
for the building up of materials of higher energy content. A problem 
which awaits solution here is the mechanism by which the energy released 
in the oxidation of the substrate is transferred to the actions bringing 
about the synthesis of proteins and other complex plant constituents. 
The solution of this problem no doubt involves that of what is generally 
known as the mechanism of respiration, that is, the stages in the process, 
the enzymes involved, the conditions of the process : in fact, the general 
course of the breakdown of substrate into carbon dioxide and water. The 
assumption is usually made that the breakdown of sugar follows the same 
course in its earlier stages as in its fermentation by yeast, in which, accord- 
ing to the theories of Neuberg and of Embden and Meyerhof, pyruvic 
acid, CH3CO.COOH, is an intermediate product, and in which enzymes 
of the zymase complex play a leading part. Both in presence and absence 
of oxygen the course of the breakdown is supposed to be the same up to 
the splitting of pyruvic acid under the action of the enzyme carboxylase 
to acetaldehyde and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide evolved in 
this action accounts for the whole of this gas evolved in the absence of 
oxygen, and for one-third of the carbon in the sugar broken down, the 
other two-thirds, contained in the acetaldehyde, finally appearing as 
ethyl alcohol. If the rate of sugar breakdown, or glycolysis, remains the 
same in both presence and absence of oxygen, then the ratio of anaerobic 
to aerobic respiration depends on the fate of the acetaldehyde in air. If 
none of this appears as carbon dioxide the ratio is unity, if all the carbon 
contained in it appears as carbon dioxide the ratio is 1:3, and it must 
be supposed that if the ratio exceeds this value some of the acetaldehyde 
is built either into some fresh product or back into the system. Indeed, 
this was realised as long ago as 1880 by Wortmann, who actually found 
with seedlings of Vicia faba that the rate of carbon dioxide evolution was 
the same in presence and absence of oxygen. To explain this finding 
he put forward a theory that in air the alcohol produced in the first stage 
of the process is converted back to sugar, so that the whole of the respira- 
tory process can be summarised by two equations which he wrote as 
follows : 

I. sCCeHi^Oe) = (^{c.,Yi,on) + eco^. 

2. 6(C2H50H) + 12 O = 2(C6Hi206) + 6H2O. 
The second equation he also wrote : 

3. 6(C2H50H) + 12 O - 2 I C2H4O2 I + 6H2O. 


In short, he accounted for the fact that the same amount of carbon dioxide 
was released under anaerobic conditions as under aerobic conditions, by 
supposing that two-thirds of the sugar broken down was re-synthesised 
in presence of oxygen into sugar. 


But there is also the possibility that the rate of sugar breakdown is 
affected by oxygen. According to F. F. Blackman's analysis of the 
observed data of respiratory activity of apples in air and pure oxygen, 
there is evidence that the rate of production of the active substrate for 
glycolysis from stable sugar is increased with increase in oxygen con- 
centration. J. K. Scott and I have obtained what may be further evidence 
of the possibility of this from a consideration of the relationships of 
respiration to surface and volume in bulky tissues. Here, owing no 
doubt to the low oxygen tension in the middle region of such tissues, 
there is a low rate of respiration, although there may actually be no 
indication of anaerobic respiration. The observed results can be ex- 
plained on the view that the low oxygen tension induces a minimum rate 
of production of the active substrate and so limits the rate of respiration. 
It may be noted, as a corollary to this view, that the anaerobic respiration 
usually observed after a period of aerobic respiration should gradually 
fall to a lower level owing to oxygen shortage bringing about a lessening 
in the rate of production of active substrate. Investigations on the 
quantitative relations between aerobic respiration and anaerobic respira- 
tion have made it clear that this is what generally happens, so that it is 
frequently difficult, or indeed impossible, to fix a value for the rate of 
anaerobic respiration, since this undergoes changes with time, sometimes 
rising at first, but always subsequently falling. Researches carried out in 
my laboratory by J. K. Choudhury indicate, however, that there may be 
exceptions to this rule. 

From the course of anaerobic respiration it is, however, often possible 
to calculate the initial rate of anaerobic respiration at the moment 
when the material is first transferred to an atmosphere of nitrogen before 
secondary effects have come about. This was done by F. F. Blackman 
and P. Parija in their well-known work on the respiration of apples, 
and they showed that the output of carbon dioxide at the beginning of 
a period in nitrogen was actually greater in this case than the output of 
carbon dioxide in air immediately before transference to nitrogen. From 
a very careful analysis of the experimental data, Blackman concluded 
that in respiration in air a large amount of some substance is formed along 
with the carbon dioxide and water and that this substance does not 
accumulate but is built back into the stream of katabolites. There is no 
evidence yet to show whether this substance is actually built back into 
sugar as Wortmann supposed to be the case in the broad bean, or whether 
some intermediate substance of the breakdown is formed. It is important 
to note, however, that here also evidence of an anabolic process linked 
with the breakdown is obtained, a process called by Blackman oxidative 
anabolism since it is dependent on the presence of oxygen. Similar 
evidence for the existence of oxidative anabolism in storage tissues such 
as potato tuber and carrot root has been obtained in long series of 
experiments carried out in my laboratory by W. Leach, J. K. Choudhury 
and J. K. Scott. 

It is more than likely that the investigation of the organic acid meta- 
bolism of plants may shed light on our problem. It is well known that 
in many plants, notably in succulents, but in many non-succulents as 
well, organic acids such as malic, citric and oxalic, are present in con- 



siderable quantities. In the succulents the output of carbon dioxide is 
usually very small and acid, particularly malic acid, accumulates in the 
leaves and stems during the night and disappears during the day. It is 
generally held that the malic acid arises as a product of respiration, but 
two main views have been put forward to explain the actual part played 
by this acid in the sequence of actions following the breakdown of carbo- 
hydrate. Ruhland and his collaborators hold that this breakdown follows 
the same course as in normal respiration as far as the pyruvic acid stage. 
Owing to the inhibiting action of high concentration of acetaldehyde the 
normal action of carboxylase is inhibited and the pyruvic acid, instead of 
breaking down under the action of this enzyme to acetaldehyde and 
carbon dioxide, undergoes synthesis to diketoadipic acid, which then 
breaks down to succinic acid and formic acid, from the former of which 
malic acid arises. 












+ — 
















Disappearance of malic acid is ascribed to its oxidation to oxalacetic 
acid, the conversion of this to pyruvic acid, and the breakdown of the 
latter on removal of the inhibitor of carboxylase. 

Bennet-Clark has pointed out a number of objections to this theory, 
among which perhaps the most important are that formic acid does not 
accumulate in the tissues, while, so far from succulent plants containing 
a high concentration of acetaldehyde, the concentration of this substance 
in succulents is very low (o-oi to o-ooi %), and is, in fact, too low to 
have any appreciable inhibiting effect on carboxylase. 

From his own researches and a critical consideration of the work of 
others, Bennet-Clark has shown that for each molecule of sugar which 
disappears from succulents not more than one molecule of malic acid is 
formed, so that for every molecule of sugar which is lost by glycolysis at 
least two atoms of carbon must be involved in the formation of some 
other material. This is not carbon dioxide, and in fact, no carbon 
compound with one, two, or even three carbon atoms in the molecule 
accumulates in the tissues, and Bennet-Clark therefore concludes that 
the carbon compound formed from glycolysis along with malic acid 
must be built back to polysaccharide. The carbon dioxide evolved by 


succulents does not come from malic acid, for the rate of carbon dioxide 
evolution is not proportional to the concentration of malic acid. 
Bennet-Clark's view of the breakdown of sugar by succulents is thus 
represented by the scheme : 


intermediate products 

of glycolysis -^ malic acid -> polysaccharide 


and the malic acid is thus an intermediate product of anabolism. 

Lack of time prevents a further discussion of this interesting subject 
of the part played by organic acids in plant metabolism : it must suffice 
to say that in other plants besides succulents evidence is accumulating 
which indicates that the part played by these acids in oxidative anabolism 
may be quite a general phenomenon. 

While then data are accumulating which indicate the linkage of anabolic 
processes with those of the breakdown of sugar, it is important to note that 
there is no evidence of the formation of products other than carbohydrates. 
Is it possible, however, that syntheses of more complex substances are 
indeed involved, and that we have here a dim glimpse of the mechanism 
for the production of these substances, and that along with the formation 
of sugar or some intermediate there may be also the formation of protein 
or other complex substances ; that, indeed, we have here the mechanism 
by which the carbohydrate is brought into a suitable form for combination 
with nitrogenous and other compounds ? If this is so we should expect to 
find the strongest evidence of oxidative anabolism in actively growing 
material. It is therefore disappointing that in tissues such as those of 
germinating seeds the indication of oxidative anabolism is often wanting. 
In work by Leach on the respiration of germinating seeds of different 
types it was found that in those seeds storing carbohydrate as their chief 
food reserve the ratio of anaerobic to aerobic respiration was about i : 3 or 
less, so that in these the experimental data suggest that the same amount 
of carbohydrate is broken down to carbon dioxide and water in presence 
of air as is broken down to carbon dioxide and alcohol in absence of 
oxygen. In seeds which contain a considerable amount of fat the ratio 
of the initial rate of anaerobic to the previous rate of aerobic respiration 
was found to be greater than 0-33, and in these, therefore, some oxidative 
anabolism might take place. On the other hand, a high rate of anaerobic 
respiration has been observed in other fruits besides apples, and it is 
curious that the indications of anabolism should appear in just those 
materials where it would seem to have least meaning. However, many 
seeds contain a considerable reserve of protein which suffers break- 
down, at least in part, during germination. Thus Isaac has shown 
that in the seeds of the same variety of sweet pea in which Leach found 
a ratio of anaerobic to aerobic respiration of only about 0-2, there is a 
continuous breakdown of reserve protein during the first ten days of 
germination, over a third of the protein disappearing in this period. 

K.— BOTANY 223 

While a synthesis of what may be called protoplasmic proteins and other 
substances is taking place in the growth centres, this synthesis is much 
less than the breakdown of protein reserves, and it would therefore 
appear that in such material there is a source of energy available apart 
from that provided by the breakdown of carbohydrate. Before we can 
hope to present a picture of the relations between respiration and vital 
syntheses in germinating seeds, and perhaps in all other material as well, 
it seems to me that we need not only many more data regarding respira- 
tion rates under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions throughout the 
whole germination period, but also a detailed biochemical analysis of the 
carbohydrate and various nitrogenous materials present in the seedlings. 
So expressed, this may sound and look a simple enough matter, but 
actually, as anyone who has attempted to tackle such problems knows, it 
is one that abounds in difficulties. 

As far, then, as the mechanism by which respiration provides the 
energy for the formation of compounds of higher energy content is 
concerned, we are still very much in the dark. There is even the possi- 
bility that we are completely wrong in assuming a connection between 
aerobic and anaerobic respiration. While there is very strong evidence 
that anaerobic respiration in plants is often similar to fermentation, in- 
asmuch as the substrate and the end products are the same, there are so 
many exceptions, or apparent exceptions, to the production of ethyl 
alcohol in the correct quantity demanded by the equation for fermenta- 
tion, that one may well hesitate in accepting this view as of universal 
applicability. On the other hand, the opinion of Miiller and Lundsgaardh 
that anaerobic respiration is a process quite distinct from aerobic respi- 
ration, in which different enzymes function and in which the course 
of the breakdown is different from the beginning, has found little support 
from more recent work. The view of anaerobic respiration as the effect 
of deprivation of oxygen on the normal aerobic process, appears to me 
by far the more reasonable one. For if the two processes were completely 
independent we should expect anaerobic respiration to proceed at all 
times, in both presence or absence of oxygen, or we should have to assume 
that oxygen inhibits the breakdown of carbohydrate to carbon dioxide 
and ethyl alcohol. Now the first hypothesis is untenable because it 
would mean that in air aerobic respiration took place in addition to 
anaerobic respiration, so that the output of carbon dioxide under such 
conditions should always be greater than in absence of oxygen, which 
is not always the case. Nor do the products of anaerobic respiration 
normally appear in presence of air. On the other hand, the breakdown 
of carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and alcohol by the enzyme complex 
zymase does not appear to be inhibited by oxygen. 

While it has generally been assumed that respiration is linked in some 
unknown way with the synthesis of proteins and other substances, its 
connection with those other processes, the absorption and excretion of 
materials which are characteristic of cells, has only come to be appreciated 
more recently. The absorption and excretion of water and dissolved 
substances was generally more or less tacitly assumed to be determined 
by the physical laws of osmosis and diffusion. Water was supposed to 


diffuse into or out of the vacuole according to the difference between the 
osmotic pressure of the cell sap and the sum of the osmotic pressure 
of the external solution and the inwardly directed pressure of the stretched 
and elastic cell wall. Dissolved substances were supposed to enter the 
vacuole according to the laws of diffusion expounded by Graham and 
Fick more than eighty years ago. The method of measuring the rate 
of entry of dissolved substances by observing the rate of deplasmolysis 
of plasmolysed cells placed in a solution of a penetrating substance assumes 
that this substance diffuses unchanged through the protoplasm into the 
vacuole, where it still remains unchanged and so increases the osmotic 
pressure of the vacuole approximately in proportion to the amount of it 
which has entered the cell. 

Although Collander's work on the absorption of a number of non- 
electrolytes indicates that this assumption may, in the case of such 
substances, be quite justified, it has been known now for thirty years that 
the entry of electrolytes into cells cannot be explained as the simple 
diffusion of a substance through a membrane (cell wall and protoplasm) 
from a region of higher concentration to one of lower concentration. In 
the first place it was shown that the two ions of a salt could be absorbed 
at different rates by living cells as long ago as 1909. In that year obser- 
vations of this kind were published by Meurer and by Ruhland on the 
absorption of salts by storage tissue (carrot and beetroot) and by Pantanelli, 
using a great variety of plant material. These observations have since been 
extended by many others, and it has been established beyond a doubt 
that, at any rate under certain conditions, the two ions of a salt are 
absorbed by living cells at different rates. Since the total of positive 
and negative electrical charges must remain equal in the external solution, 
it follows that either some other ion must accompany the excess of the 
more rapidly absorbed ion into the cells, or that some ion of the same sign 
as the more absorbed one must diffuse out into the external solution to 
balance the excess of the less absorbed ion remaining. If the former is 
the case and the external solution is one of a single salt, the solution must 
become acid or alkaline, since an excess absorption of kation would involve 
some absorption of the hydroxyl ions of water, leaving some of the anion 
balanced by hydrogen ions ; similarly, if there is an excess absorption of 
anion the solution will become alkaline. It was suggested by Pantanelli 
that this might be the reason why culture solutions sometimes become 
acid or alkaline. My own experience has been that all plant tissues 
absorb hydrogen and hydroxyl ions with considerable rapidity, and 
that solutions containing plant tissue tend to become less, and not more, 
acid or alkaline. It would be unwise, however, to assume that such is the 
case under all conditions, and, as far as I am aware, there is no evidence 
regarding the range of hydrogen-ion and hydroxyl-ion concentrations 
over which absorption of these ions takes place. W. J. Rees and I found, 
however, that organic acids of the formic acid series are absorbed until 
the pH of the external liquid is as high as 6 • 55, a value little removed from 
that of pure water. 

At any rate, the few experiments I have made myself on this point 
indicate that the excess of sodium absorbed by carrot tissue from a 

K.— BOTANY 225 

solution of sodium chloride is replaced by ions of calcium, potassium and 
magnesium which diffuse out of the tissue. Although to be regarded as 
only preliminary in character, they indicate that an exchange of ions 
between tissue and external solution can occur in connection with excess 
absorption of one ion of a salt. 

Even more strikingly at variance with the earlier view of solute 
absorption by plant cells is the phenomenon which is now generally 
described, not altogether happily, I think, as accumulation. In 1919 
F. Kidd and I showed that when thin slices of storage tissues, carrot and 
potato, were placed in solutions of various salts in different concentrations, 
absorption took place towards a condition of equilibrium which is not 
that of equality of concentration inside and outside the cell, but which 
depends on the concentration of the salt. With dilute solutions the 
concentration attained inside the cell may be many times that of the 
solution outside, while in concentrated solutions the reverse is the case 
and the concentration of the salt inside, even after 48 hours' immersion 
of the tissue in the solution, may be very much less than that outside. 
Thus, while more salt is actually absorbed from a stronger solution than 
from a weaker one, the absorption relative to the concentration is less, 
both as regards rate and total amount, from a stronger than from a weaker 

These observations by Kidd and myself, though definitely establishing 
on broad lines the relationship between concentration of salt and absorp- 
tion, did not pretend to provide more than approximate quantitative 
data. Thus we found that the relationship between concentration of 
salt and absorption was much the same as it would have been if the salt 
were adsorbed by an adsorbent within the cell. It is easy to suggest 
that a first stage in the absorption of salts by plant cells is the adsorption 
of the ions of the salt by some constituent or constituents of the proto- 
plasm. While I have pointed out the similarity of the absorption of 
salts by plant cells with an adsorption phenomenon, I have more than 
once stressed the point that this similarity is in itself not sufficient to 
justify the advocacy of an adsorption theory of salt absorption. Yet it 
must be admitted that later work by more exact methods has only served 
to confirm the approximate similarity of the relationship between salt 
absorption and adsorption. Reference in this connection may be made 
to the work of Laine on the absorption of manganese and thallium by 
roots of Phaseolus multiflorus, as well as to observations of my own on 
the absorption of sodium chloride by carrot root. Further, if the proto- 
plasm contains adsorbents of the ions presented to it, then adsorption 
must take place if conditions demand it. 

Before leaving this question for the moment I would like to point out 
that it is obvious that if the similarity between the relationship of salt 
absorption to concentration and the adsorption equation is more than a 
coincidence, then adsorption can only be the first stage in this absorption, 
at any rate by actively growing tissues in which the absorbed ions must 
be transferred elsewhere. Again, the adsorbing material one would 
expect to be present in the protoplasm, whereas a number of more recent 
observations by various investigators indicate that there is actually an 


increase in concentration of the absorbed ion in the vacuole. The 
adsorption would then have to be followed by elution of the salt at the 
surface of the vacuole. In this connection it is interesting to note that 
S. C. Brooks has obtained some evidence that Valonia, immersed in 
sea-water containing rubidium chloride, accumulates rubidium in the 
protoplasm for two days, after which this kation passes from the proto- 
plasm to both vacuole and external solution. The same worker has also 
found that when cells of Nitella are placed in o-oiM. solutions of radio- 
active potassium chloride there is an accumulation of potassium in the 
protoplasm after 6 hours before any appreciable amount of potassium 
appears in the vacuole. Previously M. M. Brooks had found that when 
Valonia is immersed in a solution of methylene blue the cell wall and 
protoplasm become deeply stained by the dye before any appreciable 
coloration of the vacuole is observable. 

If adsorption is indeed operative in the absorption of salts, one would 
expect it to be partly mechanical and partly electrical, and the unequal 
absorption of the two ions of a salt could be related to the electrical 
charges on adsorbents in the protoplasm. Further, the occurrence of 
electrical adsorption would render the conformity of salt absorption with 
the equation for mechanical adsorption only approximate. 

Another mechanism which has been suggested as possibly operative 
in the absorption of salts is one of interchange between ions within and 
without the cell under conditions which give rise to the ionic distribution 
between the cell interior and exterior characteristic of what is called 
Donnan equilibrium. If the solution exterior to the cell contains a salt 
both ions of which can penetrate the cell membranes, while the interior 
of the cell contains an electrolyte one ion of which can penetrate the 
membrane while the other is immobile, then at equilibrium there will 
generally be inequality of concentration of any ion on the two sides of 
the cell membrane. There are probably in the protoplasm protein salts 
which provide the necessary conditions for Donnan equilibrium. A 
difficulty is that in a condition of Donnan equilibrium the products of 
the concentration of any pair of oppositely charged ions should be the 
same on the two sides of a membrane, so that if one ion of a salt is 
absorbed to such an extent that its concentration is higher inside the 
cell than outside, the other ion can only be absorbed to a concentration 
inside the cell which is lower than its concentration outside. But actually 
this is not necessarily the case. Thus I showed in 1924 that storage tissue 
can absorb both ions of sodium chloride until the concentration of both 
is higher than that of the same ion outside the tissue, it being assumed 
that the ion remains active inside, an assumption for which there is good 
evidence. Briggs has shown that this does not present an insuperable 
difficulty to the view that absorption may be conditioned by Donnan 
equilibrium if the two ions are absorbed by different phases in the cell, 
and he shows that actual observations of salt absorption can be so 
explained if the kation is absorbed by the protoplasm and the anion by 
the vacuole. And in this connection it must be emphasised that just as 
adsorption must take place if the cell contains adsorbents of ions capable 
of reaching the adsorbent, so, if the cell system involves the conditions 

K.— BOTANY 227 

giving rise to Donnan equilibrium, it is inevitable that the movement of 
ions demanded by these conditions must result. 

The possibility that respiration has a direct effect in bringing about 
the absorption of ions has been pointed out by several workers, notably 
by Briggs and S. C. Brooks. The production of carbon dioxide in the 
cell leads to the appearance of carbonic acid and hence of its ions hydrogen 
and bicarbonate, H and HCO3. The interchange of ions required by the 
Donnan equilibrium will lead to the diffusion out of hydrogen ions which 
are replaced by kations from the external medium, while the bicarbonate 
ions will be exchanged for anions from the external medium. As the 
tissue continually respires the production of hydrogen ions continues to 
replace those which diffuse into the external solution, and so the absorption 
of ions continues as part of an interchange between tissue and external 

An interesting theory of salt absorption which hypothesises some sort 
of combination of the absorbed ions with constituents of the protoplasm 
followed by passage of the ions into the vacuole through exchange with 
hydrogen and bicarbonate ions, has recently been proposed by S. C. 
Brooks. According to this theory, the substances in the protoplasm 
responsible for the initial absorption are the proteins. In the protoplasm 
are proteins of various kinds, which are differently ionised, some with the 
protein group carrying a positive charge, others with the protein ion 
carrying a negative charge and thus constituting a proteinate ion. When 
a salt such as potassium chloride is absorbed the potassium ion unites 
with a H-proteinate and the chloride ion with a protein-OH. The 
potassium proteinate and protein chloride thus produced unite with the 
basic and acidic groups of adjacent molecules and so move through the 
protoplasm until they reach molecules adjacent to the vacuole. Here 
exchange with H and HCO3 ions produced as a result of respiration is 
supposed to take place. 

Against the view of a direct effect of respiration on salt intake by ionic 
exchange it has been urged by Hoagland and Steward that accumulation 
of ions is negligible or slight when tissue is deprived of oxygen, although 
there may be a considerable anaerobic production of carbon dioxide. 
But as regards this objection it must be noted that under conditions of 
anaerobiosis the rate of carbon dioxide production usually falls rapidly 
with time, so that it is doubtful whether a considerable production of carbon 
dioxide anaerobically generally continues for any length of time. The 
question is obviously one requiring further experimental investigation. 

That the absorption of salts by tissues is related to a supply of oxygen, 
and probably in some way to respiration, there can, however, be no doubt. 
As long ago as 191 3 Hall, Brenchley and Underwood showed that barley 
and other plants in aqueous culture solutions grew more rapidly in 
aerated solutions than in non-aerated ones, an observation which was 
confirmed by Jorgensen and myself in 19 17 in regard to barley and balsam 
and by Knight in 1924 with wallflower, Chenopodium album and Elodea. 
The conclusion could be drawn that in these experiments the augmenta- 
tion of the oxygen supply to the roots brings about an increase in the 
rate of absorption of the nutrients necessary for metabolism and growth, 


but the problem is complex, for the effect of carbon dioxide accumulation 
in poorly aerated solutions may be a factor, and there is a marked difference 
in the reaction of different species, for both Free in America and Jorgensen 
and myself in this country found that buckwheat cultures did not react 
to differences in the oxygen supply to the roots, while as regards maize, 
whereas Andrews and Beal found that aeration of the culture solution 
very greatly increased the yield. Knight found that this was the case with 
soil cultures, but not with water cultures. Whether this divergence in 
behaviour is to be related to varietal differences or to some undefined 
factor in the experiments is not clear. 

More direct evidence of the effect of oxygen on the salt relations of the 
cells has been obtained in work with storage tissues. In 1927, as a result 
of observations on the behaviour of such tissues when placed in water 
either kept still or agitated, I called attention to the importance of respira- 
tion in regard to the salt relations of the cells. I pointed out the import- 
ance of maintaining the supply of oxygen to such tissues for the maintenance 
of their vitality, and that in the absence of an adequate oxygen supply 
exosmosis of electrolytes took place, leading to the speedy death of the 
tissues, whereas with maintenance of a supply of oxygen absorption of 
electrolytes continued, in the case of beetroot, for example, for periods 
of about three weeks. Towards the end of this time a condition of 
equilibrium was reached or approached, in which the content of 
electrolytes in the external liquid was very low. During this period 
conditions leading to lower oxygen and higher carbon dioxide concentra- 
tion led to increase in the electrolyte content of the liquid, while addition 
of fresh oxygen led to a decrease. In similar experiments carried out by 
Briggs and Petrie in 193 1 in which a continuous stream of air was passed 
through the liquid, these workers examined the course of respiration along 
with the changes in electrolyte content of the external solution, and 
established the fact that there was a general parallelism between the rate 
of respiration of the tissue and the electrolyte concentration of the external 
liquid. If the stream of air was replaced by nitrogen the respiration rate 
increased, and so did the concentration of electrolytes in the solution, 
while replacement of the nitrogen by air brought back the original dis- 
tribution of electrolytes between tissue and external liquid. Steward and 
collaborators have shown that reduction of the oxygen supply to storage 
tissue of potato, carrot and artichoke below a certain value limits the 
accumulation of both the ions of potassium bromide by the tissues, while 
Hoagland and Broyer have obtained a similar result with barley root 
systems. In attempting to explain this effect of oxygen one must bear in 
mind that the relationship between respiration and salt accumulation 
may not be a direct one. The maintenance of an adequate supply of 
oxygen is necessary to maintain the vitality of the tissue, possibly on 
account of the deleterious effects of the products of anaerobic respira- 
tion. Thus the fact that accumulation depends on oxygen supply may be 
regarded as an expression of the fact that under conditions of partial or 
complete anaerobiosis the functioning of all or many vital processes 
dependent on the protoplasm is adversely affected, and along with them 
that of salt accumulation. From this point of view the effect of conditions 

K.— BOTANY 229 

leading to poor oxygen supply may be related not only to oxygen con- 
centration but also to accumulation of carbon dioxide and other products 
of anaerobic respiration. Hoagland's observations on the absorption 
of potassium bromide by cells of Nitella may, perhaps, be of significance 
in regard to the part played by oxygen in salt absorption. He found that 
absorption of bromide only took place if the cells were exposed to light, 
or if they have been previously exposed to adequate illumination. If for 
some time previously they had been growing in weak light no accumulation 
of the salt or its ions took place. From a consideration of all the data it 
seems to me that the following conclusion can be drawn regarding the 
relationship of respiration to the absorption of salts by plant cells, namely, 
that accumulation of salt depends on the vitality of the cells and that the 
maintenance of this vitality depends, as has been long recognised, on the 
presence of oxygen, either because aerobic respiration or some other 
process requiring oxygen is essential for this maintenance of vitality, 
or because in the absence of oxygen the accumulation of carbon dioxide 
and other products of anaerobic respiration adversely affects the function- 
ing of the protoplasm. This dependence of absorption of salts on the 
vitality or healthiness of the tissue was clearly shown by my experiments 
of 1927 and the later ones of Steward in which stress was laid on the effect 
of aeration of the tissues. I think Hoagland's observations fall into line 
with these. Nitella kept for some time in low light is probably somewhat 
unhealthy, just as is tissue that is deprived of an adequate supply of 
oxygen. In other words, most of the work published on the relationship 
between respiration and salt accumulation does no more than show that 
this accumulation is a vital process, depending on the normal functioning 
of the protoplasm. Any general relationship between respiration and salt 
accumulation, as regards the linkage of reactions involved or the transfer 
of the energy required for the entry of a salt against its own diffusion 
gradient, may thus be very indirect. 

This view of the necessity of oxygen for salt accumulation does not rule 
out the possibilities of adsorption, chemical combination and ionic inter- 
change as playing a part in salt absorption, and indeed, my experiments 
of 1927 and those of Briggs and Petrie of 1931, to which I have earlier 
referred, are most readily explicable in terms of ionic interchange. Apart 
from the more obvious physico-chemical relationships already mentioned, 
what is called decline in vitality, health or activity is associated with 
changes in the protoplasm, which may involve changes in the state of 
aggregation of the protoplasmic colloids and in the distribution of their 
various constituents, which will profoundly alter their capacity for ad- 
sorption or chemical combination and the nature of ionic exchanges. 
I am certain that in the present state of our knowledge there is no justi- 
fication for putting aside any of these processes as possibly playing a part 
in determining the salt relations of cells. What is required for the clari- 
fication of the problem I have emphasised for many years, namely, the 
accumulation of experimental data regarding these relations, and it should 
help greatly if data are obtained for different kinds of cells and with 
different kinds of solutes. With the development of both chemical and 
physical methods for the measurement of small quantities, such data can 


now be obtained which were impossible to acquire twenty or even ten 
years ago. The katharometer, spectrograph and polarograph are three 
physical instruments which in particular will prove of the greatest aid to 
such work. 

One significant fact does, at least, emerge from the information so far 
acquired, namely, the absorption of dissolved substances by plant cells 
is as much a vital process as the respiratory function and, like it, depends 
on the presence of the living substance. On what does this dependence 
consist .'' On the presence of a protoplasmic membrane, which is broken 
down when the protoplasm changes in the direction of loss of vitality } 
On the state of aggregation of the particles in the colloidal complex which 
constitutes the system, and which certainly changes as the cell becomes 
moribund .'' On the respiratory process itself ? On the presence of 
certain enzymes or other substances which are contained in the proto- 
plasm ? I have indicated how certain suggestions have been made in 
regard to these various possibilities, but only further research will provide 
the answer. 

It is a remarkable fact that with the continued application of the prin- 
ciples of physical chemistry to the investigation of vital plant activities, 
it has gradually become more and more evident that simple explanations 
of these activities in terms of physical chemistry are not forthcoming. 
Even the usually accepted simple explanation of the water relations of the 
plant cell is now suspect. Ever since the classical investigations of De 
Vries and Pfeffer it has been supposed that these relations, at any rate for 
vacuolated cells, were explained with complete satisfaction on what I 
have called the ' simple osmotic view,' the assumption being made that 
the protoplast, or the limiting layers of it, functioned as a semi-permeable 
membrane permeable to water but impermeable to many solutes. Now 
Bennet-Clark, Greenwood and Barker have found that this explanation 
is not always valid. They have measured the osmotic pressure of the 
cell sap of a number of plant cells by the plasmolytic method, and also 
cryoscopically after extraction of the sap from the tissues. In some cases 
(petioles of Caladium and Rheum) the values obtained by the two methods 
are the same, and hence in these cases the simple osmotic view affords a 
satisfactory explanation of the observed facts, but in other cases (petioles 
of Begonia and roots of beet and swede) the osmotic value of the sap 
determined plasmolytically was found to be markedly greater than the 
value obtained for the expressed sap by cryoscopic determination. This 
means that in the latter cases the pressure sending water into the vacuole 
is greater than can be accounted for by the actual osmotic pressure of the 
sap as determined physico-chemically, and hence such cells possess a 
power of active secretion of water analogous to the capacity for accumulat- 
ing salts which I have already discussed. That this is so is confirmed by 
the fact that cells of such tissues are not plasmolysed by their own sap, 
whereas in the case of those tissues which do not exhibit this phenomenon 
approximately half the cells of the tissue are plasmolysed by sap ex- 
pressed from the tissue. So here also the vital activity of the protoplasm 
is operative, and it may be presumed that the energy required for this 
active secretion of water from the external medium is ultimately provided 

K.— BOTANY 231 

by respiration, but how the transfer of the energy is brought about is as 
obscure as in the case of salt accumulation. 

Thirty years ago, when the importance of the principles of chemical 
dynamics in life processes was coming to be fully realised, it looked as if 
the solution of many of the problems of plant physiology in terms of 
physical chemistry was fairly imminent. But with the application of 
these principles to our investigations into living processes we find that in 
every one of them the protoplasm introduces a factor which renders 
these processes not readily explicable in this way. Clearly we must seek 
an explanation in the apparent divergence of vital processes from physical 
or chemical laws in the constitution of the protoplasmic system, and hence 
a fuller analysis of this system now appears to be a requisite for further 
advance in our understanding of physiological processes in general. 
There is at present no reason to suppose that with further advance in 
knowledge of the protoplasmic system we shall not ultimately be able to 
explain physiological processes in physico-chemical terms, and I would 
re-affirm what F. F. Blackman emphasised in his Presidential Address 
to this Section thirty years ago, namely, 'the inevitableness of physical- 
chemical principles in the cell.' 

It is scarcely necessary to emphasise how the principles of general cell 
physiology must be of fundamental importance in plant metabolism, for 
inasmuch as this depends on the activity of specialised cells and tissues, 
these, wherever they are alive, must also exhibit the normal features 
characteristic of protoplasmic activity. The process of photosynthesis 
involves the absorption of substances by the assimilating cells, and, like 
those more general cell processes we have considered, depends on the 
protoplasm in some way not clearly understood, although there is a 
probability that at least an enzyme is concerned. The passage of the 
products of photosynthesis from the assimilating cells to the phloem must 
take place according to the laws governing the movement of dissolved 
substances into and out of living cells in general. The importance of 
general cell physiology to absorption by roots is obvious, and here it may 
be pointed out how the relatively rapid absorption of nutrient salts from 
soils in which the soil solution is known to be very dilute, is explained by 
the relationship between concentration and rate of absorption of solutes : 
the diluter the solution the more rapid the uptake of solute in relation to 
the concentration. Other physiological problems such as winter hardiness 
of plants and the effects of extreme conditions in general are also problems 
of general cell physiology. But in spheres of botanical science outside 
the range of pure physiology the general physiology of the cell is just as 
important. This applies in particular to ecology. This study, in so far 
as its aim is the determination of the relationship of plants to their environ- 
ment, is indeed nothing else than physiology, a fact which was clearly 
recognised by Clements more than thirty years ago. Of the two groups 
of factors which determine the distribution of vegetation, the climatic 
and edaphic, the mode of action of the latter in particular can only be 
studied with any hope of success by those with an adequately deep know- 
ledge and appreciation of cell physiology. It does not need a knowledge 
of physiology, it is true, to determine plant distribution, but such 


knowledge is essential for what Tansley, in a paper read to this Section in 
this place thirty-four years ago, called ' the higher branch of ecology, i.e. 
the detailed investigation of the functional relations of plant associations 
to their surroundings.' However desirable and necessary the collation 
of existing knowledge of plant distribution may be, I am certain that the 
solution of the fundamental problems of ecology will only be achieved by 
the use of physiological methods, and particularly by the application of 
our knowledge of the general physiology of the cell. For edaphic factors 
must act through the root and by the absorption of materials from the soil, 
or the exchange of material between the soil and root ; in fact the 
processes of respiration and salt absorption would appear to be of the first 

Certain aspects of mycology have much in common with physiology ; 
indeed, that part of mycology which concerns pathogenic organisms is 
inevitably closely linked with problems of the relation of host and parasite, 
problems which are, in their very essence, physiological. Years ago it 
was questioned whether the physiology of the plant physiologists was not 
half pathology. Certainly the reverse question can be answered with 
more assurance ; pathology is at least partly physiology, and therefore 
the principles of general cell physiology must here also be of immense 
importance, and an intimate acquaintance with these principles should 
be an important part of the equipment of the experimental plant 

Perhaps no branch of botany has made such spectacular advances in 
recent years as that of cyto-genetics. At least it has produced a nomen- 
clature which rivals or excels the early efforts of the descriptive ecologists. 
And just as descriptive ecology can do little more than correlate certain 
types of vegetation with certain environments, so cytology can do little 
more than correlate visible structures in the cell with genetical behaviour. 
I cannot help thinking that a real insight into these problems also will only 
come with the interpretation of cytological observations in physiological 
terms, and that the greatest advance in the study of cytology will come with 
the linking up of the knowledge of the cell acquired by these two lines of 
investigation, the cytological and physiological. And it is surely a rather 
remarkable fact, one indicating how far away we are at present from the 
achievement of this end, that the physiologist tends to think of the cyto- 
plasm as the essential factor in determining vital activities, while the cjrto- 
logist almost exclusively concerns himself with the nucleus. Neither the 
physiologist nor the cytologist appears at present to have anything but 
the vaguest ideas of the relationship between the two, a relationship which, 
however, we may feel sure is most intimate and fundamental to life. 

I would now like to pass on to the economic importance of cell physio- 
logy and say a few words about its importance in applied botany. We 
all know, but it cannot be too strongly emphasised, that botany is the pure 
science of a great part of the most important industry of the world, agri- 
culture, and that, like every other industry, it can only be carried on wisely 
if its practice is based on scientific principles. Almost all branches of 
botany are important for agriculture, but mycology, genetics, and physio- 
logy are particularly so, and certainly physiology is not the least of these. 

K.— BOTANY 233 

Absorption of water and nutrients from the soil, assimilation of carbon, 
water relations of the plant, vegetative development, flowering and fruiting 
are all problems of agriculture which are essentially physiological, and in 
many of which the principles of general cell physiology are of importance. 
Similarly in forestry physiology must play as equally important a part. 
But besides these more obvious economic applications there are numerous 
industries in which the principles of general cell physiology are no less 
fundamental. There are all those industries, ever increasing in number 
and importance, which are based on some particular plant product, such 
as cotton, linen, jute, rubber, tea, sugar and tobacco, to mention only a few 
of the more important. Apart from the growing of the plants themselves, 
which like any other form of agricultural practice should be based on sound 
physiological principles, a knowledge of these principles may be equally 
important in the subsequent treatment of the plant material. In par- 
ticular a knowledge of cell organisation, the action of enzymes contained 
in the cell, its behaviour towards various reagents, all aspects of general 
physiology, are essential. Finally the great food storage industry depends 
greatly on the application of knowledge of cell physiology. As an ex- 
ample of this I may refer to pioneer work on the scientific principles of 
cold storage by Jorgensen and myself carried out some twenty years ago. 
From a consideration of what was then known of the constitution of the 
cell we concluded that the satisfactory preservation of certain tissues in 
the frozen condition depended on rapidly freezing the tissues, a method 
which was subsequently put into practice in certain branches of the food 
storage industry. It was indeed encouraging to read in the daily press 
last December of what was described as the scientific discovery of the 
week, which turned out to be none other than the rapid freezing method 
for the preservation of fruit, a method that had been examined and ad- 
vocated by Jorgensen and myself nearly twenty years previously. This is, 
of course, only one instance of the bearing of general cell physiology on 
the subject of food preservation. The effect of the conditions of storage 
on enzymes and other cell constituents, and on the vitality of different 
kinds of cells, tissues and organisms are among the problems which a 
knowledge of the facts and methods of general cell physiology will help 
to solve. 

With the ever-increasing mass of knowledge in the various branches 
of botany, an increase which is especially noticeable to-day in those 
aspects of our subject which are undergoing rapid development, 
physiology, mycology and genetics with cytology, it is impossible for 
anyone to be an active worker in more than a relatively very small field of 
botanical endeavour. We sometimes meet with reference to a mysterious 
gentleman called the ' general botanist ' who is expert in general botany, 
as someone distinct from the morphologist, physiologist, mycologist or 
other worker in a defined field. But in these days, when to make any 
contribution to knowledge necessitates specialisation, there can indeed 
be no such person as the expert in ' general botany,' for there is, indeed, 
no such subject. But in whatever part of our subject our own special 
interests may lie, we can still appreciate the efforts and aims of workers 
in other fields, and realise the bearing of work in these fields on our own 

I 2 


problems, and in this sense we are all general botanists ; that is, just 

For if ' general botany ' as something distinct from ' botany ' is a 
myth, there is no doubt that the various branches of our subject are related 
in the whole. In this address I have tried to indicate not only the scope 
and present position of our knowledge of the general physiology of the 
cell, but where this particular part of the science of plants comes into 
contact with other branches of botany, and how the application of a know- 
ledge of the facts, principles and methods of cell physiology may be 
expected to lead to an increase in knowledge, not only of the physiology 
of the plant, but of other aspects of botanical science and of its industrial 






The British Association in general, and this Section of it in particular, 
have long been accustomed to Presidential Addresses which, with less 
than the usual compromise between truth and politeness, have generally 
been described as brilliant and provocative. Certainly there would be 
no exaggeration in applying these epithets to those addresses to which I 
myself have had the privilege of listening. 

This year I can at any rate promise the Section a change, but it will 
not be a change for the better. Even if, in my undergraduate days, I 
occasionally staggered College societies with visions of things to come, I 
can only say that, after twenty-five years in the service of local government, 
the instinct of self-preservation if nothing else has taught me to confine 
myself to things as they are. 

At the same time I am proud to be old enough, or young enough, to 
have been at school and college at a period when young men looked for 
a new book by my immediate predecessor with something of the same 
spirit of hope and excitement as the Christians of Macedonia may have 
awaited a communication from St. Paul. There was a memorable 
evening in our Senior Common Room when I laboured, not with entire 
success, to persuade our venerable Dean that, in spite of a certain similarity 
in title, Kipps, the book I was commending to his notice, was not identical 
with another modern work called Kim, which had earned his disappro- 
bation and was in fact by quite a different author. 

I will not at any rate blame my subject, even if at first sight it may 
appear a dull one, for the shortcomings of this address. The reasons 
I chose it are twofold ; in the first place it is the only serious topic I know 
enough about to justify my discussing it in the presence of an audience 
of such various distinction, and in the second I am rapidly approaching 
a state of suspended animation so far as my association with local govern- 
ment is concerned, so that without aspiring to brilliance or even provoca- 
tion I can air my views with greater freedom and possibly less offence 
than any of my colleagues who are still bound to the wheel of official 


At the same time I am not unmindful that this address is being delivered 
to the Educational Science section of the British Association, and that to 
some the connection between educational science and practical problems 
which to a large extent are common to local government as a whole rather 
than peculiar to educational administration may well appear remote. 
I am not quite sure what educational science connotes but I imagine 
it may comprehend not only the philosophical principles upon which 
educational practice is or ought to be based but also experiment and 
research into method. The administrative machine, particularly in the 
public education service, is an instrument which, if improperly employed, 
may well distort the first and hamper the second. For that reason alone 
it deserves an occasional inspection by the educational scientist whatever 
his particular interest may be. Moreover, in recent years the British 
Association has attached special importance to the impact of science on 
society. For the great majority of teachers, pupils and parents in this 
country the medium through which this impact is felt so far as education 
is concerned is the Local Education Authority, 

Furthermore this question of local administration, uninspiring as it may 
appear, may not be without its significance in relation to current issues of 
world-wide importance. Only the other day I heard a prominent member 
of a local education authority quoting, or as I believe misquoting, a still 
more eminent personage to the effect that ' local government is the last 
bulwark of democracy.' Exactly what he meant by the word ' last' is 
obscure, and as nautical metaphors are notoriously tricky things there is 
a possibility that he may have meant bulkhead rather than bulwark. 
I take it, however, that his meaning was that, if democracy is going to 
founder, the immediate cause will probably be found not so much in the 
legislative eccentricities of Parliament as in the inefficiency of local 
administration. It is when men begin to feel miserable that the value of 
political liberty begins to slump, and it is when intelligent men feel the 
pinch worst that revolutions begin to happen. It may be a hasty and in- 
adequate generalisation, but there seems to me to be much in the view that 
the totalitarian state has arisen from the economic and spiritual destitution 
of the professional classes. I must, however, resist the temptation to 
platitudinise on this popular problem and try to confine myself to certain 
tendencies in the administration of local government, and of education in 
particular, which can have at most only an indirect bearing on the much 
wider question of the relation of the State to the individual. 

Political thinkers throughout the ages have frequently defined or 
described the function of administration. Of all their attempts the one 
which appeals most to an harassed official is the late Lord Fisher's 
cynical aphorism that it consists in the intelligent anticipation of agitation. 
From a somewhat less negative point of view it may be regarded as com- 
pounded of deliberation and execution, of which the latter should but 
does not always follow the former. In very simple terms, administration 
is neither more nor less than a method of transacting business, and 
particularly public business, as cheaply and as quickly as is compatible 
with doing it reasonably well. Even this lacks precision and is by no 
means free from ambiguity. Where for instance is the standard to be 


found by which from time to time * reasonably well ' shall be measured ? 
It may be argued that the practical administrator will in fact know at any 
given time the standard he has to aim at in order to satisfy public opinion, 
just as the craftsman may point to contemporary taste as the criterion of 

Whether it is possible or not to find an acceptable definition of adminis- 
tration, it will probably be agreed that it expresses itself through two 
functions, the legislative and the executive. Most of the administrative 
problems which come within the purview of local government fall in the 
latter category. 

By a process which is at once historical and natural, the legislative side 
of administrative activity has remained largely in the hands of the central 
Government, though it would be to fall into an error which professed 
experts have not always avoided if the fact were overlooked that in many 
instances experiments legitimately conducted by local authorities within 
the powers conferred upon them by Acts of Parliament have often led to 
new ideas and consequent legislation. Side by side with this distribution 
of legislative and executive activities, and to a large extent determining it, 
there has proceeded a fundamental change in the conception of the 
function of the State in relation to the individual citizen which has marked 
the last century and, with increasing emphasis, the last quarter of it. 
The change to which I refer is one from a negative to a positive con- 
ception of legislative objectives and has profoundly modified the scope 
and character of local administration. Until a hundred years ago the main 
interest of government was to restrain men from living evil lives ; since 
then the intention, however mysterious in operation, has been to help 
them to live good ones. 

This change has coincided and is no doubt connected with another 
conception widely developed if not created during the same period, viz. 
the idea of human progress or the infinite perfectibility of man. A social 
order designed by those who believe that every day and in every way 
men are getting better and better may be expected to exhibit fundamental 
differences from one the main object of which is to postpone as long as 
possible the coming of inevitable decay. 

The obvious result of this evolution from a negative to a positive view 
of the function of government has been a vastly increased interference by 
the State in the goings and comings of the ordinary citizen ; and the 
problems which form the subject of this paper arise from the steps which 
have been and are being taken to make this interference effective. The 
growth in this business of government, as in other businesses, has forced 
home the need for administrative devolution, with the consequent rise 
of local government as the machinery through which much of the will 
of Parliament must be implemented. 

It is no part of this paper to try to trace the process of this devolution, 
but it is relevant to point out that there have been occasions when the 
need for defining satisfactorily the respective spheres of the central and 
the local government has presented itself as an extremely urgent problem, 
at any rate to the minds of many local administrators. There is little, 
however, for me to say on this point because the rules according to which 


the game is to be played are now generally accepted, and the players, in 
my experience, are observing them in an increasingly friendly and 
harmonious spirit. We all think and may even speak unkindly about 
Whitehall from time to time, but on calm reflection cannot but admit 
that we are treated on the whole with delicacy and consideration. 

There is one aspect of this relationship, however, which is important, 
and that is the financial one. I shall have something to say a little later 
on the question of the adequacy or otherwise of exchequer grants so far 
as Local Education Authorities are concerned. On the wider issue we 
may rest content with the fact that, whatever arguments may be adduced 
or principles invoked, so long as there are local administrators they will 
continue to pursue the laudable object of getting as much money and as 
little interference from the central authority as they possibly can. But 
if devolution is to remain a necessity, and granted the continuance both 
of a democratic system and of the parental interest of the State, there 
seems no alternative. The really disconcerting problems for the future 
seem to me to arise from the present nature of the local government 
bodies themselves. The first difficulty would appear to lie in the unit, 
i.e. in the size and geographical distribution of local government areas. 
Recognised authorities, who are mostly foreigners and seem to regard our 
political institutions with greater enthusiasm than we do ourselves, tend 
to congratulate us on our ingenuity in adjusting them to meet new social 
and economic needs as they arise. It would be difficult to detect this 
evolutionary process at work so far as local government boundaries are 
concerned. It is true that towns have grown and encroached on county 
areas and that there has been a distinction in the degree of autonomy 
conferred on authorities of diff'erent sizes by successive Acts of Parliament, 
but substantially it remains true that our local government boundaries 
derive mainly from Saxon times when the problems of modern administra- 
tion can hardly have been foreseen. 

When the present Local Education Authorities were established by the Act 
of 1902, there was an opportunity to devise areas with regard to administra- 
tive convenience rather than historical association, but it is significant 
that there does not appear to have been any serious suggestion to do 
other than to allocate the new powers and duties among the existing local 
units. Consequently we find the control of public education, under the 
benevolent supervision of the Board of Education, distributed among 
318 different bodies varying from London with 4,396,821 inhabitants 
down to Tiverton (Devonshire) with 9,610. 

These Local Education Authorities inherited the property of the School 
Boards and Technical Instruction Committees, including a number of 
buildings in various states of repair, and of officials in much the same 
condition, together with some strange and erhbarrassing residuary legacies, 
like the Cockerton Judgment and Dual Control. 

It is very much to their credit that within three and a half decades, with 
a great war intervening, they have not only introduced some kind of order 
into this confusion but have also built up a great system of secondary 
education, put the salaries of teachers on a more satisfactory basis, 
and undertaken the task of reorganising the whole system of so-called 


elementary education, the full effect of which it is too early to appreciate. 
It is significant of the success they have achieved that those pioneers in 
public education, the Scots, should recently have reconstructed their 
administrative machine on the English model and so driven another nail 
in the cofBn of the ad hoc education authority. And yet we must confess 
that we are still very far from that adjustment of opportunity to ability 
which is, I suppose, the fundamental aim of any democratic system of 
public education. 

If I appear to be devoting most of my time to pointing out the defects 
in our local education system, I should like to make it clear that my object 
is to contribute my mite towards smoothing out the long road which has 
yet to be travelled and in no way to belittle the efforts of a by no means 
ignoble army of public servants. 

Apart from questions of size and population. Local Education 
Authorities also vary greatly in their financial resources as tegards both 
their own rateable value and the contributions which they receive from 
the Exchequer towards their net expenditure. Neither the money they 
raise themselves nor the grants they receive from Government are in any 
arithmetical proportion to their respective areas or populations, and, 
although the formula by which the grant is calculated was no doubt 
intended to take account of local circumstances affecting expenditure, the 
conditions which it was designed to meet in many cases no longer obtain. 
The resultant anomalies are a fruitful cause of dissatisfaction in many 
areas and of acute embarrassment in some ; in fact the whole question 
of the financial relationship between the central government and the 
local authority is one which calls for an immediate and comprehensive 

Then again Authorities vary very much in character, some being purely 
rural, many purely urban, while others contain a mixture of the two, or 
are in process of transition from the former to the latter. A further and 
ever-present difficulty so far as many of them are concerned is the fact 
that while some of them are empowered to deal with all forms of education 
in their area (Counties and County Boroughs, technically known as 
Part II Authorities), others are only empowered to deal with elementary 
education (Part III Authorities). Part III Authorities, and particularly 
the smaller ones, are naturally jealous of their prerogatives and one cannot 
but admire the courage with which many of them are facing the strain 
on their resources, financial and otherwise, which the provision of ele- 
mentary education on reorganised lines must entail. At the same time, 
when it is realised that ' higher ' education usually starts at the age of 1 1 or 
even earlier, while ' elementary ' education will shortly extend to 15 or even 
16, and that most of the larger Part III Authorities have exercised the 
right of establishing selective central schools, which in many cases approxi- 
mate in standard and aim to the other forms of selective post-primary 
institution provided by the Part II Authority in the same area, the possi- 
bilities of confusion, overlapping and friction will need no emphasis. 

It is true that many of these difficulties can be and are in fact being 
overcome by co-operation between the Authorities concerned, but it 
should be pointed out that, while co-operation ranks high among the 


blessed words in the educational vocabulary, it usually involves a com- 
promise and is never the ideal method of administrative procedure. No 
departmental chief, I imagine, would set two typists to type the same 
letter or two office boys to lick the same stamp simply in order that they 
might have the advantage of co-operating. 

The next problem is concerned with the personnel of the Local Educa- 
tion Authorities. The personnel is divided into the amateur and the 
professional elements, or the unpaid and the underpaid as I have heard 
it expressed. The amateur element is again divided between persons 
co-opted for their knowledge of and interest in education, and others 
elected by the people not solely, experience suggests, because they are 
known to possess either or both of these qualifications. The co-opted 
members for obvious reasons are generally among the most valuable 
members of an Education Authority, but the fact that they are not 
members of the County or Borough Council, and so have no direct re- 
sponsibility to the electorate, is usually regarded as disqualifying them for 
occupying really responsible positions, e.g. chairmanships of committees. 

The most serious aspect of the problem to my mind is the steady and 
even accelerating deterioration in the amateur personnel which has taken 
place since the War. This is particularly marked in the case of the 
elected representatives of the people. The reasons are as plain as the 
fact. The most obvious of course is the gap caused by the War itself 
in the ranks of those who, if they had survived, would probably have been 
the first to offer themselves for public service. But this is by no means 
the whole or even the main explanation. The vast increase in the 
responsibilities laid upon local authorities by legislation since the same 
period makes it necessary that any member who is to become really 
au fait with the business of education should be able to devote a 
considerable amount of his weekly time to it, whereas before the War 
it was possible for a person of average intelligence to grasp not 
only the general lines of policy but also day-to-day happenings by 
occasional attendance at committee meetings. Outside tendencies have 
also been at work during the same period to make such extra attention 
increasingly onerous and difficult ; the business of making a living has 
also become more strenuous, and people, who might have been able to 
devote before the War the amount of time which was necessary to grasp 
the business of administration, now find themselves, so far from being 
able to give the additional time which the increasing duties demand, in 
a position to give much less time than before. Consequently local 
administration is being progressively denuded of persons actively engaged 
and occupying positions of responsibility in industry and commerce. 

There seems no sign whatever that either of these tendencies is likely 
to lose its effect. Everything in fact points in the other direction, and 
the result is already apparent in the increasing tendency of Education 
Authorities to consist of people who have retired from work, or have never 
had work, or who are in fact professionals rather than amateurs because, 
as officials of political or other associations, it is expedient for them to 
become members of Local Education Authorities from the point of view 
of promoting the objects which their associations have at heart. It is no 


reflection on the personal integrity of these last to express the opinion 
that they constitute a serious danger to the system on the ground that if 
there is a bureaucratic habit of mind, and if as some people believe it is 
inimical to good government, these people possess it and bring it to bear 
on their consideration of educational problems without the saving grace 
of the professional educationist's training in and knowledge of the 
particular branch of administration with which he is dealing. 

There remain, of course, many splendid people who give their services 
to educational administration, and I must safeguard myself against 
appearing to suggest by the use of the word deterioration that graft or 
other forms of dishonesty are on the increase. That, I am glad to say, 
has not been my experience. There is the risk, however, which is more 
than theoretical, of intellectual dishonesty creeping into the discussion of 
educational affairs when the Authority contains any substantial number 
of members who are pledged to a set of opinions which may have a cross- 
bearing on purely educational considerations. 

As I have pointed out the difficulties — I will not say the defects — in our 
local government system at considerable length, I suppose I am under 
some obligation to attempt to indicate possible remedies. So far as 
the numbers, sizes and financial arrangements are concerned, it is not 
difficult either to indicate the general lines which reform in theory should 
follow or to envisage the practical difficulties which will confront the 
reformer when he sets out to tamper with the traditional boundaries of 
English local government. It would be a bold man who would under- 
rate the strength of that local feeling which in its nobler aspects is 
not unworthy of being termed local patriotism, but at other times 
merely vocalises the parish pump. It is, however, possible for prac- 
tical experience and even a priori reasoning to suggest certain of the 
attributes which the ideal local government unit should possess. 
It should be large enough to be able to provide the variety of 
services which a modern community requires, but not so large that the 
day-to-day discharge of routine administration necessitates a rigid or 
bureaucratic attitude towards the problems presented for solution. In 
education in particular it is important that the area should contain 
sufficient children or students to justify the provision of the various 
types of educational institution which modern needs demand. It is 
difficult, for instance, for a small area to face the cost of modern schools, 
particularly of the most expensive form of them, the technical college, 
and although a solution may be found in co-operation between neigh- 
bouring Authorities, it does not always follow that Authorities who are 
contiguous geographically have similar needs, and there is also the risk 
that the standard of co-operative effort may come to approximate to the 
lowest common multiple among the Authorities concerned. 

Another important consideration from the economic point of view is 
that the Authority should be sufficiently large to be able to obtain good 
contracts for the supply of the various materials which it requires. 
Modern methods of mechanisation and rationalisation have been slowly 
but surely invading the province of local government, but their advocates 
have not always been ready to recognise the fact that, while centralisation 


under the control of one committee or one officer makes for efficiency 
and economy up to a point, the stage can easily be reached when the 
activities and responsibilities both of the committee and the officer 
become so large that neither they nor he are able to keep the threads 
comfortably within their grasp. When this stage is reached the question 
of devolution becomes just as important as that of centralisation at the 
earlier stage. 

I have come to the conclusion that for Education Authorities, and I 
believe for other Authorities also, the minimum size of any local govern- 
ment unit should be an area with a population of 250,000 ; the ideal size 
would be between 500,000 and 750,000, and the maximum size 1,000,000. 
The establishment of areas of this size would, of course, pre-suppose the 
total abolition of Part III Authorities, by conferring complete autonomy 
on the largest, or on the amalgamation of others where they are 
geographically contiguous, and by abolishing the rest. 

There is one other matter in this connection which is worth some 
consideration, and that is the question of so redistributing areas that none 
of them may in future be exclusively rural or exclusively urban. This is 
a proposition which has commended itself widely to many social reformers 
who have advocated a regional organisation for local government. I am 
not sure that it is quite as important as some of its advocates have 
supposed, partly because with the development of modern transport and 
of town and country planning the difference in outlook and needs between 
the town and country dweller is tending to disappear. I would, however, 
admit that in such matters as technical education a purely rural area tends 
to be penalised, at any rate where agriculturists have still to realise that 
their industry is just as much in need of technical instruction as any other. 

To some extent the establishment of geographical units of a more 
uniform and rational size would contribute towards the solution of the 
major difficulty of personnel because, while it is true that some small 
Authorities enjoy admirable committees and officials whereas some of the 
larger ones are notoriously below standard in these respects, it will remain 
true on the basis of probability that within reason the larger the area the 
wider the choice it will have among people for its members of committees, 
and the larger salary it will be able to afford and consequently the wider 
field it will be able to draw upon for its administrative appointments. 
Larger areas and higher salaries will not, however, by themselves over- 
come the personnel difficulties which have bulked so largely in this 
paper. Unless people who are competent to govern can be made to 
realise that the preservation of liberty must depend on the capacity of 
those who voluntarily serve the community, that is, unless people are 
moved in greater numbers to offer themselves for public service by the 
Socratic urge, namely, fear of being governed by worse people than them- 
selves, the prospect of arresting the deterioration in the amateur personnel 
of local authorities is small. 

Something of course may be done by so easing the burden falling upon 
committees that members may be freed from the tedium of what are at . 
present known as ' dustbin ' debates and enabled to devote themselves 
to the wider issues of policy and the supervision of their officials. The 


trouble is that the present type of member often prefers the ' dustbin ' 
debate to any other kind because its subject is a matter with which he is 
familiar ; it is common experience that memoranda embodying recom- 
mendations of high poUcy are much easier to get through committees 
than those which deal with comparatively trivial issues. 

It may be a pessimistic opinion, but my own view is that local govern- 
ment will have in future to counteract the deterioration in its amateur 
element by a corresponding improvement in the professional element ; 
that is, it will have to look to recruiting better officials in the future than 
it has recruited in the past. This is not simply a matter of higher salaries, 
it is more a question of placing the training and status of the local govern- 
ment officer on a basis at least equal to that of the central civil servant. 
I am not shutting my eyes to the fact that there has been a steady improve- 
ment in the conditions of service for local government officers during the 
last twenty-five years and, as a natural consequence, in the type of officer 
who is now coming forward. In the education service, for instance, the 
Associations of Local Authorities have recently approved proposals affecting 
the status, emoluments and recruitment of entrants to the higher ranks of 
the service. Other people thinking along other lines have played with 
the idea of the City or County Manager. There may be possibilities in 
this idea provided that areas do not exceed the limits to which I have 
already referred, and provided that the traditional idea that the chief 
officer of an Authority should be a lawyer can be finally laid to rest. 
The legal mind has many virtues and administration would become 
chaotic without its restraining influence, but it is by temperament and 
training a restraining influence and is consequently unfitted to take 
quick decisions or give prompt effect to them when taken. 

But if there is any validity in my contention that the salvation of 
democracy as exemplified in our local government is to be sought in an 
imj3 roved type of official, I must in conclusion try to give some answer to 
the question, ' Who is the happy warrior ? ' The Association of Directors 
and Secretaries for Education, of which body I am proud to be a member, 
answered this question more adequately than I can hope to do so a few 
years ago when they gave evidence to a Royal Commission on Local 
Government, and I can only refer those interested to a document which 
is almost lyrical in its fervour. Speaking in more mundane terms, I would 
say that the educational administrator should have had a university training 
and some experience as a teacher in one branch or other of the education 
service. It is essential that he should possess the qualities of a sound 
administrator, that he should know how to initiate, when to delegate, 
when and where to advance, how to endure setbacks — above all, how 
to handle men. If he can retain a genuine enthusiasm for the science 
of education, it will not be so necessary for him to have a profound 
knowledge of educational theory. 

Finally, he must beware of the hardening effects of custom and 
precedent. The needs of society are changing rapidly and it is the func- 
tion of all educators to study these needs and to consider how best they 
can be met. At its highest this demands from him a philosophy of life in 
which he is compelled to study continually the philosophical basis of 


education and the principles on which this great human science has 
developed ; at the worst he can fall back on Pope for comfort and 
inspiration : 

' Whate'er is best administered is best.' 

There is a story that there was once a subaltern in a famous cavalry 
regiment who was so stupid that his brother officers noticed it. There is 
an equally apocryphal incident of an educationist who was so platitudinous 
that an educational conference noticed it. I wonder whether I have 
emulated him. 






My own leaning is towards the word ' ley,' although according to the 
Oxford Dictionary this word is obsolete, but in adopting ley I follow the 
best agricultural precedent. 

It is not my intention to talk about farming for laymen, for in my 
opinion ley-farming properly understood is the most highly scientific 
farming that it is possible to practise. The ley farmer must be a proficient 
stock-master and a proficient cultivator, versed alike in the arts of animal 
and crop husbandry. ' To be a farmer ' is ' to till the soil,' and in 
' till ' is implied the bringing of the soil into a fit condition for the 
production of crops — the care of the soil. A farmer in the true and 
proper meaning of the word is a man who has ever before him two pur- 
poses : the one to put all his fields to optimum use in respect of com- 
modity production, and the other, and of even greater ultimate importance, 
to attend to the maximum need of all his fields in respect of soil fertility. 
Thus judged, my thesis is that the ley farmer is a farmer in excelsis. 

My address has to do with the most honourable, and what should be 
the most venerated, aspect of the whole of agriculture — the rotation, for 
upon the rotation I claim everything depends. So I at least respond to 
the honour that has been done me in placing me in the position in which 
I find myself to-day in the selection of my subject. It is a neglected 
subject. I am the first President of Section M to do hornage to the 
rotation. I have researched amongst the utterances of my distinguished 
predecessors ; incidentally, although only of interest to myself, I find 
that the first Presidential Address to Section M was given by Sir Thomas 
Middleton in the year that I came into Wales and began my researches on 
grassland — that was in 191 2. The only mention of the rotation in the 
total of twenty-four addresses that have been given was by Sir John 
Russell, who in 191 6 started off promisingly with winter corn : spring 
corn : fallow, but to my intense disappointment followed the rotation no 

In view of the immense amount that has been published during the 
present century it is not without significance that the leading agricultural 
journals contain but few articles dealing primarily, or even remotely, 


with the rotation, and next to nothing relative to the basal philosophy of 
the rotation. The truth is that agricultural thought in recent decades 
has turned ever more exclusively towards the narrow, too narrow as I 
think, path of commodities, each considered as such. Excessive con- 
centration on commodities leads inevitably towards monoculture, and to 
what we too lightly please to call specialisation, and leads away from the 
rotation and ultimately to disaster. Greatly daring, then, I have set myself 
to combat this modern fetish of over-concentration on commodities, a 
fetish that has revealed itself not only in the trends of agricultural science, 
but in a very great deal of what the State has endeavoured to achieve for 
agriculture and which daily reveals itself in the actions and utterances of 
the leaders of the agricultural industry. 

I think that everybody will be agreed that such is the precarious state 
of the world to-day, and of this country in particular, that there can be 
only one approach to the problems of agriculture, and that is the national 
approach. We must not so much consider what is good for the farmer 
as what is good for the State : then what is good for the State must be 
made good for the farmer. That is the only possible approach towards 
a stable and long-term agricultural policy. A long-term agricultural 
policy, if it is to be enduring and adequate, must envisage both present 
and future needs of the State. The success of the policy must be judged 
in the main by one overriding consideration, namely, the sureness and 
rapidity with which the farmers of the country (all the farmers of the 
country) in order to meet any emergency prove themselves able either 
to pass from the production of one series of commodities to the pro- 
duction of another, or, radically to alter the proportions of the several 
commodities produced. 

It so happens, at least it appears to me, that the present needs of the 
State, and also the more menacing of the foreseeable contingencies, unite 
to demand one and the same essential contribution from our agriculture. 
It is not for me to attempt to decide whether war danger, or the danger 
of our about-rapidly-to-dwindle population is the greater peril ; little 
less disconcerting are the effects of soil erosion and soil depletion in those 
countries from which we are wont to obtain abundant and cheap supplies 
of food. I am concerned with a long-term agricultural policy, the kind 
of policy that would take at least ten years to put into full operation, and 
consequently we have to consider not so much immediate war danger as 
war danger as such, a danger that owing to our island position would 
seem to be something from which it is now hard to see how we shall ever 
escape. I believe the extent of the influences of soil erosion and depletion 
are not even yet fully realised. All methods of countering this must in 
the last resort react against the British housewife, and must tend to in- 
crease the cost of overseas production, while taking soil erosion, soil 
depletion and land deterioration together a vaster area of the globe is 
undoubtedly affected than is generally supposed. 

Our own rough and hill grazings have manifestly deteriorated : witness 
the spread of bracken, to quote only the most obvious but by no means" 
the most serious example. They have become increasingly depleted of 
lime and phosphates in recent decades, and the same thing must be 
happening to a greater or lesser extent — and sometimes accompanied by 
actual erosion — in all the great ranching areas of the world. In framing 


our own long-term agricultural policy heed must be taken of every shred 
of evidence on land deterioration that is available all the world over, for it 
is patent that when the sum is totted up the total will far exceed what is 
already only glaringly manifest. 

The immediate, and on all hands generally admitted, need of our 
peoples is an abundance of fresh food. An abundance of fresh food is 
not compatible with a superabundance of permanent grass. Since 
permanent grass flows like the sea right up to the very doors of some of 
our largest centres of population, such centres of population are auto- 
matically denied an abundance of really fresh vegetables. 

I make no apology for this somewhat long, and in a sense non-agri- 
cultural and at all events non-technical introduction, for it seems to me 
imperative to stress our national needs, for it is these needs which should 
govern our whole agricultural outlook and, therefore, should determine 
all our systems of farming. To sum up so far, and on the strength of 
the various considerations I have brought forward, I would say this. 
What is demanded of our agriculture is, firstly, to maintain as large a 
rural population as possible, for probably on a large and contented rural 
population depends to a marked degree the increase of our population as 
a whole. Secondly, to maintain as large an acreage as possible in a highly 
fertile and always ploughable condition, and thirdly, so to conduct our 
farming as to allow at all times, and in all places, for the absolute maximum 
of flexibility in commodity production. 

Before further developing my argument I must endeavour to put ley- 
farming in its proper perspective in relation to other systems of farming. 
I must therefore, and as a further preliminary, attempt to define the 
systems of farming as conducted in this country. 

My concern is to define the systems not in terms of commodity pro- 
duction, but in terms {a) of their flexibility, {b) of their indebtedness to 
imported feeding stuffs, (c) of their relation to the maximum needs of 
the soil in the matter of maintenance and enhancement of soil fertility, 
and {d) as to the amount of labour demanded. For if my major premises 
are anything approaching to correct, these are the matters of supreme 
national importance. My classification is, of course, amenable alike to 
amplification and simplification, and I put it forward to-day quite tenta- 
tively, and primarily to illustrate the principles which I consider absolutely 
basic to any rational consideration of a long-term agricultural policy for 
this country. Here is my classification.^ 

Arable Farming. — A small acreage of permanent grass — a few odd 
corners, a couple of fields — may be conceded to even the arable farmer. 
For the rest he must be presumed to take the plough around his whole 
farm, and 

{a) work on a rotation of crops without any resort to the ley,^ or 

^ I first put forward this classification in an article, 'Agricultural Policy,' 
appearing in The Fortnightly for March 1938. 

" A ley is a field sown down to grass and /or clovers, and is such that it is 
designed to take a definite place in the rotation of crops. Leys are of two main 
types : the one-year, or ' arable ' ley, and the ley of two or more years' duration. 
Implicit in the idea of the ley is, however, the conception of ' due date ' : after 
an appropriate, and within fairly narrow limitations, pre-defined, period it becomes 
due to be ploughed up. 


(b) adopt a rotation which involves the use of the one-year ley only. 

The arable farmer as thus defined is never a grazier. When the one- 
year ley is employed this is for the primary purpose of producing hay for 
horses or stall-fed animals, and contributing to the muck heap, while 
the clover sod as such contributes to the fertility of the farm. The major 
function of the ley is here the maintenance of soil fertility. The chief 
concern of the arable farmer is the production of cash crops. His system is 
capable of extreme flexibility within the sphere of crop husbandry, it is 
capable of employing much labour — market gardening, and relatively little 
labour — ^mechanised wheat growing. It is a system which from the point 
of view of soil fertility is easily abused, and which in some of its forms, 
e.g. market gardening, makes excessive claims on farm and stable manure 
(when obtainable) from sources outside the boundaries of the farm. 
The robbing of ' Peter ' (' Peter ' in this case being the hay and straw 
producing fields of other, and often remote, farms) to pay ' Paul ' (the 
truck crop fields) is an aspect of large-scale market gardening which has 
from the national point of view, I think, never been fully appreciated.^ 

It is likely that the market gardener in his own interest will be driven 
increasingly to adopt a system of alternate husbandry as presently to be 
defined — town stable manure being a rapidly waning commodity. 

Alternate Husbandry, or, as I prefer to call this system, Ley-Farming.— 
A couple or so fields of permanent grass can be conceded to the ley as 
to the arable farmer, but for the rest the ley-farmer takes the plough 
in ordered sequence around the whole farm. Ley-farming is of two main 
types, but always the majority of the leys employed will be of two or more 
years' duration, and always in any particular year the area of the farm in 
leys (and therefore in grass) will be not less than one-third of the plough- 
able acreage ; will frequently be over three-quarters of that acreage, and 
in extreme cases, and at unusual periods, the whole of the farm may be 
in leys. The main points to be emphasised are these. The ley-farmer 
is of necessity, and essentially, a grazier and a crop husbandryman ; he 
may also be a feeder. He must, therefore, be equipped for crop and 
animal husbandry, and, as I have already said, to be successful he must 
be proficient in both arts of farming. His system, his mental stock-in- 
trade, and his equipment on the farm all bear the same hall-mark, and 
the hall-mark above all others of value to the nation, to wit, flexibility. 

The ley to the ley-farmer has two equally important functions to 
perform : the sward, or animal ration function, and the sod, or soil 
fertility function ; of this duality, which to my mind is at the root of 
successful farming in all the moderate to high rainfall areas of the 
temperate regions of the world, I shall in a jnoment have much more to 

The two main types of ley-farming I will define as follows : 

The Arable-Grass Rotation. — In the arable-grass rotation most usually 
the leys are of two or three years' duration. The area in grass at any 
time will not exceed 50 per cent, of the farm, and may be somewhat less; 

^ A good many acres near London once devoted almost entirely to the produc- 
tion of hay for the City horse, and therefore also of manure for the market 
gardener, still show the mal-influence of that type of monoculture. 


Good examples of this system are the arable dairy farming of Denmark, 
and the rotations practised in Aberdeenshire in connection with beef 
production. In both cases animal products are the chief concern of the 
farmers, and the holdings produce at least a good proportion of the 
winter rations. The mechanised cereal grower may also adopt the arable- 
grass rotation, primarily with a view to maintaining soil fertility and to 
making it easier to get on his land during periods of sketchy weather. 
A typical rotation would be wheat : grass : grass : wheat. 

Grass-Arable Rotation. — In these rotations the majority of the leys are 
left down for long periods, from four to as many as twelve, or in some cases 
even more, years. Most usually as much as three-quarters, or even more, 
of the farm will be in leys at any one time. Ordinary animal products 
are the major concern of those following the grass-arable rotation, and it 
is on these farms that dairy bailing, poultry and pig folding are often such 
important and telling features of the system. Grass-arable farms at a 
moment's notice can be turned over to cereal production on a grand scale 
and hence, if for no other reason, the enormous importance of the system 
and of farms conducted on this system to our national welfare. What is 
achieved by this system properly conducted is to farm without wasting 
a gallon of urine or a blade of grass ; it marries the animal to the soil as 
can no other system, and ensures that the sod performs its maximum 
function in respect of soil fertility and crop production, and the sward 
its maximum function in respect of animal production. The nation is 
under an incalculable debt to Mr. Hosier and his followers, and this will 
eventually be realised, for it is not so much what the Hosierites do on 
their own acres as the principles which underlie their activities. 

To the credit of ley-farming as a whole is to be placed the fact that it 
makes heavy, or at least reasonable, demands upon labour ; it is less 
dependent upon imported feeding stuffs than most other systems, and it 
maintains its acres and its practitioners in a condition of maximum 
flexibility and ready for anything. 

Nondescript. — In so far as acres are concerned the nondescript system is 
the one I should imagine most generally practised in England and Wales. 
I mean when a man practises ley-farming or arable-farming on one 
corner of his farm, and maintains the rest in permanent grass. Such a 
system is not incompatible with reasonably high production, but it is 
under this system that we see some of the worst examples of slovenly, 
negligent and deplorable husbandry. Our nondescript farms stand as 
a token of the fact that a system of farming by which under present condi- 
tions a farmer may contrive just to keep body and soul together is likely 
to be a system completely out of harmony with the needs of the nation. 
Many nondescript farms are family farms, and the amount of tillage is a 
function of the size of the family, or of the number of sons willing to stay 
at home— both dwindling in number. 

Permanent Grass. — The permanent grass farms are those upon which 
there is no cultivation of any kind : on some it is still possible to find a 
plough, but only as a museum specimen. The number of permanent 
grass farms has demonstrably increased ; such farms are apt to be run 
together, when generally fences will be more than ever neglected and the 
whole (and too large) unit operated as a ranch. In the national interest. 


as I have defined and envisaged that interest, this system suffers from 
every conceivable defect. In the first place, speaking quite generally, 
the permanent grass farms contribute nothing more valuable than inferior 
hay to the winter ration ; they aff'ord the minimum of flexibility, and 
maintain the minimum of acreage in a ploughable condition. Permanent 
grass farms serve as an excuse for an immense amount of national and 
private laxity, because in brief, however bad they are they generally have 
some slight earning capacity, and that with the minimum of trouble to 
anybody — landlord, agent or farmer. Thus these farms frequently 
stand on land in urgent need of drainage and of lime, and so in the main 
they continue to stand.* It is perhaps the greatest tragedy of British 
agriculture that even the poorest of poor grass has some earning capacity. 
Milk production on permanent grass farms, and especially on those 
deficient in lime and phosphates — and they are many — and paiticularly 
where the stationary night paddock figures prominently in the manage- 
ment, stand as the best example I know of ultra-dependence on imported 
feeding stuffs and exaggerated waste of the manurial residues from such 
feeding stuffs : waste as such down the drain, and waste because of 
extraordinarily inept grassland management (on this latter point I will 
enlarge in a moment) ; waste also of the potential fertility tied up in 
the sods of the night and other more heavily dunged and urinated 

At this point I would urge that unless we know the number of farms 
and the gross acreage of such farms operating on each of the four systems 
I have enumerated we know next to nothing as to how this country stands 
relative to potential food production. Furthermore, schemes for helping 
the farmer via commodity subsidisation and by planned marketing 
cannot be assessed in their influence on the maintenance and enhance- 
ment of soil fertility — and that is what matters above all things — unless 
we know the systems of farming under which the assisted commodities 
are being predominantly produced. How much quota wheat, for example, 
is being produced respectively on arable farms, nondescript farms, or 
on ley farms ? Where is most of the milk being produced — -and this is 
a matter of fundamental national importance in the interest alike of the 
health of the cattle and of the children of this country — on nondescript 
farms, permanent grass farms, or on ley farms .'' Where is most of the 
permanent grass of the country, and where is the best and where the 
worst — on nondescript farms, or on permanent grass farms ? These are 
all essential facts to be known in the formulation of a long-term national 
policy for agriculture. The facts are only on the land, the agricultural 
statistics cannot give anything approaching a full answer to any one of 
these questions. The answer to these questions, and to equally important 
questions connected with facilities at the farmstead and over the fields 
(watering, drainage, and the condition of fences), can only be given by 

* Rice Williams (see ' The Growing Danger of Lime Depletion in Welsh Soils, ' 
Welsh J. Agric, 1937) ^^^ estimated that the permanent grass and arable land 
of Wales alone require at least i| million tons of Ume to bring the lime status 
to a satisfactory level. The distribution of lime for England and Wales together 
under the Land Fertility Scheme has not, up to date, been materially in excess 
of one million tons. 


a properly conducted survey carried out over the whole country and on 
a uniform plan. Map also the type or class of all the rough grazings and 
permanent grass (in a manner broadly similar to the survey of Wales 
recently undertaken by my department), and map the ploughability of 
the several fields : then, and only then, should we know where we stand. 
To conduct such a survey would be a relatively simple matter. To my 
mind, until such a survey is put in hand, and the lessons of the same- 
cruel and bitter the lessons will be — duly digested, there is little hope that 
the country at large will realise either the deplorable condition of our 
acres or their immense potentialities. The first necessity from all points 
of view — that of the statesman, the townsman, farmer and countryman, 
in short, that of the nation — is literally and in fact to put rural Britain 
on the map. 

Only when rural Britain is on the map shall we be able amongst other 
matters to decide where in the national interest it is desirable to extend 
arable farming, and where ley-farming, and where it may be necessary 
or permissible to tolerate nondescript and permanent grass farming. 

Having discussed systems of farming and levelled certain well-founded 
criticisms against nondescript and permanent grass farming, I am now 
in a position to unloose a whole barrage of criticism against permanent 
grass as such : and note this, the case for ley-farming is implicit in almost 
every word of just criticism that can be levelled against permanent 

My criticisms of permanent grass are general and particular ; here 
are my general criticisms. The psychological influences of permanent 
grass go much further than I have already indicated ; of course there are 
clever managers of permanent grass, but I doubt if even the best 
practitioners are on a par with the most proficient arable and ley farmers ; 
while speaking generally, the standard of management of permanent 
grass, I should say, stands to the management of arable land, taking the 
country as a whole, as certainly not more than 60 (and probably hardly 
as much as 40) to 100. Leys as long as they continue to be managed as 
such are almost invariably managed better than permanent grass ; they 
are both easier to manage properly and the inducement so to manage 
them is greater. 

My next general criticism is that of the veterinarians who are telling 
us with a voice that becomes daily louder and more united that permanent 
grass harbours many of the organisms of disease. 

My next, because as I have already said an enormous proportion of our 
permanent grass is in urgent need of lime, a need that becomes ever more 
serious in view on the one hand of extended milk production, and on the 
other of the movement in the direction of rearing and slaughtering 
increasing numbers of young animals. There is only one correct and 
entirely satisfactory way to apply lime, and that is under the plough, and 
I think this fact alone is sufficient to condemn not thousands, but at the 
very least three million acres of ploughable permanent grass, mostly 
quondam arable, in England ; in Wales to my own certain knowledge it 
is enough to condemn something over 700,000 acres. 

My last general criticism of permanent grass is that good young grass 
properly conserved can be made of immense value to help out the winter 


ration. Grass silage (and probably dried grass also) is bound eventually 
to come into its own. Bad grass cannot, however, make good silage or 
good dried grass, while everything is to extend the season over which 
it is possible to dry grass and make silage — special purpose leys can help 
enormously to this end. 

My particular criticisms of permanent grass, considered as grass, are 
these. Even the best permanent grass is far too weedy and much more 
weedy than first-class leys, and the best permanent grass has a shorter 
growing season than can be arranged for by a sequence of good leys. 
Exceedingly productive leys can be maintained on soils incapable of 
holding and incapable of being made to hold good permanent grass. 

I want first to say a little about weediness, and this will lead naturally 
to the considerations around which the strongest case for ley-farming 
on grounds of pure husbandry is to be made. 

Weediness makes for uneven grazing — witness, for example, the effect 
of buttercups ; it therefore makes for a waste of valuable material ; it 
also makes for an uneven spread of urine which cannot be mechanically 
rectified. Because of this, and for another reason now to be explained, 
weediness or any tuftedness in a pasture reacts against the enhancement 
of soil fertility, as well as causing the waste of edible material. 

My ' other reason ' is that herbage returned to the soil through the 
animal, provided the lime and phosphate status of the soil is maintained 
at a proper level, leads to greater soil enrichment and productivity than 
when such herbage is allowed to rot back, a fact which has been shown 
by numerous experiments conducted at Aberystwyth,^ and which tends 
to add emphasis to the teaching of our own and other experiments, as, 
for example, those of Mr. Martin Jones, on the profound influence of 
night paddocking and of any even slight robbing of Peter to pay Paul. 
These experiments, coupled with observations over a great number of 
years, particularly striking phenomena now presenting themselves on 
the lands where we are conducting our Cahn Hill experiments, force the 
conclusion upon me that urine has a virtue greater than is fully appreciated, 
and a virtue that reveals itself on land no matter how generously manured 
with what have come to be regarded as standard dressings of CaPKN. 
Consequently any system of grassland management, or for that matter 
of farming, that does not make the best use of what Mr. Bruce Levy of 
New Zealand has so aptly, but possibly one-sidedly, described as stock 
nitrogen, is open to grave criticism. 

Because of weediness, tuftedness and uneven grazing, and of herbage 
never converted, and because of night paddock and quasi-night paddock 
effects, stock nitrogen is wasted, or uneconomically distributed, to a far 
greater extent on permanent grass than on leys ; it is so wasted, and 
often to an exaggerated extent, on even the best fatting pastures, and 
particularly so when watering arrangements are ill arranged. The 
matter, however, goes much further ; the fertility accumulating under 
the best grassland (permanent grass and leys alike) becomes in excess 
of what can be cashed from the grass-clover covering. All very old ■ 

^ Experiments now in progress at the Welsh Plant Breeding Station, and see 
R. G. Stapledon, ' The Improvement of Grassland,' Journal of the Bath and West 
and Southern Counties Society, 1937-38. 


sods become in effect, and to a greater or lesser extent, pot-bound, with 
the result that the plant covering is incapable of reacting in full measure 
to the inherent fertility of the soil, while to plough, aerate and lime 
(where necessary) is to give life to favourable biochemical changes and 
further to enhance the productivity of the soil. The best grassland 
holds within itself an immense store of arable potentiality, while the soil 
rejuvenated by ploughing and aeration, even after yielding several white 
straw or other crops, can be put back to ever better and better grass. 
That is the experience of every competent ley-farmer, and ley-farming 
is creeping into ever better and better permanent grassland. 

To plough up an old sod full of white clover, and one that has carried 
an abundance of stock, and therefore which has been well impregnated 
with stock nitrogen, and to harrow lime into such upturned sod, is to 
make and spread a compost at one operation. This, in short, is to mix 
with the soil three essential ingredients, vegetable and animal residues, 
and lime, and under conditions most conducive to favourable biochemical 
activity. It is the arable or crop-producing attributes of sod that 
I maintain constitute the strongest case for ley-farming, for without the 
intervention of cropping the full fertility value of superb sods can never 
be cashed.® 

At the other extreme — the poorest soils — there is nothing to match 
the continued ploughing down of sod, accompanied by adequate liming 
and phosphating, to build up fertility. In my own experiences of land 
improvement gained on what must be some of the poorest soils in Britain, 
as well as on soils of great inherent virtue, I have been astonished at the 
progressive improvement in sward and carrying capacity attained when 
three or four four-year leys have been ploughed down in succession 
(each sown on the upturned sod of its predecessor) without the interven- 
tion of a removed nurse crop or of a hay crop. The sequence here is 
all grass, all grazing and stock nitrogen the whole way, the plough being 
called in only to assist in compost-making and to ensure adequate ad- 
mixture of lime, phosphates, organic residues and soil, and to prepare the 
way for the sowing of the sequential leys. By the adoption of this pro- 
cedure over a sufficient run of years it is possible to bring land of a most 
unpromising character into a condition capable of maintaining a rotation 
balanced between leys and white straw and other crops. 

There is nothing new in the idea of sowing down immediately on the 
upturned sod, just as there is nothing new in the idea of ploughing up 
grassland as a means of improving it. Marshall as long ago as 1789 
remarked, ' Old pasture lands overrun with ant-hills and coarser grasses 
are not easily reclaimed without the powerful assistance of the plough.' 
The idea of the all-grass rotation perhaps, however, has an air of novelty 
about it ; wild white clover as a commercial commodity is comparatively 
novel ; cheap phosphatic manures are comparatively novel ; the tractor 
and modern implements are a recent novelty, and more recent are the 

* It is true that it is sometimes difficult to utilise the richest sod to the best 
arable advantage because of wireworm and the lodging of cereal crops. Much 
remains, however, to be achieved in the direction of the breeding of short stiff- 
strawed cereal varieties, while in so far as cereals are concerned wireworm is not 
so destructive after properly managed leys as after permanent grass. 


improved and leafy strains of grasses — all these taken together, if they 
are to be used to best advantage, must inevitably spell novel rotations. 
One of the greatest merits of improved technique based on modern 
facilities for putting down leys on upturned sods, and without resort to 
covering crops, is that by the periodic adoption of this method (that is 
to say, as and when necessary) the farmer is enabled to take his leys 
around the farm sufficiently quickly and before there is any sward 
deterioration, and in sympathy with the lime demands of his animals 
and the lime requirements of his soil. 

It is somewhat remarkable that so little exact experimental or statistical 
evidence exists for comparing the yield of leys, either in grass, milk or 
meat, with permanent pastures on similar soils and under precisely 
comparable conditions. We have Mr. Roberts's evidence from Bangor,' 
which is in favour of the ley, and not a little evidence from Aberystwyth, 
also in favour of the ley.^ Evidence from grass less favourable to the 
ley has also been brought forward by various authors. The most con- 
vincing evidence, however, is the performance and experiences of 
competent practitioners in the art of ley-farming, and thus the results 
of investigations and inquiries conducted by Mr. John Orr, lately of 
Manchester University, are particularly informative and are wholly in 
favour of the ley.^ 

At present I am engaged upon collecting the material for writing a 
book on ley-farming. As a preliminary I sent out a questionnaire and 
have had a most helpful and gratifying response from farmers. The 
evidence from the replies received is overwhelmingly in favour of the 
ley, great stress being laid on the improved quality and stock-carrying 
capacity of the ley grass compared to the quondam permanent pasture, 
and the extended grazing season provided by the leys. The leys would 
seem, however, to have justified themselves not only in an extended 
grazing season, but by virtue of giving grass at periods within the grazing 
season proper when owing to weather or other conditions grass is liable 
to go short. Thus Major Dugdale of Llwyn, Montgomeryshire, who is 
rapidly and methodically (at the rate of about fifty acres per annum) 
converting the permanent grass of his farm into a sequence of leys by 
the methods I have discussed, informs me that during the early and 
unprecedented drought of this year the leys were invaluable, ' and thanks 
to them my ewes and lambs which had a turn at them all have done better 
than usual and have not suffered from the drought.' Mr. R. L. Muirhead, 
of Borsdane Farm, Westhoughton, Lancashire, who is well known for 
his enterprise in ley-farming, speaks equally highly of the value and 
performance of his leys during the past critical months, and particularly 
interesting is his remark that ' the younger fields stood up to the dry 
conditions better than the others, and the youngest of all (sown 

' E. J. Roberts, ' I. The effect of wild white clover on the live weight incre- 
ments from a temporary pasture. II. A comparison of temporary and permanent 
pasture,' Welsh J. Agric, Vol. 8, pp. 84-93 (1932). E. J. Roberts, ' Comparison 
of (a) an old with a temporary pasture and (6) two temporary pastures, from one 
of which wild white clover had been omitted at seeding down,' Welsh J. Agric, 
Vol. II, pp. 132-9 (1935)- 

' See R. G. Stapledon, The Hill Lands of Britain, London, 1937. 

* See John Orr, ' Grass and Money,' Scot. J. Agric, Vol. 20, pp. 31-40 (1937). 


last August) with Italian rye-grass has done best of all.' ^^ Mr. Wilks, of 
Whartons Park, Bewdley, Worcestershire, who after prolonged attempts 
at improving the poor permanent grass on his farm is now rapidly getting 
into the ley system, says that during last back end (1937) the whole of 
his grazing came from leys and newly grassed areas. The old permanent 
pastures did not recover from the late summer and early autumn drought 
of that year, and the leys carried all the stock from July onwards. During 
the drought of this spring his position was never difficult, the maiden leys 
providing an abundance of good pasture, and these after being grazed 
into May will be mown for hay. 

In a recent letter to me Mr. Wilks concludes with this peculiarly 
significant statement : 'An interesting sidelight is that the arable crops on 
land recently ploughed out have stood the drought much better than those 
on the stale old arable . . . the whole thing is complementary and 

The experiences of Colonel Pollitt, of Harnage Grange, Cressage, 
Shropshire, are in keeping with those of Mr. Muirhead and Mr. Wilks. 
Colonel Pollitt has also sown out early in May without a nurse crop 
and has been able to start serious grazing (ewes and lambs) in the first 
week of July, thus obtaining valuable young grass at what is often a 
critical time of the year. On a field thus treated Colonel Pollitt also 
wintered cattle continuously from November i to May i, and he 
informs me that there was no poaching except at the gate. 

The ley, furthermore, affords great scope for special treatment with a 
view to providing grass when it will be most wanted. Ley grass put up 
for the winter carries green and protein-efficient into February, March 
and April altogether more effectively than does permanent grass, and this 
is perhaps one of the greatest merits of the ley, and a merit which by 
virtue of further research in plant breeding in the direction of producing 
winter green and winter growing strains is likely to become increasingly 
pronounced. ^^ 

The employment of different seed mixtures with a view to giving 
grass more particularly at different and explicit periods of the year affords 
additional scope to the ley-farmer. Thus at Aberystwyth we have found 
that a mixture consisting predominantly of Danish meadow fescue and 
Aberystvs^th S. 48 timothy gives exceptionally good grazing during 
July and August. On this and similar points there is, however, need for 
greatly extended investigation. 

I have now made my case for ley-farming, but I am not at present 
claiming that all permanent grass should be brought under the plough ; 
before that claim could be substantiated we want a proper survey and a 
great deal more experimenting. Apart from steepness, boulders and 
such like, low rainfall and heavy clays present their special problems. 
As to the clays, the fact that it is a perfectly sound procedure to re-grass 

^^ This performance of Italian rye-grass is on all fours with results obtained 
for the past four years with Italian rye-grass at the farm of the Cahn Hill Improve- 
ment Scheme. 

'* See R. G. Stapledon, ' Immature Grass and Young Swards.' Part I, /. 
Minist. Agric, Vol. 44, pp. 317-29, July 1937; Part II. /. Minist. Agric. 
Vol. 44, pp. 442-9, Aug. 1937. 


straight away on an upturned sod makes a lot of difference, as does the 
soundness and feasibiHty of the all-ley rotation, while we have the tractor 
and modern implements. To make it possible to establish leys without 
undue risk of failure on the heaviest soils is to-day, I feel convinced, 
only a matter of sufficient experimenting as to ways and means. The 
same is, I am sure, largely true of establishing leys in regions of low rain- 
fall. Mr. Mansfield seems to have no difficulty in establishing excellent 
leys in this district not remarkable for its high rainfall, while everybody 
who farms on something akin to the four-course rotation after all establishes 
leys. What is wanted in order to establish a foolproof and almost weather- 
proof technique is much more experimenting. There is a right date to 
sow for every district, while in the driest areas I doubt the wisdom of 
sowing under a nurse crop, for the quicker growing cover crop must 
compete exaggeratedly with the slower growing seedlings for what little 
moisture there may be. It may be unwise under such conditions to 
include even Italian rye-grass in the mixture, for this is always by far 
the quickest grass seedling to get off the mark, while it would seem to be 
of supreme importance to obtain a scrupulously clean seed bed, and to 
bring in the mower at the first sign of weeds gaining dominance. The 
successful grassing of new golf courses in regions of low rainfall, I think, 
holds valuable lessons for the would-be ley-farmer — ' put as little as 
possible to compete with the grasses you ultimately want ' would seem 
to be the teaching. I would again emphasise that it is not sufficiently 
realised that a ley sown without a nurse crop very soon starts earning 
money on its own account, and where 4-6-8-10 year leys are at stake 
it is poor economy to jeopardise the whole for the sake of a preliminary 
cash crop. 

I cannot conclude my address without a little more detailed reference 
to the ley itself. The chief points at issue are how to establish it, what ^ 
to sow and how long to leave it down. Not one of these questions can 
be answered in general terms, but there are in each case fundamental 
principles at stake. The fundamental principle relative to duration is 
the fertility attributes of the sod. From that point of view, and con- 
sidering alike soil condition and manurial residues, my friend Prof. 
Robinson (1937) in the informative letters he has so kindly, and if I may 
say so, attractively, written for my major enlightenment, would seem to 
agree with me that there is everything to be said for the four-year ley, 
ending, as I would wish to insist, with at least two years of honest hard 
grazing, with urination and spread of white clover. The general principle 
here is ' to plough down the sod before it has by one jot deteriorated.' 
It has, however, to be remembered that grazed swards do not leave behind 
them a sod with a deep-going root system ; hayed swards develop a 
deep-going root system. In the interest of general fertility and soil 
condition I hold that it is sound practice, ever and anon, to plough down 
sod with a deeply penetrating root system. Now from the point of view 
of hay production, the highest yields are obtained from leys in their 
first and second harvest year — that is to say, as long as late-flowering red 
clover lasts. In general my view is this, that the best practice founded 
on scientific principles would be to employ 1-2 year leys for hay and 


4-6 year leys for grazing only. The three-year ley is rather like the dual- 
purpose animal. Although it is a brave southerner who would criticise 
Scottish practice, I am inclined to criticise excessive dependence on 
dual-purpose (hay-grazing) three-year leys. I would rather have a 
sequence of 1-2 year deep-rooting-hay leys following after four-year- 
white-clover-replete-shallow-rooting-grazing leys. This procedure would 
give more hay, more grazing and more fertility. With apologies to 
Aberdeenshire, that is my considered opinion. In any event my criticism 
of the very best practitioners of ley-farming is that they do not use leys 
of different kinds for different purposes, and do not rotate all the different 
sorts of leys after each other all round the farm to anything like a sufficient 
extent, for it is thus, and only thus, that all-the-year-round grazing is 
to be obtained. This is too large a subject to discuss in detail here, but 
it is one demanding much thought and much agronomical research. 

In passing I might say that in my view no problems so much as those 
of grassland demand prolonged and large-scale agronomical investigation. 
I would wish to distinguish between, on the one hand, agronomical re- 
search, and on the other, scientific research as normally understood and 
conducted. The major aim of agronomical research, which is essentially 
field research, is to study all the factors which are operative at once and 
together, and in their natural interplay, for ' nature is a theatre for the 
inter-relations of activities.' Such a procedure, it may be said, is im- 
possible, or at least unscientific. It is certainly not impossible, and if it 
is unscientific it will yet remain agronomical, and many of the problems 
of agriculture are more likely to be solved, shall I say, by agronomical 
investigation than by scientific research, while nearly all the results of 
scientific research have to pass through the sieve of an immense amount 
of agronomical investigation before they can be made useful, and in some 
cases perhaps before they can be other than positively dangerous to the 
practitioner. The technique of agronomical research entails a great 
deal more than blindly following all the elaborate rules and regulations 
laid down by the statisticians ; indeed, such rules and regulations are of 
no fundamental significance in the proper planning of an elaborate series 
of field experiments. They are sometimes, but by no means always, 
useful in the actual placing of plots on the ground, and they are some- 
times essential, but are by no means always necessary, in the examination 
of quantitative data. One effect of the modern glorification of statistical 
methods has undoubtedly been a tendency to obscure the wood for the 
trees, to concentrate on the part, often an isolated part (yield, for example), 
instead of the whole ; and, worse still, to fill the agronomist with a medley 
of complexes and inhibitions which have reacted adversely on the develop- 
ment of a technique adequate to solve a large number of the problems 
that can only be solved by highly complicated field experiments. Many 
agronomists are almost too frightened to set up the sort of experiments 
their experiences teach should be set up, because they are timorous lest 
the data could be made amenable to statistical analyses. Agriculture 
would have been the gainer if the agronomist had never been taught to 
be timorous, and if he had plodded away undeterred and undismayed at 
the details of his own technique, when by now perhaps he would have 


been able to justify his claim that what is primarily wanted to-day is 
enormously increased facilities for the conduct of field experiments in 
contra-distinction to field trials and demonstrations. That at least is 
my claim, for I claim to be an agronomist, and in that capacity one who 
has been responsible for the setting up of hundreds of weird little field 
experiments involving in all literally thousands of plots. 

As always, however, the greatest and the final hope is the farmer him- 
self, for he at least is untrammelled by the technique of science, and is not 
a slave to the fashions current in science, while his major training is not 
in collecting data, but in the gentle art of unadulterated observation. 
Just because, therefore, of the immense accumulation of scientific know- 
ledge, so much of it but half digested in the practical sphere, never so 
urgently as at present has there been such a necessity for an abundance 
of well-informed, originally-minded and affluent pioneers, men willing 
and eager to transgress against every canon of good husbandry, and to 
explore, and almost de novo, the whole field of rotation of crops, and the 
whole idea of rotation of pastures of different types and of stock over the 
surface of the farm. 

This has been a long digression ; it has, however, been relevant to my 
theme, and it has been on a question of undeniable importance and about 
which I think I am entitled to express opinions. I will now return to 
the ley. 

Grazing management affects the permissible duration of the grazing 
ley to a marked degree. Thus he who bails cattle or folds poultry can 
keep his leys down much longer than the ordinary farmer who thinks he 
is grazing intensively, but in fact is doing nothing of the sort ; only the 
close folder, or the tetherer, really grazes intensively, and by intensively 
I mean without waste of any sort. But even under the cleverest manage- 
ment sooner or later the sod will begin to become pot-bound, and 
according to soil type, bent, soft brome, Yorkshire fog, weeds or moss will 
proclaim the need of the plough and a new start. 

What to sow and how to establish are in the main twin problems — 
twin to this extent, that what to sow is determined much more by every 
shade of after-management that it is proposed to follow than by soil type ; 
the trouble here is that agricultural chemistry has such a terribly long 
start of agricultural biology. Grassland, like every crop the farmer 
handles, is the plaything of soil, climate and the biotic factor ; with 
grassland the master factor is the biotic — that is to say, what man himself 
does with his animals. One, and the most obvious, example will suffice — 
the use and abuse of Italian rye-grass. Italian rye-grass is essentially a 
grazing grass ; if allowed to grow away in a hay mixture it will smother 
and depress other and higher yielding hay grasses. It should therefore 
only be included in hay mixtures when such mixtures will be grazed 
long into the spring or early summer, and when after a small and herby 
hay crop aftermath is of prime importance. Italian rye-grass is of its 
greatest value for sowing with grazing mixtures put down on an upturned 
sod. The aim here is two-fold ; firstly, to bring treading feet and urine 
on to the developing sward as soon as possible — this is the function of 
the Italian rye-grass ; and secondly, to encourage the spread of wild 


white clover as rapidly as possible — this is the combined function of light 
(keeping the Italian rye-grass in reasonable subjection), the treading feet 
and the urine. 

The so-called indigenous strains ! Badly called, and I am afraid that 
I have been largely responsible. In the few words I have to say on this 
subject I will confine myself to the Aberystwyth bred strains, for here at 
least I am talking about something definite and about which I myself at 
all events may be supposed to know something. For the sake of brevity 
I will lump the findings of all our experiments, and of all my own experi- 
ences, and those of my colleagues, into a single short paragraph. 

For the ordinary three-year hay-pasture ley on medium-good soil, 
postulating the inclusion of wild white clover and good urination, the 
Aberystwyth pasture and pasture-hay strains are by no means an 
absolute necessity, but in reasonable amount -(say up to about one- 
fifth to one-third of the rye-grass, cocksfoot and timothy contribution) 
I recommend their inclusion for the sake of the extra back-end grazing 
they will give, and to add leafiness to the hay crop. For leys of four 
years and longer duration, I believe a contribution of Aberystwyth 
pasture or pasture-hay strains of not less than one-third of the con- 
tribution of rye-grass, cocksfoot and timothy always to be justified. 
On really poor soils and for re-grassing derelict grasslands there can be 
no question as to the absolute necessity of including the pasture and 
pasture-hay strains. On our Cahn Hill lands, and elsewhere, we have 
made quite remarkable swards by using such strains wholly, or up to 
two-thirds of the mixture, where with the non-pedigree bred strains it 
has been impossible to establish a sward capable of maintaining itself 
for more than twelve months. You will note I have talked explicitly of 
the Aberystwyth pasture and pasture-hay strains. We have now early 
hay strains coming on such as Dr. Jenkin's S. 24 perennial rye-grass, 
his S. 51 timothy, and my own somewhat modified S. 37 cocksfoot, which 
will I think vie with the ordinary seed of commerce in earliness and bulk 
during the first and second harvest years, and which are much more 
leafy. The matter here will turn almost wholly on the relative cost of 
the pedigree and non-pedigree seed, for manifestly an expenditure on 
seed that would be abundantly justified for a four- to twelve-year ley 
might not be an economic proposition for a one-, two-, or three-year ley. 
If, however, the hay strains ultimately prove themselves to have sufficient 
virtue they are bound in due time to replace the ordinary commercial 
strains, and in fact by a process of substitution to become in effect the 
ordinary commercial product. This I think will be the destiny anyway 
of Dr. Jenkin's S. 24 rye-grass, for as well as being early and relatively 
leafy it gives much better July-August grazing than the ordinary Irish 
and Ayrshire rye-grass. 

In this matter of the Aberystwyth strains, however — such is the deeply 
penetrating influence of psychological factors — I can have no cause for 
complaint if you deem it well to regard me as a prejudiced witness, but 
if you so regard me, please yourselves be sufficiently broad-minded to 
come and see our trials, or go and have a look at one of those which with 
the help of the Royal Agricultural Society we are setting up in various 


English counties ; or better still, experiment for yourselves under your 
own, your very own, scheme of management. It may be that management 
in some cases is so superbly good that it hardly matters what a man sows, 
while in others it may be so supremely bad that no proper use can be 
made of a good thing when a man has got it. 

I am afraid I have adopted an unusual course in my approach to my 
subject ; I have not followed normal practice, for instead of reviewing 
the data and evidence available I have in effect reviewed my own reactions 
to the implications of the work with which I have been connected for the 
past twenty-five years and more. Perhaps I need not apologise for this, 
for after all facts and data are of no practical use until people grapple 
with the practical implications. Instead of my ' facts ' — and scientific 
' facts ' are not always correct — I have put my grapplings before you, 
that is all, and if justification is necessary I think sufficient justification is 
the admittedly deplorable condition of a huge acreage of this country, 
the dilapidated condition of many of our farms and farmsteads, and the 
therefore necessarily backward state of much of our farming. Two 
needs seem to me to be crystal clear : first, the conduct of a survey on the 
land — and I believe every agricultural scientist, though perhaps not every 
farmer and every economist, would agree to ' on the land ' somewhat 
on the lines I have suggested — and then the ways and means of getting 
the plough into the grasslands that the survey conclusively proves ought 
to be ripped up. Working capital, and the correct expenditure of that 
working capital, is in the last resort the only solution for our derelict and 
quasi-derelict acres. 

I like the American idea of loans with a working plan ; of loans with 
advice. I do not believe that the history of the years since about 1894 
show that the spasmodic periods of agricultural prosperity that have on 
occasion intervened have been responsible for a great deal of land im- 
provement, or for a proportionate improvement in the equipment 
necessary for productive farming. Prosperity as such in agriculture, as 
in industry, is to a large degree a function of equipment, for without the 
necessary equipment it is impossible to farm economically, just as it is 
impossible to manufacture economically. 

Again, it is unreasonable to expect that a man devoid of working capital, 
and probably the son of a man similarly devoid, should have all the 
knowledge of how best to farm, and particularly of how best to improve 
land (in which art he will necessarily have had no sort of experience), 
in sympathy with adequate working capital suddenly provided for the 
purpose. Advice, and some measure of control, must necessarily go 
with credit facilities, and in so far as breaking up grassland is concerned 
I like still better the American idea of group loans, and of a ' master 
borrower.' The ' master borrower ' in this case would be set up as a 
contractor with tractor and necessary equipment to break up the grass- 
lands, for it is important to remember that ploughing up of this sort is 
essentially tractor work, that it interferes with the normal routine of an 
ill-equipped farm, while tractors are to all intents and purposes nc«i- 
existent in many of the districts where wholesale ploughing up is most 
necessary. My own experiences are interesting in this connection. We 


tested the desire for contracting last year, and had three times as many 
applications as we could fit into the acreage we could do, while now, and 
because of the demand our work has created locally, a lorry contractor 
in the neighbouring village has acquired a tractor, and is fully engaged 
on contract ploughing. 

I like also the American idea of being boldly eclectic and scheduling 
particular districts as being eligible for their rehabilitation loans ; indeed, 
I was foolhardy enough to make a suggestion very much on these lines 
in my book The Land Now and To-morrow. There are innumerable 
districts that should be similarly scheduled and similarly helped in this 
country, but always through financial help cum technical advice terminat- 
ing in an agreed working plan ; and here again my own experience 
comes to support my contention, for in those cases where we contracted 
we only did so when the farmer agreed to follow all our advice as to 
subsequent operations, manures and seeds, to the letter, and in all cases 
the farmer has done so, and demonstrably to his own advantage. 

The breaking up of derelict grassland is to be helped forward not only 
by loans, but by a reorientation of such working capital as the farming 
community possesses, and also, I think, by a reorientation of the monetary 
and other arrangements existing between landlord and tenant. 

Ley-farming in my view aifords great scope for such reorientation, for 
it would make possible, and on a general scale, a variety of methods of 
share farming. For example, one might conceive of a mechanised wheat 
grower operating over a large number of neighbouring ley farms on a 
share basis ; another man on a share basis might be running the poultry, 
the proprietors themselves being primarily interested in the adequacy of 
the rotation and farming operations, and possibly in one major product — 
milk, shall we say ? By this means farmers should achieve a better return 
on such working capital as is available, and also the nation should achieve 
a more balanced specialisation between farming qua farming and com- 
modity production and disposal. Landlords themselves with advantage 
could often think out methods of sharing-in with their tenants, and ley- 
farming opens many avenues of approach to such sharing-in, but in any 
event it behoves the landlords of many districts to be alive to changing 
times, and to be ready for the day — not, I think, far distant — when 
better tenants will be found for farms which are going concerns on the 
ley-farming basis than for those which are nondescript or permanent 
grass. It may thus prove to be a wise policy to adjust leases, and even 
financially to assist purposeful tenants towards that system of farming 
which will accord best with the trend of national and international events. 

Let me insist, in conclusion, that the affairs of agriculture, slowly 
moving as they necessarily must be, are ill adapted to respond to the 
dictates of any immediate expediency, for expediency is ever shifting, and 
at the best ' is the mere shadow of what is right and true.' To be ever 
prepared for change in a world that is ever changing can be the only 
possible basis for a sound agricultural policy for this country, since we 
are so peculiarly liable to be crucially aflFected by happenings beyond 
our own control, beyond our own jurisdiction and beyond our own 



Orr, John. 1937 Scot. J. Agric, 20, 31-40. 
Rice Williams. 1937 Welsh J . Agric. 
Roberts, E. J. 1932 Welsh J. Agric, 8, 84-93. 

1935 Welsh J. Agric, 11, 132-9. 

Robinson, G. W. 1937 Mother Earth, London. 

Stapledon, R. G. 1937-8 Journal of the Bath and West and Southern Counties 


^937 The Hill Lands of Britain, London. 

1937a /. Minist. Agric, 44, 317-29. 

1937b J . Minist. Agric, 44, 442-9. 

1938 The Fortnightly. 




Forty-third Report of the Committee of Seismological Investigations (Dr. 
F. J. W. Whipple, Chairman ; Mr. J. J. Shaw, C.B.E., Secretary ; 
Miss E. F. Bellamy, Prof. P. G. H. Boswell, O.B.E., F.R.S., 
Dr. E. C. BuLLARD, Dr. A. T. J. Dollar, Sir Frank Dyson, K.B.E., 
F.R.S., Dr. A. E. M. Geddes, O.B.E., Prof. G. R. Goldsbrough, 
F.R.S., Dr. Wilfred Hall, Mr. J. S. Hughes, Dr. H, Jeffreys, 
F.R.S., Mr. Cosmo Johns, Dr. A. W. Lee, Prof. E. A. Milne, M.B.E., 
F.R.S., Prof. H. H. Plaskett, F.R.S., Prof. H. C. Plummer, 
F.R.S., Prof. J. Proudman, F.R.S., Prof. A. O. Rankine, O.B.E., 
F.R.S., Rev. C. Rey, S.J., Rev. J. P. Rowland, S.J., Prof. R. A. 
Sampson, F.R.S., Mr. F. J. Scrase, Dr. H. Shaw, Sir Frank 
Smith, K.C.B., C.B.E., Sec.R.S., Dr. R. Stoneley, F.R.S., Mr. E. 
TiLLOTsoN, Sir G. T. Walker, C.S.I., F.R.S.) 

Meeting of the Committee. 

The Committee met once during the year, on October 29. The annual 
grant of £100 from the Caird Fund was allocated to the University 
Observatory, Oxford, for yvovk on the International Seismological Summary. 
Expenditure on various objects from the Gray-Milne Fund was author- 
ised. Dr. E. C. Bullard gave a short account of the methods adopted in 
America in the application of seismological methods to the investigation of 
the thickness of the strata overlying the continental shelf. In view of the 
fact that research on these lines was likely to be undertaken with the support 
of the Royal Society, it was decided that no action on the part of the British 
Association was necessary. Dr. Dollar gave the Committee an account of 
the British Earthquake Inquiry, which he was organising, and it was 
decided to give some financial support to the organisation. 

The Gray-Milne Fund. 

The accounts for the year are reproduced below. The income of the 
fund has again improved owing to an increase in the dividend paid by the 
Canadian Pacific Railway. Expenditure on the Milne Library includes 
the purchase of Dr. Davison's book. Great Earthquakes. 

Gray-Milne Fund. 


5. d. 




Balance, July i, 


. 187 

4 2 

Milne Library 




Trust Income 


• 65 

4 10 

Insurance . 


Bank Interest 



1 10 

Printing (Bullen's Con- 

version Tables) 




Jaggar Shock Recorder 


British Earthquake In- 



Balance, June 30, 1938 





10 10 




The six Milne-Shaw seismographs belonging to the British Association 
have remained on loan to the seismological stations at Oxford (2), Edinburgh, 
Perth (W. Australia), and Cape Town (2). 

During the year a Jaggar shock recorder has been made for the Com- 
mittee at Bristol under the supervision of Dr. C. F. Powell. This instru- 
ment is to be set up at Dunira, near Comrie, the village in Perthshire 
which is famous for the prolonged series of minor earthquakes in the last 
century. It may be recalled that a Committee appointed by the British 
Association set up seismometers, in Comrie and near by, with which to 
measure the amplitude of earthquake waves. Eight of the seismometers 
were inverted pendulums, designed by Prof. J. D. Forbes and ' working 
on the principle of the watchmaker's noddy.' These instruments were 
affected by the local earthquakes on two or three occasions, but they were 
not sensitive enough to be disturbed by the majority of the shocks. After 
an interval from 1844 to 1867 the Committee for registering earthquakes 
in Scotland was reappointed. Only one of the original seismometers was 
then in use, the 10 ft. inverted pendulum in the church tower at Comrie. 
The Committee decided to adopt a suggestion of Mallet's and provide a set 
of small cylinders which were to topple over when an earthquake occurred. 
A special hut, which still stands in the grounds of ' Dunearn,' was allotted 
to the cylinders, but it is believed that no earthquake ever bowled them 
over. As far as is known none of these primitive seismometers survives 
in Perthshire, but there is in the Royal Scottish Museum at Edinburgh 
one of Forbes 's inverted pendulums. It is hoped that the new shock recorder 
will eventually provide some evidence as to the nature of the earth-move- 
ments in the Comrie region. The Committee is indebted to Mr. W. G. 
Macbeth of Dunira for allowing the installation of the instrument, and to 
Mr. White who is undertaking to operate it. 

Geocentric Co-ordinates. 

Owing to the progress in the precision of seismological observations, 
and in the accuracy of the tables with which the observations can be com- 
pared, it has now become desirable to take into account the ellipticity of 
the earth, both in locating the epicentres of earthquakes and in discussing 
the behaviour of seismic waves of different types. It was pointed out by 
Gutenberg and Richter, in 1933, that this could be done most readily by 
using geocentric co-ordinates instead of the ordinary geographical co- 
ordinates. Investigations by Dr. Jeffreys and by Dr. Bullen have confirmed 
the desirability of this refinement. Tables giving for each observatory 
rectangular co-ordinates on the new system, or rather the direction cosines 
of the radius from the centre of the earth, are required. The Committee 
enlisted the help of Dr. L. J. Comrie, who has had the necessary calculations 
made and is seeing the resulting tables through the press. These tables 
will be published in the autumn. 

Geographical angular distances have been employed hitherto in the 
International Seismological Summary, as in almost all other work on 
earthquakes ; i.e. the angle between the verticals has been regarded as 
giving the distance between two points on the globe. A method of utilising 
the data without recomputing the distances ab initio has been devised by 
Dr. Bullen. Tables computed by Dr. Bullen for use in the application' of 
this method have been published by the Committee, with an Introduction 
by Dr. Jeffreys. 



British Earthquake Inquiry. 
The Organisation for the Collection of Seismic Data. 

Through the agency of an organisation developed since October 1935 to 
collect detailed non-instrumental data about earthquakes disturbing the 
British Isles, twenty-one undoubted earth tremors, thirteen doubtful 
tremors, six land-subsidences and the seismic effects of three explosions 
have been investigated to date, and material gathered for a catalogue of 
quakes noticed between January i, 1916 and October i, 1935. 

At present the personnel of the organisation involves 287 permanent 
voluntary reporters, recruited from forty-four counties in Great Britain 
and the Irish Free State, and others in the Channel Islands, each of whom 
notifies Dr. Dollar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, immediately any 
earth tremor disturbs the locality of the reporter concerned. Often these 
reporters assist in the subsequent distribution and re-collection of question- 
naires relating to effects of such a tremor. Their number has been in- 
creased by 221 since July i, 1937, and additional help has been obtained 
from officials in Government, University and private seismological ob- 
servatories, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Trinity House 
Corporation, meteorological observatories and schools, as well as from the 
Press Association and daily newspapers. 

The greatest part of the information is gathered by questionnaires, more 
than 95 per cent, of which are dispatched from Emmanuel College. In June 
1938 a third and abbreviated edition of the questionnaire was issued ; this 
has proved of greater general utility than previous more elaborate editions. 

The Seismic Data gathered between July i, 1937, and June 30, 1938. 

Since July i, 1937 details have been collected about the following tremors 
felt in the British Isles : 

Earthquakes : 
July 9, 1937 
July 20, 1937 
September 8, 1937 
December 4, 1937. 
March 21, 1938 
June II, 1938 

Subsidences and Mine-shakes 
September 13, 1937 
December 14, 1937 
December 30, 1937 
January i, 1938 

Explosions : 

November 20, 1937 
December i, 1937 

Origins not Established : 
November 21, 1937 
December 6, 1937 
January 29, 1938 . 
April 13, 1938 
April 20, 1938 
June 18, 1938 

Walsall, Staffordshire. 


Horsham, Sussex. 

Comrie, Perthshire. 

South-East Edinburgh, Edinburgh. 

Ghent, Belgium. 

Cudworth, Yorkshire. 
Nelson, Glamorganshire. 
Norwich, Norfolk. 
New Tredegar, Monmouthshire. 

Thrapston, Northamptonshire. 
Waltham Abbey, Essex. 

Worthing, Sussex. 
Tenby, Pembrokeshire. 
Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. 
Stepney, London. 
Golders Green, Middlesex. 
Gilfach Goch, Glamorganshire. 
(Now being investigated.) 

K 2 


The Belgian Earthquake of June ii, 1938. 

During the 12-month period the most important earthquakes originating 
beneath the British Isles were those of Walsall, Horsham and South-East 
Edinburgh. These were insignificant, however, in comparison with the 
earthquake that was centered below Belgium and shook more than 20,000 
square miles of country in twenty-nine English counties on June 11, 1938. 

As a result of appeals for information through the daily press, three 
wireless broadcasts and the distribution of numerous questionnaires, 
856 reports have been gathered about this tremor from 278 towns in England, 
the Channel Islands, France, and Belgium. Eight reports have been 
obtained from seismological observatories in Britain and North-west 

The tremor was noticed mainly by people at rest indoors. Positions in 
the upper stories of high buildings were especially favourable. Particularly 
in the east of the disturbed area at least two phases were distinguished, and 
the motion was described as being a succession of smooth undulations in an 
approximately east-west direction, conspicuously free from jerks. The 
numerous accounts of apparent giddiness may be related to the smooth 
wave-motion experienced. 

The only damage on this side of the Channel appears to have been a 
single fall of a few tiles at Heme Bay, Kent. Appropriately-oriented pendu- 
lum clocks were stopped in some cases, and in others, liquids were agitated 
or spilled. Dogs, cats, and birds showed signs of alarm, and two reports 
suggest that bees in open out-apiaries were so disturbed by the shock as to 
have been unmanageable for a time. 

The area over which a sound was heard is ill defined, but does not seem 
to extend far west of the longitude of London. Generally it was likened to 
a rumble such as might be produced by the passage of a heavily-laden 
lorry or train. 

After-shocks of the Belgian earthquake were recorded at Kew Observatory 
on the same day at 12.10 and 13.9, and a much larger one on the next day, 
June 12, at 13.26. Only the last of these was felt in England. It was 
reported by nine observers. Mutually inconsistent reports of supposed 
foreshocks and aftershocks were received from about a score of corre- 
spondents. It is understood that Belgian seismologists place the epicentre 
of the main shock near Ghent. The best precedent for tremors affecting 
approximately the same area is the earthquake of April 6, 1580, which 
caused considerable damage in Kent. The epicentre of that earthquake 
is thought by R. E. Ockendon, the editor of the recent reprint of Thomas 
Twyne's Discourse on the Earthquake, to have been near the Straits of Dover. 

Seismology at Kew Observatory. 

During the year the installation of the seismographs in a new under- 
ground house was completed. The three Galitzin seismographs record on 
one electrically driven clock drum, the two Wood- Anderson instruments on 
another. A description of the installation is being published in a Memoir 
written by Dr. A. W. Lee. It is satisfactory to be able to note that the 
disturbances which affected so seriously the utility of the Galitzin seismo- 
grams in windy weather, and which were attributed to the rocking of the 
observatory, have no counterparts in the records obtained in the new 
seismological building which is mostly below ground level. A number of 
technical points with regard to Galitzin seismographs had to be investigated 


on account of the introduction of a new way of operating these instruments. 
Details will be found in Lee's Memoir. 

The Wood- Anderson seismographs, which are adjusted with a period 
of 2^ seconds, record the horizontal components of the earth's movement. 
An instrument with about the same period to record the vertical component 
is required. An experimental seismograph of this type was constructed in 
the Observatory workshop and has been in operation for some months. 
The special feature is the introduction of * viscous coupling ' (by means of 
a plunger working in a cup filled with liquid) between pendulum and 
mirror. Some promising records have been obtained from recent earth- 
quakes, but modifications to the instrument will be required before 
operation is entirely satisfactory. 

A paper by Dr. Lee, ' The travel-times of the seismic waves P and S, 
a study of data from the International Seismological Summary, 1930 and 
193 1,' is being published shortly as a Geophysical Memoir of the Meteoro- 
logical Office. 

Seismology in the West Indies. 

The series of earthquakes which occurred in 1934 and 1935 in Montserrat 
led to the despatch of an expedition to that island. Valuable reports on 
the geological structure of the island and on the distribution of the earth- 
quake centres were written by Mr. A. G. Macgregor and Dr. C. F. Powell. 
The Wiechert seismograph and eight Jaggar shock recorders are still in 
operation in the care of Mr. Kelsick, who is making regular reports on the 
seismic activity in that island and is also collecting information about shocks 
which are felt in other islands. From August to November 1937 about 
forty earthquakes were reported by observers in Dominica. The Royal 
Society has nominated a West Indies Seismological Committee, and this 
Committee has under consideration the despatch of an expedition to 
Dominica. The earthquakes in that island have been less frequent, how- 
ever, in recent months, and the proposal is therefore in abeyance at present. 

The International Seismological Summary. 
A Note by J. S. Hughes. 

The International Seismological Summary has now been prepared in 
manuscript as far as July 1933 ; January, February and March are in the 
press, while April, May and June are in process of being finally checked 

The number of earthquakes dealt with in a given period of time remains 
roughly constant but with a fluctuation which is mainly dependent on the 
presence or absence of cases in which a long sequence of after-shocks to 
an earthquake of great intensity occurs in a region well equipped with re- 
cording stations. Such a case was provided by the Sunriku earthquake of 
March 2, 1933, origin 39-1° N., 144-7° E., off the east coast of Japan. 
This earthquake, which is notorious for the devastating tunami it produced, 
was followed by a large number of shocks from the same neighbourhood, 
but apparently not from a single focus. This interesting series of shocks was 
worked out in as much detail as possible and a number of different epicentres 
were determined. It is not claimed, however, that finality has been attained, 
and the observations, extending over many days, would afford a good subject 
for special study. Of the earthquakes listed for the month of March 1933, 
142 were after-shocks of the series in question. 


In the portion of the Summary dealt with during the past year, there are 
many large earthquakes and numerous cases of deep focus. Notable 
among the latter are the earthquakes of October 14, 1932, 31-6° N., 13-8° E., 
where distant records are completely absent, and January 9, 1933, 36-5° N., 
70-5° E., where there is a wealth of observations over a range varying in 
epicentral distance from 4° to 80°. In the former case, the epicentre being 
in the Pacific to the south of Japan, there were excellent observations of 
P and S at 40 stations, all within a distance of 11-7°, but there were no 
observations outside Japan. The focal depth (determined at Tokyo) was 
300 km. The other epicentre, which is in Kafiristan near the north-west 
frontier of India, is one to which 10 deep-focus earthquakes were assigned 
in the years 1921 to 1930. 

From January 1933 onwards an attempt has been made to distinguish 
in the Summary between compressional and dilatational longitudinal waves. 
For a compressional wave, where the initial motion of P, PKP or PKKP is 
away from the epicentre, the letter ' a ' (anaseism) is entered after the 
reading. If the wave is dilatational, or towards the epicentre, the letter 
' k ' (kataseism) is used. This notation was adopted by the International 
Seismological Association at Edinburgh in 1936, the use of the adjectives 
anaseismic and kataseismic having been proposed by the Rev. E. Gherzi, S.J., 
as long ago as 1924. 

If the components of displacement in the onset of P are recorded by the 
observing station, the direction of initial motion is known, and the dis- 
crimination between ' a ' and ' k ' can be made after the epicentre has been 
determined. Particularly useful is the Z component, as an upward initial 
motion always indicates an ' anaseism ' and knowledge of the position of the 
epicentre is not required. A good many observatories are already providing 
in their bulletins the necessary information with regard to the initial move- 
ment of each earthquake. It is hoped that the practice will be adopted 

Work on Transmission Times and on Periodicity. 
By Dr. Harold Jeffreys, F.R.S. 

The work on southern earthquakes and the core waves, which was in 
progress at the time of the last Report, has been completed. For PKP 
only readings at the most reliable stations with vertical component instru- 
ments were used and the result was a symmetrical distribution of residuals 
with a standard error of about 2 sec, nearly the same as for P. Accordingly 
there is a high probability that the dangers of systematic error in PKP have 
been removed. The summaries have a standard error of about 0-4 sec, 
about the same as for P at most distances. The times of SKS have also 
been rendered somewhat more accurate. Some of the earthquakes used 
were found to show signs of multiplicity. There appeared to have been 
two or three shocks at the same place, separated by intervals up to 10 sec, 
and P had been read for the first, and S and SKS for a mixture, usually with 
a preference for the later ones. This explains xnost of the ' Z ' phenomenon, 
leaving no more than can be reasonably attributed to variations of focal 
depth within the upper layers. Cases where the separation is larger have 
already been considered by Stoneley and Tillotson and appear to provide 
an explanation of most of the recorded cases of apparent ' high focus.' 

A study has been made of the frequency of after-shocks of the Tangp 
(Japan) earthquake of March 7, 1927. They were found to agree with 
a law, such that the chance of an earthquake in an interval dt is pro- 
portional to dtj(t — a), where a is near the time of the main shock. Apart 


from this the after-shocks appeared to be independent. Search was made 
for periodicities of the solar and lunar days and half-days, a fortnight and a 
month, and for any evidence that returning waves tend to stimulate a new 
shock, but no such evidence was found in any case. It appears that, except 
within an interval very close to the main shock, after-shocks may be con- 
sidered as related to the main shock and nothing else. 

It appears, however, that if data used in testing suggested periodicities 
include after-shocks, the random amplitudes found would be greatly 
increased by the dependence of the after-shocks on the main shocks of their 
series. This makes the events occur in batches, and the usual tests for the 
significance of an amplitude found by Fourier analysis fail. No alleged 
periodicity can be trusted if it is based on data that include different series 
of after-shocks. 

An analysis of deep focus earthquakes is in progress, in the hope of ob- 
taining a test of the 20° discontinuity and improvements in the estimated 
thicknesses of the upper layers and in the times of S at short distances. It 
has been found that the times of P, adapted to a discontinuity and to a 
continuous time curve that would be consistent with the data of normal 
earthquakes, would differ by a maximum of about i-6 sec. in deep ones. 
This is perhaps just within the range of observability if relevant data can be 

Reappointment of the Committee. 

The Committee asks for reappointment and for the renewal of the grant 
of £100 from the Caird Fund. 


Report of Committee on Calculation of Mathematical Tables (Prof. E. H. 
Neville, Chairman ; Dr. A. J. Thompson, Vice-Chairman ; Dr. J. 
WiSHART, Secretary ; Dr. W. G. Bickley, Prof. R. A. Fisher, 
F.R.S., Dr. J. Henderson, Dr. E. L. Ince, Dr. J. O. Irwin, Dr. 
J. C. P. Miller, Mr. Frank Robbins, Mr. D. H. Sadler, Mr. W. L. 
Stevens and Dr. J. F. Tocher). 

General activity. — Eight meetings of the Committee have been held, in 

The grant of £200 has been expended as follows : 

Wages and insurance for computer for forty-seven weeks 
Calculations for Bessel functions of order greater than one 
Calculations for Airy Integral, etc. .... 
Secretarial and miscellaneous expenses 

Personnel. — The Committee has been particularly unfortunate this year 
in losing by death two of its oldest members. Dr. J. R. Airey, who died on 
16 September, 1937, joined the Committee in 1907, and remained associated 
with it until his death. During this period he was indefatigable as a com- 
puter, and was responsible for the production, single-handed, of a vast 
amount of tabulating work. He was Secretary from 1920 to 1929, and 
served as the clearing-house for tabulation work for the British Association 
until the time when regular meetings in London became the recognised 















procedure. The Committee desires to record its appreciation of the 
valuable work which Dr. Airey performed as a computer, of the generosity 
which placed his skill and experience at the service of his friends, and of 
the patience with which as Secretary he conducted the affairs of the Com- 
mittee during the difficult period of reconstruction after the war. 

Prof. Alfred Lodge, who died on i December, 1937, attended his first 
meeting of the British Association in 1883. He became a Life Member in 
1886 and was a member of Council from 1913 to 1915. In 1888 he joined 
the first Committee set up by Section A ' for the purpose of considering the 
possibility of calculating certain mathematical functions and, if necessary, of 
taking steps to carry out the calculations, and to publish the results in an 
accessible form.' From that year Prof. Lodge was actively concerned 
with the tabulation work of the Association until the day of his death, and 
a very great deal of computation work lies to his credit, particularly in connect- 
ion with Bessel functions. The Committee records with gratitude its 
appreciation of the patient and valuable work Prof. Lodge did as a computer, 
of the services which he rendered to the Committee in many capacities, and 
of the charm of character which made him the personal friend of every 

Dr. Thompson has succeeded Prof. Lodge as Vice-Chairman. 

Employment of Computers. — In the last Report mention was made of the 
employment of a full-time computer, to work mainly on the Committee's 
National Accounting Machine at the Galton Laboratory, by kind permission 
of Prof. Fisher. Mr. F. H. Cleaver, who was appointed to the post in 
January, 1937, remained fully employed under the personal direction of 
several members of the Committee, and under the immediate supervision 
of Mr. Stevens, until he resigned the post on 9 May, 1938. He has been 
succeeded by Mr. H. O. Hartley, who took up his duties on 13 June. The 
Committee has arranged for the demonstration of its machine at the 
Cambridge meeting, as part of a general demonstration of the possibilities 
of a number of modern calculating machines in scientific computing work. 

The other machines belonging to the Committee have been in continuous 
use, and the Committee records with gratitude the voluntary services 
rendered in this connection by Mr. C. E. Gwyther. A number of part- 
time computers have been engaged from time to time under the direction 
of members of the Committee, and the Committee once more gratefully 
acknowledges the facilities offered by the Mathematical Laboratory of the 
University of Liverpool for the carrying out of computation under the 
supervision of Dr. Miller. 

Bessel Functions. — The Committee's sixth volume, being the first volume 
devoted to Bessel functions and containing the four principal functions of 
orders o to i, was published at the end of 1937. The volume was dedicated 
to Prof. Lodge, who, however, did not live to see the tables published. 

The work of the Bessel Function Sub-committee on the preparation of a 
second volume has been to some extent exploratory, and good progress has 
been made in the calculations. During the year the following fundamental 
tables have been completed in readiness for sub-tabulation where necessary : 

yn{x) = x"y«(x) M = 0(1)20 jc = o-o(o-i)6-o 14 figures. 

y„(x) n= 0,1,2, jc = 6-o(o- 1)21 -o 15 figures. 

in{x) = x'"In(x) n = 0(1)22 X = o-o(o-i)6-o 15 figures. 

log inlx) M = 20, 21 X = 6-o(o-i)20-o isfigurcs. . 

I„lx) n = 0(1)21 X = o-o(o-i)6-o i8 figures, 

log In{x) n = 20, 21 X = 6-o(o- 1)20-0 15 figures. 

In{x) n = 0(1)21 X = 6-o(o-i)io-o 15 figures. 


The calculation of /„(.v) is being continued to a; = 20. The computation 
of Kn{x) has been performed for x = 6-o(o- i)ii -5 with 10 figure accuracy. 
The determination of the early zeros of y„{x) by inverse interpolation from 
the 12 decimal values of jfn{x) already computed for x = o-o(o- 1)25 -5, 
n = 2(1)20 is in progress. An additional term in the asymptotic series for 
the zeros of jfnix) and Yn{x) has been determined and the coefficients 

Table of Powers. — The computation for this volume, and the preparation 
of copy are almost complete, but some checks have still to be applied. 

Airy Integral. — This w^ork, when complete, will form a part-volume of 
some 46 pages, including introduction. The greater part of the copy has 
already been prepared, and the remainder will be ready shortly. The 
Committee proposes to proceed as soon as possible with the separate 
publication of this table. 

Legendre Functions. — Some delay has occurred in the production of these 
tables as a part-volume, for which authority for publication was obtained 
last year (see 1937 Report). The entire material has, however, been set up. 

Sheppard Tables. — Authority has been obtained from Council for the 
separate publication of the tables handed to the Committee by the family 
of the late Dr. W. F. Sheppard, and referred to in last year's Report. The 
unfinished table, alluded to last year, has been completed. AH the tables 
have now been checked and every entry verified. Sheppard 's table of the 
common logarithm of the tail area of the normal curve, to 12 places of 
decimals at interval o • i , has been sub-tabulated to form an 8 decimal 
table at interval o-oi. This small extension of the original scope of the 
volume is in response to a demand for a detailed table of this important 
function, which is much needed in statistical work. An introduction is 
being prepared, and the whole should be ready for press shortly. 

Miscellaneous. — In response to an informal suggestion, the Committee is 
preparing a card-index of mathematical tables to supplement existing 
bibliographies. This should form a very valuable source of reference for 
members of the Committee, and be a means of enabling them to answer 
outside enquiries. It should be mentioned also that the Committee has 
been in touch with the Tables Committee of the National Research Council 
of America, which is engaged under the Works Progress Administration in 
the calculation of certain tables of mathematical functions. 

Reappointment. — The Committee desires reappointment, with a grant of 
£200, which would be expended mainly on calculations for further volumes 
of Bessel functions. 


Report of Committee appointed to consider the direct determination of the 
Thermal Conductivities of Rocks in mines or borings where the tempera- 
ture gradient has been, or is likely to be, measured (Dr. EzER Griffiths, 
F.R.S., Chairman ; Dr. D. W. Phillips, Secretary ; Dr. E. C. 
BuLLARD, Dr. H. Jeffreys, F.R.S., Dr. E. M. Anderson, Prof. W. G. 
Fearnsides, F.R.S., Prof. G. Hickling, F.R.S., Prof. A. Holmes, 
Dr. H. J. H. Poole). 

I. Introduction. — The heat flow at the surface of the earth is a measure 
of the heat being generated below ; a knowledge of its variations from 


place to place is therefore of fundamental geophysical interest. To estimate 
this heat flow it is necessary to know the vertical temperature gradient and 
the thermal conductivity of the rocks in which the gradient is measured. 
There exist numerous measurements of temperature in deep bores in various 
parts of the world, but almost no conductivity data except that collected by 
the former British Association Committee about fifty years ago. Thus 
there is no trustworthy data on the variation of heat flow from place to 
place, though it is believed by many that considerable variations occur. 

In an attempt to remedy this state of affairs the Committee has pursued 
investigations along the following lines : 

(i) An attempt has been made to get the necessary data from shallow 
holes. This investigation has met with difficulties through dis- 
turbances of the temperature by percolating water. 

(2) Temperature measurements have been made in bores whenever they 
became available. 

(3) An apparatus has been constructed for the measurement of thermal 
conductivities of rock specimens. 

In the past it has been somewhat optimistically assumed that the con- 
ductivity measured in the laboratory was the proper quantity to use in the 
heat flow calculations. As the temperature gradient in the laboratory is 
of the order of 10° c./cm. and that in nature 0-0003° c./km., this seems a 
somewhat unsafe assumption. The investigations on heaters in shallow 
holes and on the annual temperature wave employ gradients of the order 
of 0-03° c./cm. Comparisons of these with the laboratory determinations 
therefore provide a most valuable check. 

2. Measurements in a Shallow Hole. — If the temperature distribution is 
steady the flow of heat per cm^ of the earth's surface should be independent 
of depth. It would therefore be supposed that the heat flow could be 
measured as well in a shallow hole as in a deep one, so long as the hole 
was deep enough to get below the eflfect of the annual temperature wave. 
This would avoid the troubles associated with the use of deep bores (see § 3) 
and would have the added advantage that the conductivity could be 
measured in situ by the temperature distribution round buried heaters. 

Experiments briefly described in last year's report showed that tempera- 
tures could be measured with thermocouples in a shallow hole with an 
adequate accuracy. A heater was installed in a is-ft. hole in gault. When 
it was turned on the temperature of the thermo-junctions changed in the 
expected way. Examples are shown in Fig. i. The change due to the 
annual temperature wave was subtracted, and expressions of the form 
A{i — Erf B/t) fitted to the results. The constants A and B are functions 
of the conductivity, the specific heat per unit volume and of the positions 
of the thermo-junctions. The conductivity deduced from them and from 
laboratory measurements of the specific heat was 0-0027. The heat flow 
could not be deduced from these measurements since there was a large 
annual temperature change even at the bottom of the hole. The results, 
however, were taken as indicating that the method was sufficiently promising 
to try in a deeper hole. A loo-ft. hole was therefore drilled at a cost of 
£19 in a field near the Observatory at Cambridge. Three feet of water- 
bearing gravel were encountered on top of the gault and the top 20 ft. of 
the bore was cased to exclude this water. In spite of this water continued to 
enter the bore from lower levels. The casing was therefore continued to 
60 ft., still without stopping the water ; the water level was different inside' 
and outside the casing, showing that the water was really derived from the 
gault and not from the surface gravel. As the hole showed signs of caving 



in, three heaters and fifteen thermo-junctions were installed as soon as the 
drilling was finished. As the casing was not excluding the water it was 

The presence of water in the hole makes it impossible to make satisfactory 
thermal conductivity measurements with buried heaters as the water content 
of the clay around the hole has been completely altered. As specimens of 
the clay had been taken every 10 ft. with precautions to prevent them being 
affected by the water, laboratory measurements of conductivity can be made. 

When attempts were made to measure temperatures with the thermo- 
junctions completely inconsistent results were obtained. This was traced 
to the leads having become damp from water condensed in the tube. This 
dampness caused the copper and constantan wires to act as a small battery. 









-o 0—0- 

-0—0 o- 

J I I I I 


36-6 cm 

62-3 cm 

2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 


Fig. I. — -Temperature of junctions above that of the bottom of hole. 

A loo-ohm copper resistance thermometer was therefore constructed in 
a water-tight steel case 8 mm. in diameter. Its behaviour was entirely 

Temperature measurements were made in a |-in. steel pipe at every 10 ft. 
between the surface and the bottom of the hole (with the hole filled with 
water) and after it had been filled in with clay. For the lower 30 ft. of the 
hole the gradient was constant and equal to 33-8 ± 1-5° c./km. for the 
filled hole and 33-2° c./km. for the unfilled hole. Between 30 and 70 ft. 
from the surface the mean gradient was about the same as in the lower 
part of the hole but the individual points deviated by up to 0-05° c. from 
a straight line (see Fig. 2). Above 30 ft. the annual temperature wave 
obscures the normal gradient. The measurements have been repeated 
several times and the departures from a straight line are reproducible and 
are certainly real. They are presumably due to the circulation of water in 
one or more of the porous bands that are shown to exist by the entry of 


water into the hole during the drilling. The presence of these irregularities 
throws considerable doubt on the value of the gradient derived from the 
observations. The site for this bore hole was chosen so that the bore 
would be entirely in gault as this is one of the most homogeneous and least 
porous formations. Thus if irregularities are found in the temperature 
curve even in this specially favourable case it is unlikely that useful measure- 
ments will often be possible in such shallow holes. The consistency of 
the measurements shows however that reliable measurements would be 
possible in dry holes if any can be found. 

Observations of temperature have been made on lo thermo-junctions 
in a 15-ft. hole at intervals over a period of a year. These observations 
should yield an excellent value for the diffusivity of gault. Since they refer 
to a large mass of undisturbed clay they provide a standard for checking 

0-2 0-4 0-6 


Fig. 2. 

laboratory measurements, for if an apparatus will measure the conductivity 
of gault there is little doubt that it would deal satisfactorily with more con- 
solidated rocks. A rough reduction of the observations suggests a value 
of 0-0037 cm^sec"^ for the diffusivity, which combined with a specific 
heat of 0-39 cal/°c. grm. and a density of 2-00 gives a conductivity of 
0-0029 cal/cm.°c. sec. To make a rigorous reduction involves a great deal 
of arithmetical labour, but it is hoped eventually to carry out the work. 

3. Temperature Measurements in Bore Holes. — The Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. 
very kindly allowed specimens to be collected and temperatures to be 
measured in their bore at Kingsclere. As this bore had been made by 
rotary drilling with a continuous circulation of mud it was necessary to leave 
it for some days for the lower part to get into temperature equilibrium 
(see § 4). After the bore had been standing for three days an attempt was 
made to lower two maximum thermometers in a sealed case. It was found 
to be impossible to get the thermometers more than halfway down the hole 
owing to an obstruction. Attempts were continued for three days without 
success. As this work caused great delay and inconvenience to the Anglo- 


Iranian Co. the work was then abandoned. Measurements in the higher 
parts of the hole would have been valueless as they had been cooled for 
months by the circulation of drilling mud. Similar difficulties were met 
with in some measurements made by the Anglo-Iranian at Portsdown. 

This experience shows how difficult it is to obtain satisfactory measure- 
ments in rotary drilled holes. Even at the bottom of the hole measure- 
ments cannot be taken till some days after drilling has stopped ; and, since 
the hole is not lined, it is very likely to become blocked during this time 
and can only be cleared by lowering a drilling tool for which it is necessary 
to circulate mud which completely upsets the temperature equilibrium 
again. Even if the hole should remain clear the measurements cause niuch 
expense to the company drilling the hole, since the Mines Dept. insisted 
that such holes should be plugged with cement at various depths and as 
the drilling rig cannot be removed till this has been done, it must stand 
idle during the temperature measurements. 

Measurements are therefore only possible if the hole is lined and the 
lining left in for some time after drilling. One such case has occurred. 
The Anglo-Iranian drilled a hole at Pevensey 842 ft. deep, cased it to 500 ft. 
and left it for some weeks. Temperature measurements were made at 
765 ft. and 772 ft. (the hole was blocked below this). The temperatures 
found at these depths were 16-2° c. and 16-3° c. There was fluid in the 
hole only below about 700 ft. and in any case it had not been left long enough 
for satisfactory measurements to be made in the upper part. The gradient 
has therefore to be deduced by a comparison of the temperatures at the 
bottom with the surface temperature. The mean air temperature at 
Pevensey is stated by the Meteorological Office to be 10-3° c.^ The mean 
temperature of the ground a few feet down is normally o- 8° c. above that of 
the air .2 We therefore deduce a gradient of 5 ■ 1° c. in 668 ft. or 25° c./km. 

In order that it should be possible to make temperature measurements 
in any bores that became available two inverted maximum thermometers 
and a winch for lowering them on piano wire have been purchased. As 
the thermometers used at Kingsclere showed a great tendency to shake 
down on raising them from the bottom of the hole, an investigation was 
made of this source of error with the new thermometers. At Pevensey 
the two thermometers were lowered opposite ways up so that shaking would 
affect them in opposite directions and their positions in the container were 
reversed for the second run. The results agreed to less than o-i° c. As 
a further check a weight thermometer was constructed, but there has so far 
been no opportunity to use it in a bore hole. Messrs. Negretti and Zambra 
state that when maximum thermometers have been much used the constric- 
tion becomes worn and they tend to shake down more easily. The new 
thermometers are so difficult to shake down that it was necessary to construct 
a whirling case to do so. 

4. Laboratory Measurements of Conductivity. — In order to measure the 
conductivity of specimens of rock from bores an apparatus has been con- 
structed by Mr. Benfield of the Cambridge Department of Geodesy and 
Geophysics^ with the advice of Dr. Ezer Griffiths. This apparatus con- 
sists of two brass bars one inch in diameter between the ends of which a 
disc-like specimen is placed. The top end of the upper brass bar is heated 
electrically and the bottom end of the lower is cooled by a stream of water. 

1 This is deduced from the mean air temperature at Eastbourne from 1888 to 

2 J. Koenigsberger and M. Muhlberg, Neues. Jahrb. f. Min., beilage bd. 31, 1 15, 
1911. Everett, 2nd Rep. Roy. Comm. on Coal Supplies, 2, 292, 1904. 

» Mr. Benfield also made the temperature measurements in the Pevensey bore. 


The temperature at seven points along these bars is measured by thermo- 
junctions. From these the temperature drop across the specimen T and 
the temperature gradient p in the bars are determined. If there were no 
loss of heat by convection and the specimens were in perfect thermal 
contact with the bars, the conductivity of the specimen, k would be given 

k = CpSIT 

where S is the thickness of the specimen and C is a constant that may be 
determined by measurements on a substance, such as fused silica, whose 
conductivity is known. 

The loss of heat by convection may be reduced by enclosing the apparatus 
in a bell-jar across which run paper discs. The remaining loss may be 
estimated from the departure of the temperature distribution in the bars from 
linearity and allowed for. 

The error from the lack of perfect thermal contact between the bars and 
the specimen may be eliminated by making measurements on specimens of 
two different thicknesses. For this elimination to be satisfactory it is de- 
sirable that the contact should be as good as possible. Experiments on the 
best method of joining the specimens to the bars are in progress. Painting 
with a thin layer of very thick cellulose varnish seems the most promising 
method. If the specimen is pressed on the bars while the varnish is still 
tacky the minute irregularities in surfaces of the specimen and the bars are 
filled with celluloid. 

The preliminary tests of the apparatus are being made with specimens 
from Kingsclere, when it is working satisfactorily measurements will be 
made on the Pevensey specimens. 

A specially careful investigation will be made on the Cambridge Gault 
for comparison with the values obtained by the methods described in § i . 

(5) Theoretical Investigations. — If the surface of the earth is not a plane 
of constant temperature there will be irregularities in heat flow that may 
mask those due to variations in conductivity and in the generation of heat. 
Dr. Jeffreys has devised a method of allowing for these ; his investigation, 
which has been published in Vol. 4 of the Geophysical Supplement to the 
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, shows that the dis- 
turbance Su of the temperature gradient at a depth Z below the surface is 
given by 


r r'^ — 2,z^ 
^•" = 1^ (^2 4_ g2)8 rdr . . . (i) 

where v is difference between the mean temperature at sea level round a 
horizontal circle of radius r and that at sea level under the station ; that 
is z; is the mean value of 


where p and p' are the temperature gradients in the earth and in the air 
and h is the difference between the height of the station and the mean height 
of the circle. From (i) expressions may be derived for the disturbance at 
the surface and for the mean disturbance down to any depth. Certain 
special cases may be evaluated analytically, for example the gradient at the 
bottom of a hemispherical cavity is three times that at a distance from the 
cavity, and the gradients at the crests and troughs of a series of parallel 
simple harmonic ridges and valleys of height zA and wavelength X differ 


by 47r AjX times the normal gradient. Numerical solutions for a number of 
actual bores have been made by Dr. BuUard and published in the Geophysical 
Supplement ; the biggest disturbance found is for the Simplon Tunnel, where 
the observed gradient requires to be increased by 14 %. 

Dr. JeflFreys has investigated the disturbance of the temperature gradient 
produced by the casing in a bore. If a long rod of radius a and conductivity 
K is introduced into a solid of conductivity k with a temperature gradient p 
in a direction parallel to the rod, the temperature gradient within the rod 
at a distance s from the end differs from p by an amount Sp given by 

8plp = UK - k) a^k s^ 

If K = 100^ the error is less than 1 % if afs = 50, the effect of the casing 
is therefore always negligible except within a few feet of the end. 

Future Programme. — Owing to the difficulty of obtaining satisfactory 
temperature measurements in rotary drilled holes it is desirable to make the 
best possible use of data obtained when other systems of drilling were in 
vogue. A great mass of temperature data exists from bores in the U.S.A., 
in Persia and elsewhere, much of which has been taken with every pre- 
caution ; efforts should therefore be made to obtain specimens of the 
strata passed through by these bores in order that conductivity determina- 
tions may be made. Requests for specimens have been sent to various 
organisations who might be able to assist. It is easy to obtain odd specimens 
from bores but difficult to get a representative selection. 

Temperature measurements should be made whenever bores are available. 
Any bore over 500 ft. deep is suitable, and any dry bore over 100 ft. is 
worth testing. 

No grant will be required for this work. 


Interim Report of the Committee appointed to consider and report upon the 
possibility of Quantitative Estimates of Sensory Events (Prof. A. 
Ferguson, Chairman ; Dr. C. S. Myers, F.R.S., Vice-Chairman ; 
Mr. R. J. Bartlett, Secretary ; Dr. H. Banister, Prof. F. C. 
Bartlett, F.R.S., Dr. Wm. Brown, Dr. N. R. Campbell, Prof. 
J. Drever, Mr. J. Guild, Dr. R. A. Houstoun, Dr. J. C. Irwin, 
Dr. G. W. C. Kaye, O.B.E., Dr. S. J. F. Philpott, Dr. L. F. 
Richardson, F.R.S., Dr. J. H. Shaxby, Mr. T. Smith, F.R.S., 
Dr. R. H. Thouless, Dr. W. S. Tucker, O.B.E.). 


This Committee, whose title indicates its terms of reference fairly 
accurately, was appointed at the York meeting in 1932, and has met since 
at irregular intervals, much of its work having been carried out by corre- 
spondence between members of different views and the circulation of 
statements made by members. 

In the early stages of the Committee's existence, it seemed impossible 
to reach an agreement, and it soon became obvious that it was necessary 
to investigate the general imphcations of the term measurement and of the 
processes involved in the making of measurements, and that it would be 


profitable to study what was actually ' measured ' in a number of experi- 
ments carried out in psycho-physical research. Further, it was evident 
that some of the experimental conditions under which these researches 
were carried out must come under review, and that considerable light 
would be thrown on the problem by a study of the historical order of 
development of the subject of mental measurement. 

The Committee has been fortunate in securing the services of specialists 
vvho have collected and discussed, in detail, the evidence for the different 
views, and feels that it can best serve the advancement of this particular 
branch of knowledge by putting forward the evidence for these views 
without at present making any attempt to reconcile them. 

To this end Mr. Guild has prepared a statement of the point of view of 
those who deny the possibility of quantitative estimates of sensory events, 
and Prof. Drever has dealt more briefly with the question from the opposite 
angle. Mr. Guild's statement has been circulated to the Committee, and 
notes and criticisms received from members are included in the Report. 
Prof. Drever, who had waited for Mr. Guild's paper before completing his 
own work, feels that a longer time is needed for a full presentation of a 
reply to Mr. Guild's position, but has sent in a short statement presenting 
the case for those who give the affirmative answer to the question whether 
sensation intensity is measurable. 

Extensive experimental work has been carried out in the Cambridge 
Psychological Laboratory, and Mr. Craik has prepared a short summary 
of this work, to which Prof. Bartlett has added an introductory note. 

Dr. Semeonoff, of the University of Edinburgh, has collated and studied 
critically the immense literature connected with the subject of the measure- 
ment of sensory magnitudes, and he has been kind enough to permit the 
Committee to include in its Report that portion of his work which refers 
to the measurement of sound sensation. 

For consideration of the Sections the Committee therefore present the 
following : 

I. An historical statement by Dr. B. Semeonoff. 

II. A short summary of recent Cambridge experimental work by 
Prof. F. C. Bartlett, F.R.S., and Mr. K. J. W. Craik, M.A. 

III. A statement by Mr. J. Guild. 

IV. Notes thereon by : ' 

A. Dr. R. H. Thouless. 

B. Dr. L. F. Richardson, F.R.S. 

C. Mr. T. Smith, F.R.S. 

D. Dr. Wm. Brown. 

E. Dr. J. H. Shaxby. 

V. A statement by Professor J. Drever. 

I. An historical statement by Dr. Semeonoff . 

The Measurement of Sound Sensation. 

Early work on the measurement of sound sensation was closely bound up 
with tvvo other studies : (i) the search for a simple method of measuring 
sound intensity, and (ii) the experimental verification of the validity of 
Weber's law and its derivatives. 

Reviews of the early work on sound measurement were made in 1905 . 
by Titchener (57), and in 1910 by Pillsbury (43). These naturally exclude 
the recent work using electrical methods, the development of which has 
revolutionised the whole field. A brief survey of these later methods was 


made by the present writer (49), who quotes references to fuller and more 
technical accounts. 

The pioneer researches were marred both by imperfections and in- 
adequacies of technique, and by theoretical misapprehensions. Of these 
drawbacks, those of the second type apply more particularly to methods 
based on the principle of falling bodies, those of the first both to these 
methods and to those based on the validity of the inverse square law. 

The principle that the intensity of a stimulus which reaches the receptor 
from a distant source varies inversely as the square of the distance of the 
source from the receptor is still sometimes used, in the form of the ' watch 
test,' by practising aurists in the determination of hearing loss. This 
method, while suitable for rough estimates, is not to be recommended for 
accurate measurement, since reflection of sound waves is inevitable, and 
practically uncontrollable, even in the open air. 

The method of falling bodies rests on the principle that the energy of a 
falling body is proportional to the weight of the body, and to the height 
of fall. Gravity being constant, it may be said that the product of height 
and weight gives a measure of the energy. Since, however, not all the 
energy is effectively transformed into sound, the simple ht. X wt. formula 
does not hold, and it was found by the early experimenters that in general 
a fractional power of the height had to be taken in calculating sound in- 
tensity. These conclusions were often reached as a result of equating for 
loudness the sounds produced by balls of varying size and weight, and it 
was usually noticed that differences of quality made such observations 
extremely difficult. Actually apparent equality of loudness under these 
conditions is no criterion of equality of intensity, and it is surprising how 
completely this rather obvious point was overlooked. Studies of the 
inter-relation of sensory attributes, which for sound may be said to date 
from the discovery in 1897 of the Broca phenomenon (6), have now 
established beyond dispute the fact that no point-to-point correspondence 
can be claimed between the psychological qualities of sensation and their 
physical correlates. Following Fletcher (13), we may say that while loud- 
ness is the subjective characteristic that is recognised as the magnitude of 
the sensation, and which changes most rapidly with changes in intensity, 
each of the three main subjective characteristics of sound — loudness, pitch 
and timbre — depend on all three of the physical characteristics — intensity, 
frequency and overtone structure. 

Attempts to measure sound intensity were also made using such devices 
as singing flames, percussion systems with or without tuning-forks, phono- 
graph records, blowing pressure, and direct microscopic examination of the 
amplitude of vibrations. 

Some of these instruments were used in investigations of Weber's law, 
and apart from this approach little attempt was made to measure sensation 
as such, i.e. to express sensation magnitudes in relative or absolute units. 
At the time of the 191 3 symposium in the British Journal of Psychology (40), 
the general consensus of opinion was that theoretically sensation was not 
measurable, but that Weber's law might hold, at least over a limited range, 
in most sense-departments. Fechner's ' fundamental assumptions,' first 
stated in i860 in the Elemente (12), on which he based his mathematical 
development of the aS (sensation) = k log R (stimulus) relation,^ were taken 

1 Sometimes stated S = k log RjR^, to indicate that the stimulus is measured 
in terms of its absolute threshold (R^) as unit. This is the law quoted in Warren's 
Dictionary of Psychology under the heading Fechner's Law. The definition adds : 
' Fechner's law is frequently incorrectly called Weber's Law, and is now often 
referred to as the W eber-Fechner law.' 


as the necessary conditions on which depended the measurability of 
sensation, so that this measurability stood or fell with the constancy of the 
' Weber-Fechner fraction.' 

This approach to the relation between stimulus and sensation has now 
been almost wholly superseded by other methods, though interest in the 
constancy of the difference threshold has not entirely died down. It is, 
of course, difficult to date this change of attitude with any degree of 
accuracy, but a useful turning-point may be arbitrarily fixed by the 
publication in 1920 of a review by Marx (35) of work on die Unterschieds- 
schwelle bei Schallempfindungen. Before this date work on the stimulus- 
sensation relation for sound was done exclusively by means of what we 
may term the ' Weber-Fechner approach,' the value of the just noticeable 
difference was usually found to be fairly constant, and the sounds studied 
were for the most part unpitched sounds (usually described as ' noises '). 
After 1920 developments in electrical apparatus made work with tones 
progressively easier and more accurate, the difference threshold was found 
to be much less constant than had previously been supposed, and new 
methods of investigation were evolved. 

These new methods may be classified under two main heads : I. Attempts 
to assign numerical values to actual sensations, or to determine values of a 
stimulus whose subjective effect should bear a given numerical relation to 
the subjective effect of another value of the same stimulus ; II. Attempts 
to discover the relationship between measurable physiological events and 
the physical values of the stimulus. When the former can be shown to 
bear the same or a similar functional relationship to the stimulus as the 
subjective effects noted above, the hypothesis is commonly advanced that 
loudness is determined by some such variable as the rate of change of the 
physiological process or the number of nerve units activated. These are 
not discussed in the present summary, since their relevance to the measura- 
bility of sensation depends entirely on whether one is prepared to accept as 
valid the hypothesis mentioned. 

In addition, the period under discussion has seen the development of 
noise-analysis methods, by which a complex sound can be reduced to a 
' frequency spectrum,' and a better understanding obtained of the apparent 
anomalies of masking. 

Table I contains a detailed summary of the principal work on Weber's 
law in its application to the intensity of sound ; the following descriptive 
notes may be of interest as giving a better indication of the actual experi- 
mental procedures employed. They also contain mention of a few researches 
not included in the table. 

The material may be divided into five groups as follows : (i) the earliest 
work, 1856-79 ; (ii) work reported in a series of articles in Wundt's 
Philosophische Studien, 1883-1900, and performed for the most part in 
Wundt's Leipzig laboratory ; (iii) early work on tones, 1 888-1 905 ; (iv) 
later work on tones, using electrical apparatus, 1922-35 ; (v) miscellaneous 
work with a variety of instruments, and usually with some other end in 
view than a simple examination of the truth of Weber's law, 1930-37. The 
succeeding sections are numbered in accordance with this classification. 

(i) The experiments of the first group gave inconclusive results, and are 
of interest chiefly for historical reasons. In particular, the work of Renz 
and Wolf (44) is significant in that it is ' pre-Fechner,' and seems to have 
anticipated the standardisation of the psychological methods. Renz and 
Wolf, medical undergraduates at Tubingen, experimented with a watch, 
intensity being measured in terms of distance. Various devices used to 
eliminate accidental errors showed a nice balance between the requirements 


of experimental accuracy and those of the comfort of the subject. Only 
one standard intensity was investigated, but both time-orders were used. 
The rather naive conclusion was drawn that certainty of judgment grew 
with increasing difference of intensities. Individual differences between 
the results of the two experimenters, who acted as their own subjects, also 
received comment. 

Fechner in the Elemente (12) derived his data on sound intensity from 
results obtained by Volkmann, who carried out two series of experiments. 
In the first, he used a simple improvised sound-pendulum, consisting of a 
strong knitting-needle as axis, and a wooden hammer which struck against 
a four-sided glass flask. Two heights were found such that in the majority 
of cases the observer could tell which gave the stronger sound, and observa- 
tions were made at four distances, varying from i\ to 18 paces. It was 
found that judgment remained as sure and correct at all distances, and from 
this it was concluded that the difference threshold was independent of the 
absolute value of the stimulus. Experiments with freely-falling bodies 
gave for two subjects out of three a ratio of intensities 3 : 4 for which a 
difference could be accurately judged, while with a ratio 6 : 7 considerable 
uncertainty occurred. 

A much fuller investigation was reported by Norr (42), who introduced 
a number of refinements into his falling-bodies technique. A much wider 
range of intensities was used, and catch-experiments were introduced, in 
which the standard was presented with itself. Unfortunately, the numerical 
results are such as to make the calculation of difference thresholds by any 
of the ordinary procedures practically impossible. Norr, however, con- 
cluded that differential sensitivity remained constant from the weakest to 
the strongest sounds. 

(ii) Dissatisfaction with Norr's results seems to have been one of the 
contributing causes of the work of the Leipzig group. This series of 
researches is of particular interest in that the writers had first-hand contacts 
with one another, even to the extent of opportunities of working with the 
same subjects and the same instruments. One of their main interests was 
the exact measurement of the sounds produced by the falling bodies, 
discussed above. 

Tischer (56) and Lorenz (31) used Hipp's fall-apparatus. Tischer's 
results show wide individual differences among his five subjects, and 
considerable variation over a fairly small range, together with a progressive 
improvement of discrimination with practice. Nevertheless, the results 
are described as ' so gut wie constant.' Lorenz, on the other hand, was 
aware that his results were insufficient for generalisation. He characterises 
the constancy obtained as fairly satisfactory, and states that it might have 
been better with greater care. 

Starke (50, 51), Merkel (36), and Mosch (39) used Wundt's improved 
fall-apparatus, and introduced further experimental refinements. Mosch 
laid particular stress on the ' error ' aspect of variations in the difference 
threshold, and introduced further categories of judgment (' much greater,^ 
' much less '). Kampfe (23) and Ament (3) reverted to the use of the 
sound-pendulum, making considerable improvements on the model used 
by Volkmann. Ament's work shows increased recognition of individual 
differences, and also a decided drop in the value of the difference threshold 
after the weaker intensities had been passed. In both these respects 
Ament anticipates the results of later experiments. 

A slightly different approach to the stimulus-sensation problem is seen 
in the work of Merkel (37) and Angell (5). Merkel and Angell used the 
method of ' Mean Gradation ' to find an estimated mid-point between two 


Table I 










Renz and Wolf (44) 






Volkmann (12) . 






)» • 






Norr (42) . 







Tischer (56) 






indiv. diffs. 


Lorenz (31) 






upper dev. 


Starke ("50, 51) . 







Wien (59) . 




•12, -2 

dev. at hoth 


Merkel (36) 






Kampfe (23) 







Ament (3) . 






lower dev. ; 
indiv. diflfs. 


Hoefer (22) 




not k 

irreg. var. 


Deenik (11) 




■2, -3 

1 90s 





irreg. var. 


Keller (24) 




*, L 

• I 


Guernsey (19) 





lower dev. 


Knudsen (29) 






lower dev. 


Halverson (20) . 






lower dev 


Riesz (46) . 






lower dev.; reg. 


Kellogg (25) 







„ (26) 





irreg. var.? 


Macdonald and 

Allen (32, 2) . 




not k 

reg. var. 


Kenneth and 

Thouless (27) 





• I 

lower dev.; reg. 


Churcher, King 


and Davies (10) 





not k 

reg. var. 


Gage (16) . 




not k 

lower dev. ; 
reg. var. 


Telford and Denk 





not k 

lower dev. ; 
reg. var. 


Montgomerjr (38) 





not k 

reg. var. 


Semeonoff (49) . 





not k 

irreg. var. 














not k 

reg. var. 


Upton and Holway 




not k 

function of 

Notes to columns : 

1. Sources : W, watch ; P, sound-pendulum ; FA, fall-apparatus ; TF, 
tuning-fork (s) ; OP, organ-pipes ; VO, vacuum-tube oscillator ; AO, audio- 
oscillator ; V, variator. 

2. Approximate range in db. 

3. No. of subjects (when stated). 

4. Methods : C, Constant method, or some variety thereof • L. method of 
Limits ; *, see text. 

5. Modal value of threshold, when constant {k). 

6. Deviations from a constant value at low or high intensities ; course of the 
threshold over range studied, etc. 


' terminal stimuli.' Merkel's results suggested that this mid-point lay 
nearer the arithmetic than the geometric mean of the terminal values, while 
Angell found the opposite to be true. Angell's result is in ac