7 9 0 D O C . 504 O N N E W T O N S B I C E N T E N A R Y Ma r c h 26, 1927] NATURE 467 Roubiliac, and a death mask of Newton, the last named presented by Mr. Alfred Gilbert, R.A. Me d a l l ic Il l u s t r a t io n s . Numerous medals and tokens were in circulation at home and abroad after Newton’s death. Most of them bear the bust of Newton on a reverse of one is a representation of Newton’s monument in Westminster Abbey. A medal (it is rare), designed by James Roettier in 1739, shows the bust of Newton, and for reverse, science, personified as a female, with wings, is seated on a rock, holding a diagram of the solar system. The Royal Astro- nomical Society’s gold medal bears Newton’s head. This yearly gift replaces an earlier type by George Mills, awarded for the first time in 1822, but super- seded in 1831. On the reverse was an inscription taken from verses by Halley prefixed to the first edition of the “Principia,” The Royal Society’s annual Royal Medal perpetuates Newton through a reproduction on the reverse of Roubiliac ’s statue in the ante-Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge. McGill University, Montreal, awards a medal which carries a head of Newton. The list admits of extension. T. E. J a m e s . News and Views. THE Grantham commemoration of Newton on Mar. 18-20 was a brilliant success and reflected much credit on the Yorkshire Branch of the Mathe- matical Association and its able and active President, Prof. S. Brodetsky. It would be diff icult to say which was the best-arranged part of the programme— the scientific meeting, the visit to the Manor House at Woolsthorpe, the dinner, or the service in Grantham Church. All went off without the smallest hitch. But there can be no doubt as to the most impressive part. The gathering in the magnificent church, crowded in every corner, the bright robes and the band of scholars, the hearty singing of the finest old psalms and hymns, the exquisite choice of passages for reading, above all, the superb sermon of the Bishop of Birmingham, made a profound impression. The end fitly crowned the work of commemoration, and those who came from a distance—some 150 of them—dispersed in the afternoon full of gratitude to Prof. Brodetsky, Mr. A. B. Oldfield, and other devoted members of the Mathematical Association, as well as to Mr. Christopher Turnor, Sir Charles Welby, the Mayor of Grantham, and others who generously provided hospitality for some of the visitors. Ce l e b r a t io n s are now of almost monthly occur- rence, and some people may think there are too many of them. Happily in the case of the Newton com- memoration there was no doubt from beginning to end, and the concurrence of the many sides of his marvellous character was well brought out. Even the weaker points of his humanity found their record- ing angels in the comparative privacy of the after- dinner speeches. His interest in the ‘stinting’ of the farmer on his Manor of Woolsthorpe and in the actual working of the estate his action at the Mint which restored the guinea to its face-value, and his own operations in the share market, these were prob- ably the sides of his work which were new to the largest number of the audience. To these should be added Dr. Barnes’s discovery of the state of his theological beliefs and the probable reason why he abstained from taking orders . Altogether, the occasion was worthy of its subject, and stands out as a very moving and instructive commemoration. For the purposes of education such a function has a double aspect, and it is impossible to say which is No. 2995, Vo l . 119] more valuable. On one hand, it introduces a large public to the work of men whose thought in its entirety is inaccessible to most, but who have a human and a beneficent quality which all can appre- ciate. On the other hand, it turns the thoughts of men of science to the human and historical aspects of their subject. If we think of the great founders, wo are bound to fit them into their place in the evolution of thought, to regard them, not only as real human beings like ourselves, but also as steps in the upward march of the human spirit. Se v e r a l telegrams and other messages were read at the scientific meeting and the dinner. Prof. Einstein sent a letter to Dr. Jeans, secretary of the Royal Society, but it was unfortunately not handed to Dr. Jeans in time to be read. We are glad, how- ever, to be able to publish a translation of the letter. [1] “More than any other people,” wrote Prof. Einstein, “you Englishmen have carefully cultivated the bond of tradition and preserved the living and conscious continuity of successive generations. You have in this way endowed with vitality and reality the distinctive soul of your people and the soaring soul of humanity. You have now assembled in Grantham in order to stretch out a hand to transcendent genius across the chasm of time, and to breathe the air of the precincts where he conceived the fundamental notions of mechanics and of physical causality. All who share humbly in pondering over the secret of physical events are with you in spirit, and join in the admiration and love that bind us to Newton. What has happened since Newton in theoretical physics is the organic development of his ideas. Force became independent reality to Faraday, Maxwell, and Lorentz, and then went over into the conception of the field. The partial differential equation has taken the place of the ordinary differential equation used by Newton to express causality. Newton’s absolute and fixed space has been converted by the theory of relativity into a physically vital frame. It is only in the quantum theory that Newton’s differential method becomes inadequate, and indeed strict causality fails us. But the last word has not yet been said. May the spirit of Newton’s method give us the power to restore unison between physical reality and the profoundest characteristic of Newton’s teaching—strict causality.”
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