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REVIEWS 511 obbligato)." The reader himself can turn up the profound paragraph on Berbzice considered as Racine's chamber tragedy. Canadian scholarship has too often to take a humble back seat, particularly in the field of the humanities. It is all the more gratifying then to reflect that some years ago on the occasion of the centenary of Goethe's death and now more recently in connection with the tercentenary of Racine's birth, a Canadian scholar has led the field. TWO LIVES* FRANK ALLEN Shortly after the unexpected and universally lamented death of Lord Rutherford on October 19, 1938, it was announced that a biography of the distinguished physicist was to be undertaken by Professor A. S. Eve, his friend and former associate at McGill University. This labour of veneration and affection was completed late in 1939 by the publication of the volume under review, at the Cambridge University Press. In appearance the work is dignified and attractive, well printed, copiously indexed, and appropriately illustrated with a fine reproduction of the spirited portrait of Rutherford painted for the Royal Society of London. About one-third of the 451 pages consist of the letters of Rutherford , the majority of them addressed to his wife both before and after their marriage, but many to his scientific associates and friends. These letters are a striking feature of the book and are of a most revealing nature. For in them Rutherford, from the beginning to the end of his arduous, varied and triumphant career, gave remarkably detailed desc~iptions of the events of his life, even those of a trivial character. Apparently few persons with whom he came in contact, whether he met them socially, in his laboratory, or on his travels, were overlooked in his free and entertaining *Rutherford, Being the Life and Leiters of the Rt. Hon. Lord Rutherford, O.M., by A. S. Eve, C.B.E., D.Sc., LL.D., F.R.S., formerly Macdonald Professor of Physics, McGill University. With a foreword by Earl Baldwin ofBewdley, K.G., Cambridge University Press, 1939, pp. xvi, 451, with 17 plates and 6 text figures. Sir John Cunningham McLennan. A Memoir, by H. H. Langton. With a Chapt~r on his Scientific Worlc, by E. F. Burton, the University of Toronto Press, pp. 123, with 13 illustrations and a list of his publications. 512 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY commentaries. Scattered through the volume are also many excerpts from published summaries of his lectures and scientific reports. For it is chiefly by these abstracts and letters that Professor Eve has portrayed the character and activities of Rutherford . With them, however, the biographer has woven many readily intelligible descriptions of the scientific achievements of Rutherford, from his early successful experiments on wireless telegraphic communication over the then incredible distance of half a mile to his final work on the disruption of the nucleus of the atom by bombardment with swiftly moving alpha particles. It will comfort lecturers to learn from one of Rutherford's stories that, at an address of his in the Royal Institution, Lord Kelvin in the audience fell asleep. The breezy description' of the incident then continues. When Rutherford reached the question of the age of the earth, a favourite subject of Kelvin's, he saw "the old bird sit up, open an eye and cock a baleful glance at me." An adroit reference to Kelvin, however, caused a complete transformation , the situation was saved, and "the old boy beamed upon me." The fundamental discoveries.of radioactivity by Becquerel, and of radioactive substances by M. and Mme Curie, provided Rutherford with a new and magnificent field of research in which his unrivalled powers of intuition and his genius for rapid and accurate experimentation found ample scope for employment. He was able to keep, as he himself said, a year in advance of the fast growing band of workers who were eagerly investigating the new realm of knowledge. His letters reveal a self-reliant personality, fully conscious of his ability and capacity for sustained work. But they also reveal an ambition to obtain for himself, a purpose richly fulfilled, the h.igh honours wherewith such accomplishments are rewarded. It is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 511-515
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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