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Inventions

Review: The Festival of Britain

In 1947 the British Government decided to inaugurate a series of celebrations and displays to commemorate the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851. The various entertainments and exhibitions spread over Great Britain all through the centre months of this year are the result. The centrepiece of this festival is the exhibition now staged on the south bank of the River Thames at Waterloo, London. The guide book to The South Bank Exhibition, issued by H.M. Stationery Office, claims that this exhibition is “neither a museum of British culture nor a trade show of British wares." It would be more true to say that it is not an ordinary museum and not apparently a trade show.

Sparks From The Anvil

 Few journalists of the capitalist Press have exhibited such insight into the character of contemporary politicians as Mr. W. Purvis. This gentleman, in an article (“The Man Who Saved France”) setting forth the merits of the late Adolphe Thiers—one time President of France —gives vent to the following gem of political wisdom:

       There was something of Mr. Lloyd George and a great deal of our English Premier in Adolphe Thiers. In his unconscious and amusing egotism he reminds one often of our Minister of Munitions; and he does so, too, in the case with which he could turn on the tap of poetic and patriotic eloquence, as well as in certain flashes of poetical inspiration.
    “Sunday Chronicle,” 16.1.16.

The Shoulders of Giants

Where and how do scientific and technological ideas and developments originate? Is it just a matter of individual geniuses, or of responses to economic needs, or is it a combination of various factors?

Clearly there are individuals who make startling contributions to science. Galileo would be one; also Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, who in Victorian times laid the basis for computers and programs, and who have been described as ‘time travellers’ (Steven Johnson: How We Got to Now).

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