Great Men of Science: A History of Scientific Progress

Great Men of Science: A History of Scientific Progress

Great Men of Science: A History of Scientific Progress

Great Men of Science: A History of Scientific Progress

Excerpt

I count it an honour to be allowed to write a few words of introduction for the English edition of Professor Lenard's historical studies of the great men of science. It is now over twenty years since I worked as a research student in his laboratory, and time has dulled many memories, but the recollection of his inspiriting and wholehearted devotion to the service of science, of his generous enthusiasm for the work of men of genius, living and dead, and of his wonderful experimental skill and resource, is still bright. Ramsauer, Hausser and Kossel, whose names have since become famous, were among his research students at that time, and the physics colloquium, with Professor Lenard's illuminating and significant interjections, comments and questions, made the pursuit of scientific truth seem an exciting and supremely desirable quest. It was on such occasions that Professor Lenard's interest in the history of science came particularly to our notice. Who had first shown the way here, what had he actually done, how was he led to do it? -- such questions, to which our professor too often had to supply the answer himself, brought before us the greatness of past workers and the significance of their achievements. Galileo, Newton, Faraday, Hertz (who was Lenard's teacher): such men became living figures for us, and their tasks and successes appeared as part of an organic structure, and not as an empty record of past times.

It is not often that one who, like Professor Lenard, has won for himself an assured place in the history of science, undertakes a systematic appreciation of the work of his predecessors, of the kind which we have before us in this book.

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