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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review October, 1920

Science Jottings

page 40

Science Jottings

Sketch of science equipment


On the last Friday of the second term the Science Faculty threw open its doors to the gullible public of Wellington. The attendance was good and the entertainment more or less a success.

After a very formal opening by Mr. P. Levi (Chairman of the College Council) the visitors were at liberty to attend lecturettes given by the various science professors or to wander aimlessly from room to room. A very obvious improvement would have been to number the rooms consecutively throughout, so that one: could see all the exhibits by merely following a few finger pointers

The Physics Department eclipsed all others; for its innumerable exhibits were all of a most interesting type. Their preparation must have necessitated several weeks' hard work and entailed a great expenditure of skill and money. The star item was the wireless telephone. Through this marvellous contrivance one could hear the strains of a gramophone situated on the floor below almost as well as when waiting for one's turn to don the receivers. An X-ray exhibit also attracted a large audience. But to see all the exhibits in this department alone would have taken three hours, and a Wellington audience must see everything, especially if there be no charge for seeing.

Sketch of woman with dog in a room with a skeleton

The Chemistry exhibits were much less pretentious, especially those held in the small laboratory. Easily the best were the liquid air experiments. Evidently the makers of doubtful perfumes had complete confidence in the ability of the Physics Department to keep people amused. It was noticed that for once the Chemistry labs, were devoid of those piles of dirty alembics, thermostats, and simple devices which had been found so useful in protecting the sensitive beach-tops from the ultra-violet rays of sunlight. It is to be sincerely hoped that the aforementioned articles were merely stowed away in some sunny room and not thrust down the sinks.

page 41

The Biological Department's exhibits were well chosen and not too numerous. One demure young lady made a great hit in showing all the inner workings of a cat-eater of doubtful origin and odour.

The intricacies of the human intellect and its working were manifested in the Psychological laboratory. In the absence of any intellect suitable for dissection and exhibition, the public had to be content with pre-arranged experiments, in which the public were the observers—or victims. An outstanding feature here was the freshness and eagerness of the demonstrators, this being probably due to the quick preparation of the exhibits.

The Geology display reflected great credit on those responsible. The exhibits were simple, neatly prepared, and easily understood. Moreover, there were not too many demonstrations crowded into one room.

Mathematics is a subject regarded by "the man in the street" as quite without charms. Nevertheless, the Mathematical Department's exhibits were a pleasant surprise to all who dared approach. Of absorbing interest were the models of projections of fourth dimensional solids.

Now that the clouds of war have rolled away the old University spirit is fast returning. The Conversazione this year gives us a good example. Next time, the public of Wellington should see a display equal in all respects to those of pre-war days.

Sketch of men in room listening to music

Farewell to Professor Easterfield

The Chemistry Department is still mourning the loss of Professor Easterfield. A few days before he left he delivered a farewell lecture to his old students. Here he sketched, in his ever lucid and jovial manner, his own career from early boyhood and worked in the history of Victoria College in a most instructing manner. The students were indeed fortunate in having suggested such a fruitful subject for an address. Those in a position to read between the lines got some idea of the depth of feeling which the severing of his connection with the Old College must have occasioned Professor Easterfield. Indeed, it is well known that he page 42 designed the College himself and fought hard to have it placed on the new Technical College site. Not only with the past or with the present did he deal, but also with the future; for with regard to the betterment of the College he offered many valuable suggestions and encouragements, which we hope will have the desired result. At the conclusion of his address he was heartily applauded.

The President of the Students' Association (Mr. S. Mansfield), in presenting the Professor with a gold wristlet watch as a token of esteem from the students, made a very suitable speech, eloquently expressing the feelings of all those present. He wished Professor Easterfield all success in his new appointment, rightly stressing the manner in which the students regarded their late Professor, not only as a teacher, but also as a friend.

Professor Easterfield suitably replied in a few words, and the meeting closed with cheers for him given lustily in the good old style.

Fresher:"I smashed two beakers in that experiment yesterday." Audience:"What did the Prof, do?" Fresher:He made a retort." Teacher:"All day long we are breathing in oxygen. What do we breathe at night?" Willie:"Nitrogen." Teacher:"Jones, mention a unit of electricity." Jones (waking up): "W'at?" Teacher:"Correct."

An electrical supply merchant hung up the following sign in his window:—"Don't kill your wife. Let one of our electric washing machines do the dirty work."

Nervous Old Lady: "Constable, is it dangerous to put my foot on the tram rail?" P.C. Murphy: "No, mum; not widout ye put yer other fut on the overhead wire." X.: "Why did you drop that bun?" Y.: "It gave me such a shock." X.: "How's that," Y.: "There was a currant in it."