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The Spike or Victoria College Review October 1929

Mathematical and Physical Society

page 65

Mathematical and Physical Society.

The Society commenced its Ninth Session of activity on the 26th March, when the General Meeting was held, and the year's programme of lectures discussed.

The first ordinary meeting was held on the 9th April, when Mr. F. F. Miles, M.A., presented a paper entitled "Mathematics and Culture in World History." In this very interesting paper Mr. Miles showed the relationship between mathematics and other branches of culture in their development in the course of World History. It was a very intriguing introduction to the Spengler philosophy which regards mathematics and science in general as being affected by "race, famille, et milieu," as in Taine's philosophy of literary criticism. This novel theory which breaks down popularly conceived differences between Art and Science no doubt exaggerates the resemblances; but there is also a considerable element of truth in the proposition; the question is, how much?

At the second meeting Mr. F. W. G. White, M.Sc., presented a paper on "Geophysical Prospecting." The speaker described the various methods, seismological, electrical, and physical which are at present in use for locating ores, and illustrated his lecture by means of lantern slides.

On the 28th May Professor Sommerville, M.A., D.Sc., gave an interesting account of "The Principles of Preferential Voting." The Professor has himself contributed to the literature on this subject, and was able to give us full information as to relative advantages of several systems present in use, pointing out the difficulties in connection with any system of voting.

Mr. N. F. C. Hill, B.Sc., presented a paper entitled "Radiology," on the 4th June. We were fortunate in having as speaker one experienced in radiological technique at the Wellington Public Hospital. The lecturer treated the subject under the three headings Radiography, Radium Therapy, and Deep-Ray Therapy.

The sixth meeting was held on 2nd July. Mr. A. J. Inder gave a paper on "The Life of Clerk Maxwell." The speaker gave an excellent account of the life of this well-known mathematician and physicist.

The seventh meeting, held on July 16th, was exceptionally well attended. Mr. C. G. Liddell and Mr. R. T. Marshall presented a paper on "Loud Speaker Constructoin." Mr. Liddell dealt with horn speakers, and Mr. Marshall described the balanced armature and moving coil units. The lecturers demonstrated the reproduction of various notes by suitable gramophone records.

The eighth meeting was held on the 30th July. Mr. G. A. Peddie, M.A., gave a paper on "The Squaring of the Circle." The subject was treated from both the historical and the mathematical aspects. The attempts of the Ancients to solve the problem were outlined. Then an account was given of more recent attempts, concluding with a sketch of the proof of the transcendentalism of Tt and the consequent insolubility of the problem by Euclidean methods.

An opportunity was taken at this meeting by members of the Society to farewell Mr. F. W. G. White, M.Sc., who had obtained a Post-Graduate Scholarship in Science, and was about to leave for England to continue his studies at Cambridge. At supper, on behalf of the members of the Society and students of the advanced physics class, Mr. Harding presented Mr. White with a complete set of Montaigne's Essays. Mr. White was was a former President of this Society, and since he came to this College has always been one of its most enthusiastic members. Speeches were also made by Professor Florance, Professor Sommerville, Mr. Inder and others.

The ninth and last meeting was held on the 13th August, when Mr. R. J. Petherick and Mr. J. A. Strong gave a paper on "What is the Electron?" Mr. Petherick described experiments which indicate that the electron is a particle; while Mr. Strong described more recent experiments which seem to show that the electron may equally well be regarded as a form wave motion. This is probably the most important problem of theoretical physics at the present time.

As this was the last lecture a hearty vote of thanks was passed to Mrs. Sommerville and Mrs. Florance for providing suppers, and to the lady members of the committee for acting as hostesses during the session.