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Swinburne Library Blog

Back to Nature: all the way back to the first issue

Posted May 27, 2011 in category General by Rebecca Parker

You may have seen in a previous blog post that the Library has purchased the back files of Nature all the way back to 1869. This means that every article ever published in the prestigious journal---back to volume 1, issue 1---is now available to Swinburne staff and students.

The back files are a mine of useful information not just for science, but also for history and sociology. A news item in the very first issue of Nature discusses how the arrival of the Fortnightly Review in the Australian colonies has led to an 'epidemic' of controversial science in Melbourne. The author expresses hope that one of the national characteristics of Australians will be 'scientific zeal'. Our body of groundbreaking work at Swinburne alone is testament that we have certainly lived up to this ideal.

Another very early news item, 'Lectures to ladies', looks at The Woman Question, and whether women are really demanding 'a higher kind of intellectual culture than has hitherto been within their reach'. You can also read Einstein's treatise on science and religion, or his brief outline of how the theory of relativity was developed. And there's much discussion about the scientific implications of the loss of the Titanic, including the way the catastrophe has highlighted 'the chaotic condition of wireless telegraphy in the United States'.

You can access the Nature archives here, or by searching the Library when you're off campus.

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