Geology Reference
In-Depth Information
Doomsday Postponed
In radioactivity we have but a foretaste of a fountain of new
knowledge, destined to overflow the boundaries of science.
Frederick Soddy
For scholarship students in London, college life was a perma-
nent struggle against financial hardship. Sixty pounds a year was
just not enough to survive on and Arthur Holmes' parents were
not in a position to subsidise him financially. While he earned
the occasional ten shillings reviewing topics for The Times , the
cost of living in London was a continual strain, and he was
always on the lookout for ways of making money to fund him-
self and his studies. When halfway through the first year of
his geology course Holmes saw an opening advertised for an
'assistant of the second class in the Department of Minerals' at
the British Museum, he decided to apply and continue his
studies part-time.
Appointments to permanent positions at the British Museum
were then made by the three Principal Trustees of the Museum
who were none other than the Archbishop of Canterbury, the
Lord Chancellor and the speaker of the House of Commons.
Holmes no doubt asked himself what on earth these somewhat
inappropriate individuals knew about geology. A candidate had
to be nominated by one of these Trustees, get on their 'list'
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