Eddington at the `Del-Squared V Club’

I’m up to my eyeballs in matters Eddingtonian these days preparing for the big centenary, so I thought I’d share this which I was reminded about this morning. The official results of the 1919 Eclipse Expeditions were announced at a joint meeting of the Royal Society and Royal Astronomical Society on November 6 1919. Members of a certain physics graduate student society at Cambridge, however, were treated to a sneak preview in October of that year, to which the minutes of the 83rd Meeting of the `Del-Squared V Club’ attest:

Arthur Stanley Eddington gave a talk at that meeting, a brief note of which appears on the right-hand page of the minute book shown above. You can see the Newtonian value for the expected deflection of 0.87 seconds at the bottom of the page. There’s also a nice reference to `The Weight of Light’. I had no idea Eddington was a lightweight speaker, but there you are.

I don’t think the Del-Squared V Club exists* any more, so I won’t make the joke that if you want to phone them up you have to go through the operator

*I’m reliably informed that it has been defunct since 1970.


11 Responses to “Eddington at the `Del-Squared V Club’”

  1. Chris C Says:

    Is the J Chadwick in the list of members the discoverer of the neutron?

    • telescoper Says:

      I think so. Chadwick went to work in Berlin in 1913 and ended up being interned in Germany for the duration of World War 1, but he returned to Cambridge after the Armistice to work in Rutherford’s group at the Cavendish. It is very probably him.

    • telescoper Says:

      There’s also Milne, Taylor and Appleton…

    • telescoper Says:

      Not to mention AH Compton, CTR Wilson and GP Thomson…

    • telescoper Says:

      The names listed include at least four Nobel Prize winners…

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      LA Pars wrote a fine book on classical mechanics, and of course there is Harold Jeffreys, the pioneer Bayesian and geophysicist.

    • Something similar was the Kapitza Club; read about it and many other things in Helge Kragh’s biography of Dirac.

  2. Dave Carter Says:

    W.M. Smart was Regius Professor of Practical Astronomy at Glasgow after he left Cambridge, and wrote a pretty definitive textbook on Spherical Astronomy, which we used in the Astronomy option in my first year at Oxford. W.M.H. Greaves was an early practitioner of spectrophotometry, and became Astronomer Royal for Scotland.

  3. Dave Carter Says:

    But Sir Harold Jeffreys was the only one whom I actually heard lecture.

  4. […] always used was “del”. That may be a British – or even a Cambridge – thing. Here is an example of that usage a century […]

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