The Royal Society’s Conversazione


‘A salient feature of the diversity of exhibits shown at last week’s Conversazione of the Royal Society was the use made by many research teams of electronic techniques in their investigations.’

So, 50 years ago, started a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of May 17th 1961.

The story continues:


‘The NationalHospital for Medical Research and the CentralMiddlesexHospital showed how the radio pill can be used to determine pressure, temperature and pH of the gastro-intestinal tract.’


‘The DSIR Forest Products Research Laboratory measures the density of wood by exposing it to a radioactive isotope emitting beta particles. The quantity of particles transmitted is a function of density.’


‘The radiation is detected by a scintillation counter, and the variation of density of the individual growth rings is obtained by scanning the specimen, and feeding the output from the radiation monitor into a pen recorder.’


‘Electronic character recognition by auto-correlation was demonstrated by staff of the National Physical Laboratory. This device operates be selecting the major features of a character. Selection is based on the comparison of the unknown character with displaced copies of itself.’



  1. Yes indeed, even HMP can be led astray . . .

  2. “For HMP, time is an illusion”
    Especially after an evening in Dublin 🙂

  3. Pedantically speaking Yes Mike. I will put the prefix ‘over’ before the ’50 years ago’ phrase in future memory lanes. For HMP, time is an illusion – characters, technologies and companies change but the stories stay essentially the same.

  4. Shouldn’t you covering 1962 now ? Or are HMP timescales even worse than those of Apple ?

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