The number of freshman concentrators in History jumped from 96 to 149 this year, according to University Hall figures released last night. Department members are mystified by the sudden increase over last year which puts History only one man behind first place Government.
In a comparable shift, 50 percent more freshmen flocked to Biology this year, and an estimated three fourths of these are pre-meds. There are now 98 freshman Biology concentrators, as against 68 who entered the field last year.
Economics is third in popularity with 128 concentrators, while Social Relations fell off from 90 last year to 81. English dropped from 101 to 88, Biochemical Sciences gained substantially and chemistry and Physics showed slight losses.
C. Crane Brinton '12, McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and chairman of the Department, said he and his colleagues were puzzled by the influx of History concentrators. "We're not gloating over it," he remarked.
Brinton offered the explanation that the History Department's decision to make every effort to maintain tutorial might have attracted students. "Now, though, the situation may be complicated by overcrowding," he pointed out.
Efforts to escape the draft by taking up medicine have litle to do with Biology's new popularity, according to Edward S. Castle '25, associate professor of Physiology and chairman of the Department.
Castle said last night that he believes the trend toward medicine is part of a general social process.