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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Mather Elected A.A.A.S. Head


Kirtley F. Mather, professor of Geology, was elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at a meeting of that body in New York City during the vacation. At the same meeting another Harvard professor became involved in a bitter debate over card-reading tests.

Mather will take over the office on January 1, 1951.

At one of the meetings, in which a great number of recent scientific and psychological discoveries were publicized, Richard Von Mises, Gordon McKay Professor of Aerodynamics and Applied Mathematics, struck out at the findings of Joseph P. Rhine, professor of Psychology at Duke University, in the field of extra-sensory perception.

Rhine Claims "Sixth Sense" Exists

Rhine contended that he had compiled "significant statistical evidence" to support belief in a "sixth sense" that supplies to the brain information now attributed to "hunch" or "intuition."

The conclusiveness of the experiments was strongly contested by Von Mises, who claimed that if, in the card-reading experiments, cards and guesser happen to be in "mathematical" resonance," the subject will seem to be far outdoing chance in his correct calls. During a short period of experiments, he insisted, this "freak occurrence" has often appeared and has been mistakenly believed to be important.

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