Letter: Not forgotten

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WHILE I agree wholeheartedly with Paul Barker's strictures on the architectural value of the Appleton Tower in Edinburgh, he really cannot get away with saying that it is named after an 'otherwise forgotten' vice- chancellor of the university. In the days when Sir Edward was appointed, vice-chancellorships were awarded to men of major academic distinction; the ability to raise funds or to balance books was of no importance to that office.

Sir Edward's major contribution to science was the discovery of an ionised layer in the ionosphere higher than the Heaviside Layer, which was also capable of reflecting radio frequencies back to earth at frequencies up to 50 MHz. This is the Appleton Layer. If the Appleton Tower were to be demolished tomorrow, Sir Edward would still be remembered by the physics community for his significant contribution to their science.

Alasdair Maclean

Harrogate, North Yorkshire