3 OCTOBER 1947, Page 4


THE newest word for us to get used to is electronics. I don't suppose it is at all new to scientists, but the general public has hardly assimilated it yet. It will now. The Radio Exhibition at Olympia has seen to that. " Electronic 's is blazoned on sign-posts, on stalls, on exhibitors' literature—everywhere. Seeking enlighten- ment, I am told that it means anything connected with or arising from the functioning of a valve ; at least I think I was told that. The latest dictionary—most dictionaries are pre-electronic—gives some help : " ELECTRONICS, the study of the property of electrons, especially with reference to industrial applications "—but as the word is sure to be popularly misused the help may be rather limited after all. As for Radiolympia, I confess that most of its marvels are utterly beyond me, but the electronic model train (if it is electronic) is an inexhaustible joy. Everything a train should do it does by itself unaided by any human agency. Signals go up and the train runs on (they are that sort of signal) ; they go down and the train stops. A transporter bridge swings into position when needed ; three engines find their way with unerring precision to three different sidings ; trucks are coupled on or dropped off. I should be there watching it still but for the uncongenial necessity of turning out this column.