The Natural Sciences Tripos was instituted in 1851 for the purpose of giving some encouragement to the pursuit of certain branches of Natural Science, which, although long recognised among the studies of the place, had not heretofore been honoured in the same way as those branches to which Newton's investigations had given a special interest. Custom, and the necessity of marking out a definite course for the student when new investigations were continually enlarging the boundaries of natural philosophy, had, until quite recently, excluded from the examination for the old Tripos all natural science except Mechanics in its various applications and Optics. The examination for the Natural Sciences Tripos embraces the greater part of the other branches of natural science; that is to say, the following subjects :
Chemistry, and the other branches of physics most nearly connected with it.
Mineralogy, including Crystallography.
Geology, and Palæontology.
Botany, including Vegetable Anatomy and Physiology.
Comparative Anatomy, Physiology and Zoology.
This is evidently an enormous range, and without some limitation quite beyond the powers of any student. Any one of these subjects might well be the study of a life. But the same might be said of Astronomy or Philology.
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