COMMENTARY ON THE BURT AFFAIR

Lewis B. Birch

Abstract


In 1965, when Sir Cyril Burt was over 80, a book with the Greek title Stephanos was edited by Charlotte Banks and P.L. Broadhurst as a tribute to him. There were more than a dozen papers in the book; each was written by a distinguished writer, each covered a different aspect of his wide range of interests, though not covering them all. The first paper in the Festschrift was a short biography and appreciations by C.W. Valentine, Burt's oldest friend, their friendship dating back to the time they were both students under Külpe in Würzburg. He begins by asserting that Burt was one of the half-dozen greatest psychologists this century has produced, then he outlines the unique width and depth of Burt's scholarly activities, his pioneer researches, his publications and editorships; he writes too of the eminent people holding important academic positions in many parts of the world who had been his students. Valentine especially emphasizes Burt's quite exceptional generosity in giving his time, effort, and expertise in helping students, colleagues, and public bodies like the BBC and the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

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