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In 1887 Ernest, on his second attempt, won a Scholarship to .
In 1889 he was head boy (the Dux of the school, hence his nick-name `quacks'), played in the rugby team and, once again on his second attempt, won one of the ten scholarships available nationally to assist attendance at a college of the University of New Zealand. There he played rugby and participated in the activities of the Dialectic Society (a student debating society), the graduation day celebrations (for which he co-wrote one song) and the recently formed Science Society.
On Saturdays the boys were free for swimming in the creek, and birdsnesting to raise money for catapult rubber and kite strings.
The family shifted according to the father's work; in 1876 to Foxhill for farming and railway construction, in 1883 to At age ten at Foxhill School Ernest received his first science book.
As a boy Ernest was surrounded by hard-working people with technical skills. and arrived in New Plymouth in 1855 as a thirteen-year old.
She was evacuated to Nelson in 1860 during the Taranaki Land War.
He showed that a steel needle surrounded by a wire loop in the discharge circuit was indeed magnetised for frequencies as high as 500 million per second.
By slowly dissolving the needle in acid he showed that only a very thin surface layer of the needle was magnetised. (His brother later became the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.) Maclaurin could not accept the terms of the scholarship so the University therefore nominated Ern, the only other candidate, who was duly awarded it.
(A candidate for a scholarship had to be enrolled at the University.) For the research work required of a candidate, Ern extended his researches of the previous year to even higher frequencies using the damped oscillatory current from discharging a Leyden-jar (an electrical capacitor) or a Hertzian oscillator.He radically altered our understanding of nature on three separate occasions.