GENTLEMEN: I beg leave to tender you my sincere thanks for the honor you have conferred upon me by inviting me to preside at the farewell banquet to Professor Tyndall. I need scarcely say that it would give me great pleasure to be with you on that interesting occasion, although I would prefer not to occupy the place your partiality would assign to me, since I fear I should not be able, from want of experience, to do justice to so conspicuous a position.
THE speculative views of Lambert and Kant led them to the adoption of a Nebular Hypothesis, and to the idea of a perpetual development in the regions of space. Sir William Herschel, after long hesitation, was ultimately led, by the surer path of observation and cautious induction, to the adoption of similar views, in relation to the existence of a self-luminous substance of a highly-attenuated nature, distributed through the celestial realms.
TRAVELLERS along the river-valleys of New England, and in other sections of our Northern States, will observe that the banks in many places rise by a series of terraces, which at a distance resemble the steps of an amphitheatre. Carved with singular uniformity upon the slopes, they are everywhere a striking and beautiful feature of these most picturesque and beautiful landscapes.
IN the intellectual field there are two distinct classes of laborers: the discoverers, or those who pursue science for its own sake; and the appliers, or those who seek to make the knowledge it confers useful, and so turn it into a direct source of profit to themselves, and, in a general way, to the public.
PROF. W. H. YOUNG, formerly of Athens, Ohio, now United States consul at Carlsruhe for Baden and Alsace-Lorraine, has sent us a very interesting epitome of the recent odd discussion in the English papers, chiefly in the Times, of the oddest feature of English public schools.
IN July, 1872, a sensational paragraph went the rounds of the papers that a “horned frog” had arrived at the Zoological Gardens; so I went to see it, and here, kind reader, you have a portrait of this celebrated animal. In the first place, any one can see that the little beast, though carrying horns, is not a frog at all, but a lizard.
IN all ages the most different opinions as to the seat and the principle of life have been expressed; yet, the systems bequeathed to us by the ancients on this subject contain a general belief, simple enough to be very widely shared, and seemingly well founded enough to endure for centuries.
MR. PRESIDENT: I am expected to deal, this evening, with a theme which, under the actual circumstances, it is somewhat difficult to handle. The degree to which our systems of education tend to foster or discourage original investigation into the truths of Nature is a topic which might better befit an assembly more gravely disposed than the present.
IN the southwest of France, at no great distance from the river Yézère, are situated the caves which were inhabited by a race of Troglodytes toward the close of the Quaternary geological period. The openings of these caves faced all points of the compass, except the north.
OUR country, right or wrong,” is a sentiment not unfrequently expressed on the other side of the Atlantic; and, if I remember rightly, an equivalent sentiment was some years ago uttered in our own House of Commons, by one who rejoices, or at least who once rejoiced, in the title of philosophical radical.
MR. PRESIDEN: When I was in London a year or two ago, I passed some pleasant hours with my friend Prof. Tyndall. Among these, I think that, perhaps, the most pleasant were those of one afternoon that we spent together in the laboratory of the Royal Institution, where Davy discovered potassium and sodium, and decomposed the earths; where Young first announced the grand and fertile principle of interference, and placed on firm foundations the wavetheory of light; where Faraday made his great discoveries in electricity and magnetism.
MR. CHAIRMAN: There is a legend well known to most of us— and which has an advantage over most legends in that it is substantially true—that a very distinguished man of science in this country was once approached by an eminent practical man, and urged to turn his great powers in scientific investigation and exposition to effect in making a fortune.
MY DEAR SIR: In answer to yours of the 6th, I may say that, being familiar with all the circumstances relating to the discovery and naming of Mount Tyndall, I was asked to respond to a toast alluding to this, at the dinner given in honor of Prof. Tyndall on the 4th, but which want of time prevented being called for.
PROF. JOSEPH HENRY, who is widely known throughout the scientific world for his various original investigations, and as the organizer and Permanent Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, is of Scotch descent, and was born in Albany, in the State of New York.
WHEN THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY started, the public were informed that it would be published a year at any rate, and go on if fairly sustained; our second volume is now completed, and we are happy to announce that the enterprise will be continued, and gives promise of permanence.
THIS exhaustive and beautifully-executed folio comes to us as an exponent of the present state of American ornithological science. The position of Dr. Coues as a naturalist is a guarantee of the character of his work. He lays under contribution the latest results, having been assisted by various eminent gentlemen, while a large part of the volume consists of his own original observations.
DEAR SIR: In his interesting article on “Spontaneous Movements in Plants,” printed in your January number, Dr. A. W. Bennett remarks, page 284, that “the selective power of plants, in absorbing from the soil a larger portion of those ingredients which are required for the formation or healthy life of their tissues, is an absolutely unexplained phenomenon.
PROFESSER MATTHEW FONTAINE MAURY, whose scientific labors in the Hydrographical Office, Washington, earned for him eminent rank among savants, and were of inestimable benefit to the commerce of the world, died at Lexington, Va., February 1st, aged 67 years.
THE Mont Cenis Tunnel labors under a very serious defect—that of insufficient ventilation. Under ordinary circumstances the difference of temperature at the opposite sides of the Alps is such as to keep up a steady current of air through the tunnel.