A YEAR ago I had the honor of bringing before the members of the Royal Institution some account of an investigation in which an attempt was made to show that the power of atmospheric air to develop life in organic infusions—infusions, for instance, extracted from meat or vegetables—and its power to scatter light went hand-in-hand.
THE committee of the Albert Society has honored me by an invitation to give a few popular lectures at Dresden, on subjects of public hygiene. Let me state to you at once what I think of popular lectures in general. What ought they to be, and what can we expect from them?
DISCUSSING the varied exhibits made of the natural sciences in the late Exposition at Philadelphia, Forest and Stream pays a high compliment to a collection of water-color paintings of “The Birds of New Jersey.” These paintings are the work of G. B. Hardenbergh, a youth in New Brunswick, who, having heard, in the Rutgers College Grammar-School, a course of lectures on birds, by the writer of this, became at once an enthusiast, and, with the spirit of a devotee, gave himself up to the study of birds in their native haunts.
THERE may, perhaps, be a question in the minds of some, or even of many, as to what animals are absolutely the most useful to man; but there can be no question that those which furnish him with milk and flesh for food, wool and leather for clothing, and which bear his burdens and draw his loads, have very high claims to this rank.
THE attitude of the world in general toward chemistry is peculiar, and, as this paper is intended to show, it is not what it ought to be. This is due in turn to a peculiarity of the science itself, which distinguishes it from most other sciences.
NO subject of scientific research has within the present century received more earnest attention from thoughtful minds than that of statistics. None, moreover, is more worthy of investigation or fruitful of more satisfactory practical results to humanity.
THE New-World pioneers of the sixteenth century, when they first looked on the sea-worn shores and giant forests of New England, had in reality no compelling reason for believing in the veritable old age of this new-found land. They had no “first order of proof” that the shores were not recently upheaved there for them to land upon, and with the growth of the centuries on them for the trial of the manhood that was soon to reclaim them.
FIELD—GEOLOGY does not mean and need not include the collecting of specimens. Consequently a formidable series of hammers and chisels, a capacious wallet with stores of wrapping-paper and pill-boxes, are not absolutely and always required.
THERE are some subjects which are unapproachable by any of the present methods of scientific investigation, yet the human mind, especially that form of it which is utterly untrained in scientific methods of thought, loves to ponder over the profoundest mysteries, and calls upon Science with an almost imperative tone to solve moral doubts and fears.
SOME one has said that there is nothing in all the world of commonplaces which was not once a novelty, and born from the conception of an original mind. The idea that science is not for the professional student only, but that every one will take an interest in its results if they are only put before the world in the right way— this notion which has now produced a literature of its own—even this idea was once brand-new.
THE exhibitors of the atmospheric air-brake, at the Centennial, attached a tube to the air-reservoir for the purpose of showing the immense pressure employed. The current rushing from the small orifice of the tube sustains balls of varying gravities, according to the pressure applied.
THE advancement of science is at once a glory and a disgrace to our modern civilization. It is glorious that so much has been done, but disgraceful that the public should be so often indifferent to the doing. In view of the benefits derived from scientific research, it would seem as if governments and communities ought to vie with one another in its encouragement.
THE ORIGIN AND CURIOSITIES OF THE ARABIC NUMERALS.
D. V. T. QUA
IN an article on the “Origin of the Numerals,” published in THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY for January, 1876, the writer remarks: “Having never met with any explanation of the origin of the numerals, or rather of the figures symbolizing them, perhaps I am right in supposing that nothing satisfactory is known of it.
AMONG the active and successful scientific workers of England, at the present time, the gentleman whose portrait we give this month is one of the foremost. Though only in the meridian of his manhood, he has made two discoveries—those of the metal thallium and of the radiometer—which will immortalize his name; while his minor labors in the field of science, both in the laboratory and in the editorial office, are in an unusual degree important and valuable.
I HAVE read with no ordinary interest the lecture by Prof. Tyndall, published in your issue of December, upon the subject of “Fermentation and its Bearings upon the Phenomena of Disease;” and I desire, with your permission, to submit some points suggested to my mind upon which, according to my own conception, there remains some doubt, and which I should like to see explained.
DR. C. E. APPLETON, of London, has an article in the February Fortnightly on “American Efforts after International Copyright,” which gives a generally correct account of what has been done here within the last few years to promote that object, hut which places us in a false position, which we do not care to occupy.
THIS book is an attempt to unfold the “mystery and art” of life-insurance to the general reader; to put before him in simple form, rid, as far as may be, of technicalities, a statement of the data upon which life-insurance problems are based, and the methods by which they are solved.
Tyndall and Roberts on Spontaneous Generation.—Dr. Bastian, in a communication to the Royal Society of London, last June, cited some experiments to show that, while an acid urine usually remains barren after being boiled a few minutes, it becomes fertile when similarly treated if previously neutralized by liquor potassæ, especially if it be afterward maintained at a temperature of 115° or 120° Fahr.
WRITTEN, as the little sketch of “Audubon’s Flower ” was, where access to books was impossible, and upon the memory of a reading of twenty years ago, I fear that, in the closing part, I may have overstated. It is not meant that Audubon named the flower, except conceptionally, or mentally, but that he did name it so far as a truthful bit of art could do, subordinated to a scientific conscience.