Page images
PDF
EPUB

capable of surviving the winter and infecting the young wheat in spring. Breeding from plants possessing mechanical or other advantages tending to prevent the attacks of fungi is, however, as Dr. Appel suggests, likely to prove one of the most fruitful methods of controlling disease in plants.

THE Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society (vol. xl., part 3) contains several useful horticultural papers, and one of particular interest on the double stock, its history and literature, by Miss E. R. Saunders. The double stock is referred to first by Dodoens in 1568, and is figured by de l'Obel in 1581. Speculations as to the origin and mode of production of double stocks have been varied and frequent, and it is only owing to the Mendelian methods of analysis that light has been thrown on the subject. It appears that there are two fundamentally distinct types of single stocks—one of which gives rise only to single stocks, and the other which yields both doubles and singles, the proportion of doubles being from 53-57 per cent. How the doubles arose from the race of singles some two hundred and fifty years ago is unknown, but the ratio of doubles to singles yielded by these singles appears to be constant for all strains. In these ever-sporting singles it has been proved that all the pollen grains and some of the ovules lack a

factor which produces singleness, and by the mating of such deficient pollen grains and ovules together the double-flowered form results. It has further been found that the double-flowered seedling grows more strongly than that of the single-flowered plant.

An official guide to the Botanic Gardens, Dominica, has recently been issued (price 6d.), to which we would direct the particular attention of all interested in botany and in the tropical economic products of the world. The guide consists of some forty-four pages, with a good index, a map of the gardens, and a number of interesting illustrations. The area under cultivation is now about 60 acres, and consists of the garden proper of 44 acres, with experiment grounds and nurseries. In the latter are raised the lime, cacao, mango, Para rubber, coffee, and other plants, which are supplied at cost price to the planting community, and it is here that the grafting of cacao, limes, etc., and other experiments are carried out which have made the Dominica Gardens renowned. To the botanist, however, the garden proper is the more important feature. Here may be seen a multitude of interesting and useful trees and shrubs remarkably well grown and displayed, and in the guide particulars of the various plants and notes on their economic value are given. In 1892, a year after the garden was formed, Mr. Joseph Jones was sent out from Kew, and has now been curator for thirty-three years. It is to his skill and devotion that Dominica now possesses for its size one of the finest tropical botanic gardens in the world. Mr. Jones is to be congratulated on having produced so excellent and useful a guide, which will be much appreciated.

DURING the past seven years the Canadian Government has published several reports on the peat bogs of the Dominion and the efforts it has made to develop

the peat industries (v. Nos. 30, 71, 151, and 154). A report now before us ("Investigations of the Peat Bogs and Peat Industry of Canada, 1911-12," by A. v. Anrep; Department of Mines, Canada, No. 266, Bulletin No. 9) deals with the amount and the quality of the peat contained in nine bogs situated along the line of the River St. Lawrence in the province of Quebec. It gives surface and section-maps of the bogs, and includes a detailed examination of the quality of the peat over the whole range of the bogs, which cover an area of about 34,000 acres. The portions of the various bogs suited for the manufacture of peat-moss litter on the one hand, or peat fuel on the other, are indicated on the maps which accompany the report. The author also considers in detail the engineering and commercial problems connected with the utilisation of the peat in primarily of local interest, one cannot fail, on reading the case of each bog. Although the report is it, to be struck with the contrast between the thoroughness with which the Canadian Government is grappling with the peat question and the apathy of Interesting statistics of the peat industries of the Irish Government towards the same problem. Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and Russia are given. Apart from the fact that Russia uses from 2 to 4 million tons of peat fuel yearly, it is of some interest,

especially to Irishmen, to learn that the Holmgaard factory at Naestved, in Denmark, uses about 5000 tons of peat briquettes yearly in the manufacture of glass.

THE Royal Observatory at Hong-Kong has issued its report for 1914, dealing with meteorological, magnetic, and time observations. The principal features of the weather during the year are said to be the absence of violent typhoon winds, the relatively high temperature in January, February, and March, and excessive rains in July, September, and November, with a relatively dry August, and a rainless January. The highest temperature was 94° on August 31, compared with 97° for the previous thirty-one years, and the lowest temperature was 47° on January 1, compared with 32° in previous records. July was by far the wettest month, with a rainfall of 26.31 in., and the total for the year was 100-22 in. The greatest wind velocity for any hour was forty-two miles on September 3, and the greatest squall velocity on the same day was at the rate of forty-eight miles an hour. A map of the Far East and the Daily Weather Report is regularly issued, containing observations from about forty stations in China, Indo-China, Japan, and the Philippines. A daily weather forecast is also given for Hong-Kong and district, the Formosa Channel, the south coast of China between Hong-Kong and Hainan, and the south coast of China between HongKong and Lamocks.

Physical and Natural History Society of Geneva THE recently published Compte rendu of the for the year 1914, shows that the activities of the society have not been seriously affected by the war. The society consists of sixty-six ordinary members and about the same number of honorary and free members. The scientific papers for the year cover sixty

[ocr errors]

four pages * ARA dam Amongst the most important as No. Tomasex contributions to theoretical physics malý autob the theory of relativity, and the measurettete of the electronic charge by MM. Schidlof and KarŞNAKİNA Using drops of mercury of radii between to * and 10-5 centimetre produced by an atomiser, they find that the light falling on the drops causes an appres ciable amount of evaporation, and in consequence d variable speed of fall in a constant electric field. They also find that Cunningham's expression for the speed of fall of drops is not applicable to drops of the sise used. The experiments, which are not yet complete, lend no support to the contention of Ehrenhaft that electrical charges exist, not integral multiples of the electron.

An important paper on the preparation and digestive properties of papain is communicated from the labora tory of organic chemistry, Bureau of Science, Manila, by Mr. David S. Pratt; it is published in the Philippine Journal of Science (vol. x., p. 1). Papain is the name given to the proteoclastic enzyme elaborated by Carica papaya, L., and is secreted in the milky latex that forms a prominent characteristic of the plant, The methods in use for preparing and drying the latex are described in some detail, and its digestive activity studied; suggestions are made for standardising the methods of evaluation. Although the market is in a way a limited one, the possibility of establishing a papain industry in the Philippine Islands should receive attention, as it does not necessitate a large investment of capital, and the time required is short balore returns may be expected.

Science Progress for July contains papers on the structure of the universe by Mr. H. Spencer Jones (su NATURE. July 15. P. 548 on the molecular structure and mode of oxidation of carbon, by Mr. Mauric Copisarow; or the 5 of reductase in issue respiration, by Pro1s D F. Harris and H. J. M. Greigion; on some eugenic aspects of the war in Wer hy. Thacker: and or the spinning Dent of conion, by Mr. W Lawrence Balis. Estry paper in vit S. C. Bradford gives the history of agremain. tem active principe of the suprarena Sau tu sia of the discover of ter uetur, isliowel Di isolation of the arive DMLIDE

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

A

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

..

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ΟΝ

[blocks in formation]

NE of the many optical instruments which the English opticians have allowed the Germans to supply almost entirely is the saccharimeter. This instrument used to be made by Browning, but in late years nearly every instrument purchased in England has come from Berlin from the firm of Schmidt and Haensch, who make several designs of large and small instruments. It is therefore a pleasure to find an English firm-Messrs. Bellingham and Stanley, of London-making a saccharimeter which introduces valuable improvements on the German design. The one to which we refer is of the half-shadow type with quartz compensating wedges, but instead of the usual long wedge of which the movement is read direct by a scale and vernier, this one has a short wedge of larger angle. The wedge is moved by a screw, and the movement is read on a large drum with an open scale and sliding pointer.

[blocks in formation]

The whole length of the scale is some 2 ft. instead of 1 or 2 in., and it can thus be read with great ease.

In instruments making use of a quartz wedge of the usual length (about 3 cm.), the scale is nearly always uneven, and unless calibrated introduces errors amounting to several tenths of a degree Ventzke. According to Landolt this is due to the quartz, which he describes as "a poor material optically"; he says that one seldom finds faultless plates, and that a pure wedge 3 cm. long is rare. Hence the value of the short wedge of Bellingham and Stanley which is less than half the usual length. The advantage of such a wedge, even if the quartz is not of special quality, is greater than would appear at first sight, since the field is due to the average effect of the whole of the light passed through the wedge, and this average will vary evenly through the small change of area of the wedge due to its movement, and thus the scale will be regular in spite of variations in the quartz; also it is easier to get repeated readings, owing to the greater ease with which the setting can be made with the fine adjustment given by the series, as compared with the usual rack and pinion motion. In fact, the

[blocks in formation]

so

The optical work is of the first quality. The dividing line is sharp and clean, and the field evenly illuminated, that adjustment for equality can be made without ambiguity, and with corresponding accuracy. The makers calibrate the scale at a number of points by direct reading against a a polariser rotated on a divided circle. In the instrument examined the divisions were in half degrees "Ventzke" (of which 100 corre. spond to 34-68° of arc, for sodium light at 17.5° C.), and it was easy to estimate to tenths of a degree, i.e. to less than three minutes of arc. The design and workmanship were all that could be desired. The same firm is also making refractometers of the Abbe and Pulfrich type and other optical instruments.

THE

OUR OVERSEAS MUSEUMS.

HE British Museum, the parent and model of the museums scattered throughout our Empire, stands alone in that it has no journal of its own wherein to record the work done by its staff, though from time to time special memoirs and reports are published by the Trustees. There is much to be said for the publication of a museum journal, and not the least important of its functions would be to afford the general public an index of the magnitude and scope of its work, which can now only be estimated by laborious compilation from the annual "blue-book or the publications of the various learned societies.

[ocr errors]

A measure of the nature of the work performed by the staff of a properly organised museum can be gauged by a survey of the journals and "records" relating to the museums of our colonies and of our Indian Empire. For the most part the contents of such journals are of necessity of a highly technical

character, as, for example, the series of papers in the "Records of the Indian Museum" for April. If any of these are to be chosen for special mention it must be the profusely illustrated "Contribution to a Knowledge of the Terrestrial Isopods of India," by Mr. W. E. Collinge, describing a collection of species new to science from the Madras Province of Southern India.

The Journal of the Federated Malay States Museums for March contains a valuable paper on the zoology of Koh Samui and Koh Pennan by Messrs. H. C. Robinson and C. Boden Kloss, and another on the plants therefrom by Prof. H. N. Ridley; while the April number contains a most interesting summary of Malay filigree work by Mr. I. H. N. Evans.

The thirteenth report of the Sarawak Museum contains a complete list of all the mosquitoes known from Borneo. The material for this was collected by the curator, Mr. J. C. Moulton-now on active service in France and determined by Mr. F. W. Edwards, of the British Museum.

The Report of the South African Museum contains a brief summary of the acquisitions of the Geological Department, some of which are of considerable importance, as, for example, the remains of a small dinosaur from Bushmanland, apparently allied to the Cretaceous dinosaurs, and which throw light on the age of the old land surface in the north-west of the Cape Province.

The Records of the Albany Museum for May contains seven papers, one of which, on the fleas infesting various wild South African mammals, may prove of more importance than would appear at first sight. All these institutions appear to be in a flourishing condition, but this is evidently far from true of the Rhodesia Museum, Bulawayo, which, in its thirteenth annual report, complains bitterly of the lack of funds. So seriously has its income fallen off that it has been necessary not only to reduce its staff, but to suspend even work necessary to ensure the well-being of the collections. We trust that better days are in store for the Albany Museum.

RE

ENTOMOLOGICAL WORK IN CANADA. ECENT publications of the Entomological Branch of the Canadian Department of Agriculture illustrate the wide field of the activities of Dr. Gordon Hewitt and his staff and the advances they are making in our knowledge of the control of insects.

In the Canadian Entomologist for March, 1915, Dr. Hewitt discusses the hibernation of the house-fly in a paper that is of very great topical value at the moment in this country; he finds that the maggots pupate at depths up to 2 ft. below and away from a manure heap, where this is situated on sandy loam; he finds also that the flies emerge from this situation. Discussing the hibernation of the insect, he reiterates his belief that it is as the adult that they live over the winter in northern latitudes.

In the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada for September, 1914, Dr. Hewitt describes observations on the feeding of the stable-fly, Stomoxys calcitrans, which will be of value to those seeking to fix the rôle this insect plays in the dissemination of disease, notably of infantile paralysis.

A circular of the Department of Agriculture contains the instructions to importers of trees, plants, and other nursery stock into Canada; it explains clearly and simply what the importer has to do, and reprints the text of the Act. Another circular deals with the control of locusts in eastern Canada; the author, A. Gibson, uses the term locust for grasshopper, whereas

it is better restricted to the migratory grasshoppers; but the circular is for popular use, and the term is probably so used in eastern Canada.

The most interesting point is the value of adding lemon juice to the poisoned bait for killing the insects; the method originated in Kansas, and works well in Canada.

In Bulletin No. 9 Mr. Gibson deals with the Army worm Cirphis unipuncta, an insect which caused a loss of 50,000l. in Ontario alone. He emphasises the great importance of co-operation among farmers in dealing with outbreaks promptly and thoroughly by means of trenching, poisoning, and rolling. It is possible that something better could be done with moth trapping on the "Andres Maire" system, which has proved successful elsewhere. The bulletin is a thoroughly practical, useful piece of work, and the Department evidently has the confidence of the farming community in Canada.

H. M. L.

THE SUPPLY OF OPTICAL GLASS.

THE subject of the supply of optical glass and the needs and opportunities offered to the optical trade, by war and after-war conditions, still continues to attract the attention which it deserves. On July 16 an important conference was held at the London Chamber of Commerce between the Court and representatives of the Spectacle Makers' Company and The representatives of the chamber and of the trade. conference was convened by the company, and the chair was taken by the master, Sir J. F. L. Rolleston, M.P. There were also present Lord Southwark, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Viscount Hill, Sir William Hart Dyke, Sir Marcus Samuel, Dr. R. M. Walmsley, and others. The chairman opened in the proceedings, and the course of his speech explained how the debate in the House of Commons on optical matters which was initiated by Sir Philip Magnus on May 19, and in which several well-informed members, including the chairman, were prepared to take part, was interrupted and practically closured by the Prime Minister's very important announcement on "Coalition Government." He also referred to various matters to which we have directed the attention of our readers as they

arose.

Lord Southwark, in opening the discussion, referred to the fact that he was not only the president of the chamber, but also a past-master of the Skinners' Company, which is so closely associated with the Northampton Polytechnic Institute and its work. He emphasised the importance of concerted action and the help which the City companies could give, and referred also to the valuable assistance which could be rendered by the chamber. In the discussion which followed, it was understood that the remarks made by trade members should not be reported. Dr. Walmsley, who was called upon to speak early in the debate, explained the points referred to in his letter to the Times of April 28, and indicated the importance of the opportunities which have now arisen for the recapture of those branches of the optical instrument trade which were so heavily handicapped before the war. He pointed out that this was worthy of a very earnest effort, and he referred particularly to the value of the trade in the employment of highly skilled labour, which forms so important an item in the production of complicated optical instruments, such as microscopes, etc. He also dwelt upon the necessity for training designers and computers. The importance of the spectaclemaking branch of the trade was fully insisted upon, and eventually it was decided, on the motion of Lord

Southwark, at the suggestion of Sir William Hart Dyke, to appoint a joint committee of the Spectacle Makers' Company and the London Chamber of Commerce to study the questions at issue in all their bearings.

THE GOVERNMENT SCHEME FOR THE ORGANISATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENTIFIC AND INDUSTRIAL

RESEARCH.

WE gave in our issue of May 20 a detailed report

of speeches made in the House of Commons when the Government scheme for the formation of an Advisory Council concerned with industrial and scientific research was outlined by Mr. J. A. Pease, then President of the Board of Education. Since that time Mr. Arthur Henderson has succeeded Mr. Pease at the Board, and he has just issued as a White Paper (Cd. 8005, priced.) a statement of the need and nature of a scheme which will secure scientific foundations for national industries in the future. The paper is here reprinted.

(1) There is a strong consensus of opinion among persons engaged both in science and in industry that a special need exists at the present time for new machinery and for additional State assistance in order to promote and organise scientific research with a view especially to its application to trade and industry. It is well-known that many of our industries have since the outbreak of war suffered through our inability to produce at home certain articles and materials required in trade processes, the manufacture of which has become localised abroad, and particularly in Germany, because science has there been more thoroughly and effectively applied to the solution of scientific problems bearing on trade and industry and to the elaboration of economical and improved processes of manufacture. It is impossible to contemplate without considerable apprehension the situation which will arise at the end of the war unless our scientific resources have previously been enlarged and organised to meet it. It appears incontrovertible that if we are to advance or even maintain our industrial position we must as a nation aim at such a development of scientific and industrial research as will place us in a position to expand and strengthen our industries and to compete successfully with the most highly organised of our rivals. The difficulties of advancing on these lines during the war are obvious and are not under-estimated, but we cannot hope to improvise an effective system at the moment when hostilities cease, and unless during the present period we are able to make a substantial advance we shall certainly be unable to do what is necessary in the equally difficult period of reconstruction which will follow the war. (2) The present scheme is designed to establish a permanent organisation for the promotion of industrial and scientific research.

It is in no way intended that it should replace or interfere with the arrangements which have been or may be made by the War Office or Admiralty or Ministry of Munitions to obtain scientific advice and investigation in connection with the provision of munitions of war. It is, of course, obvious that at the present moment it is essential that the War Office, the Admiralty, and the Ministry of Munitions should continue to make their own direct arrangements with scientific men and institutions with the least possible delay.

(3) It is clearly desirable that the scheme should operate over the kingdom as a whole with as little regard as possible to the Tweed and the Irish Channel.

The research done should be for the kingdom as a whole, and there should be complete liberty to utilise the most effective institutions and investigators avail able, irrespective of their location in England, Wales, Scotland, or Ireland. There must therefore be a single fund for the assistance of research, under a single responsible body.

(4) The scheme accordingly provides for the establishment of :

(a) A Committee of the Privy Council responsible for the expenditure of any new moneys provided by Parliament for scientific and industrial research;

(b) A small Advisory Council responsible to the Committee of Council and composed mainly of eminent scientific men and men actually engaged in industries dependent upon scientific research.

(5) The Committee of Council will consist of the Lord President, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary for Scotland, the President of the Board of Trade, the President of the Board of Education (who will be vice-president of the Committee), the Chief Secretary for Ireland, together with such other Ministers and individual Members of the Council as it may be thought desirable to add.

The first non-official members of the Committee will be:-The Right Hon. Viscount Haldane of Cloan, O.M., K.T., F.R.S., the Right Hon. Arthur H. D. Acland, and the Right Hon. Joseph A. Pease, M.P.

will

The President of the Board of Education answer in the House of Commons for the sub-head on the Vote, which will be accounted for by the Treasury under Class IV., Vote 7, "Scientific Investigations, etc."

It is obvious that the organisation and development of research is a matter which greatly affects the public educational systems of the kingdom. A great part of all research will necessarily be done in universities and colleges which are already aided by the State, and the supply and training of a sufficient number of young persons competent to undertake research can only be secured through the public system of education. (6) The primary functions of the Advisory Council will be to advise the Committee of Council on :

(i) Proposals for instituting specific researches; (ii) Proposals for establishing or developing special institutions or departments of existing institutions for the scientific study of problems affecting particular industries and trades;

(iii) The establishment and award of research studentships and fellowships.

The Advisory Council will also be available, if requested, to advise the several Education Departments as to the steps which should be taken for increasing the supply of workers competent to undertake scientific research.

Arrangements will be made by which the Council will keep in close touch with all Government Departments concerned with or interested in scientific research and by which the Council will have regard to the research work which is being done or may be done by the National Physical Laboratory.

(7) It is essential that the Advisory Council should act in intimate co-operation with the Royal Society and the existing scientific or professional associations, societies, and institutes, as well as with the universities, technical institutions, and other institutions in which research is or can be efficiently conducted.

It is proposed to ask the Royal Society and the principal scientific and professional associations, societies and institutes to undertake the function of initiating proposals for the consideration of the Advi sory Council, and a regular procedure for inviting and collecting proposals will be established. The Advisory Council will also be at liberty to receive

« PreviousContinue »