« PreviousContinue »
teaching before long became apparent in geological THE RUDIMENTS OF BEHAVIOUR. literature. It was first translated into French in an
Contributions to the Study of the Behaviour of Lower edition which, thanks to the singular erudition of its
Organisms. By Prof. Herbert S. Jennings. Pp. editor, M. E. de Margerie, has been so enriched with
256. (Washington : Carnegie Institution, 1904.). footnotes as to become an invaluable work of reference
THE author has been for about ten years a careful for published papers in every department of the wide
observer of the rudiments of behaviour which range of subjects whereof it treats. Within the last
are exhibited by unicellular and other relatively simple lew months the first volume of an English translation animals, and we have read with interest several of by Miss Hertha Sollas, under the direction of her his previous studies on the reactions of infusorians father, Prof. Sollas, of Oxford, has been issued by the and the like to various sets of stimuli. The general Clarendon Press. The labours of Prof. Suess are thus impression conveyed was that infusorians and the placed within the reach of all English-speaking like gave evidence of an exceedingly simple and geologists in a version which reads more like an stereotyped mode of behaviour-a mere reaction original treatise in our language than as the trans- | method. When effectively stimulated by agents of lation of a German work.
almost any kind, the animalcule moves backwards That in covering so wide a field as that of the and turns to a structurally defined side of its minute ** Antlitz" the author has necessarily had to rely on body, while at the same time it may continue to recorded observations of unequal value, and that con
revolve on its long axis. In relation to all sorts of sequently the deductions he has drawn may need to
stimuli, the behaviour seemed exceedingly simple and be corrected from subsequently obtained fuller and
| machine-like. But Prof. Jennings has been gradually more accurate data, will doubtless be admitted by no
discovering that the simple reaction-formula does not
cover all the facts, and he now gives us news which one more frankly than by himself. But even in regard
seems almost too good to be true. to questions which have long been discussed, and re
He finds that even among unicellulars “the begarding which abundant facts have long been known,
| haviour is not as a rule on the tropism plan--a set, there is room for different interpretations from those
forced method of reacting to each particular agentwhich the professor has adopted. Thus the pheno
but takes place in a much more flexible, less directly mena of submergence and emergence of land in
machine-like way, by the method of trial and error.” Sweden and the basin of the Baltic are treated by him This is a momentous conclusion, notably in relation in great fulness and with much ingenuity, but he to comparative psychology. The data are foundationarrives at conclusions strongly opposed to those to stones for the science of animal behaviour, and the which prolonged study has led the northern geologists. author is to be congratulated on his demonstration This problem is one of fundamental importance in that the ways of even very simple creatures are more regard to our conceptions of the nature of the move than series of “ tropisms.". ments to which the surface of the globe is subject, and In his “ Introduction to Comparative Psychology" it is much to be desired that some general agreement (1894), Dr. Lloyd Morgan told the story of his dog's in regard to it should be attained.
attempts to bring a hooked walking stick through a Nevertheless, apart from differences of opinion, | narrow gap in a fence. The dog “ tried ” all possible which are inseparable from the growth of such a
methods of pulling the stick through the fence. Most science as geology, and even where one may be most
of the attempts showed themselves to be “ error.” disposed to dissent from the views of Prof. Suess, the
But the dog tried again and again, until he finally transcendent value of his life-long labours is none the
succeeded. He worked by the method of trial and less vividly realised now by all who have studied his
error; and so, Prof. Jennings now assures us, do the
infusorians. writings. Their importance in the history of science will assuredly be no less fully acknowledged by the
“This method of trial and error involves many of
the fundamental qualities which we find in the befuture generations who will gain from them inspir
haviour of higher animals, yet with the simplest ation and enlightenment. Meanwhile, he has the possible basis in ways of action ; a great portion of satisfaction of abundant recognition from all civilised the behaviour consisting often of but one or two countries. The learned societies of Europe have vied definite movements, movements that are stereotyped
when considered by themselves, but not stereotyped with each other in doing him honour, and not the
in their relation to the environment. This method least prominent among them has been our own Royal
leads upward, offering at every point opportunity for Society, which ten years ago elected him as one of development, and showing even in the unicellular its foreign members, and in the year 1903 awarded him organisms what must be considered the beginnings of the Copley medal—the highest distinction which it
intelligence and of many other qualities found in
higher animals. Tropic action doubtless occurs, but has to bestow. The “ Antlitz” is not yet completed,
the main basis of behaviour is in these organisms but the second part of the third volume is far advanced. | the method of trial and error." Let us trust that years of rest and quiet work are in
This is not the first time that the dawning of store for the illustrious geologist, and that he may
intelligence has been discovered in the Protozoa, but live to finish his work amidst the hearty congratu-on previous occasions the discovery has been reported lations of the many fellow-workers who look up to by casual observers or by investigators unacquainted him as their master.
ARCH. GEIKIE. | with the tropisms. Prof. Jennings has made a special
study of the tropisms, and we find him declaring that one it would develop the rudiments of strategy. It it is almost impossible to describe the behaviour of | is, of course, extremely difficult to keep to a scruputhe unicellulars intelligibly without using terms like | lous objective record of what occurs, but we incline “ perception," “ discrimination,” and “intelligence." to think that Prof. Jennings has supplied what comOf course these are used in an “ objective sense,' and parative psychologists have been waiting for, namely, “ when their objective significance is kept in mind quite trustworthy accounts of the beginnings of there is no theoretical objection to them, and they / selective or controlled behaviour. have the advantage that they bring out the identity “The method of trial and error involves some way of the objective factors in the behaviour of animals of distinguishing error, and also, in some cases at with the objective factors in the behaviour of man.” least, some method of distinguishing success. The From our point of view, Prof. Jennings does not
problem as to how this is done is the same for man
and for the infusorian. We are compelled to postustrengthen his position by using these pre-occupied
late throughout the series certain physiological states psychological terms; “' perception of a stimulus,”
to account for the negative reactions under error, and he says, “ means merely that the organism reacts to it the positive reactions under success. In man these in some way; discrimination of two stimuli means physiological states are those conditioning pain and that the organism reacts differently to them; “intelli
pleasure. The method of trial and error! is gence' is defined by the objective manifestations
evidently the same as reaction by 'selection of over
produced movements, which plays so large a part in mentioned in the text.” But this does not seem to
the theories of Spencer and Bain, and especially in us the sound line of progress; it leads back to saying the recent discussions of behaviour by J. Mark that the lucifer match perceives the sandpaper on the Baldwin. The method of trial and error, which forms box. It seems safer, in the meantime, to say that the most essential feature of the behaviour of these infusorians alter their behaviour., and alter it
lower organisms, is in complete contrast with the effectively, in respect to their experience.
tropism schema, which has long been supposed to
express the essential characteristics of their be“Stentor does not continue reacting strongly to a haviour.” stimulus that is not injurious, but after a time, when such stimulus is repeated, it ceases to react, or reacts
Instead of referring in detail to the author's in some less pronounced way than at first. To an studies—(1) reactions to heat and cold in the ciliate injurious stimulus, on the other hand, it does continue infusorians; (2) reactions to light in ciliates and to react, but not throughout in the same manner.
| flagellates; (3) reactions to stimuli in certain rotifers; When such stimulus is repeated, Stentor tries various
(4) the theory of tropisms; (5) physiological states as different ways of reacting to it. If the result of reacting by bending to one side is not success, it tries
determining factors in the behaviour of lower reversing the ciliary current, then contracting into organisms; and (6) the movements and reactions of its tube, then leaving its tube, &c. This is clearly amæbæ--we have sought to explain the chief result the method of trial and error passing into the method of his studies in the infant school of life, and to of intelligence, but the intelligence lasts only very | emphasise its importance in relation to the general short periods.”
theory of animal behaviour. Prof. Jennings has With such difficult subjects any evidence of the
rescued the animalculæ from the bonds of automatism registration of experience was not to be expected, and too hurriedly thrust on them, and has afforded a the author is to be congratulated on having discovered secure basis for the study of the evolution of intelliconsiderable evidence in support of the thesis that gence.
J. A. T. the behaviour of unicellulars is largely a method of trial and error, one reaction by trial and error becoming the basis for a succeeding reaction. This is
MECHANISM. surely a pathway leading to the high-road of intelli- | Mechanism. By Prof. S. Dunkerley. Pp. vi + 408. gence.
(London : Longmans, Green and Co., 1905.) Price It is easy to make an inanimate system-a little | 9s, net. potassium pill on a basin of water, or a tiny wound W RITERS of text-books on mechanism have, of up engine on a smooth table-which, once set V l ate years, been much influenced by the views a-going, will charge against an obstacle, will fail to of Realeaux on the classification of mechanisms, and overcome this, will recoil passively and charge again, the present work shows clearly the impress of these and some observers have thought that, mutatis views; but the author has not hesitated to depart from mutandis, the animalcule did little more. But Prof. the order in which Realeaux presented his theory of Jennings has shown that the infusorian, in relation machines in order to suit the needs of beginners, who to its experience of “ error," changes its little tactics, are apt to find the elaboration of the systematic theory and changes them again, until it succeeds. In a somewhat dry if not accompanied by a wealth of word, it profits by experience. The very essence of illustration drawn from actual machines, even if these vitality, as Spencer pointed out, is in effective re- contain elements the properties of which have not sponse to environment; but when we find an in- been fully explained. fusorian “trying ” one response after another, ' The author, as appears from his preface, is fully abandoning those that spell “ error,” we cannot but alive to the difficulties which the logical treatment of feel that vitality has been raised to a second power; the subject presents, and he expressly states that his it is just beginning to be intelligent. The infusorian work is not intended to be a philosophical treatise on is more than a tropic automaton, it is playing a the subject. little game of tactics; perhaps if we could educate From this standpoint the arrangement of the sub
ject-matter appears to be quite a proper one, for at The author has succeeded in writing a valuable the present time almost everyone is familiar with the text-book on mechanism which will repay a careful elementary properties of gear-wheels, clutches, the study by engineers and others who wish to obtain a mechanism of steam engines and the like, because knowledge of something more than the elements of of their increasing use in everyday life, and more this branch of science.
E. G. C. especially of late, owing to their applications to selfpropelled vehicles. On the other hand their less obvious, although not less important, properties are PRACTICAL ELECTROCHEMISTRY. possibly not so well understood; thus, to take a single
Practical Methods of Electrochemistry. By F. Mollwo instance, the conditions to be satisfied in order to
Perkin. Pp. x+322. produce true rolling motion by gear wheels require
(London : Longmans and
Co., 1905.) Price 6s, net. a knowledge of the properties of various curves, and this latter subject may well be left to a later stage, as
ELECTROCHEMICAL methods, both of analysis is done in the present work, although it need not pre
and preparation, have in recent years underFent a study of machines containing gear wheels
gone such rapid development, and have reached such when this knowledge is not absolutely necessary for
a degree of importance, that systematic instruction the purpose. The author has therefore described
| in their employment has become an indispensable part many machines using higher pairing quite early in
of the training of the modern student of chemistry. the book, and has left the more detailed examination
This book, therefore, forms a welcome addition to of some of the elements for later chapters; this adds
the ordinary laboratory manuals. very much to the general interest of the reader, while
After a general account of electrical magnitudes its drawbacks are small. The work opens with an
and units, measuring instruments, and electrolytic introductory chapter in which the usual definitions
apparatus, the author gives practical instructions for occur relating to machines, kinematic chains, lower
electrochemical analysis. The conditions for the and higher pairs, and the like, and this is followed
quantitative electrodeposition of the individual metals by a chapter which is exceedingly interesting on simple
are first discussed; then follows a section on quantimachines and machine tools.
tative oxidation and reduction at the electrodes, and, Chapters iii. and iv. deal chiefly with mechanisms į finally, directions are given for the separation of of the quadric crank and double slider crank chain | metals from mixed solutions of their salts. The last forms, all those possessing important geometrical and longest section of the book deals with preparative properties being grouped together. Naturally the electrochemistry. The primary subdivision of the subpantograph finds an important place here, and to lject is into the preparation of inorganic and of organic amplify this section there are descriptions of the compounds, the latter section being treated in three copying lathe and also a machine on the same prin- | chapters on organic electrolysis, reduction of organic ciple for drilling square and hexagon holes. In a compounds, and oxidation of organic compounds refuture edition it might be worth while to insert, in a spectively. suitable place, an account of the epicyclic trains which The practical instructions are on the whole form an essential part of some machines for turning | adequate and accurate, so that the student could nuts and bolts to a practically perfect square or acquire with little assistance a sufficient acquaintance hexagon section.
with the working methods of electrochemistry. The next two chapters deal with velocity and Whilst the book is satisfactory in this, the most imacceleration diagrams, and we are sure that all portant, feature, it shows in other respects many students of mechanism will feel greatly indebted to signs of hasty composition, which greatly detract from the author for the clear manner in which he has pre- | its value. For example, there are frequent evidences sented this part of the subject. The remainder of the
of haste in the treatment of electrical units. In the book deals with gear wheels, non-circular wheels and table on p. 9 the heading of the last column but cams, and these are discussed on the usual lines. one is “electrochemical equivalent per coulomb in There is also a section devoted to gear-cutting | mg. per sec."; the words “ per sec." are not only machinery, which gives an interesting account of this superfluous but misleading. On p. 29 we find special branch of machine tool work.
“i kilowatt=101.93 kilogrammeters,” and “i horseIt is somewhat remarkable that no place is found power is 75 kilogrammeters," where the words “ per in the book for the consideration of so fundamental a second " should have been added in both cases. subject as the degrees of freedom possessed by a body Nothing is more detrimental to clear thinking on the and the applications which follow from a recognition part of the student than slipshod statements of this of these principles in geometrical slides and clamps, kind. Again, in the table of “ useful data” on such as are described in Thomson and Tait's “ Natural i p. 286 we find “i kilowatt = 1000 watt-hours," and Philosophy." Ignorance of these fundamental prin- “ volt x amperes =watts.” Such data are the reverse ciples has been one of the most fruitful causes of bad of useful. A curious batch of mistakes is to be found design in mechanism.
on pp. 231-232. It is stated on p. 231 that the electroThe illustrations are mainly line drawings, exceed-lyte for the preparation of diethyl succinate is “ acid ingly well adapted for descriptive purposes, and with potassium or sodium malonate" instead of “ethyl a few exceptions the photographs of machinery are potassium or sodium malonate.” On the same page clear and distinct. A series of numerical examples at we twice find “ diethyl adipic acid " instead of diethyl the end of the book will be of much value to students. adipate, and on the succeeding pages a similar error
is repeated. On pp. 226-227 it is surely wrong to unmoved. As an example of the deficiencies of the ascribe the formation of the trace of ethylene found
book we may mention that the process of domesticaduring the electrolysis of an acetate to the same cause
tion of cattle is dismissed with a mention. Many of
the author's theories are improbable; it is unnecessary as that which produces the plentiful yield of ethylene
to suppose that the curved horns imitating the shape during the electrolysis of a propionate. The fact that of the crescent moon first led to the sacro-sanctity of equation v. is divisible by 2, and that equation iv. is cattle; there are animal cults everywhere. Personal not so divisible, is almost in itself sufficient evidence property, even in vegetable food, was known before that the actions are of essentially different character.
domesticated plants; the Australian natives store up It is somewhat surprising to find that the kathodic
bunya-bunya nuts. We do not need to look to the
apparent motion of the stars for the explanation of the reduction of nitrites, nitrates, and arsenical com
origin of Babylonian god-processions, which are a pounds finds treatment under the heading “ Metals natural method of disseminating the holy influence. deposited as Oxides at the Anode” (pp. 145-150). The connection of sexual ideas with agriculture may These and similar slips are minor blemishes; but it be secondary; syncretism is disregarded in this and is to be hoped that the author will subject his book other instances. It may not be out of place to say that
a few maps of culture areas would have been very to a thorough revision for their removal when a
| helpful, and not to the general reader only. second edition is called for.
Ń. W. T. The references to original papers are numerous, and a convenient table of five-figure logarithms, with
Infantile Mortality and Infants' Milk Depots. By
G. F. McCleary, M.D., D.P.H. Pp. xiv + 135. instructions for its use, is contained in an appendix.
(London : P. S. King and Son.) Price 6s. net. The value of the table might be still further
The publication of the evidence before the Interaugmented by the inclusion of instructions for the
Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration use of the decadic complements of logarithms, a has directed general attention to such subjects device of which the chemical student is almost in | as infant feeding. The decreasing birth rate and the variably ignorant.
appallingly high death rate among infants are dealt with by the author in the earlier chapters of his book.
An increasing number of mothers are unable to
nurse their children, so that some method of artificial OUR BOOK SHELF.
feeding has to be adopted. The death rate in 1904 Das Alter der wirtschaftlichen Kultur der Menschheit, among children under one year was 16 per 1000
ein Rückblick und ein Ausblick. By Ed. Hahn. births, and even these figures by no means represent Pp. xvi + 256. (Heidelberg : Carl Winter, 1905.) the total evil, for many of the survivors must be Price 6.40 marks.
seriously affected. How can this fearful waste of life In the opinion of Dr. Hahn, well known as the inquirer
be stopped ? Dr. McCleary deals with one solution,
| viz. the establishment of depôts worked by the who revolutionised our ideas on the so-called “ three stages "-hunting, pastoral pursuits, agriculture—the
municipality and partially rate-supported. It is
generally agreed that cow's milk is the best substitute mass of the reading public will not change its
for human milk. Various opinions are held as to the traditional views on pre-history and primitive culture
degree of modification that may be necessary, but unless the specialist is prepared to do more for it than
pure cow's milk is the basis from which to work. issue specialist literature. With the object of making
Even if a pure milk were on the market the poor propaganda for his views on the domestication of
could not afford to buy it. The question of State animals, the forms of cultivation, the transition from
assistance arises. Dr. McCleary leaves the moral hoe-cultivation to plough-cultivation, the invention of
question as to whether it is for the ultimate good of the plough, the use of the ox as draught-animal, the
a people to relieve them of their parental duties. share of woman in primitive culture, and especially the
Within the compass of 130 pages he wisely restricts development of personal property, Dr. Hahn has
himself to the practical working of the depôts, and written the present work, and his object in so doing is
as he speaks with knowledge of the Battersea depôt commendable. Even specialist literature, however, is
his testimony is of interest. In France the milk not above all considerations of form and logical
depôt system is carried out to a considerable extent, sequence of ideas; in an oeuvre de vulgarisation it is
unmodified sterilised milk usually being supplied a fortiori necessary that there should be an orderly de
(Budin's method). In America the tendency is to velopment of facts and of the conclusions to be drawn
follow Rotch in giving modified unsterilised milk. from them; and this, unfortunately, Dr. Hahn has not
The author repeats the necessary warning that a given us. Not only is the book in places indigestibly
dirty milk is not made clean by sterilisation, and from full of facts the connection of which with the main
this it follows that no depôt is on a satisfactory basis argument is not always made clear, but too much is
unless it has absolute control of its own milk supply. attempted; to the list of subjects given above must be
Dr. McCleary advocates much more stringent superadded the description of the economic conditions and
vision of the general milk supply, and the establishinterrelations of China, Babylonia, India, and Egypt,
ment of municipal depôts on the lines of that at a discussion of the origin of the wheel and the waggon, | Rochester, U.S.A. much polemical matter, dealing with criticisms which
The book is well illustrated. the public has never read, and finally excursuses on the fiscal question, socialism, and other subjects uncon A Critical Revision of the Genus Eucalyptus. By nected with his immediate purpose. It would be unfair J. H. Maiden. Parts i. to v. Pp. iv + 146. (Sydney : to deny that the book is interesting and stimulating, W. A. Gullick, 1903-4.) but it is rather a causerie than an exposition of the The classification of the Australian eucalypts presents author's theories. This is the more unfortunate be similar difficulties to those which confront the botanist cause his views on the domestication of animals, the who undertakes the arrangement of the Hieracia or forms of cultivation, and the stages of economic evolu- | Rubi of our native flora, with the additional disadtion are largely accepted. From mere lack of literary vantages that the eucalypts are trees or shrubs, and skill Dr. Hahn will leave his readers comparatively l their distribution is more extensive. In the cir
cumstances it is natural that monographers should probably have died just the same if she had been sitting have expressed diverse opinions as to the limits of the in the waiting-room, instead of on the electrical couch. species, and that different characters and parts of
| It was a mere coincidence. Dr. Bailey and Dr. Freythe plant should have been taken as a basis for classi | berger gave evidence supporting this view of the case." fication. Bentham grouped the species according to
The treatment was that of the high-frequency electrical
current. the shape and mode of dehiscence of the anthers,
Now that high-frequency electrical discharges are much and von Mueller followed his lead. Prof. Tate has
employed in medical work, being the newest and most proposed a systein based upon the structure of the
up-to-date method of treatment for many diseases, it is fruit, whilst of vegetative characters, the cotyledons,
somewhat important that even “ mere coincidences," such leaf-veins, stomata, gums, and timber have all been as that cited, should not be overlooked or treated lightly; tested in the hope of finding satisfactory criteria. | it is only by collecting evidence on such points that any Mr. Maiden attaches considerable importance to the real knowledge respecting the action of the treatment can bark and timber for the guidance of the forester, but be obtained. Shortly after the experiments of N. Tesla recognises that the anthers and fruit are the best on electrical discharges, I carried on many experiments characters for the systematist.
on the subject, and from somewhat painful experience I In the present monograph the object of the author
have learned that one source of trouble may be overlooked has been to include, with a description of the impor
by many, since it is a secondary action, so that while tant characters, the substance of all recorded observ
the utmost attention may be given to the behaviour of the
discharge itself, but little may be given to the action of ations and investigations which might assist in
the air which has been subjected to an electrical discharge. determining the position and value of species or
The danger of breathing such air was pointed out by me varieties. Synonyms are considered in detail, with long ago (NATURE, 1896), and by many other workers with the original description of each where it has been electrical discharges since then. Air which had been proposed as a species, and the range of each species is | acted on by the high-frequency discharge, when breathed, noted; finally, the author's views are crystallised in a caused irritation to the throat and lungs, and a feeling of discussion of the affinities of allied species. These suffocation, in some cases very severe. This is rather to views are based not only on the examination of | be expected, since ozone and ozonised air act on blood, specimens from important herbaria, but also upon
albumen, and organic substances readily. Profs. Roscoe much careful study of the growing trees in their
and Schorlemmer write thus in their treatise on “ Chemnative localities. Whilst recognising the desire of the
istry," p. 243, vol. i. (subject, ozone) :-" Whilst blood is author to render the work as comprehensive as pos
completely decolorised, the albumen being entirely, and the sible, it must be said that its practical value would
other organic matters being nearly all destroyed."')
The trouble mentioned was removed to a considerable be increased by a considerable reduction in the amount
extent by inducing a strong draught of warm air across of material, in the size of print and in the spacing. the chamber where the apparatus was used. I feel that The five parts issued amount to 145 pages, and con I am taking a great liberty in suggesting anything to the tain twenty-four plates for eight species, so that the high-frequency specialist, who will give me at once the complete work will be bulky and exclusive as to price. reason why self-induction is expressed as “a length," and It may be suggested that a supplement to this treatise why a rapidly varying electromagnetic field causes flashes in the shape of a compendium suitable for foresters
of light to be seen when the head is placed in such a field. and students generally would be most useful.
I would suggest that in connection with the method of
treatment with the high-frequency discharge, all evidence Hymenopteren-Studien. By W. A. Schulz. Pp. 147. of new phenomena should be collected and sifted in a
(Leipzig : Engelmann; London : Williams and Nor scientific spirit, whether it be for or against it. gate, 1903.) Price 4s. net.
Operators now take every possible precaution to guard The present work consists of three essays, the first
themselves against the evil effects of the X-ray, which at relating to African Hymenoptera (chiefly Vespidæ and
first was treated as quite innocuous. May not the highFossores), the second describing new genera and
frequency discharge in a modified form have a somewhat
similar kind of action, and should it not be treated with species of Trigonalidæ, and the third discussing
as much, or at least some, caution? Vespida and Apidæ from the Amazons. The work is
F. J. JERVIS-Smith. chiefly descriptive, and will hardly appeal to any but specialists, who must of course consult it when working at the faunas and groups which are discussed
The Critical Temperature and Pressure of Living in it.
It is well known that living substance is in a labile state, LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
its constructive or destructive metabolism being determined
by minute changes, sometimes of temperature or pressure, The Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions sometimes of other dynamic conditions. But Mr. Geoffrey expressed by his correspondents. Neither can he undertake Martin's suggestion (NATURE, April 27, p. 609) that the to return, or to correspond with the writers of, rejected | lability is due to the great number of atoms in the molecules manuscripts intended for this or any other part of NATURE. of living substance, or to the complex “ carbon compounds" No notice is taken of anonymous communications.)
present, gives only a partial explanation. The High-frequency Electrical Treatment.
The decomposition of a chemical compound under raised
temperature, diminished pressure, &c., depends not only on The inquest on a lady who died in the Charing Cross the size and complexity of the molecules, but also on the liospital on April it must be of interest to those who tendency of the atoms to re-arrange themselves and form employ the high-frequency electrical treatment. The re more stable compounds, generally with dissipation of port of the case in the Standard of April 17 is as follows : energy. For instance, the paraffins with large molecules * On April 11 she (the deceased) was under treatment, are fairly stable, the products of their decomposition being Iving on the electrical couch. Suddenly witness observed hydrocarbons still. Fatty acids with equally large molethe perspiration break out on her face, and immediately | cules are less stable, for there is a tendency to split off stopped the current. He watched her for a while, and as substances of higher oxidation, leaving a hydrocarbon she seemed to be in a collapsed state he administered a residue. This tendency increases with the increase of spoonful of sal volatile. Then he recognised symptoms oxygen in compounds, and so the small molecule of glucose which pointed to a serious state of affairs,' and sent for is less stable than the large molecule of fatty acid. The Dr. Bailey. The lady was removed to another ward and presence of nitrogen is often a cause of instability, died in the evening. Death was caused by hemorrhage especially when the nitrogen forms a link between elements of the brain, following a rupture of an artery. This was for groups) of opposite polarity; and the instability is most not a consequence of the electrical treatment; she would marked when the nitrogen is combined with oxygen on the