Page images

aceous seam, not more than one-eighth of an inch in thickness, was found. This seam yielded carbonaceous matter which it is agreed must be due to vegetation, but the plant remains are unfortunately beyond identification.

With regard to questions of climate, it is more necessary to await the full discussion of the observations, but a number of interesting points have already cropped up. The smoke from Mount Erebus blew almost persistently to the east, but every record of the Ross Expedition describes it as going to the west. At the Discovery's winter quarters the prevailing winds were southeasterly; the observers are strongly of opinion that this is a local phenomenon. Captain Scott's general conclusions are to the effect that the prevailing direction of the surface winds is west-bysouth throughout the winter, and more southerly during summer; and that there is no snowfall except in the summer and on the rare occasions when the wind blows almost due south. These snow. bearing winds were warm, rising to a temperature of 10° C. to 15° C. even in the depth of winter. Their occurrence seems somewhat difficult of explanation, but they obviously have a very important bearing on the relation of tempera

ture and quantity of moisture in causing glacial periods, and modifying their intensity.

In describing the distribution of Antarctic seals, Dr. Wilson records that the Weddell seal was the one most often met with near the land. The expedition

FIG. Pinacled ice floting in McMurdo Bay made an addition to the list which Dr. Wilson thinks "will prove to be a wanderer from the Southern Ocean islands, representing the now rare sea-elephant of the M'Quaries." Dr. Wilson thinks little of the prospects of the Antarctic seal-fishery, notwithstanding the increased demand for skins of hair-seals, the chief

reason being that few skins escape the unsightly scars inflicted by the killer whale. The expedition collected much valuable material with regard to doubtful species of birds, especially cases like the emperor and king penguins and the white-winged and royal albatrosses, where in the adults it is hard


FIG. 4-Emperor Penguin Rookery.

to find specific differences, although the chicks are quite distinct.

Perhaps the most significant point in Mr. Hodgson's report is that, contrary to expectation, it was found that outdoor biological work could be carried

on all the year round," and that even with comfort." As a result, a continuous daily routine left no time for examining the material collected. Everything goes to show that animal life is very abundant in the southern seas. and a predominant feature is the enormous quantity of sponges. One organism, regarded as a Nemertine, though suspected to be something else, appeared when it arrived frozen at the ship to be "close on 20 feet long, of a light brown colour, and about the diameter of an ordinary bootlace."

In summarising the observations on the sea ice, Captain Colbeck has " no hesitation in saying that the pack should be entered between long. 178° and 180° E., as early in December as possible.

[blocks in formation]

moving a vote of thanks to the Lord Chancellor-who as Warden of the University of Birmingham gave an address in Birmingham on May 13-delivered a speech emphasising the importance to the nation of higher scientific education. During his remarks Mr. Chamberlain directed attention to the fact that the University of

grant to university colleges has been increased, and it may now be said that the Treasury provides for higher education of the whole country something like the amount that is given by the State to the University of Berlin alone.

Birmingham is indebted to the local authority for an income of 6000l. a year, and referred regretfully to the circumstance that the neighbouring local authorities have not contributed very largely to the funds of the university. It must be admitted that the contribution of the city of Birmingham to its university But in face of the fact that we have the concession is a handsome tribute to the value attached by the by the Government of the principle we have mainlocal authority to university instruction, and we jointained consistently in these columns, that university with the Chancellor of the university in hoping that education, of the modern kind at least, should be suitable sums of money will be devoted in the near provided by the State; and that our statesmen profess future by local authorities in adjoining areas to the to appreciate the value of higher scientific study so purposes of higher education in the Midlands. far as our national welfare is concerned, and to trace to their colleges and laboratories for research the success of other nations competing with us in the struggle for national existence; no serious and statesmanlike action is taken by our Government to place our system of higher education upon a broad and generous foundation. Despite years of earnest advocacy by men of science, and repeated object lessons abroad of the advantages which early follow national sacrifices on behalf of education, little progress is made by us in the direction of supplying means to provide trained intelligences to perform the work of the country in the world's markets and manufactories. Yet, unless something in the direction adumbrated is done, knowing the earnest work which is being accomplished elsewhere, this country must, so far as industrial and economic prosperity are concerned, expect soon to take a third or fourth place in the competition of the nations.

It is, however, to be regretted that Mr. Chamberlain made no reference on this occasion to the important principle-a principle he has conceded already more than once-that higher education, especially in science, is primarily a national charge. As was pointed out in the issue of NATURE for March 16, the present State grant to the University of Birmingham is 4500l.. an amount which compares unfavourably with the sum voted by the local city authority. Presiding at the annual meeting of the court of governors of the university on February 6 of this year, Mr Chamberlain remarked :


"I may say in passing that the liberality of the local contribution is a ground for the claim which we make for some further State support. It is something that we have found that the Government are becoming alive to needs and to our deserts, and that they have been able to double the sum previously given for university education. But we may bear in mind at the same time that the present Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised to double it again in his next Budget, and, therefore, I anticipate that from that source we shall receive a very considerable addition. I do not at all accept it as in any war a satisfaction of our demands, because it is my conviction that public opinion will soon insist upon larger sums being devoted to this purpose. When I think that we are spending thirteen millions a year at least on primary education I say the sum now given for the purpose of the highest education, the most profitable of all the investments we can make in that direction, is altogether MEETING OF THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION inadequate."

If it were necessary many similar quotations could be made from Mr. Chamberlain's speeches, for he has always maintained enthusiastically the value of higher education, and recognised, at least in theory, the duty of the State to provide for it adequate financial assistance. It is noteworthy, indeed, that on the part of Our leading statesmen there is an almost complete unanimity of opinion as to the paramount importance of higher scientific training for the citizens of a nation which expects to occupy a foremost place in the industrial and commercial pursuits of the world. The Lord Chancellor said in speaking to the undergraduates at Birmingham on Saturday last, that in his judicial capacity he has noticed that "the number of patents invented in Germany and brought over to England is very large indeed; the German Government has contemplated the improvement of its national resources by physical, chemical, and other Scientific research, and has established places for physical investigation. Lord Halsbury might also have pointed out the amount of State aid to universities afforded in Germany. The yearly sum, found chiefly by the State, for the upkeep of the University of Berlin is 130,000l., and six other universities each receive from the same source annual sums varying from 56.000l. to 37,000l.

It will be remembered that Sir Norman Lockyer said in his address in 1903, as president of the British Association, that the State does really concede the principle that higher education should be a national responsibility, by its contribution to our universities and colleges. Since that address was delivered the

[ocr errors]

A statesman imbued with the modern spirit, aware of present-day tendencies, possessed of the power of persuasion and clear exposition, would have little difficulty-if he really desired the best interests of the nation-in carrying the country with him by insisting that an adequate provision of higher education for those who will manage and control its industrial activities must be made a national charge.


THE seventy-fifth meeting of the British Association, to be held in South Africa, under the presidency of Prof. G. H. Darwin, in August, promises to be of an unusually interesting character. Though on two previous occasions the association has met in the "British Dominions beyond the Seas," this is the first on which it will hold its annual meeting in the southern hemisphere and in a part of the British Empire so remote from its headquarters.

As early as the year 1900, the possibility of holding such a meeting was discussed by the council of the British Association in consultation with Sir David Gill, who, however, pointed out that the local circumstances were at that time unfavourable. Two years later, however, Sir David Gill informed the association that he was empowered to transmit an invitation to visit South Africa in 1905 on behalf of the various Governments, municipal, scientific, and commercial bodies in South Africa. Arrangements have now so far advanced as to enable us to give a preliminary account of the general features of the meeting and its probable character.

The invitation was issued on behalf of the above-mentioned bodies, and substantial financial assistance has been rendered by the South African Governments. The various centres to be visited are also making extensive progress, both financially and by way of private hospitality, to render the arrangements workable and adequate.

A central organising committee, under the chairmanship of Sir David Gill, has been formed to see to the general arrangements and coordination of the

work of the different centres to be visited by the association, and by means of correspondence, circulars, &c., to keep them in touch with each other and with the executive in England.

one on distribution of power by Prof. Ayrton, another on steel as an igneous rock by Prof. Arnold, and one at Pretoria by Prof. Porter on mining.

Bloemfontein will be visited on Saturday, September 2. There also an influential local committee has been formed, and preparations are being made for the reception of visitors. A lecture will be delivered there on the Saturday night by Mr. A. R. Hinks on an astronomical subject.

The centres, which are seven in number, are as follows:-Cape Town, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, and Bulawayo. Influential local committees have been formed at all these places, the municipal authorities of which have taken a prominent part both in making general arrangements and in affording financial support. Subcommittees for finance, publications, excursions, and hospitality have been formed at the two chief centres (Cape Town and Johannesburg), and are now engaged in the respective parts of the work allotted to them. At the other centres where a stay of only a day or two is contemplated, special committees have also been formed. Details are as yet uncertain, but the following. ing may be mentioned, though some of them are subject to slight revision.

At Kimberley, which will be reached on Tuesday, September 5, a large local committee has been formed. with subcommittees for special objects. Two lectures will probably be delivered here, one on a zoological subject by Mr. A. E. Shipley, and one on diamonds by Sir William Crookes. The De Beers Company has natur ally taken a prominent part in the preparations, and will probably make this visit one of the most interest

Through the kindness of the Chartered Company a limited number of members of the British Association The officers of the association and invited guests to will be enabled to proceed from there to the Zambezi, the number of 200, along with ordinary members, will where the Victoria Falls will be visited, and facilities arrive by the Saxon at Cape Town on August 15, will be afforded for the visit of a select party of specialthough a number have already booked their passage ists to the ancient ruins of Zimbabwe. A special comby steamers arriving at an earlier date. The presi-mittee at Bulawayo has been formed to make predential address will be delivered on the evening of the parations there for the visit. same day in the large new Town Hall, which has been placed at the disposal of the British Association by the municipal authorities of Cape Town, not only for this purpose, but also for the accommodation of the various sections should it prove suitable.

The sections will meet for the purpose of reading papers and for discussion on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, August 16, 17, and 18. The afternoons of these days will be partly devoted to excursions to places of interest, such as Table Mountain, Hout Bay, Simons Town, and Royal Observatory. The whole of Saturday, August 19, will be devoted to excursions.

The evenings will probably be devoted to a reception by the Mayor, and two lectures, one by Prof. Poulton on Burchell's work in South Africa, and another by Mr. C. V. Boys on physics.

On Saturday night, August 19, visitors will leave by a special steamer for Durban. In Natal an influential general committee has been formed by the Government, with local committees at Durban, Pietermaritzburg, and Ladysmith. On the evening of August 20 a lecture will be delivered at Durban and another on August 24 at Pietermaritzburg. As the reading of papers, discussions, receptions, &c., in Cape Colony will fully occupy all the time of the visitors, it is intended to afford as much facility as possible for independent action on the part of visitors in Natal, and special arrangements will be made by the Natal committee for visiting the battlefields and other places of


The sectional work will be again resumed on arrival of the party at Johannesburg on Monday, August 28. There, as at Cape Town, a large and influential local committee has been formed, with subcommittees for finance, hospitality, publication, and excursions. The first-named subcommittee has already met with a ready response, both from the municipal authorities and from private sources, and the other committees are in capable hands. While the natural facilities for excursions to be found near the Cape peninsula are not to be met with here, the interest of the mining operations and gold extracting processes will be an adequate compensation, and a Friday's visit to Pretoria will be of special interest.

The proceedings will be begun at Johannesburg on Monday evening, August 28, and the presidential address there will be delivered on the Wednesday evening. In addition to sectional papers and discussions, there will be two lectures delivered at Johannesburg,

Special attention will be directed to certain interesting problems connected with the geological formation at the Victoria Falls, and Mr. G. W. Lamplugh, who will go out in advance to study this subject, will probably be able to give the results of his observations in an afternoon address to Section C.

Though this meeting of the association will be characterised by the number and variety of the places visited, a special feature will be the study of local scientific problems and discussions of a general nature such as fossil reptiles, Antarctica, &c. With this in view the South African Association for the Advancement of Science, with the support of the various Governments. is preparing a handbook, which will be a general review of the various branches of scientific activity in South Africa, the articles being contributed by actual workers in these subjects in the country. The book is now in an advanced stage of preparation, and a copy will be presented to each member of the association before leaving England.



IR BERNHARD SAMUELSON, F.R.S., who died on May 10 in his eighty-fifth year, will be remembered as one of the pioneers of the Cleveland iron trade, and a strenuous advocate of technical education. He exerted a great and formative influence upon an industry which owes its progress largely to the application of scientific methods, and the extension of facilities for technical education is largely due to his efforts.

Sir Bernhard Samuelson was born on November 22, 1820, and began in 1853 the business which speedily made the Cleveland district the greatest iron-producing. centre in the world. Blast furnaces were erected near Middlesbrough, and in 1872-1880 collieries and ironstone mines were added. Not content with making pig-iron, the manufacture of finished iron was undertaken on an extensive scale, and no less than 25,000l. were spent in preliminary experiments in steel-making. The Britannia Ironworks at Middlesbrough, covering an area of twenty acres, have grown out of this enterprise.

He was the author of several reports on technical subjects to the House of Commons, including one on technical education of artisans at home and abroad.

This report was undertaken by Sir Bernhard Samuelson in 1867 at the request of the vice-president of the Committee of Council, and for the purpose of obtaining particulars he visited the principal manufacturing centres of Great Britain and the Continent. The report was published as a Parliamentary paper, and the Times records that it was for years referred to in all debates on technical education. He followed up this report by a Parliamentary inquiry into the education of the workmen of our manufactories in 1868, and was chairman of the committee, the report of which was adopted by the House of Commons. He was a member of the Duke of Devonshire's Royal Commission on Scientific Instruction, which issued a valuable report, and also of the Royal Commission on Elementary Education, presided over by Viscount Cross.

Sir Bernhard Samuelson was appointed chairman of the Royal Commission on Technical Instruction, the labours of which extended over the years 1882, 1883, and 1884, and embraced an examination into the systems in use in all parts of the United Kingdom and a great portion of the Continent of Europe. The exhaustive report of the Commission has become the standard authority upon the questions with which it deals. In 1888 he was appointed a member of the Parliamentary Committee for inquiring into the working of the Edu

cation Acts.

For his scientific work, Sir Bernhard Samuelson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1881, and for his many public services he was created a baronet in 1884, and was afterwards made a Privy Councillor. He was a member of the Institutions of Civil and Mechanical Engineers, and was the recipient, in 1871, of the Telford gold medal for a paper on improvements in iron manufactures. He was a member of the Council of the Iron and Steel Institute, of which he occupied the presidential chair for two years. At the annual meeting of the institute held last week, the following resolution was unanimously adopted :"The council have received with the deepest regret the intimation of the death of their esteemed colleague the Right Hon. Sir Bernhard Samuelson, Bart., past-president, P.C., and one of the founders of the institute, and they desire to convey to Lady Samuelson and his family an expression of sincere sympathy in their bereavement. The council feel that it would be difficult to over-rate the services that Sir Bernhard rendered to the Iron and Steel Institute in the promotion of the objects for which it was formed, and they will ever remember with gratitude his constant readiness to devote his time and energies to the advancement of those objects."



HE announcement of the death of Dr. Otto von Struve does more than awaken a profound regret. His name recalls a period of past history, and summons up before us the memory of times when astronomy occupied a different position from that it assumes today, when it had fewer objects of interest wherewith to attract, and offered fewer problems for solution. Fifty-five years have gone since Otto von Struve received at the hands of the late Astronomer Royal the medal of the Royal Astronomical Society for his paper on precession and solar motion, and sixty-five since the paper was published. Seeing that Struve was born in 1819, he early came into prominence as an astronomer, and the value attached to the results and the confidence inspired by the paper are not a little remarkable, for there were some very obvious objections which might have been taken to the conclusions stated, or at least

it appears so when viewed from a later standpoint. Accompanying the paper was also a discussion of the amount and direction of the solar motion. Only four years had elapsed since Argelander had published his paper assigning with some precision the place of the solar apex, and thus perhaps settling a doubt which had long divided astronomical thought. Prevost and Klugel had taken one side of the question, and Burckhårdt and Lindenau led the party who were unwilling to accept the evidence. Men's minds were certainly divided as to the possibility of detecting the sun's motion, and Struve's paper came at a fortunate moment and strengthened the evidence produced by Argelander, for, based on very different material, Struve's position scarcely differed two degrees from that assigned by the Abo astronomer. Also, Struve was fairly fortunate in fixing the annual amount of the solar motion at about twice that of the radius of the earth's orbit. Later investigations have shown that a greater velocity is probable, but he was certainly correct in asserting that the linear motion of the sun appeared to be less than that of stars in general.

But it was in the domain of double stars that Otto von Struve won his reputation, and it was in this direction that he exhibited untiring industry. His father at Dorpat, and later at Pulkova, had not only devoted himself with great energy to this branch of astronomy, but had introduced a degree of accuracy into the observations that up to his time had been wanting. Otto von Struve, anxious to uphold the family reputation, was as diligent to detect these objects and as accurate in his observations as was his father before him, though he laboured under some peculiar difficulty as an observer, and was obliged to remove a systematic error which affected his observations by introducing a correction depending upon the distance of the component stars--a correction investigated with great care by means of artificial double stars.

From 1861, on the failing health of his father, Otto von Struve became the director of the Imperial Observatory at Pulkova, and in every department maintained the reputation for accuracy the observatory had won. In meridian places of stars, in cometary observations, in geodesy, in spectroscopy, the activity and efficiency of the institution have been everywhere acknowledged. In expeditions, whether for the transit of Venus or for eclipse work, the observatory has displayed its zeal and its desire to cooperate with similar work carried on elsewhere. Instruments have been renewed as needed, and the erection of the 30-inch refractor testifies to the determination to keep the observatory on a level with those best equipped. Under the care of the late director, splendid laboratories have arisen devoted to spectroscopic inquiries, and it is not too much to say that his direction of a world-famous observatory has been of a most enlightened and beneficent character. The recipient of many honours, he retired from the observatory in 1893 to enjoy the repose to which he was so well entitled amid the society of his many friends.


THE Croonian lecture of the Royal Society will be delivered by Mr. W. B. Hardy, F.R S., on Thursday next, May 25, on "The Globulins.

By the creation of the Committee of Defence, the functions and views of which were described by Mr. Balfour in the House of Commons on Thursday last, an expert advisory body has been introduced into the councils of the Government. In the discussion which followed the speech of the Prime Minister, Mr. Haldane remarked that millions of money uselessly expended would have been saved to the

country if such a committee had existed years ago. The idea underlying the formation of the committee is that for the handling of great national problems the Government must have expert assistance on a scale departmental inquiry cannot supply. Mr. Haldane suggested that it would be to the advantage of the nation if the principle of consultative committees were applied to the scientific organisation of the whole of our executive Government. "We shall never get the best service for the State until we cease to assign it merely to departments, until we can find some body to which it can be assigned that will be working under the head of the State himself. The work of the Committee of Defence illustrates the application of a new principle which will be a very familiar one before the country is much older."

THE Jacksonian prize of the Royal College of Surgeons of England has been presented to Mr. Herbert J. Paterson. THE Elisha Kent Kane medal of the Geographical Society of Philadelphia has been awarded to Prof. William B. Scott, of Princeton University.

THE Seventy-seventh annual meeting of the Society of German Naturalists and Physicians will be held this year at Meran on September 24-30.

THE Prince of Wales, as honorary president of the Royal Statistical Society, has consented to attend the opening meeting of the tenth session of the International Statistical Institute, which is to be held this summer in London.

THE Hanbury gold medal of the Pharmaceutical Society has this year been awarded to Prof. Ernst Schmidt, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry to the University of Marburg. This medal is awarded biennially for high excellence in the prosecution or promotion of original research in the chemistry and natural history of drugs, and Prof. Schmidt is the thirteenth man of science to whom the medal has been awarded. He is the first to receive, with the medal, the sum of 5ol., which is presented to the medallist by Sir Thomas Hanbury, K.C.V.O.

WE have been requested by the council of the Society of Arts to give publicity to the following resolution passed at a meeting held on May 8:-" In view of the feeling which appears to have been aroused amongst some of the proprietors of the London Institution with regard to the proposed amalgamation with the Society of Arts, and the consequent probable difficulties of effecting a harmonious fusion of the two corporations into a single institution, the council of the Society of Arts have decided not to take any further action in the matter, and hereby discharge the committee which, at the instance of the board of managers of the London Institution, they appointed to consider the scheme for amalgamation."

THE programme has been issued of the optical convention to be held at the Northampton Institute, Clerkenwell, E.C., from May 30 to June 3, under the presidency of Dr. R. T. Glazebrook, F.R.S., director of the National Physical Laboratory. The list of papers to be read and discussed includes many of great scientific interest and practical value. Among the subjects and authors we notice the spectroscope in astronomy, Mr. H. F. Newall, F.R.S.; spectroscopic optics, Prof. Schuster; polishing of glass surfaces, Lord Rayleigh; parallel plate micrometer, Prof. Poynting; early history of telephotography, MajorGeneral Waterhouse; tri-colour photography, Mr. A. J. Bull; and some directions of progress in optical glass, Mr. W. Rosenhain. The opening ceremony, presidential

address, and conversazione will be held on Tuesday, May 30. A special lecture will be given by Prof. S. P. Thompson on The Polarisation of Light by Nicol Prisms and their Modern Equivalents" on Thursday, June 1.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ON May 20 Dr. J. G. Frazer will deliver at the Royal Institution the first of two lectures on "The Evolution of the Kingship in Early Society," and on Thursday, May 25, Prof. J. A. Fleming will deliver the first of three lectures on Electromagnetic Waves." These are the Tyndall lectures. On Saturday, June 3, Mr. A. H. Savage Landor will begin a course of two lectures on "Exploration in the Philippines." The Friday evening discourse on May 26 will be delivered by Prof. J. W. Brühl on The Development of Spectrochemistry," on June 2 by Mr. George Henschel on "Personal Recollections of Johannes Brahms," and on June 9 by Sir William H. White on Submarine Navigation."

[ocr errors]


THE Times announces the death of Lieut.-Colonel L. H. L. Irby at sixty-nine years of age. Throughout his life Colonel Irby took an intense interest in all branches of natural history, ornithology being his favourite subject. In 1875 he published a work on the "Ornithology of the Straits of Gibraltar " (south-west Andalucia and northern Morocco), a second edition of which appeared in 1894: and in 1887 appeared his Key List of British Birds,' which has proved to be of great utility to all lovers of birds. He was for many years a member of the council of the Zoological Society. He assisted in the formation of the life groups at the British Museum (Natural History), and some of the most remarkable of the cases of British birds there bear his name.

THE deaths are announced of M. Fernet, general honorary inspector of public instruction, and Prof. Victor René Muller, of Le Puy, both physicists.

Of the many valuable instruments bequeathed to the French Physical Society by the late M. Félix Worms de Romilly, the most interesting is the telescope bearing on the glass of its mirror the signature of M. Foucault. An account of this historic instrument is given by M. Cotton in the Bulletin of the French Physical Society (No. 226). The mirror has a diameter of 15.2 cm. and a focal length of 68 cm., giving a numerical aperture of about f/4.5The resolving power is 200,000, giving an angular separation of 1". This is the only instrument constructed by Foucault with such a large aperture, and it is to be placed in the Paris Observatory after being re-silvered and adjusted by M. Cotton.

A BANQUET in aid of the funds of the London School of Tropical Medicine took place at the Hotel Cecil on May 10. Mr. Chamberlain, who presided, in proposing The London School of Tropical Medicine," said he could not conceive of any subject of scientific research and philanthropic enterprise which was more interesting than tropical diseases, and it was a duty which we owed to the Empire, a duty which had increased in recent years with the continual extension of our territory. He thought we owed first to Sir Patrick Manson the idea of a tropical school. Almost abreast of him, if not before, came the promoters of the Liverpool School. There was room for all in this work, and they congratulated the Liverpool School on the success it had achieved. There was only one thing he envied them, and that was the liberality and energy of their citizens. He wished that in every other institution they could have a man as energetic, as devoted as Sir Alfred Jones. The London School now had accommodation for 40 students, and since its foundation six years ago 503

« PreviousContinue »