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London: PATERNOSTER HOUSE, CHARING CROSS
comes forward to give the lecturer of to-day a helping THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 1892..
hand. The first thing that strikes one on looking through his pages, is how simple are the experiments—so far as
illustrating the chemistry of the non-metals goes, and he CHEMICAL LECTURE EXPERIMENTS.
goes no further-needed to illustrate a course of lectures. Chemical Lecture Experiments. By G. S. Newth. We do not require the expensive and delicate instru(Longmans, 1892.)
ments of the physicist. With glass and india-rubber, as in N revient toujours," &c. and the very description Liebig said, we chemists perform all our mysteries. Only
V of a good lecture experiment to one who had for in a few cases, as, for instance, when we want to hand thirty years always enjoyed performing an old one, round wine-glasses filled with liquefied oxygen or air, or and was overjoyed in bringing out a new one, is some. when we desire to show our students free fluorine and such thing akin to that of the old war-horse when he scents the like things, does the apparatus become expensive or the battle from afar. And both Mr. Newth's experiments experiments troublesome. All the ordinary and many and his descriptions are good ; so I think that not only of the extraordinary experiments detailed in the book the novices of the profession but the old hands will read may be carried out with little cost and without great this book-the first with profit with a view to what they trouble ; indeed most of them may be made by the will do, and the second with pleasure in recollecting veriest tyro provided he stick to the letter of the dewhat they have done. I was dining some years ago scription and does not attempt to vary the proceedings, as with the great Dumas (I don't mean either of the novel- one I knew did, who thought that as sulphuric acid is a ists), and after dinner we sat together on the sofa more powerful desiccating agent than lime, he would dry smoking our cigars, when he said to me, “ I have been in his ammonia by the former substance instead of by the many positions--professor, minister of state, and in- latter material. No account of any experiment, the vestigator—and I have seen the world from many points author tells us, has been introduced upon the authority of view. If I had to live my life again I would not leave solely of any verbal or printed description, but every my laboratory. The greatest pleasure in my life has experiment has been the subject of his personal investibeen original work; the second greatest that of teaching gation and the illustrations are taken from his original a class who appreciated what I was telling them.” We drawings, so that we may be sure that every experiment all know that Dumas was a master in the art of experi- will “go” if properly managed and fairly dealt with. mental teaching, and those who have practised this art, Many of the experiments are, of course, old stagers, but even at a great distance from the master, will agree with none the less useful, whilst others are new to me and him that the pleasure of giving a well-illustrated experi- probably to most people. To mention many either old mental lecture on chemistry is not a small one, and even or new this is not the place, but one of them, which has that a man may go on for thirty years and yet not be struck me as interesting is an easy method of showing altogether tired of the job. The reason for this the freezing of water by its own evaporation first with a is not far to seek. Our science in its daily | common air-pump, and second with no air-pump at all. progress constantly opens up new paths which I always used a Carre's machine, by which a quart of yield matter suitable for lecture experiment, and water could be frozen, but Mr. Newth gives an excellent this gives a zest to the discourse unattainable by the description of how a beautiful icicle twenty to thirty teachers of most other subjects. Mr. Newth has collected centimetres long can be obtained both with and without an ample store, and he has described them clearly. For an air-pump. The secret of how to do this can best the collection he has had favourable opportunity ; to be learnt by reading pages 57 to 59 of the book. begin with he was a distinguished student at Owens, and “How to float soap bubbles upon carbon dioxide" there he may have picked up a few wrinkles ; then he has has often proved a difficult question to answer experifor many years been Lecture Demonstrator to Frank- mentally, because if you managed, after a score of trials, land and Thorpe, and from them the wrinkles he has to free your bubble from the pipe on which you blew it, picked up have certainly been many. But although the bubble usually bursts the moment it touches your doubtless some are of his own finding out, I think it heavy gas. Mr. Newth lets us into the secret. You must would have been well if he had added after the descrip remove every trace of hydrochloric acid, which is carried tion of each experiment the name of the authority with over with the gas, by washing, the presence of this acid whom it originated. Thus some have been described by being fatal to the life of a soap bubble. Under chlorine the chemists I have named, others owe their existence (p. 88) a description is given of the mode of sealing up to Hofmann, Bunsen, and others. These additions are bulbs filled with chlorine and hydrogen. This was not only due to the authors, but would add to the first done in the early sixties by my old helper interest of the book. Mr. Newth should see to this and friend Mr. Joseph Heywood, of Owens, to whom in the next edition. The old booksellers tell us both students and lecturers owe many an ingenithat Faraday's “Manipulations” is a work which ous and striking experimental illustration. As Mr. Newth no lecturer should be without, and as everything which remarks, there are many obvious reasons why the old that prince of experimenters wrote or did is worthy | plan of filling a soda-water bottle with a mixture of equal of attention, they speak truly, and yet no modern chemists volumes of the gases and then throwing it out of the leccan be bound by Faraday's experience of sixty years ago. ture-room window into the street, if the sun happened to Things are not as they were ; and the methods of work shine, is "unsuitable for a lecture experiment," and Heyand the illustrations of chemical phenomena which he wood's bulbs answer the purpose better in all respects. details belong to a bygone age. And so Mr. Newth The author does not tell us-as he ought to have done
that Victor Meyer now seals up bulbs of oxygen and hydro camera of some sort or other, it is very curious to carry gen (electrolytic gas) in a similar way, and that these, like ourselves back to the time of Daguerre and to picture their confrères of Cl and H, can be kept not only in the to ourselves the idea which he put forward when he dark for any time, but, unlike these, also in the light with wrote in his pamphlet, “Those persons are deceived out undergoing any change. The fact that many gases who suppose that during a journey they may avail when perfectly dry do not combine is illustrated by the themselves of brief intervals while the carriage slowly case of chlorine and metals-brass and sodium, pp. 84 | mounts a hill to take views of a country." Whether this and 85-as well as of carbon monoxide and oxygen, for is or is not the case now we will not stop to discuss, but these gases will not explode if dry, p. 189. A more striking we may mention that many other very interesting erway of illustrating this latter case than that with the tracts are made from the same source. eudiometer is not mentioned. I will add it. Dry a / The next three chapters deal with the chemistry. current of carbonic oxide over glass balls moistened with optics, and light as applied to photography. In these strong sulphuric acid ; light the stream of gas issuing from there seems to be nothing that calls for special attention, a horizontal tube; then plunge over the blue flame a unless it be to state that the author has written them in cylinder full of air which has been previously dried by a charming manner, as for instance the short sumshaking it up with a little strong sulphuric acid. The mary under the heading “Magnesium Light," which flame instantly goes out. Another case of the kind ob- one reads with quite renewed interest served by Arnold lends itself to a lecture experiment. He Coming now to Part II., Processes, we find the found that powdered iron will not burn in pure dry oxy- most important section of the whole book. As Mr. gen, and in order to be able to estimate hydrogen in iron | Brothers rightly observes, the old processes preit was found necessary to insert a small tube containing a vious to the introduction of the gelatine bromide drop of water, through which the oxygen passed before methods have been put completely in the shade, coming into contact with the iron, this tube being of not because they have been surpassed by better and course weighed both before and after the experiment. | more trustworthy ones, but simply because they require This may well be included in the next edition, which I a little more care in manipulation and consequently the hope will soon be called for. Another capital experiment consumption of more time. In order to remedy this to to show that iron can be carbonized by contact with a some extent he has given great prominence to them, dediamond was recently described to me by Mr. Gilbert devoting nearly 140 pages to them, including working Fowler, of Owens. A loop of pure thin iron wire is placed details of the more important later processes. For the in a vertical glass tube surrounded by an atmosphere of sake of facility of reference they are arranged in hydrogen. Below the loop is a splinter diamond (or alphabetical order, and in many cases they are acsome diamond dust) placed on the top of a glass rod companied by illustrations which show the actual working through the lower end of the tube. After heat-results that can be obtained by the uses of the methods ing the wire by a current to the highest possible tempe- under consideration. To cite them in anything like rature without fusion, bring the diamond carefully into detail would carry us too far away, but we may mencontact with the heated iron. The metal at once fuses. tion one or two briefly. The (wet) collodion process But of good experiments “there is no end” (Mr. Newth is of course here fully described : the author lays special describes 620 for the non-metals alone) whilst of a review stress on the advantage of this process, for there is no of a book in NATURE there must be a speedy end, and I doubt that where dry plates are now used far better will end by advising all those who like to see and to show results could be obtained by employing this old wet good experiments to get Mr. Newth's book.
process. The photo-mechanical process, collotype, H. E. Roscoe. receives also a rather lengthy description, but its utility
and the excellence of the results obtained necessarily
give it some prominence. A specimen illustration of A MANUAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY. the last mentioned is inserted, as well as one of a
recent application of this method for printing in colour, A Manual of Photography. By A. Brothers, F.R.A.S.
Printing on wood, photo-lithography, platinotype, &c., (London : Charles Griffin and Co., 1892.)
together with photogravine Woodbury type and a host M R. BROTHERS has in this well-illustrated book of others, are all described, some briefly, others of greater
W brought together a great amount of information importance somewhat more in full. relative to the history, processes, apparatus, materials, Parts III. and IV. deal with the apparatus and &c., which will be welcomed by all who are interested, materials used in the production of a finished picture. even if only in a general way, in the fascinating art of in the fornier the author describes the particular photography. The work covers about 360 pages, is characteristics of many of the various kinds of cameras divided into five parts and is accompanied by a full and accessories, while in the latter are explained the index.
chief uses and actions of the chemicals employed. In the short historical sketch which is introduced as Part V., the last, contains short notices of the applicathe opening chapter, the author by means of quotations tions to which photography has given rise. Astroand otherwise gain much information which is not readily nomical Photography is referred to at some length accessible, and many facts that are not inserted in our and we may mention that we have an excellen: treatises, and which consequently are not generally reproduction of one of Mr. Rutherfurd's beautiful lugar known. At the present day, when so many possess a photographs taken at first quarter. The practica
hints in the concluding chapter should be found very the atomic theory. If, according to its usual interpretaserviceable.
tion, a law is a generalized statement of fact, it is rather Mr. Brothers has produced a very serviceable and use hard to see how its existence is affected by its relations ful addition to our photographic literature ; as a hand- / to any theory. book for students it perhaps is somewhat too bulky, To most chemists the brilliant work of Moissan has but nevertheless it will be very much used by them sufficed to settle the question of the isolation of Auorine; Every photographer who wishes to know something | the author is, however, still sceptical on this point. P,O, about the art with which he is working, and who does is given as the formula of phosphorous acid (sic) ; not wish to limit himself to the mere cut-and-dried | recent research has shown P,06 to be correct. The manipulations, should at any rate make himself acquainted | valency of potassium is said to have been fixed by a with the volume.
W. J. L.
“minute study of its gaseous compounds," water is stated to be elastic with regard to shape, and from Avrogadro's hypothesis molecules of different gases are stated to be
equal in size. MATRICULATION CHEMISTRY.
Even when the author is apparently trying to be pre
cise he is apt to mislead. The following definition is an Matriculation Chemistry. By Temple Orme. (London:
example :-“A chloride means a compound of chlorine Lawrence and Bullen, 1892.)
with some other substance which, though it is not itself THIS is still another elementary manual dealing with metallic in its general characteristics, possesses that im
the non-metals and their compounds. According portant property of a metal, the capability of uniting to the author it can be studied most advantageously if energetically with chlorine." Is it to be understood from the rudiments of chemistry have first been acquired | all this that a chlorine compound which is not produced The book is built on pretty much the same plan as many | by energetic union-say an endothermic compound like already in existence ; here and there, however, the read- C,Cl-is not a chloride ? ing is enlivened by ideas which, if not altogether com- These extracts may serve to show that the book remendable, have some pretensions to novelty.
quires to be carefully overhauled before it can be placed The author is evidently of opinion that much of the or. | with confidence in the hands of a beginner. dinary chemical knowledge can be presented in Jother ways. Mass and weight first receive attention. In this
OUR BOOK SHELF. book there are no atomic weights ; atomic masses reign
Vegetable Wasps and Plant Worms; a Popular History supreme. In using a balance we are told that we do not
of Entomogenous Fungi, or Fungi parasitic upon find weights, but “only masses.” Indeed to bring this insects. By M. C. Cooke, M.A., LL.D., A.L.S. (364 pp. idea home the following curious question is set :-“When 4 pl. and figs. in text.] (London : S.P.C.K., 1892.) you' weigh' a thing in an ordinary balance, do you find it is somewhat surprising that a book on a subject of its weight?”
such importance alike to the entomologist and fungoloAfter a passing allusion to constitutional formulæ, in
gist has not been forthcoming long ago. It is true that which they are likened to pyrotechnic frames, the next
a Memoir on the subject was undertaken thirty-five
years ago by Mr. G. R. Gray, but, being privately printed, important alteration with which the author concerns
was limited in circulation. To this work Dr. Cooke himself refers to the nomenclature of oxides. Such a admits his indebtedness for a large amount of information name as sulphur dioxide or carbon dioxide is discarded, bearing on the entomological aspect of the subject, and for it is “founded upon a formula which is liable at any
it is to be regretted that he was not aware of the existence time to be altered so as to suit our knowledge of atoms
of a much extended manuscript revision of the same work, and molecules.” Anhydride is described as, “ etymologi
at present in the Botanical Department, Natural History
Museum. cally at least, a still more atrocious term”; hence we find Dr. Cooke's book is professedly a popular work on the that throughout the book S02, CO,, &c., are spoken of subject, and consequently does not deal with the economic as acids. P20, is said to be a tribasic acid, N.Ca mono- | side, relating to such matters as the “muscardine" or basic acid. CS, is called sulphocarbonic acid, P,S, thio
silkworm disease, further than to indicate the nature and phosphoric acid, N,O hyponitrous acid, and so forth, in
affinities of the fungus causing the disease.
The fungi parasitic upon insects are arranged under spite of the fact that such compounds as that formed from
four primary groups: the Cordyceps group, the Laboul* hydric oxide and phosphoric acid (sic) are often called beniaceæ ; the Entomophthora, and lastly a heterogenacids by modern chemists."
eous collection of moulds, which, with few exceptions, The definition of a salt is thus summarily disposed are not truly parasitic and destructive. The structure of :-" You are often asked what a salt is; the only
and general characteristics of these groups, with glimpses possible answer is that it is a compound.”
of their life-history, are dealt with in an introductory
chapter. Entomologists, whose main interest will be to Such methods of tampering with terms which have a
ascertain the name of any fungus parasitic on an insect, generally-accepted meaning should, it seems to us, meet will find this a comparatively easy matter, as the general with no encouragement. They can only end in muddling arrangement is an entomological one, commencing with the reader who wishes to pursue his subject by the aid of the Hymenoptera ; and under each is given an account of any of our standard works. But matter which is liable
all the fungi that are known to be parasitic upon species
included in the order. Numerous woodcuts in the text to do more immediate harm is frequently to be noted.
and four plates assist very materially in the determinati in For instance, it is stated that there is no such thing as l of species. From the mycological standpoint the arrangethe Law of Multiple proportions-it is only a corollary of ment indicated above is purely artificial, and introduced for a purpose; while for the benefit of those who desire into existence, it is satisfactory to find that instrument to know more of the inter-relationship of the fungi enu makers are trying to keep pace with the times, and to afford merated, a classified list is given of all the species, purchasers the means of ascertaining with the minimum arranged under their respective families, including the trouble what apparatus can be obtained to serve a pardistribution and name of the host.
ticular end. This catalogue is an instance that such is For the general reader, who is not specially interested the case. It is a well-bound book, profusely and clearly in either insects or fungi, there is a considerable amount illustrated. The different kinds of apparatus, useful both of interesting information bearing on such subjects as for teaching and for technical purposes, are well classified vegetable caterpillars, vegetable wasps, foul-brood of To prevent mistakes in ordering, each piece of apparatus bees, &c., and the interest is not lessened by following is separately numbered, and where a new form is figured, the transition from the romantic and highly imaginative a few lines are added explanatory of the principle accounts given by early travellers of these productions, involved. to the statements in accordance with modern knowledge. The instruments quoted belong to various branches of There is a slip on p. 35; Cordyceps Sheeringii should be experimental science-chemistry, bacteriology, physics C. Sherringii. The indices are very complete and the mechanics, and meteorology. A selection of instru figures, excepting one on p. 10, good.
ments made by the Cambride company, and miscel
laneous apparatus, diagrams, chemical reagents, &c., are Notes on Qualitative Chemical Analysis. By P.
also included. Lakshmi Narasu Nayudu, B.A. (Madras : K.
The sections on bacteriology and gas analysis and Murugesa Chetty, 1892.)
especially full, and indicate the interest at present taken It is interesting to meet with books such as this, which in these departments. serve to indicate how the study of chemistry is pro A table of contents and an index are supplied. On p gressing in the colonies and dependencies of the empire. 145"Irish " is misprinted for “ Iris"; and what is termed
The author sets out with the endeavour to keep the an“ optical bank,” on p. 164, is usually called as rationale of the various processes of qualitative analysis " optical bench." well to the front, as in this way he considers the value of the study as a means of scientific training can alone be brought out. Group-reagents and the reasons for their use are first discussed as a preliminary to a somewhat ex
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. haustive study of the reactions of the different basic and
| [7 he Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions en acid radicles. At the end of each group tables are given
pressed by his correspondents. Neither can he undertak showing at a glance the behaviour of the radicles towards
to return, or to correspond with the writers of, rejecta the various reagents.
manuscripts intended for this or any other part of NATURE It is somewhat astonishing that after such a minute No notice is taken of anonymous communications. ] study of the reactions of all the more common radicles, the author should give no schemes for the separation of
Universities and Research, the constituents of the different group-precipitates. In At the discussion in Edinburgh on the proposed National spite of the fact that under each radicle he gives as many, Laboratory, Lord Kelvin and Sir Geo. Stokes took marked if not more, reactions than are given in the larger works exception to my contention that the primary business of UD. on qualitative analysis, he contents himself with merely versities was research, contending that it was teaching. In a going through the examination of a simple salt. The sense their contention is true, but not in contradistinction to my expenditure of but little space would remedy this omission,
contention. The distinction would hardly be worth fighting which limits the sphere of usefulness of the book. It is
over were it not that they took up the further ground that oa: to be noted also that film-tests find no place in the system
those researches should be engaged in in Universities which were
likely to interest the students. Of course the leaders of science adopted.
can if they choose sell the great birthright of Universities for a It may be said that the author adheres well to his pur- | mess of sees, but I hope they will not be permitted to do so pose of showing why any particular operation is performed. without protest. What view the democracy take of Universities The book contains a large amount of useful information. is of the very last importance with our democratic institutions. Occasionally, however, the mode in which it is stated is and I trust all those who have the welfare of the nation 21 peculiar. “In the cold” is an expression commonly heart will protest against the Universities being turned used in speaking of a reaction. The use of “in the heat," into coach-houses. In this connection it is most important to bear a term often employed by the author, is, on the other
inloved by the author is on the other in mind the distinction between the functions of Universite hand, uncommon. To speak, too, of "neutral solutions
and those of schools and colleges. The function of these latte 3 of zinc salts containing strong acids” is confusing. In
primarily to teach those who resort to them. The functionea"
the University is primarily to teach mankind. In former dans some cases, as when using bodies like potassium metanti
when the means for distributing information were very imperfect moniate or sodium hydrogen tartrate, it would be advis
students used to flock from all sides to learn directly from a grea" able to give the name as well as the formula : it isn't
mind. Nowadays the great mind distributes his teaching broda every student who is acquainted with such substances.
cast. In old days the only way to learn what was being doo It is erroneous to say that fluorine does not combine with to advance knowledge was to go to the place where knowledge carbon even at a high temperature. According to was being advanced. Nowadays we read the Transactions of os Moissan, all the allotropes of carbon, except the diamond, learned societies at home. But at all times the greates unite with fluorine, indeed some of the forms are, in the men have always held that their primary duty was to be cold, spontaneously inflammable in the gas.
discovery of new knowledge, the creation of new idees The following typographical errors are omitted in the for all mankind, and not the instruction of the few list of errata. On p. 47 “ meterially” should be "mate
found it convenient to reside in their immediate neighbos rially," " gSo," &c. should be “MgSo," &c. on p. 58, and
| hood. Not that I desire to minimize the immense importados
of personal influence, it is overwhelming ; but it is a questi “Ba,P,0” is given for “Ba,P,0,” on p. 69.
quite beside the one at issue, which is whether the advance Science Instruments. Catalogue of Scientific Appa- | knowledge by research and the teaching of the whole nation by ratus and Reagents manufactured and sold by Brady
the discoveries made is not rather the primary object of Unire
sities than the instruction of the few students who gather in the and Martin. (Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1892.)
halls: that is the real question at issue between Lord Keira AT the present time, when almost all branches of experi- Sir Geo. Stokes, and myself. Are the Universities to devote the mental science are growing so rapidly, and new and energies of the most advanced intellects of the age to the improved pieces of apparatus are continually coming instruction of the whole nation, or to the instruction of the key