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to ensure the continued maintenance of the observatories.' a century has acted as its secretary. Mr. F. J. Chittenden, The directors lost no time in calling the attention of the who has been for some time a member of the scientific comFirst Lord of the Treasury to this 'inexplicably erroneous mittee of the society, has undertaken to discharge the duties statement, and in appealing to him that means should of secretary until the end of the current session. found to prevent the abandonment of the observatories. The Treasury, however, could not see its way to any further
It is stated by the Pioneer Mail that the Burma Governincrease of the contribution from the Parliamentary Grant,
ment has decided to discontinue the experiments for the but offered to continue the allowance of 3501, a year hitherto
improvement of the indigenous silk industry in the more received from the Meteorological Council. As this arrange
important silk centres of the Province by the importation ment would have left the directors exactly where they were
of silkworm eggs from France. Owing to climatic and before, face to face with the impossibility of continuing to
other causes, rearing has failed with foreign imported eggs, raise 650l. every year, and with the obvious hopelessness
and it is not considered worth while pursuing the experiof obtaining adequate pecuniary support from the Govern
ments without the aid of an expert. ment, there was no alternative but to close the obsery- MR. J. N. Halbert has been appointed assistant in the atories."
Dublin Museum in succession to Mr. G. H. Carpenter, who It is announced in the Times that a donor, who desires
held the post for many years. Mr. Halbert is known as to remain anonymous, has placed a sum of 1000l. in the
the author, in collaboration with the Rev. W. F. Johnson, hands of the treasurer of the Royal Society, to be devoted of a list of the beetles of Ireland (Proc. R. I. Acad.). He to the advancement of science. By his wish 500l. of this gift has also published some papers in the Zoologischer Anzeiger is to be placed to the credit of the “ Catalogue of Scientific
and the Annals and Magazine of Natural History, on freshPapers Account” of the Royal Society, and the remainder
water mites. to the credit of the “National Physical Laboratory The applications for space in the forthcoming automobile Account" of that body, with the request that the executive exhibition at Paris on December 4 far exceed the space committee of the laboratory will accede to any personal
available in the Grand Palace of Fine Arts, so it may be wish of the director as to its expenditure.
necessary to hold the exhibition at the Galerie des Machines. A STRONG, detailed indictment of the department of the
One of the curiosities of the exhibition will be the War Office which should be responsible for the production
Lebaudy II. exhibited in a reduced model. To November 18 of necessary maps appeared in Saturday's Times from the
the Lebaudy dirigible balloon had executed not less than military correspondent of that journal. The war in the
fifty-four ascents, and on the fifty-first the return to the Far East has lasted now for nearly nine months, and not
Moisson Aërodrome, the starting point, was accomplished. a single map of the seat of war has been issued by the
From the last day of October to November 18 ten ascents Government department which is the chief recipient of the
were successfully executed. results of our geographical research. The vexatious thing The first meeting of the annual session of the German is that the information, even the maps, exist, but that no Society of Naval Architects was held at the Technical High endeavour has been made to utilise them for the public School at Charlottenburg on November 17. The Emperor benefit. The Russian and Japanese Staff maps of Man- William, the honorary president of the society, the Grand churia exist in London, but neither map can be purchased Duke of Oldenburg, the Secretary of State for the Imperial by the public through the trade, though, as both are in the Navy, Admiral von Tirpitz, and the secretary of the British hands of individuals in London, and whole sheets of the Institution of Naval Architects were present. Prof. Japanese map have been reproduced by the Japanese Press, Ahlborn, of Hamburg, read a paper on the spiral formation the presumption is that the mapping section of the director of water under the action of a ship's screw, and on the of military operations also stands possessed of them. A movements produced in the water by the revolution of the map intended to be of use to the public must be a compilation screw; and Prof. Braun, of Strassburg, dealt with the of these and other materials; but no such map has been methods and aims of wireless telegraphy. issued officially at all. The only excuse for this deplorable want of sense is the lack of staff and of time to produce the
The Journal of the Society of Arts states that among the map for which there is a public demand. In this case
congresses arranged in connection with the Liège Internothing could be simpler than to provide some house in the
national Exhibition of next year, and with which the cotrade with the information available, and allow suitable operation of the Belgian Government is ensured, one on maps to be produced by private enterprise. Our official
chemistry and pharmacy, convoked by the Belgian Chemical maps are, the article affirms, nothing less than a national Society and the Liège Pharmaceutical Association, will be disgrace. Not only all the Great Powers, but even those
held at the end of July. The congress is to be divided into of the second and third rank, are infinitely superior in chemistry; (2) analytical chemistry, apparatus and instru:
the following sections :-(1) general chemistry, physicocartography, These facts are then employed to direct attention to the whole question of the teaching of geo- lurgy; (4) industrial organic chemistry (sugar-boiling,
ments; (3) industrial mineral chemistry, including metalgraphy, and to warn us of a serious defect in our system of national education. We have suffered in the conduct of
fermentation, tanning, dyeing, &c.); (5) pharmaceutical military operations because the teaching of geography has chemistry ; (6) the chemistry of food substances; (7) agrinot assumed its proper place in the education of our army chemistry (application to hygiene and bacteriology): (9)
cultural chemistry, manures ; (8) biological and physiological officers.
toxicology; (10) practical pharmacy; and (11) legislation The death is announced of Dr. Karl H. Huppert, emeritus and professional interests, deonthology. The president of professor of physiological chemistry in the University of the organising committee is Prof. A. Gilkinet, of Liège. Prague, at seventy-two years of age.
A CONFERENCE on physical education was held on The scientific committee of the Royal Horticultural November 16 at the Education Offices of the London County Society met recently and received with regret the resig- Council, the Bishop of Bristol presiding. Miss Johnson, nation of Prof. Henslow, who for more than a quarter of of the Swedish Institute, Clifton, advocated the organ87
isation of physical education on the lines of the Royal which adheres to the gummy surface of the beans and acts Central Institute of Sweden, which she described. Sir W. as a polish, so that finally the beans assume the appearance Church, president of the Royal College of Physicians, moved and colour of polished mahogany; careful drying completes a resolution to the effect that it is desirable that a national the process, which results in the beans carrying and keepsystem of physical education should be established in the ing better on account of the protective covering formed. United Kingdom. This was seconded by Sir Lauder
The Cosmo Melvill herbarium, now the property of Brunton, and supported by other speakers, including Lord Londonderry and Sir W. Broadbent. The Times of
Owens College, Manchester, is estimated by the donor to November 17, in a leading article on the subject of the
contain five thousand genera, or two-thirds of the total conference, while acknowledging our supineness in this re
number recorded in the “Genera Plantarum,” exclusive of spect in the past, rightly deprecates any hasty action in
others since instituted, and the phanerogams alone amount the matter, and remarks that while Swedish and other
to 36,000 different species. From a geographical point of systems have their merits, what we want here is not a
view nearly every country appears to have furnished a quota. system borrowed from Sweden, Denmark, or Japan, but a
Among the more important collections mention should British system growing out of the British character, and
be made of Sir Joseph Hooker and Dr. Thomson's Indian suited, as no borrowed system can ever be, to British needs, plants, Dr. Henry's Chinese collections, Mr. C. G. Pringle's and considers that we must begin with the children in our
Mexican plants, and the specimens collected by Dr. Nuttall
in North America. clementary schools.
THE Deutsche Seewarte has added another to its many In the Times of November 17 appeared a letter stating that skulls and limb-bones of horses of known pedigree, no
useful publications, Tabellarische Reiseberichte, a collecmatter what their breed, are required by the natural history
tion of tabular reports of the meteorological logs received branch of the British Museum, and the cooperation of
during the year 1903 from observers on ships. It has several horse-owners is invited in the endeavour to bring together
times been suggested that observations made at sea should a large series of such specimens. No mention is made in
be published in a tabular form, similarly to those made at the letter of the special purpose for which a collection of
land stations; the late Admiral Makaroff was the last to this nature is required. Those who have kept abreast of
urge the importance of doing so, but the question of expense zoological literature for the last year or two will, however,
has always stood in the way. The work in question does have scarcely failed to notice how much attention has been
not attempt such a regular tabulation of observations, but directed by naturalists to the problem of the origin of the
gives a useful summary of some of the principal phenomena various breeds of domesticated horses, and especially to the
recorded on each voyage, e.g. the limits of the trade winds idea that thoroughbreds and Arabs have different and monsoons, the force of wind, the storms experienced parentage from the cold-blooded horses of western
and the behaviour of the barometer during their occurrence, Europe. The circumstance that some horses of eastern
noteworthy currents, sudden changes of sea temperature, origin show a vestige of the cavity for the tear-gland
Each report also gives the length and nature of of the hipparions has been recently brought to notice
the voyage, so that any person interested in the meteorology as an important factor in the problem. To
of any particular part of the ocean can determine approxitain the frequency of this feature is probably one of the
mately the amount of materials available. It is proposed objects of making the collection, while a second may be
to issue a similar volume for each year. 00 ascertain the constancy of certain proportionate relations
DR. H. HERGESELL, president of the International Aërobetween the limb-bones of racers and cart-horses. The nautical Committee, has contributed to Beiträge zur Physik museum already possesses the skeleton of “ Stockwell," der freien Atmosphäre an interesting account of his kite from whom are descended most of our best thoroughbreds, observations on the Lake of Constance. The ascents were and likewise the skull of “ Bend Or," presented by the first made in the year 1900, and subsequently in the years Duke of Westminster, and Mr. W. S. Blunt has promised
1902 and 1903, on both occasions with the assistance of a skull of one of his famous Arabs.
Count Zeppelin, who lent his motor-boat for the purpose. We have received from Messrs. Friedlander, Berlin, a
It is understood that such observations are somewhat difficult catalogue of books on comparative anatomy, which is
at an inland station, as the wind velocity necessary for divided into three sections, the first dealing with verte
raising the kite (about 8 metres per second, or 18 miles brates and the second with invertebrates, while the third
per hour) is not always available without the artificial wind is devoted to comparative embryology and morphology.
produced by the motion of a boat. Dr. Hergesell's experi
ments clearly show that, frequently, inversions of temperaNo, 9 of vol. xxxi. of the Proceedings of the Boston ture and humidity occur at certain levels, which are not Natural History Society is devoted to the North American exhibited by observations made on mountain peaks, and the parasitic funguses of the group Ustilagineæ. These
opinion is expressed both by Prof. Mascart (president of the organisms, which have been hitherto very imperfectly International Meteorological Committee) and by himself that known, infest various parts of herbaceous flowering plants, however useful in various ways, observations on mountain and are represented by twenty-four genera included in two stations have not led to the results that were expected from families. Much still remains to be done in determining them. He is of opinion that if any improvement is to be their distribution, and some of the hosts of certain species made in what he terms the present stagnant condition of are given on the authority of observers other than the meteorological science, it will be by the investigation of the author of this paper, Mr. G. P. Clinton.
upper strata of free air rather than by piling up obseryAs account of the method of preparing clayed cocoa
ations made at ordinary meteorological stations in other appears in the Bulletin of the Trinidad Botanical Depart
words, by making meteorology a study of the physics of the ment for July. The cocoa-beans, after being fermented and
atmosphere. dried, are collected in heaps, upon which men are set to IN a communication to the Institution of Mechanical dance, while others replace the beans as they scatter. Engineers Mr. R. M. Neilson discusses the possibilities Meantime the heaps are dusted over with powdered clay of gas turbines from a scientific standpoint, a region of
study to which up to the present little systematic attention No. 9 of vol. cvi. of the Bulletin de la Société d'Encouragehas been given. The author considers that the:e are four ment contains several papers of metallurgical interest. different cycles which could be applied with advantage to M. H. Le Chatelier describes a photographic method of a gas turbine, giving efficiencies of from 0.25 to o 84, and recording the temperature of pieces of steel at every instant two of them admitting of several different cases. The during the rapid cooling which accompanies hardening, and necessity of keeping the temperature of the blades of the investigates the law of this cooling in the case of the turbine down to about 700° C. to a certain extent limits commoner baths, such as water, oil and mercury, which are the efficiency, but, as the author points out, a decrease in employed in industry. Contrary to the usually accepted the temperature of the source in a Carnot's cycle affects view, the rate of cooling by means of mercury is much the efficiency less than an increase in the temperature of smaller than that due to water; the specific heat of the the refrigerator of the same amount.
quenching material, and not its thermal conductivity, is
obviously the principal factor to be considered in such cases. We have received from the Stanley Electric Manufactur- The cooling by oil is relatively very slow, owing to its low ing Co., of Pittsfield, Mass., an interesting wall map show- specific heat and to its viscosity, which prevents loss of ing the long distance power transmission lines in Cali- heat by convection. M. L. Guillet describes in the same fornia. There are six power houses situated on the western part the properties of tin and titanium steels, and M. P. slopes of Sierra Nevada from which power is transmitted Mahler discusses the reversible actions occurring in the electrically to San Francisco and the surrounding district.
blast-furnace. The longest transmission is from the De Sabla power house to Sansaulito, which is to the north of San Francisco, on the
We have received a copy of the “ British Standard Specifiopposite side of the Golden Gate; the length of this line is cation and Sections for Bull Headed Railway Rails,” issued 232 miles. More than 10,000 h.p. is being supplied to San by the Engineering Standards Committee. It has been reFrancisco itself from the electric power house which is
solved that the steel used in these rails shall be of the best
the following 147 miles away. An additional power house is proposed, quality, the constituents conforming to and also several additional lines.
limits :--carbon from 0.35 to 0.5 per cent., manganese from 0.7 to 1.0 per cent., silicon not to exceed o- i per cent., phos
phorus 0-075 per cent., and sulphur 0.08 per cent. At a recent meeting of the Faraday Society, among other papers was one by Miss B. Pool on a suggested new source
manufacturer shall make and furnish to the purchaser a of aluminium. This consists of the vast deposits of laterite
carbon determination of each cast, and a complete chemical which occur in several parts of India; these laterites are analysis representing the average of the other elements closely analogous to bauxite, from which aluminium is at
present shall be given for each rolling. A table of the present manufactured. The paper gives analyses of several
general dimensions of the “ B. S." rails is given, with illusof the laterites in different districts, and the author con
trative sections. For straight lines, the committee recomcludes that this raw material, on account of its purity,
mends the adoption of the following as the normal lengths ready accessibility, and association with flowing water
of the rails, namely, 30 feet, 36 feet, 45 feet, and 60 feet. should be almost an ideal source of aluminium. Mr. W. M.
The tensile strength must not be less than 38 tons per Morrison, in the discussion, questioned whether it was prob
square inch nor more than 45 tons per square inch, and a able that the Indian laterites would be used in this country,
5-feet length of rail shall respond satisfactorily to the blows as the supply of bauxite near at hand was plentiful, though
of a falling weight of 2240 lb. The inspection and testing it was not unlikely that at some future date they might be
of the rails by the purchaser during the course of their worked in situ.
manufacture are suitably provided for. We have received from Messrs. Christy and Co., of Old
An interesting paper by Mr. L. Gilchrist on the electroSwan Lane, Lower Thames Street, E.c., a few samples of lysis of acid solutions of aniline appears in the November the several varieties of Dr. Schleussner's dry plates, and have
number of the Journal of Physical Chemistry. On electrofound them to vindicate, practically, the commendations lysing a hydrochloric acid solution, aniline black is formed. bestowed upon them by many Continental men of science, in
the depolarising effect amounting to about 0.3 volt. Subcluding several well known astronomers. The "ordinary
stituted chloranilines are not formed to any appreciable explates are characterised by their great sensitiveness and the
tent. Electrolysis of a hydrobromic acid solution, which evenness of their emulsion. The “ special rapid ” plates,
has a considerably smaller decomposition voltage, leads on intended chiefly for stellar photography and general scien
the other hand to bromanilines, and no aniline black is titic work, were found excellent, especially in stellar work,
produced. even faint stars giving fairly dense trails when the plates
The Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society (vol. x.. were exposed in a stationary camera. The results in this
No. 23) contain a report by Dr. E. J. McWeeney on the direction especially are enhanced by the very smooth grain
cases of carbon monoxide asphyxiation which have occurred of the finished negative. On testing the “ orthochromatic
in Dublin since the addition of carburetted water gas to plates in terrestrial and stellar spectroscopic work they
the ordinary coal gas. It appears that from 1880 to 1900, were found to be extremely sensitive, and, with relatively before the addition of carburetted water gas was practised, short exposures, gave spectra extending well up into the
there was no recorded case of death from coal gas poisonorange with only a short break on the less refrangible ing, whilst during the four years that have elapsed since side of the “F” line. The “ Viridin ” are especially the addition was made, there have been ten cases with sensitive in the green, with reduced sensitiveness in the blue
seven deaths due to that cause. and violet, and should be found very useful in landscape work where the use of a screen is inconvenient or likely In a paper published in the Manchester Memoirs (vol. to lengthen the exposure unduly. All the plates were easy . xlix., 1904) Mr. W. Thomson describes experiments which to develop with normal pyro-soda, and gave excellent, fine- show that arsenic is rapidly eliminated from the system by grained negatives free from any trace of fog. Messrs. kidney secretion. After the administration of one-fiftieth Christy are the sole agents for these plates in Great Britain. of a gram of arsenious oxide, about 16 per cent. was found
No. of meteors
to be eliminated in this way within twenty-four hours. gh. 18m. 115. (Bamberg M.T.) on October 30, and deterThe amount of arsenic in the secretions of people in towns
mined the following as its position :: where large metallurgical operations are carried on is found a (app.) = 23h. 28m. 1.013., 8 (app.) = +25° 23' 25".1. in some cases to be as high as one-thirtieth of a grain per The comet was very diffuse with a faint central condensagallon.
tion, and a diameter of more than 10' (Astronomische
Nachrichten, No. 3977). A Second edition of Prof. Hantzsch's “Grundriss der OBSERVATIONS OF Perseids.—The results of a large Stereochemie " has just been published by J. A. Barth in number of independent observations of the Perseid shower Leipzig. The rapid advances which have taken place in this of last August, together with a detailed exposition by M. branch of chemistry during the last ten years have rendered
Chrétien of the process by which the positions of meteor
radiants may be determined from the observed data by the considerable additions necessary. Sections are now included
method of least squares, are published in the November dealing with the stereochemistry of diazo-compounds and number of the Bulletin de la Société astronomique de complex inorganic bodies, and with the molecular asym- France. metry of nitrogen, sulphur, selenium, and tin compounds. Among other results, those obtained by M. Perrotin at
The The connection between configuration and biological
Nice and by M. G. A. Quignon at Mons are given. activity, the reciprocal transformation of optical antipodes.
former have already been summarised in these columns; the
latter are as follows:and the phenomenon of steric hindrance are also treated in
During a total watch of 7h. 15m. between August 7 the new edition, which should be welcomed by all classes and 12, M. Quignon observed 110 meteors, chiefly Perseids, of chemists
and determined the position R.A. = 44°, dec. = +59°, as
the mean radiant point of the shower. The maximum disA THIRD edition of the “ Elements of the Mathematical play took place between 22h. 40m. and 23h. Iom. Theory of Electricity and Magnetism,” by Prof. J. J. August 11, when 21 meteors, or 42 per hour, were seen. Thomson, F.R.S., has been published by the Cambridge HeightS OF METEORS.-In a letter to the November University Press. A new chapter on the properties of number of the Observatory Mr. Denning publishes some moving electrified bodies has been added, and other minor
data regarding the observed heights of the appearances and changes have been made.
disappearances of several different classes of meteors.
He states that, generally speaking, the swift meteors Messes. BELL AND Sons have published separately, under become visible at a greater height than the slower ones, and the title “ Examples in Algebra, a selection of the ex
do not approach so near to the earth's surface before disamples in the recently published Elementary Algebra,"
appearing Thus for the Leonids and Perseids, both of
which are characterised by their comparative swiftness, it by Messes. W. M. Baker and A. A. Bourne. The price is
has been determined that the former are generally more 35., and the new volume may also be had in two parts at lofty than the latter, the average heights being as follows :25, each.
Height at beginning
ending The yearly volume for 1904 of the Reliquary and Illus
25 trated Archaeologist has now been published. The four Perseids
40 separate issues, which have been referred to from time to
On the other hand, the mean heights of the very slow time in these columns, together form a handsome volume.
meteors appear to average about 65 miles at the beginning Some articles in the volume will appeal to students of science to 38 miles at the end of their appearance. These, howwho are not archæologists. Among these may be mentioned ever, appear to form two distinct classes :-(1) those having a well illustrated article by Mr. W. H. Legge “ About
very low radiants, extending from 64 miles to 48 miles ; Almanacs," and Mr. F. W. Galpin's “ Notes on a Roman
and (2) those having fairly high radiants, extending from
66 miles to 28 miles. Hydraulus."
The swiftest meteors apparently become visible when In order to meet the requirements of the new syllabus in
nearly 20 miles higher than the very slow meteors, whilst chemistry of the matriculation examination of the University
those of the latter which have high radiants come 20 miles
nearer the earth than those having very low radiants. of London, Dr. G. H. Bailey has taken advantage of the Seven Quadrantids and four Lyrids gave mean heights demand for a second edition of his book on chemistry to re- of 67 miles to 52 miles and 84 miles to 50 miles respectively. write and enlarge it. In its present form “ The New
The PHOTOGRAPHIC SPECTRUM OF JUPITER.–Using the Matriculation Chemistry” contains everything that large refractor of the Meudon Observatory in conjunction candidate at the matriculation examination is likely to re- with a spectrograph containing one 60° prism and having quire. An introductory course of experimental work has
a focal length of 292 mm., M. G. Millochau obtained a been inserted in addition to other new matter. The volume
number of photographs of the spectrum of Jupiter during
December and January. is published by Mr. W. B. Clive, and edited by Dr. William
A study of the resulting spectra, which were obtained on Briggs.
Lumière panchromatic plates and extend from F to C,
showed a number of bands at 41 618, 607, 600, 578, and OUR ASTRONOMICAL COLUMN.
515, which are apparently the same as those observed by
Keeler in the spectrum of Uranus. It further disclosed the Excke's COMET (1904 b).--On a photograph obtained on facts that the water vapour and a bands were greatly October 28 with two hours' exposure, using the Bruce tele- strengthened in the planetary spectrum, and that all the scope, Prof. Max Wolf discovered a faint image of Encke's bands were relatively more intense in that part which was comet, the apparent position of which at 28d. 7h. 13m. 48s. produced by the light from the south equatorial band of the (Konigstuhl M.T.) was
planet's apparent disc. a=23h. 37m. 51.415., 8 = +26° 0' 38".0.
The appearance of the band at 1 618, which has been
previously observed in the spectra of the superior planets, A faint tail, extending in a northerly direction, and of several new faint bands in the Jovian spectrum, suspected.
indicates the existence of a gas in the atmospheres of the On the same night Prof. Millosevich at Rome was able outer planets which does not exist at all, or only in much to find the comet with the 39 cm. equatorial of the Roman feebler proportions, in the atmospheres of the inferior Tollege Olmervatory. The object was extremely faint, and planets. nad the following position at 6h. 3om. (October 28, Rome M. Millochau intends to prosecute this research further MI, Q = 23h. 37m. 58s., 8 = +26° 1.4.
at the Mont Blanc Observatory, where the clearer atmoProf E. Hartwig also observed the comet visually, using sphere should permit of better results being obtained she large refractor of the Bamberg Observatory, at (Bulletin de la Société astronomique de France, November).
SCIENCE AND THE STATE,
greatest use must be transmitted at once), whilst the other
is not. The view of the committee which sat was strongly I HAVE long held that there is a certain class of work that this disability ought to be removed, so that wide pubperformed by institutions which should undoubtedly be
licity to weather reports, especially in harvest time, should carried on by some department of the State, specially de
be given. Finally, the committee almost unanimously revoted to such work.
ported in favour of the office being attached to some GovernThe work to which I refer is such as is not suitable, or
ment department, and proposed that this should be the Board to be expected from societies or individuals. It is work
of Agriculture, a department which at present is not overwhich is continuous and must expand in the flux of time,
weighted. which is recognised by the public as useful, which is not
I must remind you that our great Indian dependency and cannot be remunerative, which requires a staff larger has been more alive to the question of meteorology than we than is required by the ordinary demands of a society, and have at home; but I trust that, backward as we are, we cannot be dropped without serious detriment
may, before long, attain that excellence of administration public.
which the Indian Meteorological Department has exhibited When there is some pressing need Government does
under its present and past able administrators. administer branches of a department which has to carry What the Government intends to do with the committee's out scientific investigation. Thus the medical branch of
report I do not know. Judging from previous history, there the Local Government Board has been laboriously and
seems to be a dread at the Treasury of any of the present gradually built up. It is far otherwise, however, with that departments having more to do with science than is abso scientific work which has no department specially interested
lutely forced upon them. Perhaps this is natural. The in or needing it, though it is for the public weal; as the lay official mind has, with some few exceptions, never fully State departments only exist for ministering to that weal,
grasped the importance of orderly and continued scientific it appears that some department should be created or en
investigation in order to increase national prosperity. It larged to take charge of such work. This view, which I have
recognises this in a way, for the need is continually brought long held, has been more than confirmed by the evidence
into prominence by the Press, but to it the easiest plan is to given before a recent committee, which the Treasury
leave all such investigation to societies. In Great Britain practically appointed, to consider the present position of the
it has never been realised that to foster such work is a Meteorological Office, but limiting the recommendation to duty of the nation. We have ignored the very patent fact be made so far as the grant made to it is concerned.
that in free America and in other countries the necessity of Meteorological science has been greatly retarded in Great
annexing to the State all utilitarian research (when such Britain by want of funds. Perhaps the latest example research is carried out with the definite object of public occurred in 1902, when there was a proposal to obtain further
usefulness) is fully recognised. I am not proposing for an information about atmospheric currents and conditions by instant that the work which is carried out by individuals the use of balloon and kite observations, an international or societies should be curtailed, but there are questions which scheme of work being contemplated. The small sum of
are too large, too expansive, and bearing too much on the 500l. a year would have been necessary to carry out this public weal which should be dealt with in Great Britain as research, but the Royal Society was obliged, on behalf of they are in (say) America. the Meteorological Office, to reply that they had no funds, I have only so far referred to the Meteorological Coma reply which it would have been difficult to make had the
mittee, but, at all events, there is another institution, the Meteorological Office been part of a Government depart- National Physical Laboratory, which should come into the ment. Let us look across the water at our American cousins
same category of quasi-public departments. and see how they regard the science of meteorology, and The Government has given the National Physical Laborwhether or not it is important enough to attach it to the
atory buildings, and a sum of 19,000l. to make the additions State. According to evidence given to the committee, the to them, which were absolutely necessary to commence with. Weather Bureau in America, corresponding to our Meteor- It granted 4000l. a year for four years, and afforded assistological Office and forming part of the Department of Agri- ance to it through the Office of Works. The term of years culture, was spending 230,000l, a year on the same work as for which the grant was made runs out in March next, and that of the Meteorological Committee, whose funds at the its financial position has to be reviewed by the State through maximum were confined to 15,300l. In Germany, where the Treasury. Its existence and development has become very large sums are spent on the oceanic part of meteor- a necessity through the excellent work that it has already ology, it is a part of the Navy Department. We, with our done. But there is work of first-class importance to the splendid navy and mercantile marine, surely ought to see public which the laboratory has been forced to refuse owing that this part of meteorology is as well cared for as it is to lack of funds. Standardising is not a luxury in the prein Germany, and that there is no lack of funds.
The sent day, and England has suffered much in its trade owing evidence given before the committee showed that without to the want of it. the help of the hydrographic branch of the Navy the work The table on p. 91 will show the amounts granted by the could not have been carried on with anything like success. different States in regard to these laboratories. I am not intending to enter into a discussion of meteor- Here we have a direct comparison of grants and turn-out ological science, but it has been pointed out that if fore- of work. Great Britain, I think I may say, has no reason casts are any good (and we have it on record that from to be ashamed of the work, though it has of the grants. 68 per cent. to 75 per cent. of them are successful) they In connection with the results given in the table, I may ought to be made as good as possible. There is no doubt point out that France and the United States started their that kite and balloon observations, and the use of wireless institutions after the inauguration of our own laboratory. telegraphy in mid-ocean, would give a still higher per- The idea of making any such institution a State institucentage of successful forecasts. But the additions must tion, it may be supposed, was never entertained by the remain in abeyance owing to the money limit which has Government, such a notion being foreign to existing prebeen fixed at the same standard for so many years.
cedent. The precedent-bad precedent too--had to govern Again, we find that a very large item of expenditure by the situation. We have only to look across the Atlantic the Meteorological Office is the cost of telegrams. It has to see how our Anglo-Saxon cousins treat such matters. to pay the same price for the use of the Post Office tele- There, institutions such as I have here described are part graphs as any private individual, whereas every Govern- and parcel of a State department, and have a handsome ment office has the free use of the wires, and has not to annual grant allotted to them. The Government of the consider whether a telegram runs to 12 or 120 words, or United States recognised the public need, and so did whether it sends 1 or 100. The main object of the Meteor- Congress, with the result that the public need is catered ological Office is to assist the public, and this is the same for by a public department, as it should be. as that of Government departments, yet the one is hampered In regard to the National Physical Laboratory, it is no by the cost of publishing information (which to be of the secret that at the present moment it is hampered by want
Abridged from the inaugural address delivered at the Society of Arts of funds for equipment and staff. Its refusal of work has on November 16 by Sir William Abney, K.C.B., F.R.S., vice-president only proceeded from this cause. The report which it issued and chairman of the council of the Society.
showed that its expenditure had been larger than its income