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The remaining letters, of which there are eight, Masson, 120 boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris. Fuller parconsist of two things-on the one hand of discus- ticulars may be obtained from the secretary of the comsion of the results of the hawksweed experiments mittee, Dr. Guichard, 3 rue Michelet, Paris. and of appeals for rare or unobtainable species of that genus, and on the other of personal and friendly PROF. T. H. MIDDLETON, professor of agriculture in the communications. The former are interesting only to l'niversity of Cambridge, has been appointed assistant the specialist, and to him even the interest is chiefly secretary to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, in historical, since Mendel did his crossings without the succession to Dr. W. Somerville. knowledge which we now possess, that the hawksweed sometimes exhibits parthenogenetic reproduction.
The death of Mr. William Sedgwick, a member of the At the beginning of the third letter we get a glimpse of Mendel. He is giving his reason for
medical profession who combined the active duties of his not having studied the hawksweeds in their natural calling with the pursuit of scientific investigation, is habitat in the neighbourhood of Brünn, and proceeds : announced in Wednesday's Times. Mr. Sedgwick was
.. auch tauge ich mich nicht mehr recht für born in 1821, and during the 'sixties of last century he botanische Excursionen, da mich der Himmel mit devoted much attention to the study of heredity, and pubeinem Lebergewichte gesegnet hat, welches sich bei lished articles upon the subject which were referred to weiteren Fusspartien, namentlich aber beim Berg- and quoted by Darwin. Soon after his establishment in steigen, in Folge der allgemeinen Gravitation, sehr
Marylebone as a general practitioner, London was visited fuhlbar macht. Later, in the same letter, we read of him nearly devoted much attention to the chemical changes incidental
by the great cholera epidemic of 1854 ; and Mr. Sedgwick ruining his eyesight by the extremely difficult operation of castrating Hieracium, and we can picture him,
to the disease, and made them, in 1889, the subject of with bent head close to flower, absorbed in his beloved his presidential address to the Harveian Society. experiments. That Mendel did this work because he loved it, and not for the hope of any reputation he
The death is announced in St. Petersburg, on October 19, might gain by it, is abundantly evident. The im- of Prof. T. T. Beilstein, the well-known Russian chemist. patience with which he waited for the blossoming of His numerous researches in organic and analytical chemcertain hybrids finds eloquent expression in the last istry, and especially his work on the aromatic series, words of the third letter. And Prof. Correns remarks enriched science with many new discoveries, and gave a in his introduction : “ Die Briefe zeigen, dass das
new direction to chemical industry. He also made extensive was Mendel veröffentlicht hat, in der Tat in gar researches on Caucasian naphtha and coal-tar. His works, keinem Verhältnis steht zu dem, was er gearbeitet written in German, were very numerous, the chief of hat." The reason that he published so little lies also in the fact that in '68 a great change took place in
them being his Handbuch der organischen Chemie ” and his circumstances, which robbed him of his time.
his text-book on analytical chemistry. Prof. Beilstein was Meine Wenigkeit wurde nämlich am 30
born in St. Petersburg on February 5, 1838. He studied März von dem Kapitel des Stiftes, dessen Mitglied chemistry under Prof. Bunsen at Heidelberg, and also ich bin, zum lebenslänglichen Vorstande gewählt." attended the lectures of Liebig at Munich. He studied
That Nägeli entertained a high opinion of Mendel physics under Prof. Jolly, and at the age of eighteen pubis shown by the trouble that he took to obtain the lished his first work on the diffusion of liquids. At plants which Mendel wanted; and that, as a result Göttingen he obtained the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. of this correspondence, Nägeli grew not only to
In 1839 he became assistant professor of chemistry at the esteem him as a man of science, but to value him as
Breslau University, and in 1866 was appointed proa friend, is shown by the fact that in the first five letters he addresses Mendel as Verelirtester Herr
fessor of chemistry at the St. Petersburg Technological College, but that in the last five he calls him Hoch- Institute, where he remained the rest of his life. He also geehrter Herr und Freund. And that, I think, sums
lectured at the St. Petersburg Military Academy, and was up one's feelings when one reads these letters. At
made an academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of the beginning, we feel, Mendel stands to us in the Sciences in 1886. relation of a College only; at the end we feel that he is both our College und Freund. Is there not
The proposed new scheme for the mathematical tripos something that attracts us in passages like the fol
will be voted upon at Cambridge this afternoon. In a lowing, from the end of the seventh letter? “We letter to the Times of October 22, the professors of mathehave been rejoicing here for weeks past in the most matics and of the cognate subjects of physics and engineerglorious spring weather. Compared with the yearly ing, and all the other official teachers of mathematics in average, the vegetation is thirteen days in advance,
the University, state the chief grounds upon which they and everything is in leaf.”
A. D. D.
are in favour of the proposed changes. The traditional system of placing the names in the mathematical tripos list in order of merit is shown to be unsatisfactory, and to
involve the sacrifice of the educational interests of many NOTES.
students. The number of men who wish to devote their Tur pupils of M. Moissan are taking the opportunity whole course at Cambridge to the study of mathematics is presented by the twentieth anniversary of the isolation of much smaller than twenty years ago. At the present time, fluorine to offer their distinguished master a medal in however, there are a considerable and increasing number commemoration of this important event in the history of of students of engineering and of physics who require chemistry. The execution of the medal has been entrusted mathematics up to a fairly high level, but do not come to M. Chaplain. The promoters of this happily-conceived into contact with the mathematical school proper. To scheme have decided to extend to men of science generally provide for the needs of the important class of men who an invitation to contribute to the expenses. Every sub- ought to spend part, but not the whole, of their time at scriber of 25 francs will receive a replica in bronze of the Cambridge in studying mathematics is one of the chief medal. Donations may be sent, up to November 30, to objects aimed at in the proposed new scheme. It will be the treasurer to the committee of management, M. P. for the advantage of the special mathematical students,
as well as of those who learn mathematics with a view violence on the morning of October 18, structures being to its application in physics or in applied science, that the rocked as if by an earthquake. Many buildings were teaching of the subject be unified. The two classes of demolished, there were numerous shipping casualties, and students may thus avoid the opposite dangers of taking the loss of life was considerable. The storm was accoma too purely abstract view of the science on the one hand, panied by deluging rain, which soon flooded the streets and of regarding it as consisting of a set of empirical rules and rendered vehicular traffic of all sorts impossible. on the other. The letter is signed :-Robert S. Ball, Enormous waves raised by the wind dashed thirty-five Lowndean professor of astronomy and geometry; G. H. lighters in pieces against the wharves. The destruction in Darwin, Plumian professor of astronomy; A. R. Forsyth, the city is estimated at a couple of million dollars. Par Sadlerian professor of pure mathematics; B. Hopkinson, ing on to Florida, the hurricane wrought great havoc on professor of mechanism and applied mechanics; J. Larmor, its way, wrecking ships and causing great loss of life. Lucasian professor of mathematics; J. J. Thomson, One captain reports that he took shelter under Elliott's Cavendish professor of experimental physics; H. F. Baker, Key on the morning of October 18, but shortly afterwards Cayley lecturer in mathematics; E. W. Hobson, Stokes a huge wave swept the island, and its 250 inhabitants lecturer in mathematics; and R. A. Herman, J. G. are believed to have perished. Owing to the interruption Leathem, H. W. Richmond, university lecturers in mathe- of telegraphic communication, the full extent of the damage matics.
in Florida is not known, but at alligator-breeding Miami DR. WILLIAM Osler, regius professor medicine at
various places of worship, the concrete-built prison, and a
hundred houses were involved in the ruin. Mixed up with Oxford, delivered the Harveian oration at the Royal College of Physicians on October 18. He took as his subject “ The
the information relating to the Cuba-Florida hurricane are Growth of Truth as illustrated by the history of Harvey's messages reporting immense destruction by floods in the
Central American Republics. So far as can be gathered discovery of the circulation of the blood. Truth, he said,
from the brief cablegrams, rain-storms, and not windgrows like a living organism, and its gradual evolution may be traced from the germ to the mature product. All
storms, have been the cause of the damage. In San scientific truth is conditioned by the state of knowledge
Salvador the storms are said to have been incessant during at the time of its announcement. Thus, at the beginning features completely altered in many places. Aqueducts and
ten days, the country being flooded, and the physical of the seventeenth century, the science of optics and its mechanical appliances had not made possible (so far as the
iron bridges have been carried away, the railway, electric human mind concerned) the existence of blood
lighting, and telegraph services disorganised, there has capillaries and of blood corpuscles. Jenner could not have
been great loss of life, a man-of-war lost, and the las added to his inquiry a discourse on immunity. Sir William
in cattle and crops have been very heavy. The casualties Perkin and the chemists made Koch possible, Pasteur gave
in Guatemala and Honduras are estimated at many millions
of dollars. the conditions which produced Lister, Davy and others furnished the preliminaries necessary for anæsthesia. To
The type of weather has been very unsettled during the scientific truth alone may the homo mensura principle be
past week, and exceptionally heavy rains have occurred in applied, since of all the mental treasures of the race it
Scotland and in the north-east of England, while in most alone compels general acquiescence. That such general acquiescence, such aspect of certainty, is not reached per occurred at times in Scotland. In the south and south
parts of the country rain has fallen each day. Snow has saltum, but is of slow, often of difficult, growth, marked
east of England the weather has been unusually warm for by failures and frailties, but crowned at last with an
the time of year; and with the single exception of acceptance accorded to no other product of mental activity, is illustrated by every important discovery from Copernicus has exceeded 60° each day. On Monday, October 22, the
October 19 the reading of the thermometer at Greenwich to Darwin. The growth of truth corresponds to the states
Greenwich temperature was 69°, which is 3° higher than of knowledge described by Plato in the Theatetus
any previous record on the corresponding day since 1841, acquisition, latent possession, conscious possession. Scarcely
a period of sixty-five years, and on Sunday, October 21, a discovery can be named which does not present these phases in its evolution. In a hundred important problems
the thermometer registered 67o.5, which is 19:5 higher than acquisition has by slow stages become latent possession; ceptionally warm, the thermometer at times scarcely falling
any previous reading. The nights have also been eiand then there needs but the final touch, the crystal in the
below 60°. Strong winds and gales have occurred over the saturated solution, to give us conscious possession of the
northern and western portions of the kingdom. truth. When those stages are ended, there remains the final struggle for general acceptance. But however eminent
ACCORDING to a paper by Dr. W. E. Hinds, forming a man may become in science, he is very apt to carry with
Bulletin No. 59 of the Entomological Bureau of the ('S. him errors which were in vogue when he was young, errors
Department of Agriculture, the damage done to crops be that darken his understanding, and make him incapable the Mexican cotton-boll weevil is in a fair way of being of accepting even the most obvious truths. It is a great
to a considerable extent neutralised as the result of the consolation to know that even Harvey came within the
presence of the insect itself. Cotton-bolls (or buds), is range of this law; it was the most human touch in his
appears, when pierced by the beak of the weevil show a
decided tendency-more strongly developed in some strange AFTER an interval of only three weeks, another violent than in others—to proliferation, producing internally a hurricane burst over the more western portions of the number of large thin-walled cells placed so close together, West Indies on October 17, apparently with little or no and so loosely combined, that the whole structure prrents warning of its approach. As is usually the case with a granular and gelatinous texture. Amid this abnormal tropical storms, the area of the cyclonic whirl was small, tissue (which is in no wise poisonous to the insects) the for while the Cuban provinces of Havana and Pinar del grubs of the weevil are hatched, and proceed to develops Rio were devastated, Matanzas and Santiago were not considerable percentage is, however, found to perish, and 1 affected. In the city of Havana the cyclone attained terrific is inferred " that the great majority of the deaths due "l
proliferation may be caused by the mechanical effect of the IN the Calcutta Medical Journal, vol. i., No. 2, Mr. formation in first enveloping the larva so closely as to C. L. Bose is the author of an article on the toxic prinprevent its movement, and then the continued formation ciples of the bitter variety of the fruit of Luffa aegyptiaca. producing sufficient internal pressure slowly but surely to The fruit is not infrequently compounded into a curry, and crush to death the foe whose attack has called forth this in consequence of a case where the effect was injurious an as self-defence on the part of the plant." Proliferation examination was made resulting in the extraction of two may be stimulated by puncturing the cotton-buds, while glucosides, the one resembling colocynthin in some of its strains should be selected for cultivation in which the reactions. proliferating tendency is most marked. Already the effects of proliferation in keeping the weevil in check appear to be
To accompany a collection of botanical books and porof more importance than those due to parasites, and it is traits illustrating the history of plant classification, arranged expected they will rapidly increase. Of course the weevil in the botanical gallery of the Natural History Museum, will endeavour to accommodate itself to the new
South Kensington, the keeper of the department has drawn ditions, but, since man is on its side, it is hoped that the up a short guide explaining the chief features of the plant will conquer.
various exhibits. Among early works may be seen the
“Materia Medica ” of Dioscorides dated 1499, Brunfels's In the latest issues of the fishery series of the publications
“ Herbarium," Gerard's “ Herbal," and Bauhin's “ Proof the Danish Commission for the Study of the Sea
dromus.' The collection also includes a copy of Linnæus's (Meddelelser fra Kommissionen for Havundersøgelser :
Systema Naturæ,” and volumes de Jussieu, Fiskeri, vol. ii., Nos. 1-3, Copenhagen, 1906), the larval
de Candolle, and more recent noted systematists. and post-larval stages in the life-history of certain members of the flat-fish and cod families are described in great Agriculture in India is inaugurated with a volume giving
The botanical series of Memoirs of the Department of detail, with a wealth of illustration. The plaice, dab, and founder form the subject of the first part, and while the
an account of the early stages in the development of the features by means of which the young stages of each may
haustoria of Santalum album, by Mr. C. A. Barber. The be recognised are pointed out, the illustrations show the
haustoria arise on the root of the seedling as early as the manner in which the synimetrical larva gradually changes
lateral rootlets, and independently of any stimulus due into the unsymmetrical “flat-fish." The statement that
to contact with foreign bodies; they continue to form on
the young rootlets, providing the most important absorbing young plaice have been found while in the early bottom
organs. The chief features are the central core or nucleus, stage in deep water is shown to be due to confusion with
and the external clasping folds ; when the haustorium comes the dab, and the special need of protection by the former account of its shallow-water habitat is emphasised.
into contact with an inorganic body, a succession of nuclei Attention is directed to the curious circumstance that when
and folds may be produced. Frequently a strand of
glandular cells is developed that assists in penetration. leaving the pelagic for the bottom stage these fishes diminish in size. From the other species the dab, when The number of Engler's Botanisches Jahrbuch issued in it reaches the bottom-stage, is distinguished by its large August, vol. xxxviii., part ii., contains a series of detereyes and narrow bodily form. In the second part the minations of new African plants, forming the twenty-ninth early stages of several of the more typical members (Gadus, fascicle of “ Beiträge zur Flora von Afrika.” The volume &c.) of the cod-family are described and illustrated, while opens with a short list of Cyperaceæ, prepared by the late in the third part the species of ling (Molva) receive atten- Mr. C. B. Clarke. Dr. R. Schlechter, who contributes tion. All the lings are distinguished from cod by the great a quota of Orchidaceæ and Burmanniaceæ, alludes to the length of the pelvic fins in the early stages, and it is not rarity of species of the latter order ; five species are now a little remarkable that two such nearly-related species as added, of which two, allied to Thismia, are placed under the common and the blue ling should differ widely in regard new genera, Afrothismia and Oxygyne. The Compositæ to the development of pigment-bands on the hinder part of and Labiatæ are determined by Drs. M. Guerke and 0. the body at this period of life. The blue ling in this Hoffmann. The paper in the supplement on the Cornacea respect occupies, indeed, a position intermediate between deserves attention, if only for the discussion of the aberrant the common ling and the torsk (Brosmius).
genus Garrya. The writer, Mr. W. Wangerin, restores the
order Garryaceæ, and places it near the Betulaceæ and in the fourth part of the Plankton " series of the
Salicaceæ. Evidence is also adduced for separating the above-mentioned publication Mr. 0. Paulsen discusses the
genera Alangium, Nyssa, and Davidia from the Cornaceæ. distribution of the crustacean Calanus finmarchicus in Icelandic waters. This species, which forms the staple The new series of archæological monographs to be issued food of several kinds of fishes, breeds chiefly in the spring, by the Bureau of American Ethnology starts with a dewhen death follows propagation. There is, however, reason scription of the antiquities of the Jumez Plateau, a mounto believe that a certain percentage breeds at other seasons. tainous region in New Mexico lying west of the Rio Reproduction takes place only in the sea to the south- Grande del Norte. This country supported at one time a ward of Iceland, these crustaceans being carried to the numerous population, but on account of climatic changes west, north, and east coasts of that island by the Irminger it was abandoned some six or eight centuries ago.
It current. As the species forms an essential element in the abounds in the ruins of ancient settlements, which fall food of the herring, it is probable that the migrations of into classes-cliff-dwellings,
of which the shoals of the latter fish are largely influenced by the artificial, some natural, and the pueblos or many-chambered presence of swarms of the crustacean. Towards autumn houses inhabited by several families. One of the latter the numbers of Calani at the surface decrease, and as the contains upwards of six hundred rooms, and they were species has then reached its second developmental stage, it usually erected in situations capable of defence. The is probable that it descends into deep water to pass the popular theory that the cliff-dwellings were the work of winter, rising again to the surface with the return of the ancestors of the present Indian tribes must now be spring to undergo the final transformation.
abandoned, partly because there is no resemblance between
“ The Hurlers" and "The Merry the art of the two races, and, secondly, the ancient people cipal circles, e.g.
Maidens, were exhibited on the screen, accompanied by were dolichocephalie, while the existing inhabitants are brachycephalic. This older race, of whom little is as yet
maps and tables showing the wonderful similarity of purknown, was skilled in various arts, particularly that of
pose of sight-lines, which, owing to varying local condition.. mortuary pottery, and the finds from their settlements are themselves dissimilar in their directions. include weapons and implements of stone, bone, and shell,
We have been favoured by Mr. F. Berwerth with with some rude stone images, fire and medicine stones, all
reprint of an interesting paper he has contributed of which are illustrated and described by Mr. E. L.
Tschermaks Mitteilungen (vol. XXV., part iii.) on the Hewett.
meteorite of Kodaikanal, Palni Hills, Madura district, The reports of H.M. Inspectors of Mines show that the Madras. This meteoric iron is of special interest in thal, use of coal-cutting machinery in British collieries continues on etching, it exhibits a crystalline mass of large octato increase. In 1903 there were in use 64? machines, 755
hedral iron grains between which globular masses of in 1904, and 946 in 1905. These 946 machines produced silicates of unusual character have separated out. Ine more than eight million tons of coal, and as the total general structure of the iron is thus of a porphyritic type. output of Great Britain was 236 million, there is still a The ratio between the iron mass and the silicates is wide field open
for the introduction of coal-cutting ! approximately 10 to Careful examination has shown machines. Of the machines in use, 500 were driven by that the silicate segregations are of two kinds, a spherocompressed air and 446 by electricity.
lithic ground mass and glassy globules. The former con
sists of weinbergite, diopside, bronzite, apatite, and The most striking paper in the American Journal of chromite, and the latter of a glassy magma containing Science for October is that by Mr. A. L. Day and Mr.
suspended bronzite and chromite. The new silicate comE. S. Shepherd on the lime-silica series of minerals, in
pound to which the author gives the name of weinwhich the authors give the results of a study of mineral bergerite is found by analysis to have the composition and rock formation by direct measurement at the tempera- represented by the formula Nalisi0,+3FeSiO.. Mr. tures at which the minerals combine and separate, like Berwerth also sends a reprint of his paper on artificial the solutions of ordinary chemistry under ordinary con- metabolites contributed to the Vienna Academy of Sciences ditions. The entire series of mixtures of lime and silica (Mathem, naturw. Klasse, vol. cxiv., part i.), in which he have been prepared and studied. The only serious attempt gives the results of experiments made with a small plale hitherto made to determine the constitution of this series of of the Toluca iron to ascertain the accuracy of his view minerals is that of Boudouard (Journal of the Iron and
that the great group of crystalline-granular meteoric irons Steel Institute, 1905, p. 339), but the method he used is
are octahedral irons re-crystallised in consequence of hratshown to be a very inaccurate one.
ing in a solid condition. The plate, 5 mm. in thickness, The summary report of the Geological Survey Depart- and heated for seven hours at a temperature of about
was embedded in powdered charcoal in a graphite crucible ment of Canada for 1905 (Sessional Paper, 1906, No. 26) gives a concise account of original investigations carried 950° C. The results obtained induce the author to propose out in the field and at the Ottawa headquarters with the
to term the re-crystallised meteoric irons “ the group of
the metabolites." With the increasing knowledge of that object of increasing the knowledge of the mineral wealth of Canada. The staff of the Survey numbers sixty-seven, physical characters of the artificial iron-nickel alleys, fresh
the various forms of iron and under the direction of Dr. Robert Bell a large number | light will be thrown
metabolites. of important explorations and surveys were carried out during the year. Dr. Bell himself gives an account of
A CHEAP edition (price 75. 6d. net) of M. Vallery-Radot's the cobalt mining district the Timiskaming and “ Life of Pasteur,” translated from the French by Mrs. Northern Ontario Railway. Specimens of pure silver R. L. Devonshire, has been published by Messrs. A. Cooweighing from a few pounds up to twenty pounds or more stable and Co. The original English edition appeared in have been obtained in a number of the mines. Nuggets two volumes five years ago, and was reviewed at length in of mixed silver and calcite, weighing upwards of 100 lb., NATURE of December 5, 1901 (vol. Ixv., p. 97). As Pasteur's are exhibited in some of the mining offices in the district. son-in-law, M. Radot had exceptional opportunities for per The seventy-third annual report (1905) of the Royal paring this biography, and his work is a faithful and
fascinating history of Cornwall Polytechnic Society contains, among other papers
Pasteur's scientific life ani
aspirations. of scientific interest, a verbatim report of a lecture entitled " An Early Chapter in the History of Cornwall,
" which was delivered by Sir Norman Lockyer at Penzance in April last. Sir Norman explained that the work he has
OUR ASTRONOMICAL COLUMN. recently inaugurated, dealing with the raison d'être of the stone circles and other stone monuments of the county, A New FORM OF PHOTOMETER.-In the attempts whicla has barely commenced ; much more remains to be done, from time to time have been made to photograph the soins but the evidence so far obtained, that their erection de
corona without waiting for a total eclipse of the sun, the pended upon the utilitarian necessity for regulating the intensity of the atmospheric halo about the sun's disc tica
played an important part. Obviously the most suitab calendar by observations of celestial timekeepers, is so
locality for these attempts would be where the atmosphers remarkably conclusive that it is very desirable that many , glare is least intense. With this in view, MM. Deslardn: other workers should carry it on until the whole of these and Bernard have designed a photometer having for 13 monuments have been considered in all their details. The special aim the determination of the intensity of the circu: results obtained in Cornwall amply confirm the similar
solar light. conclusions obtained from the study of Egyptian temples,
The apparatus consists of an equatorially-mounted tek
scope tube having affixed to the narrower end. which so and are themselves confirmed by the latter. A number of
directed towards the sun, an opaque disc which just occules slides showing Lady Lockyer's photographs of the prin- the actual solar disc. At the other end of the tube the 1
is received on the one half of a small piece of ground-glass, four times during previous ceremonies; these “ thunderthe other half of which may be evenly illuminated by the
select the dancers, and it is a considerable honour light from a standard osmium lamp. By varying the to be thus chosen, for each dancer is held to bear a part distance of the latter the illumination of both halves may of the sufferings of the tribe. Camp is moved on the day be equalised, and the distance of the lamp read off on a before the dance, the time of the ceremony having been suitably divided scale.
previously proclaimed; continence must be observed by all M. Deslandres suggests that this photometer will be who take part. found extremely useful in determining the most suitable Five days in all were needed when Mr. Dorsey was localities for solar observations of all kinds. By the inter- present, of which the first was taken up with preparations. position of violet glass the relative intensity of the glare The forenoon of the second day was occupied with a which would affect spectroheliograph observations might mimic combat, after which the ceremonial huts were rebe determined, and, similarly, the substitution of red glass moved into position by female relatives of the priests. The would show the suitability of the atmosphere for the experi- supposed enemies in the fight were the men who left the ments on the photography of the corona, in which it is camp to
spy the centre-pole” of the dance lodge; while proposed to utilise the red rays (Comptes rendus, No. 3, the lodge was being erected, the centre-pole was felled and 1906).
brought to the camp; at the same time four altars were
prepared, one for each hut. The third day opened with A Novel PLANISPHERE.—In collaboration with Mr. G. P.
to the centre-pole, which was still outside the Serviss, of the Brooklyn Institute, Mr. L. Barritt, of camp, lying crosswise to the sun. It was then painted and 150 Nassau Street, New York, has recently published a raised into position; an altar was prepared, and before it planisphere which should prove very useful to amateur was finished the dancers entered the lodge, bringing a astronomers, teachers, and others who are interested in painted buffalo skull. Prayers were offered by the dancers, celestial phenomena.
and the dance began; it was continued at intervals during As regards the constellations the apparatus is similar the whole of that day and night, and on both the fourth to other planispheres, but, in addition, it allows the user and fifth days the sunrise performance was specially to determine the approximate positions of the planets, the important; on several occasions the priests made before sun, and the moon at any time and date. This is effected the performers what seem to be hypnotic passes. Until by having the ecliptic divided up into degrees, so that the final dance all fasted ; female relatives then brought small discs representing the various bodies may be affixed food to the dancers, and the chief laved the mouth and at any indicated point in their respective paths. A set of tables accompanying the apparatus shows where each disc is to be affixed at different dates during the twenty years, and thus by placing these discs as directed, and rotating the circular card for the current time and date in the usual way, the actual position of each celestial body may be seen at a glance. The observer may also, of course, determine approximately the times of rising and setting for each body on any date during the period 1906– 1925. The price of the complete apparatus is five dollars.
THE OXFORD UNIVERSITY OBSERVATORY.—Prof. Turner's report of the work done at the Oxford University Observatory during the period May 1, 1905, to April 30, 1906, directs attention to the fact that the observ
Rai sing the Centre Pole on the third day of the Ponca Sun Dance. atory staff is almost entirely engaged upon the proof-reading of the Oxford section of the Astro- | sprinkled the head of each dancer with water. The last graphic Catalogue, and that, in consequence, it does not ceremony was the offering of a portion of skin, cut from seem advisable to undertake any new piece of observational the shoulder of each dancer, to the sun, by placing it at work. The first of the eight volumes of the catalogue is the foot of the centre-pole. now practically ready, and the printing of it has been All the participants were painted more than once, and commenced. It contains the measures of 66,000 star- careful descriptions of them are given, together with images on the 160 plates with centres of declination +31°. coloured plates of the more important. The remainder of
The report also contains brief accounts of the eclipse the thirty-five plates show the altars and various scenes of expedition to Aswan, and of the meeting of the Solar Re- the rites. search Union at Oxford in September, 1905.
Mr. Dorsey was struck by the comparative simplicity of the ceremony, but he suggests that it may possibly be a
case of degeneration. The centre-pole represents an enemy, THE PONCA SI'N DANCE.
and in its fork is supposed to be the Thunder Bird's nest ;
the altar is the sun or fireplace, which existed in the FEW Amerindian ceremonies have attracted more atten- beginning; the buffalo bull came from the interior of the
tion than the Sun Dance. It is found among the earth. The altar consists of the sage plant, symbolical of Arapaho, the Cheyenne, the Dakota, and the Blackfeet; the people, the sun, and the buffalo. No satisfactory and now we have a record of the rite among the Ponca. account of the origin of the dance could be obtained, and l'nfortunately this account of the dance is far from com- Mr. Dorsey offers no suggestion as to its significance. It plete ; Mr. Dorsey was able to witness it once only, in has, however, been dealt with in the annual reports of addition to which it had become a theatrical performance the Bureau of Ethnology (vol. xi.) as regards the Dakota, for the benefit of white visitors.
and vol. iv. of the Field Columbian series contains a long The ceremony is held in June or July, and the name
account of the Arapaho dance by Mr. Dorsey himself. means “ Sun-seeing-Dance," i.e. a dance which the sun The statement on p. 88 of the present report that torture witnesses; the priests are medicine-men who have fasted is not found among the Arapaho appears to be directly 1 "The Ponca Sun Dance." By G. A. Dorsey.
contradicted by the latter report (pp. 179 et seq). Museum, Anthropological Series, vii., ii. (Chicago, 1905.)
N. W. T.