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certain substances on solidification.-Prof. A. C. Haddon pre

TUESDAY, JANUARY 4. sented a paper upon the Actiniaria of Torres Straits. This

ROYAL INSTITUTION, at 3.—The Principles of the Electric Telegraph:

Prof. Oliver Lodge, F.R.S. account of the Actiniaria is based mainly on the collections

Royal VICTORIA HALL, at 8.30.-Coal : W. F. Rudler. made by the author in 1888-9, supplemented by descriptions

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 5. published by Mr. Saville-Kent in his works “The Great GEOLOGICAL Society, at 8.-On the Structure of the Davos Valley : A. Barrier Reef of Australia ” and “The Naturalist in Australia.” Vaughan Jennings. -Sections along the Lancashire, Derbyshire, and In order to render the paper more complete, allusions are made

East Coast Railway, between Lincoln and Chesterfield : C. Fox-Strang

ways. in it to genera which are not recorded from Torres Straits. In

THURSDAY, JANUARY 6. a second paper, Prof. Haddon described a new species of ROYAL INSTITUTION, at 3.- The Principles of the Electric Telegraph : Actiniaria from Oceania-Phellia Sollasi This was collected Prof. Oliver Lodge, F.R.S. by Prof. Sollas in the lagoon at Funaluti, Ellice Group, W.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 7. Pacific, in 1896. – The following objects were exhibited at this

GeoLOGISTS' Association, at 8.-A Brief Account of the Excursions in the

Urals, down the Volga, in the Caucasus, &c., made in connection with meeting : The Coccoliths of Dublin Bay, by Mr. H. H. Dixon, the Interntional Geological Congress held in Russia, August-September, and Prof. J. Joly, F.R.S.-A collection of economic plant 1897 : L. L. Belinfante. products from the Gold Coast, by Prof. T. Johnson.

St. Louis.

ROYAL INSTITUTION, at 3.- The Principles of the Electric Telegraph:

Prof. Oliver Lodge, F.RS. Academy of Science, December 6.—Mr. Julius Hurter exhibited specimens of a considerable number of reptiles and BOOKS, PAMPHLETS, and SERIALS RECEIVED. batrachians, mostly of southern origin, which had been collected

Books.-L'Electro-chimie : A. Minet (Paris, Gauthier Villars),- Inire. by him during the past season, and were additions to the known duction to the Study of Organic Chemistry: J. Wade (Sonnenscheiri).sauna of Missouri. Among the more interesting additions were Natürliche Schöpfungs-Geschichte : Prof. E. Haeckel, 2 Vols., Neurte the cotton-mouth moccasin, the banded water snake, Holbrook's

Umgearbeitete Auflage (Berlin, Reimer).-Notes on Carpentry and

Joinery: T. J. Evans, Vol. 1 (Chapman). --What is Life?: E. Hovenden water snake, the little brown snake, the Louisiana mud turtle,

(Chapman). — The Collected Mathematical Papers of Arthur Cayley, l'un the chestnut-backed salamander (first detected west of the xiii. (Cambridge University Press). -- Physikalisch-Chemische Propae Mississippi River by Mr. Colton Russell), and the marbled

dentik : Prof. H. Griesbach, Zweite Hälfte, 2 Liefg (Leipzig, Engelma n!

PAMPHLETS.- Magnetic and Pendulum Observations: G. R. salamander. - Mr. H. von Schrenk exhibited a series of (Boston, Mass.). - Hand-Guide to the Botanic Gardens, Buitenz specimens and drawings illustrating some of the injuries inflicted (Batavia, Kolfi). on the trees of St. Louis by the tornado of May 1896, showing cinge Fasc. B. (Paris, Gauthier Villars). – Journal of the Royal Mico,

SERIALS.- Traité Encyclopédique de Photographie : Dr. C. Fabre. not only the formation of double twig elongation and growth scopical Society, December (Williams). — Century Magazine, January rings, but the exfoliation of the bark and the consequent drying (Macmillan) -Quarterly. Journal of Microscopical Science, December out of 50 per cent. or more of the wood through the trunk and (Churchill). - Natural Science, January (Dent). branches, in several species. New SOUTH Wales.


PIGE Linnean Society, October 27.-Prof. J. T. Wilson, Presi.

Motive Power and Gearing. By : Prof. A. Gray,

F.R.S. dent, in the chair. -Descriptions of new species of Australian

19) A Pioneer of Medicine

194 Coleoptera, Part 4, by Arthur M. Lea. Thirty-four species, principally belonging to the Curculionida, were described as new;

Selections from a Diary

195 with critical notes and remarks on synonymy.-On the lizards

Our Book Shelf:of the Chillagoe district, North Queensland, by Dr. R. Broom.

Adie : Agricultural Chemistry.”-R. W.

196 Twenty-three species were collected during a six months' resi- Lapparent: “Notions générales sur l'Écorce terrestre." dence at Muldiva, seventy miles west of Herberton, a district in

-H. B. W.. which during eight months of the year (April-December) as a

Maspero : - The Dawn of Civilization : Egypt and rule there is practically no rain. A species of Lygosoma was


196 described as new.-On a Trachypterus from New South Wales,

Scott: “The Local Distribution of Electric Power in

147 by J. Douglas Ogilby. In this paper the author gave a detailed Workshops, &c." description of a young example washed ashore near Newcastle,

Edridge-Green : “ Memory and its Cultivation

197 and reviewed at length our present knowledge of the genus in

Parish : “ Illusions and Hallucinations"

197 the south-western Pacific.-Contributions to a more exact know

“Transactions of the Rochdale Literary and Scientific Society"

197 ledge of the geographical distribution of Australian Batrachia,

Sidersky : No. 5, by J. J. Fletcher. The present contribution is based

“Les Constantes Physico-Chemiques 197 upon the examination of collections from Tasmania and West Briggs : “ By Roadside and River : Gleanings from Australia. In the British Museum Catalogue (second edition)

Nature's Fields" seven (? eight) species are attributed to Tasmania, and fourteen Letters to the Editor: to West Australia. Three additional species are now recorded The Dugong.-W. F. Sinclair for the former Colony, and six for the latter, including an un.

Potato-Disease. -G. W. Bulman described species of Crinia belonging to the group having the

The Prevention and Cure of Rinderpest abdominal surface non-granulate. --Mr. Froggatt exhibited a

Large Refracting and Reflecting Telescopes. By number of scale insecis (Eriococcus coriaceus, Mask.), upon a

Dr. W. J. S. Lockyer. twig of Eucalyptus, among which had been placed a great

The Woburn Abbey Deer. (Illustrated.) By R. L. number of the eggs of the scale eating moth Thalpochares cocio

The Late Professor A. Schrauf

20; Notes

204 phaga, Meyr. The eggs are pale pink, circular, and beautifully ribbeal The scales were infested with the larvæ of Cryptolemus

Our Astronomical Column
Astronomical Occurrences in January

207 anontrouzieri, Muls., a useful small black ladybird beetle. Both these enemies of Eriococcus are of great economic value, as the

Nautical Almanac Corrigenda

207 Occultation of the Pleiades

207 moth larvæ have now taken to eating the olive scale (Lecanium

207 olea, Sign.), and the ladybird beetle is bred both in New Zealand Partial Eclipse of the Moon and America. Also living specimens of our largest white ant,

New Investigations of B Lyra


207 Calotermes longiceps, Froggatt, which were taken out of a log

The Atmospheres of Planets of fire-wood, and had already been in captivity for over two

The Densities of Certain Gases. By Lord Rayleigh,

20S months.

The Northam Pebble Ridge. By W. H. Wheeler . 209

Random Selection. By Prof. Karl Pearson, F.R.S., DIARY OF SOCIETIES.

and L. N. G. Filon

Modification of the Great Lakes by Earth MoveMONDAY, JANUARY 3.

ment. (With Map.) By Prof. G. K. Gilbert SOCIETY OF CHEMICAL INDUSTRY, at 8.--Standard Methods of Tanning Analysis as adopted by the International Association of Leather Trades Forests and Rainfall, By Prof. H. A. Hazen

21; Chemists, with Remarks thereon : Prof Procter and Dr. J. G. University and Educational Intelligence

214 Parker.--Extraction of Tanning Materials at various Temperatures : Dr. Societies and Academies

215 J. G. Parker.-Neatsfoot Oil: J. H. Coste and E. J. Parry.

Diary of Societies VICTORIA INSTITUTE, at 4.30. - Ancient Civilizations : Rev. John Tuckwell.

Books, Pamphlets, and Serials Received







200 201

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trative diagrams. There are, indeed, two figures in the paper on the surface of centres ; but why, we ask, did Cayley not give a series of contour lines of the surface?

or again, with still more reason, in the case of Steiner's CAYLEY'S PAPERS.

surface? Then the paper on the twenty-seven lines of a The Collected Mathematical Papers of Arthur Cayley,

cubic surface is so quaint in its topsy-turveydom as Sc.D., F.R.S. Vols. viii., ix. Pp. liv + 570, xvi + 622.

almost to suggest Mr. W. S. Gilbert as joint author. (Cambridge : at the University Press, 1895, 1896.)

Here we have a projective configuration which may be "HESE two volumes form the first of those published realised with the help of a bundle of sticks and without

after Cayley's death in 1895. The first thirty- any measurement whatever. What Cayley did was to eight sheets of Vol. viii. were revised by the author, who take a model by Dr. Wiener, measure approximately the added a note on one paper (No. 518); the duty of edit- coordinates of a number of points upon it, thence find ing the rest of the papers was entrusted to Prof. Forsyth, the approximate equations of the lines, and finally adjust who has very faithfully carried out the plan and arrange- the equations so as to satisfy the geometrical conditions ! ments which, in the absence of definite instructions, he Of course there is reason in this seeming perversity : was able to infer from the previous volumes.

by the projective method it is not easy to get a conPerhaps the reader's first impression after surveying venient arrangement of the sticks, whereas Cayley's these 144 papers, mostly published in the years 1871-77, equations make it possible to construct a string model is that they are very miscellaneous, and that compara- on a cardboard frame without a tiresome series of pre. tively few are of paramount importance. The fact is liminary experiments. that Cayley is, as it were, brought into unfavourable The poristic polygons of Poncelet appear to have had comparison with himself ; short notes on special problems for Cayley a perennial charm : we have here two papers of geometry and analysis, and solutions of Smith's Prize suggested by Poncelet’s results ; one “On the porism of papers cannot rank with the immortal “Memoirs on the in-and-circumscribed polygon, &c.," which treats of the Quantics," or some of the earlier geometrical papers, original problem, and the other “On the problem of the such as that upon plane cubic curves. But it is un- in-and-circumscribed triangle,” which really deals with a reasonable to expect an artist to produce an uninter- rather different and more general theory. Cayley, like rupted succession of masterpieces ; and it is to be many others, does not seem to have been aware (at least remembered that Cayley seldom, if ever, wrote upon in 1871) that the complete algebraical solution of the any subject without developing some instructive point Poncelet problem was published in 1863 in a paper by or giving an example of his own characteristic elegance. M. Moutard, which formed part of the appendix to

In trying to give some account of the more important Poncelet's “Applications d’Analyse à la Géométrie." of these memoirs it will be convenient to take the Not only is this so, but, as Halphen pointed out, this geometry and the analysis separately. Not that the paper contains the first fully satisfactory treatment of boundary line is very easy to fix : Cayley was never a the multiplication of the argument in elliptic functions. geometrician in the sense in which the word may be Before passing on from the geometrical papers, attenapplied to Apollonius or Steiner. But some of the tion should be called to the very interesting series of papers have an interest mainly geometrical, although notes on the mechanical description of curves. This is the methods used are almost wholly algebraic; and a promising field of research, and the results could with them we will begin.

hardly fail to be of interest, especially to those who like Perhaps the most important are those which deal with to see the deductions of theory embodied in an actual transformation, correspondence, and the singularities of geometrical figure. There is an æsthetic satisfaction algebraical curves and surfaces. With these difficult in this contemplation : and, moreover, a really correct theories Cayley dealt in a masterly way: he avoided, as figure often suggests geometrical truths that would if by instinct, the many opportunities of mistake which otherwise be overlooked. present themselves in a method which is largely enumer- Of the analytical papers the one which has been most ative, and he had the gift of predicting general results appreciated in this country is, beyond question, the from the consideration of special cases.

short paper “On the theory of the singular solutions of Coming next to what may be called the metrical differential equations of the first order” (Messenger, geometry of surfaces, which has developed so greatly vol. ii. (1873) pp. 6-12). Here Cayley's power of giving in recent years, we have papers on curves of curvature, to analysis a geometrical interpretation appears to the on geodesics on quadrics, and on orthogonal surfaces. best advantage. If we have an algebraical relation To this group may perhaps be added a paper on evolutes f(x, y, P) = o in which p enters to the degree s, then "and parallel curves, though this is rather meant to illus- this associates with any point (x, y) a series of s (real trate the non- n-Euclidian geometry.

or imaginary) directions corresponding to the different There are three monographs, on Steiner's surface, on values of p:in other words, the differential equation the centro-surface of an ellipsoid, and on the con- really expresses that the plane of reference is covered figuration of the twenty-seven lines of a cubic surface, with 002 tiny s-rayed stars. The primitive 0 (-x, y, c) = 0 which are in various ways highly characteristic. As gives a family of col curves each made up of col selected models of analytical skill they are admirable ; and as rays. Now if we eliminate p from f(x, y, P) = 0, helps to the understanding of the geometrical figures of 1 ap = = 0, we obtain a locus of points (x, y) at each of with which they deal, they are of great service. But it is which two rays coincide in direction ; where this happens curious to see how chary the author is in giving illus- either two consecutive curves (x, y, c) = 0 touch, or two non-consecutive curves touch, or (x, y) is a cusp or colleges”; and he proceeds to point out that if physics is point of self-contact of one particular curve 0 (.x, y, c)=0. to possess much disciplinary value, it must be taught by Thus we may have the envelope of the family of curves, laboratory methods. Experimental work thus finds a a tac-locus, or a locus of cusps or of points of self-prominent place in his book, which may, in fact, be contact. On the other hand if we eliminate c from roughly described as a series of experiments, mostly suit(x, y, c) = 0 and op. c = 0, we get the locus of inter- able for repetition by young students, connected by short section of consecutive curves : this may include besides discussions of a theoretical character. the envelope proper, a locus of nodes, of cusps, or of With the author's object we imagine that most teachers multiple points of higher order (as, for instance, points of physics will cordially sympathise. That experiment is of self-contact or triple points). The only outstanding the means whereby a knowledge of physics should be difficulty is the degree of multiplicity in which the acquired by beginners, is as clear now-a-days as it is that singular loci, distinct from the envelope, are involved in the means itself is open to improvement-at any rate, in the two discriminants.

its early stages. Whether the author has made the most There are six papers on the transformation of elliptic of his opportunity is, however, less certain. Much of his functions, the most important being No. 578. This work is excellent : the experiments are, for the most part, contains an exposition of the Jacobian theory, Sohnke's well chosen and clearly described ; but after a careful modular equations with additions, and a discussion of perusal of his book, one's prevailing impression is that he the singularities of some of the modular curves. It is has attempted to include too much. remarkable that Cayley, like Kronecker, adhered firmly

A book of this kind is, of course, largely taken up with to Jacobian methods, and never seems to have worked description of experimental procedure ; but the space is with the Weierstrassian forms. Perhaps just now there often further occupied with matter which might, in our is a rather exaggerated tendency in the other direction: opinion, be left until a later stage in the student's career. as Prof. Klein has pointed out, both theories are self- Such questions as X-rays, tests for and theory of colourconsistent and form, in a sense, the first and second blindness, interference and polarisation of light, are too stages in a complete discussion of periodic functions. large for more than the briefest notice, and might there

There is not very much about invariants and co- fore just as well have been omitted altogether ; especially variants ; No. 525 is an interesting example of a quad when, to mention one instance out of many, curved mirrors ratic transformation, and the papers on “trees," although

are dismissed with a far too scanty discussion, and no ostensibly intended for application to chemistry, were special experimental illustrations at all. It would, in our suggested by the invariant calculus.

opinion, have been better to develop further the experiIn arithmetic there is a table of reduced binary cubics

mental treatment of the simpler parts of physics at the with their Hessians, which is a development of Arndt's expense of these more elaborate phenomena. It is only results. Cayley gives the composition tables for the in places, however, that the work is affected by this fault; Hessians.

and the same may be said of an occasional laxness of Volume ix. contains eleven papers dealing more or expression which will probably lead to mistakes on the less with astronomy and dynamics ; and it may be worth part of young readers where it occurs. Taken as a while to notice that this volume also contains a reprint whole, the book forms a useful addition to the elementary of the British Association“ Report on Mathematical text-books on practical physics. Tables."

We have noticed a few points that rather need alteraMany interesting special points suggest themselves to tion. In the figure of the apparatus for determining the the reader : thus, to mention only three, very different heat of vapourisation of water (p. 172), the long tube in character, the very simple and pretty proof of connecting flask and calorimeter should be provided with Vandermonde's theorem (viii. p. 465) might very well a trap for the steam condensed in it. The statement in find a place in an elementary text-book of algebra ; we italics on p. 213, that“ various bodies can be brought by are told (ibid., p. 188) how a theoretical error was friction (i.e. by doing work upon them) into a condition detected by a numerical calculation ; and (ibid., p. 397) such that they attract and are attracted," is rather misthere is an unverified conjecture that every surface of leading. It is, of course, the work done in pulling the negative deficiency may be derived by a rational trans- rubber and rubbed object apart which should be emformation from a cone whose deficiency is equal to that phasised. On p. 337, in the figure illustrating the motions of the surface with its sign changed.

G. B. M. of the air in sound waves, the arrows want altering; on

pp. 308 and 310, misprints of iron for ion, and ammonium

for ammonia, respectively, occur ; and on p. 99, in the EXPERIMENTAL PHYSICS.

last column the decimal point has gone astray. The Outlines of Physics. By Prof. E. L. Nichols. The general get-up of the book is, as one would ex

Pp. xi + 452. (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., pect, excellent ; and the diagrams, which are mostly by 1897.)

Mrs. Nichols, are very clear and well executed. We may Lessons in Elementary Practical Physics. Vol. iii. Part i. add that the work is almost wholly non-mathematical.

Practical Acoustics. By C. L. Barnes. Pp. x + 214. The second of the two books named at the head of this (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1897.)

notice, forms the first part of vol. iii. of the “Elementary HE first of these books, as the author explains in his Practical Physics” series begun in 1885 by Prof. Balfour preface, is an attempt to

outline a short course in Stewart and Mr. W. W. Haldane Gee. physics which shall be a equivalent for the year of With the rapid development of the teaching of physics advanced mathematics now required for entrance to many | by laboratory methods, now in progress, has arisen the


growing need of a good practical and elementary course The work commences with a general dissertation on on sound.

The present work admirably supplies this game birds and their affinities, written in such a popular, need, and constitutes a worthy companion to the well- and at the same time such exact, style, that it should prove known volumes already published in the Stewart and Gee acceptable to readers of every class. Following this is a series. The author is, moreover, thoroughly familiar description of the habits and characteristics of the various with the experimental side of his subject ; besides being North American representatives of the group, which, inclearly and concisely written, his work is thus rendered clusive of subspecies, total up to forty-four. A feature of very interesting to read.

the work is that the main portion of the text devoted to Starting with chapters on the nature of sound and each form is headed solely by the popular name of the wave motion, he discusses in the following order the particular species or race; the technical name and desonometer, resonance, determination of frequency, rods tailed description coming at the end of each section. In and plates, tuning forks, pipes, harmonic motion, reflec- view of the general shuffling of scientific names now tion and refraction of sound, velocity of sound, Döppler's taking place in all classes of animals, their relegation principle, musical scale, analysis of sounds, interference, to a subordinate position in a popular work is by no beats, differential and summational tones, &c. The book means inadvisable ; and those readers who so desire, ends with a useful list of workers in theoretical and can easily skip the technical portions altogether. experimental acoustics, with dates of birth and death. Apart from these technical descriptions, the work is

Sound is a subject which lends itself to pretty experi- written in a bright and attractive manner, the habits of ments, and there is no lack of such here. To choose the different species being noted in considerable detail, one instance out of many, we may refer to Expt. xc., in and their geographical distribution most carefully worked which the refraction of air waves in the Sondhauss out. It will be a matter of satisfaction to many to learn experiment is imitated in water by making ripples pass that while certain kinds of game birds are dying out over a shallow circular patch in a deeper sheet of water, from the effects of persecution in the more settled and thus retarding thenı as the air-waves are retarded districts, some others are gradually making their way by the CO..

to the wilder districts of the west, where they will meet More might perhaps be made of the india-rubber cord with better chances of survival. as an illustration of the properties of stretched strings. As many of our readers are aware, with the exception By causing a metronome to beat at the same rate as a of the grouse and ptarmigan, which have a circumpolar horizontally stretched cord, it is easy to obtain good distribution, the game birds of North America are totally quantitative results, while the slowness of the vibrations distinct from those of the Old World ; the pheasants, is a great help to unimaginative students in subsequently quails, and partridges of the latter being quite unknown understanding the behaviour of stretched wires.

in the former area, where their place is taken by the There is a mistake in the diagram on p. 22, where, so-called American partridges. The author might have of the two quantities plotted, one should be replaced explained that this difference is doubtless due to the by its reciprocal if the result is to be a straight line. inability of either of these groups to withstand the cold On p. 105 there is a 2 omilted from the equation for t. of high northern latitudes which apparently prevailed at

These are, however, trifling slips in a work for which the time of a land bridge via Bering Strait. A parallel teachers of physics cannot fail to be grateful to the instance is afforded by the absence of hyænas and author.

A. P. C. civets from America.

As regards classification, the author departs conAMERICAN GAME BIRDS.

siderably from the view usually adopted in Europe. The Gallinaceous Game Birds of North America. By Instead of restricting the Tetraonide to the grouse and

D. G. Elliot. 8vo, pp. xviii + 220, illustrated. ptarmigan, he includes in that family the Old World (London : Suckling and Co., 1897.)

Perdicina and the American Odontophorina, both of THE 'HE author of this little volume is already so well which are usually placed in the Phasianida. Apart

known to naturalists from his splendid illustrated from all other considerations, the circumpolar distribufolio monographs of various groups of mammals and

tion of the grouse and ptarmigan renders it in the birds, that any work from his pen needs but little in the highest degree desirable that they should be kept as the way of commendation. Among his monographs are two sole representatives of a family differing by its distribution respectively devoted to the grouse and pheasants, and it from all the other groups of the order. is the American representatives of these groups that he A series of coloured papers illustrating the colournow describes in a less elaborate form, and with the

terms employed in the text concludes this well-written advantage of all the observations recorded since the pub- and useful compendium of North American game birds. lication of his larger works. The present volume is

R. L. indeed the companion to the author's “ North American Shore Birds,” which has already been well received ; and

OUR BOOK SHELF. since a large number of British sportsmen now visit the States, the demand for the work ought to be considerable. L'Eclairage à l’Acétylène. Par G. Pellissier. Pp. 237.

(Paris : Carré et Naud, 1897.) Although not so good as some we have seen, the photogravures with which the work is illustrated are for the

In England the discovery of calcic carbide, and the

ease with which acetylene may be prepared from it, has most part of a fair grade of excellence, and afford every attracted a large amount of attention, but the literature facility for the identification of any specimen with which of the subject is practically restricted to a few papers the naturalist or sportsman may meet.

read before various societies and to the returns of the Patent Office, whereas in France the subject has been The aim of the compiler has been to fully illustrate considered of sufficient importance to justify the com- by the best processes available, and to explain by acpilation of several fairly bulky works.

companying appropriate text, the wonders of the universe Well illustrated and clearly written, M. Pellissier's as they have been revealed to us by means of that most volume on “ L'Eclairage à l'Acétylène” will be found valuable aid to science-photography. Herr . Lerboth useful and interesting to the large number of per- chenfeld has been fortunate enough, not only in obtainsons who are now taking a lively interest in the future' taining the aid of most of the chief astronomers conof this new illuininant.

nected with observatories in which photography is The work opens with a chapter on the physical and employed, but in receiving valuable information from chemical properties of acetylene, and a description of the most skilled instrument-makers of to-day: The the methods by which it has been made since its dis- result is that the atlas is full of beautiful reproductions covery by Edmund Davy in 1836, a valuable portion of of many of the finest photographs ever taken of celesthe chapter being devoted to the dangers attributed to tial bodies, and the instrumental equipment of modern its use under low pressures, a consideration of which observatories is fully included. leads to the conclusion that under these onditions it is It would be impossible to enumerate the many and no more dangerous than coal-gas.

various subjects which are here dealt with, so it must The question of electric furnaces is then discussed, suffice to give a brief summary of the more prominent and illustrations of the forms in use and proposed are features. It may, however, be first remarked that the given ; and this is naturally followed by a chapter atlas in a completed state will contain over 50 large on the carbide itself and the various data obtainable as plates and about 135 single reproductions, the text being to its cost, the results obtained by the Committee of accompanied by no less than 500 additional illustrations. Investigation appointed by the editor of the Progressive Nearly one third of the latter is devoted to a description Age in America being largely quoted. Such discussions, of the various astronomical instruments now at work in however, are of but little use, as the cost of the carbide the chief observatories of the world. This section is of must vary largely with the cost of the power needed great interest, and will be found useful, as a great amount to generate the electricity and the facilities for cheap of information is here brought together. The fine recarriage.

productions of the best lunar landscapes will be found It may be taken as proved that under the conditions at invaluable to selenographers, as particular care has been present existing the carbide cannot be made at less than bestowed on these to render them accurate. Stellar from 77. to rol. per ton in France or in England ; whilst photography is richly and beautifully illustrated, and one the selling price is entirely in the hands of the manu- really revels among the best illustrations that have yet facturer, and amounts to from 161 to 201. per ton. In been brought together in one volume. The plates illustreating of the methods by which acetylene can be i trate the results of employing lenses varying from one generated from the carbide and the generators used or to thirty-six inches, with periods of exposures varying suggested for that purpose, the author very conveniently from minutes to several hours. divides the generators into three classes : those in which Cometary, solar, spectroscopic and planetary photoacetylene is generated by allowing water to drip on graphy all fall within the compiler's reach, so that a carbide, those in which water is brought in contact with reader's desire for a good astronomical picture book is carbide by change of level, and finally, those in which here fully satisfied. the carbide is dropped into water.

In conclusion we may say that this atlas is well worth There is not the least doubt that the last is by far obtaining, if only for the illustrations themselves, and it the best method to employ, as the gas evolved is far will be found serviceable not only in observatories, but in purer, and dangerous rise of temperature is avoided. schools and teaching centres.

W. J. S. L. The question of portable lamps, acetylene in a lique Knowledge. Vol. xx. January to December 1897. Pi: fied and compressed condition, and its solution in acetone are all dealt with, and no attempt is made to gloss over

xii + 304. (London : Knowledge Office.) the dangers incurred directly ordinary pressures are far This well-known popular magazine of science is as good exceeded. The last three chapters of this little work to-day as ever it was. The illustrations, especially the are devoted to the subject of the conditions existing in full-page plates, are excellent, and the articles cover a the acetylene flame, the forms of burners for its con- variety of scientific subjects. Special characteristics of sumption, the relative price of acetylene as an illuminant, the volume are a series of articles on the science of the and practical directions for its use.

Queen's Reign, and the prominence given to ornithoThe weakest part of this capital work is that in which logical notes. the author, with true patriotism, attempts to prove the priority of M. Moissan in discovering the possibility of manufacturing calcic carbide in the electric furnace;

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR whilst facts show that the Canadian, Willson, had made (The Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions ex crystalline calcic carbide in the electric furnace, and had

pressed by his correspondents. Neither can he undertake privately sent specimens of it to scientific friends, several

to return, or to correspond with the writers of, rejeiled months before Moissan first mentioned its accidental

manuscripts intended for this or any other part of NATURE. formation.

No notice is taken of anonymous communications.] Atlas der Himmelskunde auf Grundlage der Ergebnisse

Physiology and the Royal Institution. der coelestischen Photographie. By A. v. Schweiger- All interested in physiology must notice with regret the Lerchenfeld. (Vienna : A. Hartleben, 1897.)

retirement of the late Fullerian Professor of Physiology from HERR VON SCHWEIGER-LERCHENFELD) set himself no his appointment at the Royal Institution, after expiration of light task when he undertook the work of selecting and

only one year's tenure. His resignation leaves a valuable and publishing the material gathered together in this beauti

notable course of lectures incomplete, to the disappointment of ful atlas. A glance through the first few parts shows

many whom they keenly interested. His withdrawal removes

in mid-career a teacher of recognised ability from a chair to that no pains have been spared, either in the selection and reproduction of the photographs or in the text, to

which he was devoting himself with conspicuous success.

Matter for regret this it seems cannot, however, be taken as make the volume, when completed, of most absorbing matter for surprise, if I judge rightly in connecting with his interest to any one who wishes to know something out- resignation a letter appearing last July your columns; there side this little earth of ours.

the Fullerian Professor pointed out that the practical circum

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