Page images


without a definite solution. Messrs. M. Padoa and B. Savare in the Gazzetta (vol. xxxvi., p. 310) have attacked the problem in a new way by investigating the change in the electrical conductivity of a solution of iodine in potassium iodide caused by the addition of starch in known proportions. The conclusion is drawn from their experiments that the blue substance is an additive compound of iodine, starch, and potassium iodide (or hydrogen iodide) two former constituents in containing the the ratio While this result supports the opinion :CHOj=1:4 of Mylius, enunciated some twenty years ago, it is directly opposed to the more recent view of Küster that the blue substance is not a definite substance, but is formed as a result of adsorption by the colloid starch. Küster's contention recently received striking support by the work of Biltz in 1904, who showed that basic lanthanum acetate, which resembles starch in its colloidal nature, also produces with iodine an intensely blue substance similar in all respects to that formed from starch; in this case there seems to be no evidence to consider the substance as a definite chemical compound.

THE current issues of the Lancet and the British Medical Journal are educational numbers, and are entirely devoted to communications bearing upon preparation for the medical profession.

THE Royal Geographical Society has issued through Mr. E. Stanford a general index to the first twenty volumes of the Geographical Journal, 1893-1902. The work, which is divided into three parts, devoted respectively to papers, maps, and general subjects, should prove a boon to geographers.

THE third edition of Prof. R. von Wettstein's "Leitfaden der Botanik für die oberen Klassen der Mittelschulen " has just been published by Mr. F. Tempsky, Vienna. The book contains 236 pages, more than half of which (134 pages) are devoted to systematic botany, while the remaining sections deal with plant anatomy, organography, physiology and ecology, geography, and economic botany. There are three coloured plates and more than a thousand figures upon 205 blocks. Within its limits, the work makes an admirable survey of the realm of botany, being attractive in illustration, concise in description, and sound in sub


OUR ASTRONOMICAL COLUMN. RETURN OF HOLMES'S COMET (1906f).-The remarkable comet discovered by Mr. Holmes on November 2, 1892, has been re-discovered on this, its second, return by Dr. Max Wolf at the Königstuhl Observatory, Heidelberg. From the Kiel telegram announcing this fact we learn that on August 28, the date of the observation, the comet's position at 13h. 521m. (Königstuhl M.T.) was


R.A.=4h. 7m. 24s., dec. +42° 28'.

This position is between one-third and one-half the distance between 52 and 53 Persei, and crosses our meridian at about 5.30 a.m.

Comparing the position with that given by the ephemeris published by Dr. H. J. Zwiers in No. 4085 of the Astronomische Nachrichten, we find that small corrections of about +0.5m. in R.A. and +3'5 in declination need to be applied to the latter. A portion of this ephemeris is given hereunder :

Ephemeris oh. (M.T. Greenwich).


a (app.)

8 (app.)

a (app.)

Sept. 6

h. m. 4 17

+44 6 Sept. 14

h. in. 4 25

[blocks in formation]

4 26

+44 51


4 28

[blocks in formation]

8 (app)

+45 34 45 56 + 46 17

46 38

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Several observations of this comet are recorded in No. 4117 of the Astronomische Nachrichten. Prof. Kobold, observing at Kiel on August 23, saw it as an undecided round spot of 2' diameter with a central condensation of magnitude 11.0. The magnitude of the whole was g From an observation, also made on August 23, Prof Hartwig described it as having a diameter of 1'5, a nucleus of magnitude 13.0, and a round shape, the total magnitude being 12.0.

A NEWLY-DISCOVERED PLANETARY NEBULA.--On examining one of the plates taken with the 10-inch Brashear lens of the Bruce photographic telescope, Prof. Barnard discovered the image of a fine planetary nebula which does not appear to be in the catalogues. The approximate position of the nebula, for 1855, is a=11h. 7m., 8=+15° 42'. In the same region there appear to be quite a number of spiral nebulæ and nebulous stars (Astronomische Nachrichten, No. 4112).

PLEA FOR AN INTERNATIONAL SOUTHERN TELESCOPE -lo No. 182, vol. xlv., of the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society Prof. E. C. Pickering advances a businesslike plea for the institution of a large international reflector in the southern hemisphere. He points out that under the existing conditions, it is hard to see how any great step may be made in the advance of astronomy, Fur thinks that if a reflector of about 7 feet aperture and 44 feet focal length were erected in the best possible atusphere to be found in the southern hemisphere, advances of immense importance might accrue. The cost h estimates at something less than 500,000 dollars (rather more than 100,000l.), and he suggests that such a scheme would be an eminently suitable one by which to cur memorate the Franklin bi-centenary.


THREE years ago the Royal Agricultural Society con• ceived the happy idea of holding, in connection with its annual shows, an agricultural education exhibition, at which the work of the various agricultural colleges might be brought prominently before the public, and especiall the latest results of agricultural scientific research. The fourth annual exhibition of this kind was recently held Derby, and the object of this note is to indicate several of the more important directions which agricultural research and rural education are now taking, and the results a illustrated at the exhibition.

Mendel's Laws of Inheritance.

Important hybridising experiments on the lines C Mendel's laws of inheritance are being carried out at the Cambridge University Agricultural Department by Mr R. H. Biffen. Mendel's laws prove the recurrence in breeding of dominant and recessive characters in certain definite proportions, and their application renders possible the production of new fixed types in two or three gener ations with mathematical precision instead of as formera after years of more or less haphazard breeding hy selec tion. Thus in crossing smooth red with rough white wheat, the first cross was apparently of fixed type; but the second generation only one out of sixteen bred tre in the third generation three bred true; in the fourth generation four bred true, and the type was fixed. Th same principles are applicable to the inheritance of disease Rows of wheats were shown proving the possibilin


extent of 90 per cent. in the fifth year (1890) and 19 per cent. in the ninth year (1904), but none remained alive in the tenth year. Grasses were proved to lose their vitality very much more quickly than the cereals. Sheep's fescue, for instance, was reduced by one-half its germinating power by the third year, and all the seeds were dead by the eighth year (1903). Of Timothy, 93 per cent. mained alive in the fifth year and 12 per cent. in the eleventh year. Crested dog's tail germinated 61 per cent. in the fifth year and 11 per cent. in the eleventh year. Of the rye grasses, in the seventh year the perennial and Italian rye grasses germinated 36 per cent. and 71 per cent., and in the eleventh year 6 per cent. and 10 per cent., respectively. Of the root crops, swede turnips retained their vitality almost unimpaired for the first three years, and even up to the seventh year the germination was from per cent. to 85 per cent.

obtaining in three or four generations immunity from rust
in specimens the original parents of which were of rust-
susceptible and rust-resisting types. Very interesting is
the application of these laws to the breeding of animals.
Mr. W. Bateson, F.R.S., and Mr. R. C. Punnett, of Caius
College, Cambridge, lent some preserved bodies of
Andalusian and rosecomb bantam fowls. The blue
Andalusian never breeds true, but always produces a definite
proportion of blacks and splashed whites. From a pen
of blues, one-half of the offspring will be blue, one-quarter
black, and one-quarter white. When blue is mated with
either blue, black, or white, one-half of the offspring will
be blue. When, however, black is mated with white, all
the offspring are blue. In reality, the blacks and whites
are both pure breeds, and the blue is the hybrid form
produced by crossing these breeds. It is therefore so con-
stituted that it cannot breed true, and no amount of selec-84
tion will ever bring about this result. White rosecomb

bantams belong to the class of recessive whites, and the
progeny of a white rosecomb by any pure-coloured breed
are always coloured. Thus when a black and a white
rosecomb are crossed, all the hybrids are black. When
such hybrids are mated together, three-quarters of the
chicks are black and the rest white. In Mendelian terms
the black is dominant and the white recessive. There
are, therefore, two kinds of blacks, those which carry
whites and those which do not. When crossed with white
the former give equal numbers of blacks and whites, whilst
the latter give blacks only. It is, however, impossible to
distinguish between the two kinds of black, except by a
breeding test, the eventual result of which is the produc-
tion of blacks and whites, both of which breed true to

Assimilation of Nitrogen by Leguminous Plants. The nitrogen problem has received special attention at the Midland Agricultural and Dairy College, and recently experiments have been made with the pure inoculation cultures of Dr. Hiltner, of Munich. Tares, peas, alsike, lucerne, and crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) were sown in pots of boiled, sterilised, quartz sand, and the effect of inoculating the soil in these pots with the pure cultures supplied by Dr. Hiltner was shown to have decidedly beneficial effects upon the growing plants. Mr. John Golding, by whom these experiments have been carried out, has introduced a new system of inoculation for leguminous crops, which consists in mixing dried sterilised soil with crushed healthy nodules taken from the roots of plants of the same kind as those which it is desired to inoculate. The object of sterilising the soil is to effect the destruction of harmful germs and pests such as the wireworm, &c. Buhlert has shown that the microbes of the leguminous nodules all belong to one species, but are modified so that nodules coming from a particular leguminous plant are those best adapted for inoculation of the soil in which that plant is sown. Mr. Golding's inoculating material will contain, therefore, only the microbe of value for the particular plant cultivated. If this material should prove practically efficacious on a field scale, it can be supplied at a cost of from 1d. to 2d. per lb., which at the rate of an application of 56 lb. per acre represents a cost per acre of from 4s. 8d. to gs. 4d.

Vitality of Farm Seeds.

This question has received practical elucidation from experiments carried out during the last eleven years by Mr. William Carruthers, F.R.S., consulting botanist to the Royal Agricultural Society. The results were illustrated at Derby by a large table, which showed in respect of all the farm seeds in common use the percentage of living seeds remaining each year from the commencement of the experiments in 1885 to the present year (1906). Of the cereals, oats proved to have the greatest vitality. Black oats retained 76 per cent., and white oats 57 per cent., of living seeds in the eleventh year (1906), whilst in the ninth year (1904) the percentage was no less than 95 per rent. and 97 per cent. Wheat in the ninth year showed a germinating power of 29 per cent., but none remained alive in the tenth year. Barley retained vitality to the

Improvement of Pastures.

The increasing importance of dairying has led to the renovation of a great deal of poor pasture. No small part of the work of some of the agricultural colleges has been devoted to a study of the remedies appropriate to different conditions, whilst from 1885 to 1904 a series of experiments on the improvement of grass lands in various parts of the country was carried out by the Royal Agricultural Society. The results of these experiments were illustrated by turfs cut from the actual pastures, and they brought before the farmers who visited the show lessons of supreme practical importance. In a turf sent by the Royal Agricultural Society, and cut from a pasture in Yorkshire, the application of lime was shown to have been remarkably beneficial, and the dividing line between limed and unlimed portions was clearly indicated by the difference in the character of the herbage. This turf was from land where basic slag without lime had no appreciable effect. On the other hand, turf sent by the Cambridge University Agricultural Department from land of the Boulder-clay formation proved the necessity for the application of phosphates, and basic slag was the appropriate remedy. Lime and cake-feeding in these cases proved of no avail. Turfs sent by the Royal Agricultural College showed that the addition of kainit and superphosphate resulted in a large increase of clover, and a large reduction of moss and undecayed vegetable matter that were conspicuous in the unimproved pasture. The character of the herbage was also shown to be materially influenced by other applications, such as sulphate of ammonia and nitrate of soda, while the use of 5 cwt. per acre of guano a natural complete manure-produced a decided improvement, the abundance of white clover and sheep's fescue providing splendid food for sheep.

British Forestry.

The exhibits consisted of seeds, cones, trees, shrubs, timbers, tools, photographs, specimens, models, diagrams, working plans, and maps. They were arranged under the supervision of members of the council of the Royal English Arboricultural Society. The Duke of Northumberland, Earl Egerton of Tatton, the Earl of Egmont, and the Earl of Yarborough sent timber specimens showing the economic uses to which British plantations may be applied, and illustrating methods of preservation, chiefly by creosoting. Lord Yarborough's woods have been scientifically managed for a long period, and a chart was displayed showing that 23,564,719 trees have been planted on the Brocklesby and Manby Estates from the year 1700 to the present time. An exhibit sent by the Duke of Northumberland consisted of young trees planted out of doors, and showing the mixture of light-demanding and shade-bearing trees according to the following plan, as adopted in Germany:(a) outer row of beech providing shelter; (b) second row with sprinkling of sycamore as a wind-resister; (c) oaks, 9 feet apart, for permanent crop; (d) other hardwood trees for returns during rotation; (e) sprinkling of larch for early returns; (f) shade-bearers of spruce, silver fir, and beech for soil production and stimulation of main crop. exhibits illustrated the evils arising from incorrect pruning or from neglect of pruning. Where pruning is not effected


close to the stem, the projecting stump decays, and the decay affects the trunk. Where branches are not pruned at all, or not at the right time, natural pruning caused by thick planting occurs, but the decay of the branches also affects the trunk. Too early thinning prevents the growth of clean boles with suppressed branches. All these points require careful attention in forestry, or considerable depreciation in the value of the timber ensues. The Royal Agricultural Society, the Royal Agricultural College, the Surveyors' Institution, and Mr. A. T. Gillanders (forester to the Duke of Northumberland) sent collections of mounted specimens of insects injurious to forest trees. Those of Mr. Gillanders were very complete, and were classified as beetles, saw-flies, moths, scale insects, aphidæ, and diptera.

Nature-study in Rural Schools.

This, a new feature, was by no means the least interesting department of this year's exhibition. It was organised by the County Councils Association, and was divided into groups of exhibits from public elementary schools, secondary schools, and school gardens. The counties from which exhibits were sent included Cambridge, Cumberland, Durham, Derby, Essex, Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham, Stafford, Suffolk, Sussex, and Worcester, and the work sent was highly creditable to both teachers and scholars. It was stated that the specimens were collected and mounted by pupils of average intelligence, but the excellence of many of the water-colour drawings of common flowers was remarkable. The collections made by the scholars included mounted specimens of local flowering plants, some of them classified into hedge-row, wood, and water plants, collections of tree leaves, autumn fruits, fossils, common insects, snails, wireworms, &c. In the secondary schools the work was, of course, more advanced, and included classification into seeds, seedlings, branches, flowers, fruits, and wood in the case of common trees. The Staffordshire County Council exhibited collections of tools, seeds, and apparatus as supplied to school gardens, and a map showing that gardening classes are held in seventy-nine day schools, in thirty evening schools, and two grammar schools in that county. The introduction of nature-study into our rural schools appears to hold out great promise as a means of training and developing the intelligence of country children. It should go far to counteract that "dulness of the country" which is stated to be one of the potent causes of migration to the towns. Education of the youthful mind to the intelligent appreciation of natural phenomena may be regarded as a most important means of ensuring the future progress of agricultural science. E. H. G.

RUSSIAN GEOGRAPHICAL WORKS. SEVERAL papers and memoirs of scientific interest and importance are included in publications received from Russia during the past few months. The publications are printed in the Russian language, and among them are four volumes of the Proceedings of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society.

In vol. xli., part iv., of the Proceedings of this society, Mr. V. V. Markovitch contributes lengthy articles, one entitled "In Search of Eternal Ice," and the other on the ice-fields of the Caucasus, illustrated with beautiful photographs and sketches. Botanists will be interested in his notes on the flora of the mountains. Elaborate reports on the subject of ground ice, by a commission appointed to study the question, appear in the Proceedings, vol. xli., part ii. A map of European Russia is given, indicating results of investigations by many observers. In vol. xl., part iv., an important examination by Mr. A. I. Voieikoff of the question whether the Pacific Ocean will become the chief commercial route of the terrestrial globe appears, with statistics and maps.

In vol. xli., part iii., Mr. L. Berg differs from Prince P. Kropotkin's opinions on progressive desiccation of EurAsia, maintaining that the climatic conditions of Central Asia have been practically unchanged from the earliest recorded times, and that geological desiccation has long ceased. Mr. Berg refers to a canal called after Hammurabi

[ocr errors]

(Amraphel, King of Shinar), a passage in the "Song of Songs about the cessation of winter and stoppage c rains, a plant crowning the mummy of an Egyptian princess, Quintus Curtius's account of Bactria in the time of Alexander, down to the investigations of Heim, Hess, Bruckner, and Russian explorers. The writer adduces experiences of the Aral region in support of his conclusions. In 1896, 1897, and 1899 Mr. N. A. Busch was cummissioned by the Imperial Russian Geographical Society to investigate the glaciers of the western Caucasus, Kuban district, and Sukhum circle. The results are recorded in his report, "Glaciers of the Western Caucasus," 1005 (134 pages), which is furnished with a helpful index and some fine views.

A work entitled "Materials for the Geography of the Urals, by Mr. P. Krotov, describes orohydrographical investigations in the southern part of the central Ural range. The preface opens with a reference to Dr. Carl Hiekisch's work "Das System des Urals" (Dorpat. 18821 to show that knowledge of the geography of these regions is meagre and superficial owing to lack of expenditure of money and exertion. It is claimed that the northern and

[graphic][merged small]

southern parts of the range are more familiar to scientific explorers than the more accessible central part. In 1893 it was decided to make an orohydrographical survey of portions of the Ekaterinburg and Krasnoufimsky districts, Perm government, but the area proposed was afterwards limited. Mr. Krotoff reviews previous explorations, mentioning, inter alia, the labours of Tatistsheff, Humboldt, and Murchison.

The six chapters contain :-historical sketch of previous explorations; cartographical materials and geological sketch; orographical description; hypsometry of the western slope of the Urals; hydrographical description; concluding notes; "absolute heights in the southern part of the central Urals; forty-two pages of lists of heights. Orographical and geological charts are given at the end on a scale of five versts to the inch.

The report of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society for the year 1904 contains a vast amount of useful matter. especially in the records of scientific exploration. Following the official lists there are short biographies of deceased members, including General P. S. Vannovsky and Admiral S. O. Makaroff, medallist, constructor of the ice-breaker Yermak.

The society regrets that owing to unavoidable hindrances many undertakings had to be abandoned. About six pages are devoted to the exploration conducted by Mr. A. V. Zhuravsky of the Bolshezemelsky tundra, starting from the Petshora, and including the river Adzva, the Vashutkin lakes, and the Adak ridge. Samoyed natives assisted as guides. As a result, some important local points were made clear, collections of flora and water fauna, molluscs, and spiders were made, besides a herbarium, map of the lakes and rivers, photographs, meteorological report, and statistics of the native population-which is in danger of dying out-were collected. In the Proceedings of the society, vol. xli., part iii., 1905, Mr. A. Rudneff contributes a preliminary report of this expedition, with illustrations. This region has only been traversed twice previously, by Mr. William Gourdon, of Hull (1614-1615), who left a diary, and by Herr A. Schrenk (1837), author of an account of travel in north-eastern European Russia. Mr. A. V. Zhuravsky's letter to the secretary, in which he relates his activities and mentions the establishment of a zoological station at Ustzilma, appears in vol. xli., part iv.

Mr. A. A. Makarenko made an ethnographical expedition to the Yenesei government, and collected songs and information on local medicine. Other important explorations in Turkestan and the southern steppes are reported. Condensed reports of the ethnographical and other sections, financial statements, publications issued and received, and miscellaneous notes complete the volume.

The Russians have accumulated a vast amount of material with regard to the customs and literature of the Turks and Tartars, the results of researches in fields practically inaccessible to Western scholars.

The Story of Yedigei and Toktamysh,” edited by Prof. P. M. Melioransky, consists of a preface, glossary, and nearly forty pages of Kirghiz text (in Arabic characters) of an old tradition concerning some of the leading members of the famous Golden Horde, temp. later fourteenth and earlier fifteenth century. Khan Toktamysh, after the defeat of the Khan Mamai at Kulikovo-polie by the Grand Duke Dmitri Donskoi, in the following year attacked and burned Moscow. Yedigei was a specially distinguished emir under Toktamysh, and, according to the story, was the son of a holy man, Hodzha Amet, and a mysterious, aqueous being with a goat's feet and a transparent body, upon whom her husband does not gaze when she removes a garment for fear she should wish to leave him. Timour or TamerLane, styled in the story Sa1 Temiru, revered the memory of the Hodzha and protected his son. From being a follower of Toktamysh, Yedigei induces Timour to make war on him, and is credited with a similar judgment to that of Solomon in a parallel case of maternal controversy.

The tradition exists among the Nogai, Kirghiz, and Siberian Tartars in varied form. We are not in a position to criticise the text of the poem, and the learned editor

hints at a vast wealth of Tartar tradition still to be collected and arranged for publication.

THE MATTEUCCI MEDAL. THE Italian Society of Sciences known as the Society of the Forty has awarded the Matteucci medal for 190 to Sir James Dewar in recognition of his scientific work. In presenting the report upon the award, the commitee of the society, consisting of Profs. P. Blaserna, A. Righi, and A. Roiti, referred to Sir James Dewar's searches in the following terms:

James Dewar, born in 1842 at Kincardine-on-Forth in Scotland, completed his studies and took the first steps in his professorial career in the University of Edinburgh; n 1873 he was appointed professor of natural philophy at Cambridge, from which post he was promoted Fullerian professor in the Royal Institution in London, Where he is likewise director of the laboratory founded in emory of Davy and Faraday.

We shall not pause to enumerate all the contributions shh he rendered to the knowledge of aromatic comDands, nor the other important investigations in chemistry 1 Sa, it is explained, is a form of the word 'sar (Cæsar).

by which he initiated his scientific career. But we cannot omit to point out the work which he carried out from 1878 to 1890, for the most part in conjunction with Prof. G. D. Liveing, of Cambridge, which work undoubtedly forms part of the finest that has yet been produced in the field of spectrometry. This work is set out in about fifty short notices free from all preconceived ideas and admirable in their experimental genius, enriched with data meriting the highest attention and universally accepted, and fertile in their theoretic bearing and scope. Dewar and Liveing were the first to investigate the phenomena of inversion in many elements; afterwards they studied the influence of temperature on the spectra of the same elements, and the way in which these spectra were modified by the presence of other elements. Extremely interesting are their researches regarding the various spectra of carbon and its compounds, and in relation to the phenomena of synthesis manifested in the electric arc. They, moreover, furnished the first exact determinations of the ultra-violet spectral region, assigning with the utmost care the wave-lengths for a fair number of elements.

Various other problems made evident Dewar's extraordinary experimental ability, and his world-wide fame was secured by the problem, more than any other, of obtaining extremely low temperatures, to which he has indefatigably and courageously devoted himself for more than twenty years, with the satisfaction of seeing his labours crowned by the liquefaction and solidification of hydrogen, which allowed him to study the chemical and physical properties of gases formerly held to be irreducible, when they have changed their state of aggregation.

Having ingeniously contrived means for rendering inconsiderable the losses by evaporation of these new and highly volatile liquids, and thus for preserving them for a length of time in large quantities, he turned this to able account in order to investigate the very varied phenomena which took place at their boiling temperatures, low in themselves, and still further lowered by expansion.

Most extensive is the field covered by Dewar in his studies of this kind: variations of density and cohesion, chemical and photographic actions, phosphorescence and radio-activity, optical properties, thermoelectricity, electric conductivity and inductivity, and magnetic susceptibility. It would take too long to enumerate here the important and partly unexpected results obtained by him, and indeed it is superfluous, as they are present in the minds of all. Let us rather restrict ourselves to accompanying the Matteucci medal, which we award him, by the wish that from the 13°, which he has already reached, he may descend still further downwards towards absolute zero, and succeed in liquefying even helium.


THE Meteorological Committee has issued its first report, for the year ended March 31, 1906. In compliance with the desire expressed by H.M. Treasury, the work of the office proceeds generally on the lines hitherto followed, and the committee record "their appreciation of the services rendered in the administration of the office by Sir R. Strachey, the chairman of the council for twentytwo years," and by other members. An important addition has been made by participation in the investigation of the upper air by means of kites. It is also proposed, if practicable, to make use of unmanned balloons, and to render the service more effective by cooperating with the representatives of other bodies concerned in the work. Among some of the useful researches initiated or completed during the past year may be mentioned (1) the study of the trajectories of air in travelling storms, embodied in an official publication entitled "The Life-history of Surface Air Currents"; (2) re-determination of the velocity equivalents of the Beaufort scale of wind force; (3) connection between the yield of wheat in eastern England and the rainfall of the previous autumn; and (4) possible relationship between exceptional strength of the south-east trade wind at St. Helena and exceptional rainfall in England. Reference to these investigations has already been made in our columns. We note that the payment hitherto made to Dr. Buchan, as inspector of stations in Scotland, is to

be continued for the time being in consideration of his important work in connection with the discussion of the results obtained at the Ben Nevis observatories. The complete or partial success of the weather predictions was very satisfactory during the year in question, e.g. harvest forecasts, 89 per cent.; forecasts appearing in morning newspapers, 88 per cent.; in both cases the best results were obtained in eastern and southern England. The number of storm-warning telegrams justified by subsequent gales or strong winds was 88.4 per cent. The committee points out that the service of storm warnings, which is extremely difficult on account of meteorological reasons, is aggravated by the frequent impossibility of getting telegrams delivered on the day of issue when dispatched in the evening or on Sundays, and it proposes to give this serious matter further consideration in the current year. The ordinary work of the marine and land branches has been much augmented by the reduction and tabulation of the observations of the National Antarctic Expedition and of auxiliary observations made in connection therewith, both at sea and on land, south of 30° S. latitude.

scientific treatment of the subject and the spread of the geographical spirit among the people at large. The address was therefore unusually valuable from the point of view of all who are interested in the present position and future of the subject, both as an item in the educational curriculum of the country and as a study of undeniable importance to the general welfare of the nation.

There was a particular fitness in laying stress on this side of the question from the fact that, twenty-five years ago, as Sir George Goldie pointed out, a true conception of the functions and scope of geography was confined to a very limited circle of specialists, so that the progress 30 far made may be said to belong exclusively to the period under review. The investigation undertaken by the Roya Geographical Society, which was undoubtedly the starting point of any success since achieved, was, in fact set in motion a few years after the previous York meeting of the association. The report issued by the society as result of Dr. Keltie's inquiries showed how entirely inadequate were the methods of geographical tuition in those days, and the little importance, with one or two praise.

The absurd prejudice" which, as then pointed out by one of the few more enlightened teachers, regarded the subject as unworthy of the attention of first-rate men, has happily since been to a large extent overcome.

We have been looking rather carefully at the last pub-worthy exceptions, attached to it in educational circles lished meteorological chart of the North Atlantic and Mediterranean for September, prepared by Commander Campbell Hepworth, marine superintendent of the Meteorological Office; one cannot help being struck with the almost crowded amount of information useful and interesting to seamen that it contains. Like its younger sister, the monthly chart for the Indian Ocean, the face is chiefly occupied by roses, showing for areas of 5° of latitude by 5° of longitude the frequency, direction, and average force of the winds; by waved arrows, showing the direction of ocean currents and the maximum and minimum set in twenty-four hours; and by routes recommended for steam and sailing vessels respectively. The regions where fog is most prevalent are also shown, and the icebergs most recently observed along the Transatlantic steamer routes. The most southerly berg reported up to the early part of August was roughly in 45° N. 47° W., and the most easterly in 47° N. 40° W. On the back of the chart are given, inter alia, charts of tidal currents round the British Isles at the successive hours before and after high-water at Dover, and a co-tidal chart by Dr. Berghaus, with a useful explanation by Sir G. H. Darwin. As we are in the season of West India hurricanes, indications of their approach are explained and directions are given as to the most advisable steps to be taken when the centre of such a storm has been located.

The monthly meteorological chart of the North Atlantic for September, published by the Deutsche Seewarte, contains, generally speaking, similar useful information to that issued by the Meteorological Committee. The scale is somewhat larger than that of the English chart, and the wind-stars are printed in blue, the force, according to the Beaufort scale, being represented by feathers on the shafts of the arrows; altogether they form a prominent feature of the chart. The changes in the areas of high and low barometric pressure and other weather conditions shown graphically are also explained concisely in the text. On the back of the chart the true and magnetic bearings for a large number of points on the coasts when two lights or other objects are seen in line from the deck of a vessel afford an easy method of determining the deviation of the ship's compass. There are also small charts showing the mean isobars, isotherms, percentage of frequency of storms and calms for various localities in September, and the annual change in the magnetic declination. These pilot charts, brought as closely as possible up to the date of publication, are of the greatest practical value to seamen.


IN his presidential address to Section E, Sir George

Goldie took the more or less obvious course of reviewing the progress of geography during the quarter of a century that had elapsed since the association last assembled in that city; but while necessarily saying something of the progress of exploration during that interval, he wisely passed rapidly over this side of the subject, and addressed himself chiefly to the wider aspects of the growth of the

Sir George Goldie aptly diagnosed the source of our weakness as being, not the absence of the necessary raw material, for few countries possessed a literature of traw! and exploration so wide and of so high a class as ours but the paucity of men qualified to apply scientific method to this raw material, and the want of an institution wher a thorough training in geography might be obtained. H was able to point to the large measure of success which has attended the efforts of the Royal Geographical Societs and its coadjutors to remedy these defects, as evidenc in the present position of geography at Oxford and Cambridge and other of our universities. As a main cause v a spread of interest in the subject among the people al large he assigned the marked re-awakening of the spir. of colonial expansion, from 1884 onwards, and held that empire-building is an even greater factor than war in advancing and popularising geographical knowledge.")

As regards the future, he pointed out that though the popularity of a subject is by no means a test of its place in the ranks of science, the democratisation of geographical ideas is a very hopeful feature, by reason of the widening of the area from which students can be drawn and men of genius evolved. In conclusion, he gave a by no means contemptible list of books and papers as samples of the work recently produced in this country under the stimulu of scientific method applied to geographical study.

Among the papers, discussions, and lectures which formed the remaining programme of the section, one by Mr. G. W Hope, a young American professor from the Ohio Stat Normal College, may be first mentioned, on account of the close bearing which it had on the subject of the presidentia address. In a valuable and suggestive paper Prof. Hope urged the importance of Social Geography as a subject study which has hitherto been too much neglected. The paper well exemplified the wide field open to the student of the new geography, and the need that it should b taken up by first-rate men if it is to lead to the most valuable results. The speaker dwelt, for instance, wide and thorough knowledge, not merely of geography an its narrower sense, but of allied subjects such as history technology, and economics, which is indispensable for s fruitful study of the problems of social distribution avowal that he had himself approached the subject largely under the inspiration of the geographical movement in this country should give much encouragement to those who *** worked so strenuously in its furtherance.


A large part of two mornings was taken up with well sustained discussions, one on coast erosion, the other a proposal for improved geodetic measurements in Great Britain. The former was opened by a paper by Mr Clement Reid, F.R.S., who insisted on the next n approaching the subject with an adequate knowled past geological events in order to gain a comprehensiv grasp of all the factors. The erosion of our coast mus be studied in conjunction with the deposition of the materi

« PreviousContinue »