« PrejšnjaNaprej »
amount required by British collieries could be readily supplied from Scotland, if railway rates of freight could be reduced by 25 per cent. An admirably illustrated paper by Mr. P. Leslie deals with the afforestation of the coastal sand dunes at Culbin, between the rivers Nairn and Findhorn. The Culbin sands have a remarkable history, as they conceal an estate of 3600 acres, which was once the richest agricultural district in Morayshire. The incursion of the sand took place suddenly in 1694, leaving a wilderness until 1865, when Major Chadwick began plantations, which have been continued by his son. The species mainly used has been been Scots pine, but Corsi
The production of potash salts from woodlands and wastelands is the subject of a timely article by Mr. G. P. Gordon. It is probable that the material obtained by burning lop-and-top and brushwood in plantations and bracken fern on wild hill-sides, together with the ash of furnaces, using sawdust as a fuel, can compete successfully with kainit, which has been for many years the main source of the potash salts that enter into the composition of artificial manures. There is an account of a peculiar witches'-broom infesting willow trees at Hampstead and in parts of Essex near London, which appears to be hitherto undescribed. Prof. A. Henry gives an account,
FIG. 1.-Culbin Sand-hills, Elginshire: near the Binsness Plantations. The background shows a travelling dune of advancing sand. The steep bank with cornice atop and slipping sand on slope, the tails of sand behind the tufts of bent, and the wind ripples in the foreground, indicate that the sand-drift is from left to right, i.e., from west to east.
can pine wherever planted has given the best results, producing tall, clean poles of valuable timber. The operations, which include the prior fixing of the moving sands (Fig. 1) by maram grass, are carefully described, and are similar to those used by the French in the Landes.
Wood-charcoal and its uses is the subject of an article by Mr. W. D. Ashton Bost, who states that the only firm in Britain which reduces iron-ore by charcoal is that of Messrs. Harrison Ainslie. Their charcoal furnace at Backbarrow on the river Leven in Cumberland produces annually about 2400 tons of so-called "Lorn" charcoal pig-iron, which is the dearest iron in the market, and is exported for special uses to all parts of the world.
from Japanese sources, of the distribution of Larix leptolepis in its native home.
Many useful notes from continental sources are given, of which the following may be cited, taken from the Norwegian Manual of Silviculture by Barth-The limit of the existence of forest trees in Norway is fixed by the mean temperature of the four months of vegetation, June to September. Birch is content with a mean summer temperature of 45° F.; aspen and grey alder with one just under 46° F.; Scots pine and spruce, 47° F.; Alnus glutinosa, 54° F.; oak, 55° F.; and beech, 56° F. It would be interesting to obtain similar figures regarding the limit of these species and larch in Britain.
THE CARNEGIE TRUST.1
THE HE Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland has steadily pursued the policy of , making quinquennial distributions of the funds at its disposal; and the present year finds the third of these schemes in operation. The total sum to be expended during the current five years was 203,250l. Of this, 21,250l. is to be applied towards providing books, etc., for the libraries of the universities; 160,750l. goes to supply new buildings and permanent equipment; while 21,250l. is to be spent on endowing lectureships and upon other general purposes.
With regard to that portion of the scheme which concerns itself with assisting students by paying their class fees, a sum of 41,789l. was paid on behalf of 3,900 beneficiaries in 1913-14. It is gratifying to note that in the same period 6051. has been repaid to the trustees by beneficiaries who had been assisted under the scheme.
The expenditure on research for the current twelve months is divided as usual under the heads of scholarships, fellowships, and grants, with the additional expenditure necessary to support the laboratory of the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh. 13921. has been spent upon the laboratory, while the fellowships, etc., have necessitated an outlay of 7652l.
These sums have not been expended without good return, as the present report shows. Special mention is made of the long and conspicuously successful investigations of Dr. Margaret B. Moir on the effect of temperature upon the magnetic properties of steel; while the executive committee point to the work of Dr. Dougall on elasticity as a proof that their fellows do not relinquish research with the termination of their fellowships, but continue to bring forward investigations of first-class importance.
The scholars in the branches of chemistry and physics have published no fewer than thirteen papers during the session, and much unpublished work is still in process of completion. search grants have aided in the production of twelve papers during the present year; and in this connection stress is laid upon the collaboration between the permanent staffs of the universities and other beneficiaries of the trust, the cases of Profs. G. G. Henderson, J. C. Irvine, and Dr. T. S. Patterson being singled out as examples of success in this respect.
In more than one direction, the war has had an effect upon the progress of the research scheme. Naturally, as far as materials go, the chemical field is the one most affected, owing to the difficulty of obtaining substances for some classes of work; but all branches have suffered owing to the enlistment of fellows and scholars in the army. No fewer than nine of the fellows and scholars have interrupted their scientific careers for this object; and it is satisfactory to learn that their positions are being kept open for them should they wish to resume research work
1 Thirteenth Annual Report of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, 1913-14.
after the war. A similar state of affairs is found in the Royal College of Physicians' laboratory, from which no fewer than nine of the workers are absent on military duty; so that this institution has been heavily handicapped during the current year.
Bearing these factors in mind, the results obtained in the operation of the trustees' scheme
during the period covered by the report cannot
be said to fall below the high standard attained in previous years; and it must also be recalled resigned their fellowships or scholarships in order that many of the beneficiaries of the trust have to take up permanent positions either in the universities or in other lines of professional work.
During the academic year 1914-15, twenty fellows and forty-seven scholars have been at work, while grants have been given to seventyeight applicants. The investigations of these beneficiaries are extended over so wide a field of knowledge that it is impossible even to mention the branches of science, medicine, history, and languages in which work is being carried out; but a perusal of the report leaves the impression that the operations of the trust are steadily opening out wider and wider fields. The success of the trust's methods has never been in doubt, and the interest of observers becomes concentrated upon the developments which seem likely to flow from this vast machinery for enabling competent investigators to acquire a grasp of the methods of research, and to put the knowledge thus obtained into practice on a bigger scale than would otherwise be possible to them.
INEXACT ANALOGIES IN BIOLOGY.1
THE philosopher of the forum is notorious for the looseness of his analogical arguments from biology, and biologists themselves deserve castigation for their lax terminology. Even a Galton can write: "Parents are very indirectly and only partially related to their own children." Every word has its halo, and may be regarded according to one's point of view as either a potted poem or a tabloid theory. When the theory has been overturned, the use of the word in serious argument is dangerous. Then comes the critic to set us straight again, and so here is Dr. Johannsen putting such blessed words as "evolution," "affinity," "tradition," and "inheritance in their proper places. So far as he condemns the use of inexact analogy, especially as a method of proof, we shall all agree with himat least theoretically. But an analogy, strict in its application, may be falsified by its premisses. Many such are rejected by Dr. Johannsen as incorrect presentations of the facts of organic life and history. But here he often seems a little too certain that his interpretation of nature is the only right one. Belonging to the strictest sect of the Mendelians, he believes that, though the organism may respond variously to external
1 Falske Analogier med Henblik paa Lighed, Slaegtskab, Arv, Tradition og Udvikling. By W. Johannsen. Evo, pp.5114. (København, 1914).
conditions, the constitution of the germ is unaffected thereby, and that any change in it is necessarily discontinuous. Hence, though individual growth is inevitably continuous, organic evolution must be discontinuous; and any analogy between race-history and individual history must be false. The idea that the latter recapitulates the former "cannot be applied to concrete instances."
That likeness does not necessarily imply relationship is true enough; but there is more than "likeness" when we find the last of an ascending series of fossils repeating in its lifehistory the adult stages of the successive species immediately preceding it, all those stages having been linked by gentle gradations. The semblance of continuous evolution may conceivably be explained by an appeal to the mongrel (heterozygote) constitution of the germ, and by allowing wide limits of modification to the soma, in successive species. But why is the trend of germinal saltation so often the same as that of somatic modification, and why should individual growth repeat and follow this trend? These are questions not of analogy, but of fact, and are not to be dismissed with a bare denial.
Biologists may differ on these matters, but all might read with pleasure Dr. Johannsen's criticism of Prof. Bergson's "Élan vital."
F. A. BATHER.
PROF. OTTO N. WITT.
BY the sudden death, through heart-failure, on Regierungsrat and professor in the Technical High School of Charlottenburg, at the comparatively early age of sixty-three, and in the full maturity of his intellectual power, Germany loses one of the most distinguished of her teachers of chemical technology, and one of the most successful of her pioneers in the application of organic chemistry to industrial pursuits. Of Russian extraction, Witt had intimate associations with all the countries now warring against Germany. Like Hofmann, Griess, Caro, Martius, and others who could be named the founders of Germany's unrivalled supremacy in the manufacture of the socalled coal-tar dyes-upwards of thirty years ago Witt spent some time in England as a member of the now defunct firm of Williams, Thomas and Dyer, then engaged in the industrial production of this class of colouring matters. He took kindly to English life, moved freely in scientific and literary circles in London, joined the Savile Club, which had then its home in Savile Row, had his boat on the river, and enjoyed to the full the hospitality which his many social gifts, the range of his knowledge, his admirable conversational powers and charm of manner readily secured for him.
Witt spoke and wrote our language with ease and fluency. Habitués of the Royal Institution well remember the brilliant Friday evening discourse he gave on the development of the
synthetic indigo industry, illustrated with a wealth of material and a mass of detail which his close connection with the great firms which have combined to exploit that industry had enabled him to accumulate. Among the many fruits of his scientific activity in England at that time may be mentioned his paper in collaboration with Thomas, on the induline group, published in the Transactions of the Chemical Society for 1883. At another period of his career he was associated with Nölting and Grandmougin, at Mulhouse, in developing the chemistry of the indazole derivatives, and his Alsatian connections brought him into contact with the leading manufacturers of synthetic colouring matters in France, and he learned to know Paris and to appreciate its scientific interests as fully as he knew and valued those of London.
The most fruitful period of Witt's scientific activity was comprised between the years 1876 and 1892. During the earlier years of his connection with the Charlottenburg institution, he was hampered by the want of adequate laboratory accommodation, and in spite of his acknowledged position as an authority on that particular section of applied organic chemistry with which his name and fame are indissolubly associated, and notwithstanding his generally recognised powers as a teacher, his success in creating a school fell short of his hopes, and neither the number of his students nor the character of their output, as determined by the quality and number of their communications to chemical literature, were commensurate with his aspirations.
Witt was one of the earliest to attempt to explain the properties and colour of dyes in terms. of chemical constitution, and his memoir of 1876, published in the Berichte of the German Chemical Society, attracted considerable attention by the originality and boldness of its views, and the ingenuity with which they were supported. terms "chromophor" and "chromogen" which he introduced in order to denote the special groups and molecules which he conceived to be concerned with the production of colour are still current in the literature. Although Witt's hypotheses have not wholly stood the test of time, the paper will always have its place in the history of the subject. It is at least noteworthy as the production of a young man of twenty-four.
Witt's name is associated with the discovery of certain typical classes of synthetic dye-stuffs. His published work includes papers on the indulines and indophenols; on the nitroso-derivatives of aromatic amines, eurhodines, eurhodols, safranines, etc., and he contributed the monographs on azines, indamines and indophenols, artificial indigo and indigoid dyestuffs, and triphenylmethane colouring matters to the "Dictionary of Applied Chemistry," published by Messrs. Longmans, Green and Co. They are amongst the most valuable articles in that work, and are characterised by Witt's excellent literary qualities, his grasp of principles, his power of co-ordination, his sense of proportion, and felicity of expression-qualities
exhibited in no less degree in his frequent contributions to Prometheus, with which he was associated as editor for many years, a periodical which played much the same part in Germany as NATURE does among English-speaking communities.
Witt was a singularly gifted man, of great attainments, artistic and literary, of large sympathies and wide interests, far removed indeed in mental habit and outlook from what is usually He regarded as the typical German professor. had an extensive knowledge of what is best in the literature of nearly every European nation, to which his remarkable linguistic attainments gave him ready access. In early life he was attracted to biological problems, was an excellent microscopist, and rivalled Cleve in studying and delineating the lower forms of organic life. In his later years he was devoted to the culture of orchids, and was an occasional visitor to the Temple show of our Royal Horticultural Society, and a frequent purchaser at the plant auctions in London. Of his power of initiative and capacity for organisation and direction, and of his merits as a host, those who attended the International Congress of Applied Chemistry at its meeting in Berlin, of which he was president, have a pleasurable and grateful recollection. T. E. THOrpe.
WE regret to announce the death, on April 10, in his eightieth year, of Dr. W. Grylls Adams, F.R.S., Emeritus Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy in King's College, London.
THE death is announced, at nearly sixty-two years of age, of Dr. Louis Waldstein, author of "The Subconscious Self," and of many articles on pathological subjects.
ON Monday, April 12, at a meeting of the Council of the Royal Society of Arts, the society's Albert Medal was presented to Senator Guglielmo Marconi "for his services in the development and practical application of wireless telegraphy." The medal, which was instituted in 1863 to commemorate the Prince Consort's presidency of the society, is awarded annually as a reward for "distinguished merit in promoting arts, manufactures, and commerce."
ACCORDING to a message to the Morning Post from its Stockholm correspondent, the projected Anglo-Swedish Antarctic Expedition, under the leadership of Prof. Otto Nordenskjöld, has been postponed until the war has been brought to a conclusion. It will be remembered that the expedition was to sail in August next.
THE death is announced of M. Edmond Rigaux, of Boulogne, in his seventy-seventh year. M. Rigaux was a well-known authority on the geology of the Boulonnais, and contributed especially to our knowledge of the Jurassic rocks and fossils of that region of France. He was a foreign correspondent of the Geological Society of London, and in 1883 received
the Lyell Fund of the Society in recognition of the value of his researches.
THE Jacksonian prize of the Royal College of Surgeons for 1914 has been awarded to Mr. Jonathan Hutchinson for his essay on the pathology, diagnosis, and treatment of trigeminal neuralgia, and the John Tomes prize to Mr. J. F. Colyer for his work on comparative dental anatomy and pathology. The subject of the Jacksonian prize for 1916 will be "Methods and Results of Transplantation of Bone in the Repair of Defects caused by Injury and Disease."
PROTOZOOLOGISTS and marine biologists will be interested to learn that the whole of the collections and library of the late Fortescue W. Millett, of Marazion and Brixham, have been acquired by Mr. Heron-Allen, and will be incorporated as a special section of the Heron-Allen and Earland collection, to which the collection of the late J. D. Siddall, of Chester, was also added recently. It is hoped that this entire collection, numbering some 10,000 slides, and the library which accompanies them, will ultimately be incorporated with the Museum of Oceanography and Marine Biology, which it was the ambition of the late Sir John Murray to found. Broadly, his object was to form his collections of material and soundings into a department of the Natural History Museum in conjunction with the H. B. Brady and W. B. Carpenter collections, which are already there. The co-ordination of the Brady, Carpenter, Murray, Millett, Siddall, and Heron-Allen and Earland collections would form a reference museum of oceanic deposits and type specimens without an equal in the world.
THE death is announced at the age of sixty-three of the well-known bacteriologist, Friedrich Loeffler, director of the Institute of Infectious Diseases, Berlin, and formerly Professor of Hygiene and Director of the Hygienic Institute, University of Greifswald. Loeffler's name is best known the co-discoverer with Klebs of the diphtheria bacillus; this was in 1884. A year or two previously the presence of peculiar bacilli in the diphtheritic membrane was noted by Klebs, but it was Loeffler who afterwards isolated and cultivated this organism. With Koch and Gaffky, Loeffler carried out investigations on disinfection with steam at the Imperial Institute of Hygiene, Berlin, and he showed the keenest interest in the comparative study of the infectious diseases of animals, such as the diphtheria of calves and of pigeons. He was with Schütz the discoverer of the nature of the causative
organism of foot-and-mouth disease, which he proved to belong to the group of micro-organisms known as filter-passers," which owing to their minuteness are invisible with the highest powers of the microscope, and are capable of passing through the pores of a porcelain filter. To Loeffler also belongs the credit of achieving some of the early work associated with the application of aniline dyes to the staining of bacteria, "Loeffler's Methylene Blue" being used to this day as a routine laboratory stain. Loeffler's name will ever rank with those of Pasteur, Koch, and Ehrlich as a pioneer in the domain of bacteriological research.
THE death of Major Samuel Flood-Page removes from the electrical world an interesting personality who played no small part in two important developments-electric lighting and wireless telegraphy. His first notable achievement after leaving the army was the organisation of the Electrical Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1882, when he was acting as manager of that institution. About this time the problem of the subdivision of the electric light had been solved by the introduction of the carbon incandescent lamp, and Major Flood-Page devoted his energies to promoting the commercial utilisation of the new illuminant. He was instrumental in introducing the first incandescent electric light into Australia, and then became secretary and manager of the Edison and Swan United Electric Light Co., Ltd. In the later years of his life he was interested in wireless telegraphy, and his faith in the ultimate success of this enterprise guided him through the many trials and difficulties which beset its path in the early days. Major Flood-Page first became actively engaged in wireless telegraphy in 1899, when he joined the Marconi Company in the capacity of managing director. In that year wireless telegraphy had advanced to a stage which permitted the establishment of communication across the Straits of Dover, between the Chalet d'Artois, Wimereux, near Boulogne, and the South Foreland lighthouse. He was one of a small party which waited at the wireless station at the Needles, Isle of Wight, in November, 1899, for the first wireless signals ever sent from a liner at sea to the British shores, and he was ever proud to recall the delight and satisfaction which he enjoyed as the liner's message was being received over a distance of sixty-five miles. After resigning the managing directorship, he remained a member of the board of the parent Marconi company and many of its leading subsidiaries. He died on April 7, in his eighty-second year.
SIR RUPERT CLARKE, who in the summer of last year led an expedition up the Fly River in British New Guinea, recently arrived in London to take up an appointment in the Army Service Corps. In 1890 Sir W. Macgregor reached a point 610 miles from the mouth of the river. Sir Rupert Clarke's expedition went 20 miles further. He also made the first ascent of Mount Donaldson, close to the German boundary. In a communication to the Times of April 10, he reports that the natives, a fine-looking, tall race, were at first inclined to be hostile, but later became friendly. They are divided into communes ranging in numbers from five or ten families to a thousand persons. No one is supposed to die a natural death, which is caused by suggestion through their magic men. After a man's death his relations must get a head so that his spirit may rest in peace. These heads are usually those of the women and children of hostile tribes. They are in constant fear of attack from their enemies, and live on scaffolds raised on high trees. Their bows are exceedingly formidable, beyond the strength of a white man to draw. They protect themselves from arrows by a kind of bamboo cuirass. They wear no other clothing. The height of Mount Donaldson was provision
ally fixed at about 2000 ft. The return journey was effected in safety, without firing a shot, on rafts down the Fly River. Some signs of gold were discovered, but not rich enough to make working worth the trouble.
THE Royal Geographical Society has received news of Sir Aurel Stein's explorations in Central Asia from April to November, 1914. The expedition started in April from Tunhuang, where it had halted to recruit after the trying campaign in the Lop-nor desert between Turfan and the northern boundary of Tibet. The cave temples of the Thousand Buddhas near Tunhuang were re-visited, and further interesting collections were made. The explorer followed the ancient wall for 250 miles, and found that it was constructed of fascines of reeds or brushwood, admirably adapted to check the wind erosion of the desert sands. Coins, pottery, and metal fragments found near the surface made it possible to define the Chinese frontier posts with accuracy. Beyond the So-lu Hu valley further remains of the same kind were found. While Sir Aurel Stein was hunting for remains of the Great Yuechi on Indo-Hun culture to the north, his surveyor, Lal Singh, examined the ruined town of Khara Khoto, and proved that this could be no other than Marco Polo's "City of Etzina," where in ancient times travellers bound for Karakoram, the old Mongol capital, used to lay in supplies for the march across the great desert. Here many Buddhist remains were found, and it was ascertained that the ruin of the city was due to failure to maintain the irrigation system. When he despatched his report Sir Aurel Stein had planned to examine Buddhist ruins round Turfan, while his surveyor was to undertake the exploration of the little-known desert ranges of the Kuruk-tagh between Turfan and the Lop-nor depres
A SYSTEMATIC paper on Termites from the East Indian Archipelago, by Masamitsu Oshima, has been published in Annotationes Zoologicae Japonenses (vol. viii., part 5). Of the twenty-four species enumerated, nineteen are described as new to science. The author imitates many modern American entomologists by illustrating his new species with photographic figures, most of which are valueless for the purpose of identification.
In the April number of the Entomologists' Monthly Magazine Mr. J. T. Wadsworth records the occurrence at Northenden, Cheshire, at the roots of cabbages, of the larvæ of an anthomyid fly (Phaonia irimaculata) new to the British fauna. Several of the grubs pupated, and eventually developed into the perfect insect, which measures 16 mm. across the extended wings a fact rendering it somewhat remarkable that such a comparatively conspicuous species had not previously been observed in this country.
MANY English-speaking naturalists who attended the meetings of the International Entomological Congress at Brussels and Oxford remember with pleasure conversations with a courteous and enthusiastic Spanish priest, the Rev. P. Longihos Navas, S.J., whose good knowledge of French made him a valuable interpreter to his compatriots. We have received a little "Manual