Slike strani
PDF
ePub

10

In 2

soot

the cause of cancer we are dealing with two factors, portion of the sun-spot curve than even at maximum. (1) a predisposing cause, probably due to auxetics, The reason of this is, because after the maximum, the which are set free by injury, X-rays, and atrophy, mean latitude of the spots is falling towards the sun's which are actually injected into the tissues by the equator, and since the heliographic latitude of the commodities, and which occur in excess in the tissues earth varies between 17o, the earth is placed in a generally in persons above the age of forty-the cancer more favourable position to be affected by a solaage; and (2) an exciting cause, the nature of which disturbance. In the twenty-five years, 1889-1913, thrre has still to be worked out, and which supervenes on were seven years in which the mean daily projectie top of (1). Whatever this exciting cause is, it is re- or disc-area of sun-spots was greater than 1000 sponsible for the metastasis and death. It would seem units, and eighteen years in which it was less. that a combination of the two causes is essential, seven maximum years there was a mean of 100 din namely, that cancer is due to local manuring of the turbances a year, and a yearly mean daily disc-are. tissue; either one or other by itself appears only to of 15377 units. The ratio between these two number, cause benign tumour formation. H. C. Ross. or what may be termed the “efficiency ratio," is The John Howard McFadden Research Fund, 0.065. Similarly for the eighteen years in which the The Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, mean daily disc-area was less than 1000 10-6 uniis, Chelsea Gardens, S.W.

the mean number of disturbances was 73*7 per year, and the yearly mean daily disc-area was 378-9 units,

which gives an "efficiency. ratio" 0.195. three Dr. Ross's letter raises the question as to whether times as great as in the maximum years. Of these photosensitive molecular systems of the nature of those eighteen years, twelve were on the descending arm u. contained in the gelatino-bromide emulsion might not

the sun-spot curve. These numbers show that the be affected by auxetics and augmentors applied under position of a disturbed region of the sun relatively to suitable conditions. If such effect was found to exist,

the earth is more important than its size. In addition, the facts he adduces would not be out of line with the

the character of the spot has to be considered. view that some molecular change within the cell finds To apply these principles of selection to the case of a counterpart in actions progressing in the unstable

the magnetic storm of June 17. Since the beginnirs film under the stimulus of radiation or equivalent of 1913, all the sun-spot disturbances, with insigni. chemical influences.

ficant exceptions, had been confined to regions above The reasons set forth by Dr. Ross against the theory

12° on each side of the solar equator. From June 12 that acts mechanically

appear
convincing,

to June 21 an entirely new active group of spots although I cannot agree with him that this substance covering a considerable area appeared on the sun's can be described as soft and floury. There has always

equator. The heliographic latitude of the earth was been difficulty in accounting for its peculiar virulence also most favourable. The first very great magnetic on the mechanical theory. Some time ago I looked storm of the present solar cycle took place on June 17, for the emanation of radium in soot, but found very preceded by a disturbance on the 16th, and followed by little. If it acted like charcoal we would expect a a disturbance on the 18th. large amount, in which case Dr. Lazarus-Barlow's With regard to the 27-day period shown in the quiet views would find additional support in this direction. magnetic days, I associated them with the whole solar

I may add that some of the suggestions put forward hemisphere only in this sense, that, as a rule, when in the lecture which was in part issued in NATURE there is no solar spot, there is no magnetic disturbof June 10 have been under investigation here for The proviso is added, because a region of the some time.

J. JOLY. sun which may be free from spots may, by the Trinity College, Dublin.

presence of faculæ or flocculi, still continue to be magnetically active, after the spots have died away.

In several cases the region will continue to be magThe Magnetic Storm of June 17 and Solar

netically active, on account of the appearance of new Disturbances.

spots near the faculæ or flocculi belonging to the As my final note on Dr. Chree's letter in NATURE of former disturbance.

A. L. CORTIE. July 22 and Mr. Buss's of July 29 may I remark Stonyhurst College Observatory, Blackburn, that, so far

aware,
there
rule,

Lancs., July 23. · One spot,

storm"? On the contrary, disturbed of the sun's surface

be connected with series of successive,

or inter

Science and Food-Supply. mittent disturbances, as it is carried round by the In connection with the proposed “Mobilisation of sun's rotation. When the same region reappears at Science,” it may be of importance for Great Britain the next synodical rotation, and sometimes, if it sur- to direct the attention of her scientific men to the vives as an active region, for several synodical rota- possibility of increasing the food-supply produced tions, it will continue to be associated with a series in the country. Here she might very hopefully call of magnetic disturbances each rotation. For upon her organic chemists for aid; by asking them instance, in 1898, January 11 to July 31, a disturbed to devise means for extracting nutritive material from region of the sun, which subsisted during eight rota- the crops which are not now used for food. tions, was associated with not one only, but with Nearly all vegetable matter contains the nutritive several magnetic storms, at each successive reappear- elements needed. In a certain sense, for example,

Nor is the selection of such a region arbitrary, "all flesh is grass"; but we cannot digest vegetable when there happen to be several other disturbances matter of that kind directly; it must be put through at the same time on the sun. The selection is condi- a chemical process before it can be assimilated. The tioned by the activity of the region, and by its posi- process usually adopted is to put it into the stomachs tion relatively to the position of the earth, when pro- of animals, and then we eat the animals. Through jected on the sun. So far as I am aware, mere the intervention of cattle and sheep we thus eat grass statistical enumerations of sun-spots, or total areas of in the form of beef and mutton. sun-spots, and their relations to magnetic storms, take In a similar manner, deer and goats and many no account of these important considerations.

ance.

as I

am

[ocr errors]

no

one

a

area

mav

а

at

other animals which are not limited to a grass die The efficiency of a disturbed region of the sun, convert moss, and shrubs, and bark, and small marked by sun-spots, is greater on the descending branches into nutritive material for man. The wood

ance.

of trees, too, contains the necessary elements for the use of our scientifically trained workers, that we must support of life; but we do not utilise wood for food, increase the number of those workers, and that we because we have no animals that feed upon wood. must endeavour to secure that industry is closely assoCould not chemists do something with wood-pulp in

ciated with our scientific workers, and promote a this connection ?

proper system of encouragement of research workers, The German chemists are reported in the American especially in our universities. newspapers to have succeeded in treating sawdust so

These convictions have been translated into as to extract a nutritive product that can be digested deeds through the issue of the Government scheme. by man, the so-called bread from sawdust."'1 If this is true, the British chemists should certainly

The action which has thus been taken by the be able to arrive at a similar result.

Government will be hailed by all men of science How secure Great Britain would be if she, too, with feelings of the utmost gratification. It is could make bread from sawdust, and convert grass difficult to overestimate the value of the conseand shrubs and other vegetable matter not now utilised quences which may follow—which, indeed, we into food for her people. Here is a problem of the

feel sure will foilow-from the adoption of this greatest consequence to Great Britain that should be brought to the attention of her scientific men.

scheme. By its inception and publication the ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL.

Government acknowledges and proclaims its Beinn Bhreagh, near Baddeck, Nova Scotia, appreciation of the work of science, and by this July 10.

acknowledgment alone it gives scientific workers

that encouragement and prestige in the eyes of THE PROMOTION OF RESEARCH BY THE ROM

the country which have too long been withheld. STATE.

The expenditure of any new moneys provided

by Parliament for scientific and industrial THE HE Government scheme for the organisation research will be under the control of a committee and development of scientific and industrial

of the Privy Council, upon the recommendation research, of which we gave particulars last week,

of the Advisory Council. The appointment of represents a welcome concession of a principle Lord Haldane as a non-official member of the always advocated in these columns, and stated

committee of the Privy Council connects the with particular force by Sir Norman Lockyer in

British Science Guild with the work contemplated his presidential address on “The Influence of by the Government scheme.

by the Government scheme. Lord Haldane was Brain-power on History," delivered at the South

the first president of the guild; and at the inport meeting of the British Association in 1903.

augural meeting in 1905 he said :The duty of a State to organise its forces as carefully for peace as for war was emphasised on

I believe that things will not be right until we have that occasion; and it was urged that adequate

a scientific corps under a permanent committee, just

as the Defence Committee is under the Prime Minister provision for scientific education and research is

to-day. I mean a body that will not consist mainly an essential part of a modern State's machinery, of officials of the ordinary kind, but of the most and should be efficiently organised if we were eminent men of science, who will be put on the footing not to fall behind other nations in the applications upon which they deserve to be placed, and are recogof science to industry. The recognition of the nised as a body of men who will be at the elbow of State's responsibility in this matter would have

the department and can organise the scientific work come much sooner if our statesmen had been wise

of the State. I hope that if we get to this position

the example of a Government adopting science will be enough to understand the scientific factors of in

followed by the municipalities, as I believe it is going dustrial success; but it has at last been given, to be followed more and more by our manufacturers. and the unanimous approval with which the scheme has been received must be a little sur

The British Science Guild may justly claim prising to the politicians who have taken so long industrial and scientific research now provided for

some credit for securing the State assistance for to realise the part science is playing in the modern world, and to make provision for its national use.

by the Government scheme.

For the ten years There is nothing, perhaps, so difficult as to

of its existence it has persistently pointed out alter a long-established tradition, to effect a

that our competitors have brought all the products real change in the mental attitude of a person or

of science into the contest they have waged of a nation. It is the greatest of revolutions; it against us; and it has urged the adoption of is the real revolution on which all action out of

similar methods in our national affairs and manuharmony with the tradition of the past depends.

factures. Scientific men are so closely concerned Such a change of attitude, so far as the official

with their own particular researches that they mind of the country is concerned, was announced frequently take little interest in the work of other's last May by Mr. Pease, then President of the

or in the position which science should occupy in Board of Education, when he stated in the House

national polity. Their inactivity in this respect is of Commons:

largely responsible for the neglect of science. A A

public movement was required to direct the The war has brought home to us ... that we have been far too dependent ... upon the foreigner, and

attention of the public in general, and the Governwe have realised that it is essential, if we are going

ment and political parties in particular, to the to maintain our position in the world, to make better

value of the great resources of science in the 1 For other references to what the German chemists are doing, see article development of the kingdom; and this movement on "Inorganic Fodder" in the Scientific American for July 3, p. 8; in took shape in the British Science Guild. The which reference is also made to an attempt to derive from straw and hay all the nourishing matter contained therein.

purpose of the guild is not so much the acquisi

cesses

even

[ocr errors]

tion of new knowledge as the appreciation of its ! It may, however, be hoped that the council will value, and the necessity of employing scientific not pin its faith too much to bursaries and scholarmethods in all departments of the national ships, but will rather seek to create inducements executive. We regard the Government scheme in the shape of posts which are adequately reas a measure of acknowledgment of the principles munerated, more highly remunerated certainly of State responsibility and guidance advocated by than has been the case in the past. the guild; and the only regret is that action on these lines was not taken long ago, as it would MODERN PROCESSES OF MANUFACTURhave been if we had been governed by far-seeing ING HYDROGEN FOR AIRSHIPS. statesmen instead of party politicians. The consequences of Government recognition will cer

N the Revue Générale des Sciences for June 15. IN

M, A. Fournois reviews the earlier methods tainly be that science will secure increased atten

for the preparation of hydrogen for balloons, and tion in the thought of the nation generally, and describes in some detail the more modern prowill receive more sympathetic consideration from

for its manufacture, especially those the industrial world.

adapted to field use. The large amount required The country, as a whole, will be influenced by in the present campaigns can be conjectured from the lead of the Government. “It appears incon

the capacity of the latest type of Zeppelin, which trovertible that if we are to advance or

is stated to be some 30,000 cubic metres. maintain our industrial position, we must as a nation aim at such a development of scientific and beyond theoretical interest.

Many of the earlier processes now possess little

The well-known zincindustrial research as will place us in a position sulphuric acid reaction always presented diftito expand and strengthen our industries and to

culties in the transport of materials, of which large compete successfully with the most highly

amounts were required. The dangers attendant organised of our rivals." The attitude of mind of

to the transport of the acid were largely overcome the British people, as a nation, towards science, by absorption with acid sodium sulphate, the solid and public estimation and appreciation of its

material being dissolved as required, but some 15 value, must undergo a profound change. It is for kilos. of the mixture were necessary for the prethe purpose of effecting this change and directing paration of one cubic metre of the gas. the resulting activity that the Government has

The electrolytic production was a great advance, established a permanent organisation for the pro- although the process was naturally expensive, and motion of industrial and scientific research.

only possible at fixed generating stations. When The main channels of activity of the organisa- the preparation of chlorine by the electrolysis of tion, of which the advisory council of seven experts salt solutions was developed, hydrogen, being a is the most important part, will apparently lie in by-product, was available at a cheaper rate. Such three directions. First, the advisory council will

gas must always be supplied compressed in the act as scientific advisers to all Government depart- usual gas cylinders, and here again transport

, ments concerned with or interested in scientific

difficulties arose, to say nothing of the dangers research; secondly, the advisory council, with the inherent to the transport of gas at 150 kilos. co-operation of the various scientific societies, will

pressure into the field. One of the ordinary consider the application of science to industry, and

waggons

will carry only some 13 kilos. of will seek to enlist the interest of manufacturers; hydrogen-a small proportion of the total weight thirdly, the advisory council will advise the Board

of the load—and this is roughly only oneof Education as to steps which should be taken hundredth of the gas required for an ordinary for increasing the supply of workers competent to dirigible. undertake scientific research.

Naturally therefore great attention has been With regard to relations between the manufac- directed during the last few years to methods of turers and the advisory council, it is sincerely to

preparation suitable for field use. The most be hoped that the former will lend their utmost

successful of these have been the action of water assistance to the scheme, which is devised largely

on calcium hydride (CaH) (hydrolite), and the in their interests.

action of caustic soda on ferrosilicon or silicon On the educational side the work of the advisory itself. council will be of the greatest importance.

Hydrolite is an expensive material about five has recently been emphasised by Dr. Beilby, "our

francs per kilo.—but the total cost of the outfit colleges have two distinct functions to perform, for 50,000 cubic metres is given as only about and it is best that this should be clearly recog- one-third of the cost of the gas in cylinders, one nised, first to allow the future leaders in applied vehicle sufficing for the transport of the hydroscience to come naturally to the top during their lite plant, as against twelve required for gas training, and secondly, to prepare a large number of cylinders. A vehicle carrying six generators gives well-trained professional men for the organisation

an output of 500 cubic metres per hour. and development of industry.” How best to secure

In the ferrosilicon process the fine material falls these two classes of men in adequate numbers, into caustic soda, which is covered with a layer and, more important perhaps, how to induce an

of hydrocarbon oil to prevent frothing. A base adequate number of the right kind of men to plant has an output of 1500 cubic metres per enter the chemical profession, will require careful hour; a field plant, comprising two waggons, 400 consideration on the part of the advisory council. cubic metres.

As

a

In a

Hydrogenite-a mixture of ferrosilicon with dry another person to take the reward. At any rate caustic soda, which only requires addition of the interview generally results in the man of water for generation of the gas—has been used science being made to utter some notable absurdiin the French service. One cubic metre of the ties. gas is produced from 3 kilos. of the hydrogenite. There is, however, another intermediary through The German Schuckert process employs silicon which the technical worker can approach a wider alone, an expensive material, and one which re- public, and that is afforded by the public galleries quires external heating of the generators. of our museums, which are coming more and more

Two other most interesting processes for the to rank as educational establishments of prime preparation of gas for balloons are mentioned. importance, catering not only for advanced The decomposition of acetylene in strong steel students, but also for school children, and for cylinders by electric sparks is of particular in- many who might object to any title so serious as terest by reason of the gas prepared in this way that of students. In so far as the exhibited series having been used at the Zeppelin factory at of our museums are intended to appeal to this Friedrichshaven. The process gave rise to a wider and less educated public, they must do so by serious explosion in 1910. The finely divided means of striking objects, attractive installations, carbon deposited in the decomposition cylinders and specially prepared labels. To these may be is used for the manufacture of printers' ink. added : printed guides, which are purchased by a

Another process, of Dutch origin, that of very small percentage of the visitors, and in any Rincker and Wolter, has also been used in Ger- case are not as a rule written in a style alluring many. Generators filled with metallurgical coke to those who seek amusement rather than instrucare blown to incandescence, the air blast shut off, tion; human guides, who may take a perhaps and suitable oils injected until the fall of tem- larger but still a small percentage of the visitors perature necessitates a further air blast.

round the galleries; and lastly, lectures with the portable plant described in a recent issue of the added attraction of lantern-slides, dealing with Scientific American, one

waggon carries two

special portions of the collections. generators, with oil tanks, blower, &c.; a second Many museums, both in Europe and America, car carries the purifiers. The gas passes through are working hard along these lines, and have the generators in series, and purification is effected a considerable increase in the number of effected by sulphuric acid scrubbing, and finally their visitors. But when all is said and done the by caustic soda to remove carbon dioxide. With proportion of visitors to the number of the surhighly incandescent coke the gas is stated to be rounding population is indeed a small one. Some nearly as light as hydrogen; it has some illuminat- American museums claim a proportion as high ing value, and is also stated to be suitable for use as 35 per cent., but this, it must be remembered, as an auxiliary gas for furnace work.

refers to the number of visits, not to the number of visitors, which is certainly considerably less.

Now it is absurd to spend money, time, and SCIENCE, MUSEUMS, AND THE PRESS.

trouble in producing an attractive exhibition and TECHNICAL workers in science and in allied then to leave members of the public to find out

fields are accustomed to say that the general the fact for themselves. The museums must not Press either pays no attention at all to subjects be above taking the same steps as are taken by which they themselves believe to have a very all other caterers for public amusement and inimportant bearing upon the welfare of the people, struction. In some form or other the museum and to be if properly treated of great public in- must advertise. Here, then, may possibly be terest, or that it seizes upon only some isolated found a solution of the difficulty with which we facts which are capable of being treated in a sen- started. Let the museum frankly admit that it sational way so as to furnish “good copy," but must advertise, and let it take the Press for what with the result of conveying an erroneous and it is, as the best advertising agent. The Press, often harmful impression. It is, we are constantly on the other hand, welcomes good copy, and in assured, the fact that newspaper editors really return for that will not in the least mind directing would like to have good and accurate popular attention to a public non-commercial institution. articles on various branches of science, both pure To accomplish this, the museum should have under and applied. The difficulty in obtaining them is the control of the director, a Press department, twofold. First, that the ordinary journalist, un- composed of the best writers on the staff, each trained in special subjects, cannot be expected to of whom should be instructed as part of his official see the really essential points or to present them duties to draw up striking articles, not falsely in an accurate manner. Secondly, that

that the sensational, but none the less abounding in scientific worker generally has far too heavy a

",” “go." touch to appeal to the public. An attempt is some

" Some such course as that just advocated is now times made to bring the journalist and the man being taken by the Smithsonian Institution, which of science into co-operation by means of an inter- for the past year or two has distributed to the view, but in this country, at any rate, the scientific general and scientific Press free articles written worker is apt to dread personal advertisement, and in lucid, popular fashion, dealing with all kinds of on the other hand he may not altogether care about matters of novel interest in the United States' giving news or opinions of pecuniary value for National Museum, and with other branches of the

[ocr errors]

Institution's work. Among the subjects of those

Among the subjects of those glacier was found to possess some of the features which have lately been sent to us may be men- of an ice-cap, its upper basin being described as tioned : “Orchids,” “Stegosaurus,

" Whet- a vast circus filled to the brim with ice, which stones,

" American History, “Fashions," overflows between the surrounding peaks, while "Gerenuk Gazelle," "Printing for the Blind,' one of its branches sends its waters down the Yar. “Relics of the Grinnell Expedition, Spectro- kand river into Central Asia, and another feeds scopic Determination of Minerals,” “Gypsum, the Shyok, a tributary of the Indus: a series of and “ Printing Ink." Some of these deal with gravimetric observations designed to connect the publications, others with accessions to the collec- work of the survey of India along the southern tion or with special exhibitions. Newspaper flanks of the Himalaya with that of the Russians editors are at liberty to make what use they please in Turkestan : determinations of longitude by of these articles, condensing or embroidering at means of wireless time signals transmitted from their fancy. But the result, it is doubtless hoped, Lahore: a comprehensive study of the geology, is that readers of the newspapers will either send not confined to the main route traversed by the for the publications referred to or visit the exhibi- expedition, combined with a collection of anthropotion. The Press statements are distributed a few | logical

logical data: and lastly, astronomical and days before it is intended that they shall appear, meteorological observations, with complete photoand editors are requested to return a card of graphic and cinematographic records. acknowledgment that they have been so used. Leaving Skardu, where it had passed the winter, We shall probably learn the result of the experi- in February, 1914, the expedition, making its way ment in some future report of the Smithsonian over passes deep in snow, arrived in the beginning Institution, to which museum curators in this of June on the Depsang plateau, a desolate excountry will look forward with much interest. panse of minute detritus, at an altitude of Although some of our museums, both national and

17,400 ft. above the sea, “entirely devoid of vegeprovincial, already utilise the Press in this direct

tation except for occasional patches of a yellowishofficial manner, we are under the impression that green plant which at first view suggests, more their communications are neither so frequent nor than anything else, some malignant disease of the so freely distributed as those of the United States soil." On this plateau, constantly swept by an National Museum appear to be; neither are they icy wind, and deluged with storms of hail and written with quite the same obvious intention of sleet, the scientific work of the expedition was furnishing easy reading for the average citizen. carried on until late in August, when the journey

to the plains of Russian Turkestan was resumed

and successfully accomplished early in November. EXPLORATION IN THE KARAKORUM. The scientific results of this expedition will be DR R. FILIPPO DI FILIPPI’S paper to the awaited with eager interest. They cannot fail to

Royal Geographical Society on June 14 is throw light upon the geodetic aspects of the Himathe record of an expedition more thoroughly layan problem, which have recently been the subequipped, from a purely scientific point of view, ject of much discussion, and on meteorological than any that has yet attacked the many problems questions of great moment in India. It will be still awaiting solution in the dreary solitudes that interesting also to compare the geological results lie beyond the valley of the upper Indus. To one with the observations of Stoliczka, who traversed who knows by experience the labour involved in the same route more than forty years ago, and transferring himself for a few months only, with whose classification of the formations met with in no more elaborate outfit than a single tent, a the N.W. Himalaya remains practically ungeological hammer, and a camera, to the higher impaired to the present day. regions of the Himalaya, it seems almost in

T. H. D. L. credible that such items should be included in the ! impedimenta as a complete wireless installation; pilot balloons, with the hydrogen for their infla

NOTES. tion carried in sixteen steel cylinders; and other The Moxon gold medal of the Royal College scientific gear; to say nothing of tents for a party of Physicians has been awarded to Prof. J. J. Déjerine, numbering one hundred and fifty persons, and the of Paris, and the Baly gold medal to Dr. F. Gowland provisions, amounting to some forty-six tons, re

Hopkins. quisite for a sojourn of many months in that most inhospitable country. Yet the task was brought

We learn from Science that the Board of Estimate to a successful conclusion, in the face of every

and Apportionment of New York City has passed a obstacle that Nature in her most inclement mood

resolution authorising the issue of 20,00ol. corporate could oppose to it. We are left to imagine with

stock of the City of New York to provide means for how great an expenditure of patience and energy, permanent improvements at the Brooklyn Botanic for the modest narrative of the leader of the ex- Garden, including the completion of the laboratory pedition, Signor Filippo di Filippi, makes light of building and plant houses. This action was taken this aspect of the achievement.

following the generous offer of Mr. A. T. White, The programme was certainly ambitious. It chairman of the Botanic Garden Committee of the included a topographical survey of the Karakoram Brooklyn Institute trustees, to secure a like sum by east of the Siachen glacier, where the great Remo private subscription. The amount was subscribed by

« PrejšnjaNaprej »