Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/519

This page has been validated.

may safely assume, from the skill and enterprise of the publishers, that they will attain still greater perfection as the work proceeds. Its editorial management is in the very best hands. Mr. Meehan is the conductor of the principal garden magazine of the country; and his thorough familiarity with botany, and his long practical acquaintance with horticulture, qualify him in a peculiar manner for the management of such an enterprise as this. The work will, therefore, combine great beauty of execution in the colored illustrations with a careful, trustworthy, and judicious text. Accompanying each plate there is a brief technical description, and three or four pages of general information in regard to the plant in question, its genus, geographical distribution, and mode of growth. The work is not offered as a complete illustrated flora of North America, the extent and expense of which would put it beyond popular reach, and prolong its publication for many years. Its scope is therefore limited to a selection of the most beautiful and interesting native flowers and ferns of the United States, preference being given to those most worthy of cultivation and available for garden decoration. After speaking of the difficulty of preparing a thoroughly systematic scientific work on the American flora, the editor remarks:

"It must not be inferred from this, however, that the present work in absolutely without system. It will be seen that the selection made for these two volumes covers a wide range of country, and offers a number of representatives of leading genera, chosen with reference to their various habits and to different geographical centres. These volumes are therefore absolutely complete in themselves, and may be said to give a good general idea of the floral wealth of oar country. Those who are satisfied with the knowledge thus obtained may rest here. But it is hoped that the more enthusiastic lovers of flowers will welcome the succeeding volumes, which it is proposed to publish after the conclusion of this series. Each of the following series is also to consist of two volumes, and to form a complete whole by itself."

In the preparation of the work Mr. Meehan has had the important advantage of freely using the unrivaled facilities of the botanical garden at Cambridge, which he cordially acknowledges, as also the assistance kindly given him by various eminent botanists. The work is elegant, attractive, and meritorious, and we think it is certain to have a large patronage.

Experimental Science Series for Beginners. II. Sound: A Series of Simple, Entertaining, and Inexpensive Experiments in the Phenomena of Sound, for the Use of Students of Every Age. By Alfred Marshall Mayer, Professor of Physics in the Stevens Institute of Technology. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 181.

The second volume of this admirable series of books is now published, and its author is to be congratulated for more than fulfilling the promise of the opening volume. No less than one hundred and thirty experiments in sound are given, all of which are original in the simplified means by which the effects are produced. They, moreover, cover the whole ground of acoustics in so complete a manner that the pupil who goes through the volume, making all the experiments, will get an actual and living knowledge of the science, such as he can never acquire by reading any number of larger works. A list of apparatus to be used in the experiments on sound is given at the close of the volume, and can be purchased complete at the cost of $27.50. But, as Prof. Mayer remarks in the preface, "the student may find it cheaper to hunt up the materials, and then make his own apparatus; but so many have desired to have the sets ready for use, that I have complied with their request. Of course, it will be understood that the instrument-maker must be paid for the time taken in finding the objects in the market, and for the labor and skill spent in making the apparatus, and in packing it in convenient boxes."

Matter and Motion. By J. Clerk Maxwell, M. A., LL. D. New York: D. Van Nostrand. Pp. 224.

This monograph, by the eminent physicist and professor of Cambridge, is one of the best things that have yet appeared in Van Nostrand's "Science Series." Like everything from Clerk Maxwell, it is clear, and, although the general treatment of dynamics is mathematical, there are many valuable definitions and much information in the book that will be available for the general reader