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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/411

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JULIUS ROBERT MAYER.

nutritious products of culinary art, with the further merit that it can be more rapidly prepared than any other dish, must really at present he regarded as an exotic. Competent instruction at first and a little practice are required, in order to attain a mastery in producing an omelet; but, these given, there is no difficulty in turning out a first-rate specimen. The ability to do this may be so useful in the varied circumstances of travel, etc., that no young man destined for foreign service, or even who lives in chambers, should fail to attain the easily acquired art.—Nineteenth Century.

 

JULIUS ROBERT MAYER.

THE name of the remarkable man whose likeness we give in this number of the "Monthly" is now intimately and imperishably associated with the establishment of the most important scientific truth that has been developed during the last hundred years—the "Conservation of Energy." It is a truth belonging exclusively to no one man, and to no one nation, but to an epoch of scientific advancement that was made by the labors of many distinguished investigators working independently of each other in different countries. In such circumstances it is easy to fall into error in estimating the merits of alleged discoverers. In the first place, there may be very great differences in the positions of men as respects favorable opportunities of making their work known. There is besides less familiarity with what is going on in foreign countries than near by; and there is, moreover, the warping influence of national prejudice by which the claims of men are liable to be exaggerated at home and depreciated abroad. There is undoubtedly less of this bias in science than in any other sphere of intellectual exertion, but this sphere is by no means free from it. It was the fortune of Mayer to suffer from all these causes, and to such a degree that his character as an original discoverer has been denied on very high authority. The ground was strenuously maintained that he had no right whatever to a place among the founders of the great modern doctrine of the "Correlation of Forces." This denial led to investigation and sharp controversy, the result of which was not only to vindicate his claims to be ranked among the discoverers of the new principle, but it was shown that he was probably ahead of all others in grasping and developing it. Now that he has passed away, it is proper to review the subject, which may prove instructive as a chapter of scientific history, as well as interesting in its personal bearing. As we find the investigation thoroughly worked out and most admirably presented in the searching controversy which has now become memorable in the annals of discovery, we shall quote