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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/554

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ceived how, if this train of reasoning be sound, the inorganic is directly linked to the organic world, just as the imperceptible forms of matter were shown to be linked to its perceptible forms, and the elementary states to the composite states, in one continuous and unbroken chain. It remains to point out to what extent the hypothesis here advanced, of the probable genesis of the chemical elements, is found to be in harmony with the recent discoveries which Mr. J. Norman Lockyer has made by means of the spectroscope in the domain of chemistry. In endeavoring to do this in the briefest manner possible, let us reproduce the following diagram drawn up by him:

Hottest stars,
Sun,
Cooler Stars,
Coolest,




 


Lines of

Fluted bands of




H+Ca+Mg
H+Ca+Mg+Na+Fe
  Mg+Na+Fe+Bi+Hg
     —, etc.



Modified in the arrangement only to suit the present discussion, the first part of this diagram may be presented as follows:

Cooler stars.
Sun.
Hottest stars.
1   24   40   23   56   200   208
H + Mg + Ca + Na + Fe + Hg + Bi
1   12   20   23   28   100   208

The figures placed over the symbols are the respective atomic weights of the elements according to the new system, those placed beneath being the same according to the old system. Transposing calcium and magnesium merely for the sake of symmetry, their position being indifferent, since both appear in the hottest stars, we find that with a single exception, that of sodium, if we take the new system, and without exception, if we take the old system, the atomic weights increase as the temperature of the body diminishes. To what extent this result may be accidental it is of course impossible to say, but, so far as it may have any scientific significance, it constitutes an interesting confirmation of the theory that the heavier elements with large molecules have been developed out of the lighter ones with small molecules during the progress of the condensation and refrigeration of the heavenly bodies, and according to which, as above pointed out, those possessing the largest equivalents would be last formed and gradually pass into the known compounds by a corresponding gradual decrease of stability, these latter to be succeeded in turn by the evolution of organic aggregates which ushered in the era of life.

Generalizing from all that has been said, we may divide the known