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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/696

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set for matriculation—the primary and initial step of the whole university career; a gate to further knowledge, which should be prudently left as wide open as is consistent with a reasonably high standard. The paper consisted in all of sixteen questions, and is therefore too long for quotation in full. Of these, says the heading—

"Not more than eight questions are to he answered, of which at least two must be selected from Section A.


"1. State your reason for regarding a pound as a unit of mass and not of force. What is the most convenient unit of force when a foot, a pound, and a second are units of length, mass, and time, respectively?

"2. State the conditions necessary for the equilibrium of a body free to move in one plane. To what do these conditions reduce when one point in the body is fixed?

"3. A solid right circular cone of homogeneous iron is 64 inches in height, and its mass is 8,192 pounds. The cone is cut by a plane perpendicular to the axis, so that the mass of the small cone removed is 686 pounds. Find the height of the center of gravity of the truncated portion remaining, above the base of the cone.

"4. A heavy body starting from rest slides down a smooth plane inclined 30° to the horizon. How many seconds will it occupy in sliding 240 feet down the plane, and what will be its velocity after traversing this distance? [g 32.]

"5. What is the 'kinetic energy' of a moving mechanical system? A shot of 1,000 pounds moving at 1,600 feet per second strikes a fixed target. How far will the shot penetrate the target exerting upon it an average pressure equal to the weight of 12,000 tons?"


If it be borne in mind that judgment on the five momentous mathematical generalizations (for they are hardly within the pale of physics proper) was demanded of boys averaging sixteen or seventeen years of age, fresh from school, it will be evident that the race of schoolmen and of De Morgan's "Conundrum"-makers is not yet extinct, and that the current rumor of the award having been returned to the examiners for mitigation may have some foundation in truth.

It is interesting to note how this radical change in the scope and subjects of education has reacted on our older and on the more recently founded universities. Far in the van stands that of Cambridge. Here, from the traditional character of the instruction given, little modification was required to bring modern requirements into harmony with the older teaching. Ever since the appointment of the great author of the "Principia," the discoverer of the binomial theorem, and of the "Fluxionary Calculus" to a junior fellowship in Trinity Col-