Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/126

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in the chemical section, in place of M. Pelouzet. In 1878 he received the Faraday medal from the English Royal Society, and was elected a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.

Professor Wurtz presided at the meeting of the French Association for the Progress of Science which was held at Lille in 1874, and delivered the opening address, on the subject of the "Theory of Atoms in the General Conception of the Universe." In this address he revealed a catholicity of spirit, including all men of every nation and creed, and every branch of science, in a community of interest and privilege in the advancement of knowledge, and a poetic capacity of temperament, to which his dry chemical researches gave few opportunities of expression. After sketching Bacon's plan, or dream, for the universal exploration of the earth and the cosmic forces, he said: "Two centuries and a half ago the conception of Bacon was regarded as a noble Utopia; to-day it is a reality. That magnificent programme which he then drew out is ours, gentlemen; ours not in the narrow sense of the word, for I extend this programme to all who, in modern times and in all countries, give themselves to the search for truth, to all workers in science, humble or great, obscure or famous, who form in reality in all parts of the globe, and without distinction of nationality, that vast association which was the dream of Francis Bacon. Yes, science is now a neutral field, a commonwealth, placed in a. serene region, far above the political arena, inaccessible, I wish I could say, to the strifes of parties; in a word, this property is the patrimony of humanity." Having reviewed the recent progress in the sciences of chemistry, physics, and physical astronomy, and spoken of the kinetic theory, he added that these sciences "teach us that the worlds which people infinite space are made like our own system, and the great universe is all movement, co-ordinated movement. But, new and marvelous fact, this harmony of the celestial spheres of which Pythagoras spoke, and which a modern poet has celebrated in immortal verse, is met with in the world of the infinitely little. There, also, all is co-ordinated movement, and these atoms, whose accumulation forms matter, have never any repose; a grain of dust is full of innumerable multitudes of material unities, each of which is agitated by movements. All vibrates in the little world, and this universal restlessness of matter, this 'atomic music,' to continue the metaphor of the ancient philosopher, is like the harmony of worlds; and is it not true that the imagination is equally bewildered and the spirit equally troubled by the spectacle of the illimitable immensity of the universe, and by the consideration of the millions of atoms which people a drop of water?" The address concluded with the words: "Such is the order of nature; and, as Science penetrates it further, she brings to light both the simplicity of the means set at work and the infinite variety of the results. Thus, through the corner of the veil we have been permitted to raise, she enables us to see both the harmony and