Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/65

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SCIENCE IN RELATION TO THE ARTS.

tee. charged with the final determination of the Ohm, one of its most distinguished members, Lord Rayleigh, has, with his collaborateure, Mrs. Sidgwick, continued his important investigation in this direction at the Cavendish Laboratory, and has lately placed before the Royal Society a result which will probably not be surpassed in accuracy. His redetermination brings him into close accord with Dr. Werner Siemens, their two values of the mercury unit being 0·95418 and 0·9536 of the B. A. unit respectively, or 1 mercury unit 0·9413 109 C. G. S. units.

Shortly after the publication of Lord Rayleigh's recent results, Messrs. Glazebrook, Dodds, and Sargant, of Cambridge, communicated to the Royal Society two determinations of the Ohm, by different methods; and it is satisfactory to find that their final values differ only in the fourth decimal, the figures being, according to

Lord Rayleigh 1 Ohm 0·98651 Earth QuadrantSecond
Messrs. Glazebrook, etc. 0·986439 "

Professor E. Wiedemann, of Leipsic, has lately called attention to the importance of having the Ohm determined in the most accurate manner possible, and enumerates four distinct methods, all of which should unquestionably be tried with a view of obtaining concordant results, because upon its accuracy will depend the whole future system of measurement of energy of whatever form.

 

The word "energy" was first used by Young in a scientific sense, and represents a conception of recent date, being the outcome of the labors of Carnot, Mayer, Joule, Grove, Clausius, Clerk-Maxwell, Thomson, Stokes, Helmholtz, Macquorn-Rankine, and other laborers, who have accomplished for the science regarding the forces in nature what we owe to Lavoisier, Dalton, Berzelius, Liebig, and others, as regards chemistry. In this short word "energy" we find all the efforts in nature, including electricity, heat, light, chemical action, and dynamics, equally represented, forming, to use Dr. Tyndall's apt expression, so many "modes of motion." It will readily be conceived that, when we have established a fixed numerical relation between these different modes of motion, we know beforehand what is the utmost result we can possibly attain in converting one form of energy into another, and to what extent our apparatus for effecting the conversion falls short of realizing it. The difference between ultimate theoretical effect and that actually obtained is commonly called loss, but, considering that energy is indestructible, represents really secondary effect which we obtain without desiring it. Thus friction in the working parts of a machine represents a loss of mechanical effect, but is a gain of heat, and in like manner the loss sustained in transferring electrical energy from one point to another is accounted for by heat generated