Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/740

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of blotting paper saturated with sea-water and applied in the same way was not seized; when soaked in the juice of fish, it was seized with the same energy as the piece of fish, but was often given up ultimately without being swallowed; soaked with sugar, it was accepted more daintily; but if saturated with quinine it was refused, the tentacles drawing back. On the outer surface of the body, and on the part between the tentacles and the mouth, quinine had no effect; nor did several other drugs of similar properties. Meat placed within or near the mouth of a widely open animal was not noticed; it was seized only when the tentacles were touched.

Among some recently observed interesting results of application of cold, M. Raoul Pictet has found that at -150° all chemical reaction is suppressed. Thus, if sulphuric acid and potash are brought together at this temperature, they do not combine. Litmus paper, introduced, keeps its color. It is possible to restore energy to these substances by passing the electric current, and the current passes readily, whatever the substances; at -150° all bodies are good conductors. The disappearance of affinity at a low temperature can be utilized to get absolutely pure substances; and M. Pictet has thus obtained alcohol, chloroform, ether, and glycerin.

A law has been enacted in Ontario forbidding the spraying or sprinkling of fruit trees while they are in bloom with any mixture containing Paris green or other substances poisonous or injurious to bees. The object of the legislation is to protect the bees from harm, the honey from possible taint of poisoning, and to avoid possible obstacles to the complete fertilization of the fruit.

The Prussian Government has decided to introduce the use of the centigrade thermometer instead of that of Réaumur, which was still in use in some parts of the kingdom.

From a careful review of the characteristics as to inheritability of certain diseased conditions of the human system, Henry J. Tilden has drawn the conclusion that pathology, so far from offering any support to the hypothesis of the transmission of acquired characters, pronounces against it.

Among the congresses to be held at Chicago by the World's Congress Auxiliary of the Columbian Exposition will be an international conference on aërial navigation. Its objects will be to bring about the discussion of some of the scientific problems involved, to collate the results of the latest researches, to procure an interchange of ideas, and to promote concert of action among the students of this inchoate subject. The meetings will be held on the afternoons of August 1st, 2d, and 3d. The topics to be discussed will be arranged under the three headings of Scientific Principles, Aviation, and Ballooning.

 

OBITUARY NOTES.

The death is announced of John Obadiah Westwood, President of the British Entomological Society. He was born in 1805, at Sheffield, and was appointed a Professor of Zoology at Oxford in 1861. He received a royal medal from the Royal Society for his scientific work in 1855, and was elected a member of the Entomological Society in Paris, to succeed Humboldt, in 1860. He was author of an introduction to the Modern Classification of Insects, British Butterflies and their Transformations, and other works of a similar nature.

F. von Hellwald, a well-known Austrian writer on ethnography, died in Bavaria, November 1, 1892, in the fiftieth year of his age. He entered the army, but left it in 1864 to engage in scientific studies, then re-entered it and took part in the Austro-Prussian War. He was for several years editor of Das Ausland. Since 1882 he had devoted himself chiefly to the production of works relating to geography and the history of civilization.

James Plant, of Leicester, a distinguished English local geologist, died in November, 1892, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. He was chairman of the British Association's Committee on Erratic Blocks.

Prof. E. N. Horsford, of Harvard University, died in Cambridge, Mass., January 1st. After four years of service as teacher of mathematics and natural sciences in Albany Female Academy, he spent two years of study and research in the Liebig Laboratory at Giessen. Returning home, he became Rumford Professor of Science applied to the Arts. He afterward submitted plans which led to the foundation of the Lawrence Scientific School, where he spent nineteen years. He then whent into business in the manufacture of chemicals, and became President of the Rumford Chemical Works. He published a paper more than thirty years ago on stilling the waves with oil. He was interested in archæology; published a lexicon of five Indian languages; and tried to determine the location of the ancient settlement of Norumbega on Charles River, Mass.

Amedée Guillemin, one of the most successful and eminent French popularizers of science, died early in January, at his native village of Pierre, France. He was born in 1826, and began the publication of his celebrated works in physics and astronomy in 1864, with La Ciel (the sky). This was followed by similar works on comets, etc., The Physical World, the Petit encydopédie populaire, in sixteen volumes, the books on Steam and Railroads in the Library of Wonders, etc. He was a frequent contributor to La Nature.