Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/430

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

eminent experimental physiologists of English-speaking countries. The two volumes contain more than thirty articles, with full details and graphical records of experiments continued in series and their results, relating to the nerves and nervous action, the heart, circulation, muscular work, digestion, the kidneys, animal temperatures, the secretions, mechanical action of the organs, chemical changes in the body and in its secretions, etc., and the chemical effects of various agents, action of drugs, salts, and other substances on various organs and their work, the senses and sensation, and other bodily functions and processes. The journal is a work of immense value to students and all interested in investigations in this field of research, and in the application of their results to the promotion of the health and vigor of the body and the lengthening of life.

The Alchemical Essence and the Chemical Element: An Episode in the Quest of the Unchanging. By M. M. Pattison Muir. London and New York; Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 94. Price, $1.60.

The essence in old-time alchemistry, when contrasted with the element of the modern cult, can scarcely fail to excite an interest bordering on romance while retaining bounds strictly scientific in their nature.

The terse and entirely explicit volume before us presents the acceptable feature of uniting more closely some turning points between our acquaintance with modern chemistry and the visionary ground occupied by our forefathers, who long sought the unity of Nature in the—as yet—unfound philosopher's stone. When Thomas Vaughan, under the nom de plume of Eugenius Philalethes, wrote in the seventeenth century that Nature did not move "by the theorie of men, but by their practice," he pointedly foreshadowed and it mayhap unconsciously prophesied the achievements of modern chemical science. In this, as in numerous other phenomena, an inexorable though unseen law seems to wait upon all sincere effort to unbosom the secrets of Nature. When the anxious alchemist of a bygone age immersed his bar of iron in a solution of bluestone and, obtaining a deposit of copper upon the iron surface, announced that he had transformed the latter into the former metal, he mistook a seeming for an absolute truth; or, when in boiling water he discovered a residue of earth, and declared that he had changed water into mud, he simply lacked the instrumental—means the balance—to verify a whole instead of pronouncing a half truth. By such an experimenter, strange occurrences were not patiently dealt with, and a discovery was labeled prior to its meaning being known. A lack of delicate philosophical instruments retarded the advances of the alchemist at every step, and that he made any progress at all was mainly due to his incessant day and midnight vigils. While the author of this entertaining volume records with care material facts governing ancient as well as modern chemistry, he admits the indefiniteness of the conception of unity in material phenomena, and intimates that, to at all come within reach of a definition of Nature's underlying essence, would be to know every detail of natural science, and indite a history of Nature itself. His essay is penned "in the hope" that such as exert their "wit and reason" regarding life's problems may help to solve Nature's questions and "those of her students who follow the quest of the unchanging."

Pain: Its Neuro-pathological, Diagnostic, Medico-legal, and Neuro-therapeutic Relations. Illustrated. By J. Leonard Corning, A. M., M. D. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. Pp. 328. Price, $1.75.

To advance in some degree "the cause" of medical science is the sincere desire of the author in placing in the hands of students and physicians the above work, which to all intents and purposes bears upon its face the insignia of much thought and labor. In no special branch of medical treatment is the practicing physician more frequently called upon to exercise his wits than where pain is concerned, and for its alleviation the accurate diagnosis needed.

The book is divided into two parts; the first embracing pain in its physiological, pathological, and clinical relations. These are again subdivided into a definition, conduction, and physiology of pain. In treating of the pathology of pain no effort is spared to render lucid neuritis, or inflammation of the nerves, multiple neuritis,