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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/884

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

from a Basque word pikatu, to cut. Place names in the British Isles involving all forms of the root Pakat have been classified under counties and their densities calculated. The Goidels, who followed the Picts, spread along the valleys of the Thames and Severn to the Mersey, where a part probably crossed to Meath and spread in two streams to the west coast of Ireland; the other part moved northward, and advanced into Scotland almost to the Forth. A second incursion entered Scotland by Argyll and spread along the west counties to the extreme north. The pre-Pictish inhabitants were probably Iberians, and prevailed mostly in Ireland, South Wales, Cumberland, and South Scotland.

Experiments made by different observers at different times and places, culminating with those of M. Kœchlin on the Eiffel Tower, indicate that the formulas used by meteorologists for the conversion of wind velocity into pressure give results about one third too high.

The Pilot Chart of the North Atlantic Ocean, published by the Hydrographic Bureau of our Navy Department, shows that from the 9th to the 23d of November there were only two days of good weather. The system adopted by this bureau for collecting and discussing observations made at sea enables it to present the chart of the results very quickly.

It has been found, after careful investigation, by Profs. A. Bartoli and E. Stracciati, of the absorption of solar radiation by fog and by cirrus clouds, that a veil of cirrus is able to intercept as much as thirty per cent of the sun's rays; while a slight fog, equally diffused in all directions, intercepted from fifty-eight to ninety-two per cent of the solar rays that would have been transmitted with a clear sky.

Prof. G. S. Brady, after an examination of British fish-cultural establishments, has recommended the foundation of a hatchery on the Northumberland coast to aid in keeping up and improving the supply of sea fish, and of a biological laboratory attached to it for the scientific study of the marine fauna of the neighborhood.

In a recent lecture before the English College of Preceptors on Science Teaching, Mr. H. G. Welles pointed out that a rational course of science should grow naturally out of the kindergarten. This should lead to object lessons proper, and demonstrations in physics and chemistry may be made to grow insensibly, without any formal beginning, out of such lessons. The best—about the only permanently valuable—preparation for a scientific calling that can be given to a boy in a secondary school is the broad basis of physics and chemistry led up to in this way.

 


OBITUARY NOTES.

The Marquis Louis Charles Joseph Gaston de la Saporta, the eminent fossil botanist, and author of many brilliant books on his specialty, died suddenly at Aix, France, in the last week in January. He was born at Saint Zacherie in 1825; was nominated correspondent of the Institute of France in 1876. In his special field he was one of the most industrious students and eminent authorities of the day. Between his first book, on the flora of the Quaternary period, in 1876, and his Paleontological Origin of Cultivated Trees, in 1888, he published at least twenty volumes containing important facts and new discoveries. His last work was on the fossil flora of Portugal. "No one," says M. Albert Gaudry, himself an eminent paleontologist, "has cast so clear light on the history of the formation and successive developments of the vegetable world." The Monthly has been often enriched with translations of his brilliant and suggestive essays.

Prof. Arthur Cayley, the greatest English mathematician, and one of the most eminent mathematicians of any country or time, died in Cambridge, England, January 26th. He was born in Richmond, England, in 1821, and showed a great aptitude and liking at an early age for arithmetical calculations—although it was said of him in later years that he could not count the change for a shilling. He was educated at Cambridge, where he excelled all in mathematics, coming out as senior wrangler and first prize man in 1842; practiced at the bar for several years, without losing his taste or ceasing his devotion to mathematics; and was appointed to the newly instituted Sadlerian Professorship of Mathematics at Cambridge, in 1863, after he had already contributed about three hundred papers to the Royal Society. As a mathematician he is perhaps most famous as the discoverer of the Theory of Invariants, which, according to Prof. Salmon, has given a new aspect to several departments of the science. The Royal Society's list contains the titles of seven hundred and twenty-four papers and memoirs by Cayley, down to 1883, while the number now would probably be about eight hundred. Prof. Cayley was active and efficient in many other spheres than that of mathematics. He was an early member of the Alpine Club. He was familiar with many European languges. He delivered a course of lectures at Johns Hopkins University in the winter of 1882-'83. He was President of the British Association at Southport in 1883. He received the Royal and the Copley medals of the Royal Society, was an officer of the French Legion of Honor, and was an honorary member of many learned societies at home and abroad. His mathematical papers are in course of publication in a series of ten quarto volumes, of which seven have appeared.