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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/130

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

measurement of the wave lengths of the spectrum lines of all the elements.

These measurements are carried on mostly by assistants, and are paid for by appropriations made from the Rumford fund, the Bruce fund, or the Bache fund. But, at times, money for this work is very scarce. Nothing can come from Johns Hopkins University, as it has lost so much of its endowment that its work is greatly hampered. Thus, Prof. Rowland, in the prime of his life, and at the age of greatest mental activity, finds himself compelled to relinquish carrying out many of his best ideas. He has determined, if possible, to remedy the defect himself. Whether he will be able to do so remains to be seen, but he has never failed to accomplish his purposes, and those who know him best have found that discouragements only spur him to greater effort.

In this connection, however, he remembers one of the most disagreeable incidents of his life. Recently he worked six months for the Cataract Construction Company, of New York, in developing the plans for the transmission of the power of Niagara, in which he overthrew the plans of their engineers and substituted rational ones. He consulted two friends as to the bill he should render for his services. He accepted their advice, as they were admitted to be the most competent judges in such matters. The company sent him a check for one third of the amount, accompanied by an insulting letter! Although abhorring petty disputes about money, his sense of justice was so shocked at this treatment that he immediately brought suit against them, rejecting all offers of compromise. In spite of the fact that the company was backed by half the money power of New York and its best lawyer, a jury of twelve intelligent and impartial gentlemen unanimously pronounced his bill correct and just.

During the course of Prof. Rowland's life he has received many honors, mostly from abroad, where he is probably best known and most thoroughly appreciated. In 1881 he became a chevalier of the Legion of Honor of Paris, and in 1896, at the centennial of the Institute of France, of which he is a corresponding member, he was nominated officer of the Legion of Honor. At the exposition at Paris, in 1890, his gratings and map of the spectrum received a grand prize and gold medal. About 1881 he received the grand prize of the Venice Academy of Sciences for an essay on the Mechanical Equivalent of Heat. In 1884 Prof. Rowland received the Rumford medal from the American Academy of Sciences in Boston for his researches in light and heat. In 1890 the Draper medal was awarded him for his researches in spectroscopy.

He is an associate fellow of the American Academy of Sciences of Boston, and member of the National Academy of Sci-