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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/884

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

had won an established position. The twentieth volume, instead of 52 pages of short, mostly local notes, had 568 pages of structural, physiological, ecological, systematic, and paleontological matter. Now a further enlargement has been found necessary, under which the numbers will average 65 pages each, and the magazine becomes one of the publications of the University of Chicago, with a still further increased editorial force, to which it is contemplated to add one or more European botanists. The magazine, Prof. Bessy says, "has grown and developed as the science of botany has grown and developed in this country. When we look over the earlier volumes-with surprise at the little notes which fill the pages, we must not forget that American botany had not then generally risen above such contributions. It is true that we had a few masters in the science, but these masters wrote little for general readers, and their technically systematic contributions were mostly published in the proceedings of learned societies. The one thing which stands out to-day in sharp contrast with the botany of two decades ago is the very great increase in the number of masters in the science who are making liberal contributions from many different departments."

 

MINOR PARAGRAPHS.

Alfred Nobel, the inventor of the application of dynamite as an explosive, left a bequest for the institution of five equal prizes, to be awarded yearly to the persons who shall have made the most important discoveries or inventions in the domains respectively of physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine; who shall have produced the most important work, in the ideal sense, in the domain of letters; and to the person who shall have exerted the greatest or the best action for the fraternity of peoples, for the suppression or diminution of permanent armies, and for the formation or spreading of peace congresses. The literary prize is to be awarded by the Swedish Academy, and the prize for the promotion of peace by a committee of the Norwegian Storthing. It is the testator's expressed wish that no consideration of nationality may enter into any of the awards. The prizes are supposed to be worth sixty thousand dollars each.

A new flying machine, similar in principle to that of Lilienthal, has been devised by Herr Arthur Stenzel, of Altona, Germany. It has parabolic wings in imitation of birds' wings, is driven by the power of compressed carbonic acid, and has been made to "go" when attached for safety to a guiding cable. With a force of one horse power it has advanced three metres at each beating of the wings, of which there are one and three tenths per second. With a horse power and a half the machine may be made to fly free from the cable. The wings are remarkably elastic, and the inventor thinks that this is one of the factors of his success. They are made of unsoldered steel tubes and bamboo, and are covered with a specially prepared India-rubber cloth. The apparatus is directed by a rudder which is not unlike a bird's tail. As yet no passengers have been carried on the machine.

A sum of ten thousand francs was bequeathed a few years ago by M. Edouard Mailly, of the Royal Academy of Belgium, as the foundation of a prize to be awarded to a Belgian who has contributed most to the progress of astronomy or to the spread of the taste for it and knowledge of it. The prize "Mailly" has been fixed at one thousand francs, to be awarded every four years. The Belgian Academy in December, 1896, made the first award of the prize, and bestowed it, most worthily, on the editorial committee of our contemporary, Ciel et Tierre.

The oldest known measurement of the height of clouds is asserted by M. Schreiber, of the Belgian Astronomical Society, to be the work of the two Jesuits Riccioli and Grimaldi, near Bologna, in 1644. They used the trigonometrical method, with two stations, which is still preferred, and which Kamtz, in his treatise on meteorology, calls Riccioli's method. They found 3,222 metres as the altitude of a bright white cloud; Riccioli relates that another Jesuit, of Metz, who measured a large number of clouds, told him that none of them was more than 7,400 metres above the earth. He speaks of another