Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/106

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year presents a feature of entire novelty and extreme interest, inasmuch as the sister association of the United States of America—still mourning the loss of her illustrious president, Professor Cope—and some other learned societies have made special arrangements to allow of their members coming here to join us. I need hardly say how welcome their presence is, or how gladly we look forward to their taking part in our discussions and aiding us by interchange of thought. To such a meeting the term "international" seems almost misapplied. It may rather be described as a family gathering, in which our relatives more or less distant in blood, but still intimately connected with us by language, literature, and habits of thought, have spontaneously arranged to take part. The domain of science is no doubt one in which the various nations of the civilized world meet upon equal terms, and for which no other passport is required than some evidence of having striven toward the advancement of natural knowledge. Here, on the frontier between the two great English-speaking nations of the world, who is there that does not inwardly feel that anything which conduces to an intimacy between the representatives of two countries, both of them actively engaged in the pursuit of science, may also, through such an intimacy, react on the affairs of daily life and aid in preserving those cordial relations that have now for so many years existed between the great American Republic and the British Islands, with which her early foundations are indissolubly connected? The present year has witnessed an interchange of courtesies which has excited the warmest feelings of approbation on both sides of the Atlantic—I mean the return to its proper custodians of one of the most interesting of the relics of the Pilgrim Fathers, the log of the Mayflower. May this return, trifling in itself, be of happy augury as testifying to the feelings of mutual regard and esteem which animate the hearts both of the donors and of the recipients!

At our meeting in Montreal the president was an investigator who had already attained to a foremost place in the domains of physics and mathematics, Lord Rayleigh. In his address he dealt mainly with topics such as light, heat, sound, and electricity, on which he is one of our principal authorities. His name and that of his fellow-worker, Professor Ramsay, are now and will in all future ages be associated with the discovery of the new element, argon. Of the ingenious methods by which that discovery was made, and the existence of argon established, this is not the place to speak. One can only hope that the element will not always continue to justify its name by its inertness. The claims of such a leader in physical science as Lord Rayleigh to occupy the presidential chair are self-evident, but possibly those of his successor on this side of the Atlantic