Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/738

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the special case as compared with a smaller one, ten inches—are summarized by Prof. George E. Hale as consisting of, first, its power of giving much brighter star images and thus of rendering visible faint stars that can not be seen with the smaller telescope; second, in the fact that it gives at its focus an image of the object enlarged in proportion to its greater diameter; and third, in its capacity of rendering visible as separate objects the components of very close double stars or minute markings upon the surface of a planet or satellite. The large glass has its disadvantages too, among the chief of which is that it requires better atmospheric conditions to bring out its best qualities. The discoveries of the fifth satellite of Jupiter and the two satellites of Mars were made with large telescopes, and could hardly have been made with smaller ones. Much fine detail on the moon which the author has never been able to see with the twelve-inch telescope is "clearly and beautifully visible" with the forty-inch. Micrometrical measures are effected with much more ease and certainty with the large telescope. "It is particularly in astrophysical research that a great telescope is advantageous. It is necessary in spectroscopic observation to have as much light as can be gathered into a single point, and for this a large glass is essential. It follows from these facts that great telescopes really have a mission to perform. While, on the one hand, they are not endowed with the almost miraculous gifts which imaginative persons would place to their credit, they do possess properties which render them much superior to smaller instruments and well worth all the expenditure which their construction has involved. In answering the question, 'Do large telescopes pay?' it is simply a matter of determining whether the work which can not be done without the aid of large telescopes is really worth doing."


New Features In School.—The report of the Superintendent of Schools of Springfield, Mass., tells of a new departure in the reading classes by substituting literary reading for the school readers of the old sort. "Ten years ago all the fourth and fifth readers were taken out of the schools, and literature and reading matter bearing directly on geography and history were introduced in their place. Since then all the third readers and nearly all the second and first readers have been displaced by reading matter which is intrinsically interesting to children. In point of quality, pupils in going through the grammar schools now read more good literature than pupils in any of the courses in the high school read a few years ago. Much of this literature is read in connection with the study of history." The superintendent expresses his belief that the time has come when no new schoolhouses shall be erected in the city without some provision for personal cleanliness in the way of facilities for bathing. This he regards as necessary for the health of the school, on account of the number of pupils who come from tenement houses and unsanitary quarters with skins in such a condition as to contaminate the air of the schoolroom. A school bath was first established in Göttingen, Germany, in 1883; and the example of that place has now been followed in about forty German, Swiss, and Scandinavian cities, where warm shower baths have been introduced into the common schools. At Charlottenburg, Prussia, the entire equipment of a bath accommodating fifty or sixty children an hour cost only three hundred and fifty-seven dollars. The study of music has been made elective in the Springfield school; and a department has been established in the high school, with the aim not of teaching the children to play or sing, but to appreciate the best classical music. The system of savings, auxiliary to the savings banks, established in the schools, works well, and the savings have materially increased. The teachers are supplied with stamps, which are sold to the children, and entries to their credit are made for the amounts. When the sum reaches a dollar, the child is urged to deposit it in one of the city savings banks, or he can draw it out for the purchase of necessaries.


Working of the Elective System in Colleges.—The results of the discussions concerning the elective system of study courses, as presented by Prof. A. P. Bingham in the Educational Review, have been its adoption into the common thought and the quiet extension of its range into our higher schools. "That can hardly be called a reputable college which has not admitted it in some meas-