Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/701

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Upon that supposition the facts become intelligible; without it the evidence is not easily co-ordinated. This hint, together with the suggestions offered by the periodic law, has made chemists more ready to consider the probable unity of matter, even though actual proof for or against the conception has not yet been attained. That the chemical elements are absolute and final few thinkers of to-day believe; the drift of opinion is mainly in one direction, but no element has yet been decomposed or transmuted into another. Some mathematical relations have been found connecting the atomic weights of certain elements with the wave lengths of their spectral lines, and this field of investigation is a promising one for the future. That the atomic weights are connected hardly admits of doubt; to the mass of the atom its rate of vibration must be related; to that vibration the lines in the spectrum are due. The clews are obvious, and it will be strange if they do not lead to important discoveries ere long.

[To be concluded.]


TASTE is so free and so subjective, so largely a matter of personal feeling, that any selection or limitation of attractive objects would be met by plausible objection. Every honest and unprejudiced investigator must, however, admit nowadays that his individual taste may be informed and purified, and that he is under obligations to be ever ready to explain and to justify it. The day for the mere proclaiming of preference has passed. The proclamation must be accompanied by explanations which will satisfy others, if they do not convince them, and which will be clear to one's own understanding. The authoritative explanation, "I like this, I dislike that," will no more pass current nor carry weight. Science has sufficiently studied the sentiments and emotions to know that they, too, are subject to laws which must be acknowledged and obeyed. Excitations for which there is no reasonable accounting, no justifiable source, must be relegated to the domain of folly. The reason for everything that appertains to thought and emotion, if not apparent, must be exposed and presented. Artists must explain their works to vulgar understanding. Writers must make their criticisms plain to the humble intellect. The age in which we live takes nothing for granted, accepts no man's ipse dixit, hates shams, is intolerant of secrecy, hypocrisy, and fraud.