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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/561

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551
SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE.

State Normal School, at Brockport, N. Y., contains much of value, presented in a very readable and attractive manner. The subjects treated are arithmetic, algebra and geometry. About half the book is devoted to the first. The author sketches the history of the teaching of arithmetic from the earliest times, gives a critical examination of the different systems which have been tried and aims to discover the correct general principles upon which the instruction should proceed. He notices the tendency of many of our schools to follow too closely the Grube method, or a modification of it. The chapter on the present teaching of arithmetic is full of valuable suggestions. Algebra and geometry are treated in the same way. Much useless lumber is cleared away, and the whole discussion is marked by strong common-sense, an element not always present in discussions of this kind. The extreme differentiation in the teaching of these three branches which prevails in so many schools is condemned. It is urged that the blending of algebraic method and notation with the higher parts of arithmetic, and the early introduction of the inductive study of geometric form, both contribute to the substantial progress and development of the student. Valuable references are given to other writings for fuller discussions on special topics. These references cover works in English. French, German and Italian.

 

GEOLOGY.

Professor Suess's great work, 'Das Antlitz der Erde,' has been translated into French with emendations and annotations, and thus becomes accessible to an enlarged number of readers. No strictly geological publication since the time of the first appearance of Sir Charles Lyell's 'Principles of Geology' has brought together so many data concerning the nature of the altitude of the continents in relation to sea level. Geologists have generally assumed that it is the land which rises or sinks when a change of level takes place in relation to the sea. Professor Suess attacks this view and endeavors to show that the ocean has and has had its great movements, now keeping up its waters in the equatorial district, now accumulating about the poles and transgressing the low lands of its borders. An exhaustive review of the geological structure of the known parts of the earth, particularly complete with regard to the borders of the oceans and the the Mediterranean, is presented as a basis for discussing the evidence of such changes as the sinking in modern geological times of lands or islands in what is now the North Atlantic. By the sinking of the ocean floor, it is held that the sea level is lowered around the earth, thus giving rise to emerged lands. Parts of these plateaus have in turn sunk, and so the earth has experienced varied and often sudden changes of the relations of land and sea. The work is entertainingly written, despite the laborious compilation of geological details, which is made evident in its numerous chapters. The geological explanation of the Noachian Deluge is perhaps one of the most interesting sections of the work. Aside from the theory which the work sets forth, it affords the best general survey of the earth's surface which is at present available in any language. It has been supplied with numerous recent references by M. de Margerie and his able assistants in the work of translation.

 

A YEARBOOK OF BIOLOGY.

L'Année Biologique for 1897.—Every year the number of biological workers increases, the number of repositories of researches is multiplied and the difficulties of keeping informed of the results obtained in even a restricted department of science are enhanced. Hence, new bibliographical works are ever welcome, especially if they give not only titles but abstracts. L'Année Biologique does not only this, but more, for its abstracts are likewise critical reviews indicating the true place in the