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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/677

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

importance of the inventions it has given to the world, has not as yet done its share for the advancement of physical science, but in geology it occupies a foremost place. It was natural, therefore, that while American physicists were scarcely represented on the programme of the Physical Congress, they occupied a prominent place on the programme of geological papers. Among the three hundred members present, the representation from America included Messrs. Stevenson, Hague, Osborn, Ward, Willis, White, Cross, Scott, Todd, Kunz, Choquette, Adams, Mathew and Rice, and they presented a number of the more important papers. M. Karpinsky, the retiring president, gave the opening address, which was followed by an address of welcome by M. Gaudry, the president of the congress. A geological congress can offer special attractions in the way of excursions, and these were admirably arranged on the present occasion—both the shorter excursions to the classic horizons in the neighborhood of Paris and the more extended ones that followed the close of the meeting. The guide for the twenty long excursions and numerous shorter trips, prepared by the leading French geologists, was an elaborately illustrated volume representing the present condition of our knowledge of French geology. The ninth geological congress will be held at Vienna three years hence.

 

The International Congress of Mathematics met for the second time at Paris, though there had been a preliminary meeting on the occasion of the Chicago Exposition. There were about two hundred and twenty-five mathematicians in attendance, including seventeen from the United States. M. Poincaré presided, and the vice-presidents, some of whom were not present, were Messrs. Czuber, Gordon, Greenhill, Lindelöf, Lindemann, Mittag-Leffler, Moore, Tikhomandritzky, Volterra, Zeuthen and Geiser. The sections and their presiding officers were as follows: (1) Arithmetic and Algebra: Hilbert; (2) Analysis: Painlevé; (3) Geometry: Darboux; (4) Mechanics and Mathematical Physics: Larmor; (5) Bibliography and History: Prince Roland Bonaparte; (6) Teaching and Methods: Cantor. Valuable papers were presented by M. Cantor on works and methods concerned with the history of mathematics, by Professor Hilbert on the future problems of mathematics and by Professor Mittag-Leffler on an episode in the life of Weierstrass, but the programme appears to have been not very full nor particularly interesting. Time was found for a half-day's discussion of a universal language, but not to carry into effect the plans begun at Zurich three years ago for a mathematical bibliography. The next congress will meet four years hence in Germany, probably at Baden-Baden.

 

The untimely death of James Edward Keeler, director of the Lick Observatory, is a serious blow to astronomy and to science. Born at La Salle, 111., forty-three years ago, he was educated at the Johns Hopkins University and in Germany. When only twenty-one years old he observed the solar eclipse of 1878, and drew up an excellent report. Three years later he was a member of the expedition to Mt. Whitney under Professor Langley, whose assistant he had become at the Allegheny Observatory, and whose bolometric investigations owe much to him. He became astronomer at the Lick Observatory while it was in course of erection, and in 1891 he succeeded Professor Langley as director of the Allegheny Observatory. He was called to the directorship of the great Lick Observatory in 1898. Keeler's work in astrophysics, including his photographs of the spectra of the red stars and his spectroscopic proof of the meteoric constitution of Saturn's rings, demonstrated what he could accomplish at a small observatory unfavorably situated. At Mt. Hamilton he was able in the course of only two years to or-