Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/389

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

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Trelease, Birge, Forbes and Cattell were the speakers, considered the interrelations of our scientific societies. There was a consensus of opinion that we should develop local centers for scientific meetings, but must have also national societies, and that these should be united in a great association representing the whole country and all the societies. The practical outcome was the decision of all the societies to meet next winter in Washington.

With the American Society of Naturalists met at Chicago the national scientific societies devoted to morphology, physiology, anatomy, bacteriology, psychology and anthropology. The American Chemical Society met at the same time at Philadelphia with an attendance of over two hundred and a full program. The Society now contains over 2,000 members, and is perhaps the strongest and best organized of our special scientific societies. It conducts an excellent journal, has numerous local branches which hold frequent meetings, and is affiliated with the American Association. At the recent meeting Professor F. W. Clarke gave the presidential address, dealing with the outlook for chemistry in the future viewed in the light of the past, and Professor C. F. Chandler lectured on the electrochemical industries of Niagara Falls. The Geological Society of America also met during convocation week, the place being Rochester, N. Y., and the time December 21 to January 2. The president, Dr. Charles D. Walcott, gave an address on 'The Outlook of the Geologist in America,' and the program contained the titles of some thirty papers. The Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America met at Washington, while the American Mathematical and Physical Societies and the Society for Plant Morphology and Physiology of the Eastern States met in New York. All these societies will meet next winter with the American Association for the Advancement of Science at Washington during convocation week, where there will be a congress of American scientific men surpassing in size and importance all its predecessors.

WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY.

As all our readers know from the daily papers, Mr. Marconi has succeeded in transmitting wireless signals across the Atlantic from Cornwall, England, to St. John's, Newfoundland. The electrical waves were received at St. John's by a long wire suspended by a kite and by means of a telephone, presumably through the mediation of a coherer. A detailed description of Mr. Marconi's latest apparatus has not been published. However, some results obtained by him several months ago show that his apparatus has been improved in its selective action, and this latest achievement shows that little remains to be done in the way of increase of power. Nevertheless there seem to be decided limitations to the utilization of wireless telegraphy; it is at present much slower than the standard Morse apparatus using a wire, the receiving operator cannot interrupt the sender but must wait patiently until the message is finished, there is no assurance of secrecy, and but one system can be operated at a time within the limits of its range.

A map of the world showing all cable connections is a very complicated affair, and the supplanting of these cables by wireless apparatus is out of the question, at least until the Marconi system is evolved into something very different from what it now is. The facts may be made clear by an acoustical analogy. The ordinary confusions of sounds in a stock exchange is bad enough, but if the manifold and characteristic shadings of voice were reduced to a monotony of mere clicks and if the resolving or selective power of the listener's ear were at the same time reduced many thousands of times the confusion would become hopeless indeed. The loudness of each speaker