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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/190

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

LORD KELVIN IN AMERICA.

The ways of a democracy must appear past finding out to those who observe us from a distance. When Prince Henry visited the United States the newspapers devoted half their space to the event; yet it might be supposed that Emperor William, the energetic, would come to America, if he wished to extend to us the social etiquette of foreign nations, and that we should regard with slight interest a lesser royal guest. When the greatest living Anglo-Saxon man of science visits us, the event passes unnoticed by the general public; yet Lord Kelvin's contributions to the applications of electricity, and especially his connection with the trans-Atlantic cable, might be expected to attract general attention.

Lord Kelvin has, of course, been cordially welcomed by his scientific colleagues. He accepted an invitation extended by wireless telegraphy to attend the installation of President Butler at Columbia University, and on April 21 he was entertained at the University by the national societies concerned with the physical sciences Professor F. B. Crocker presided, and addresses of welcome were made by President Butler; by Professor Elihu Thomson, representing the American Institution of Electrical Engineers; by Professor A. G. Webster, representing the American Physical Society, and by Professor R. S. Woodward, representing the American Association for the Advancement of Science and other scientific societies. Lord Kelvin in his reply referred to his previous visits to America. He first landed on this continent in 1866 in Newfoundland when the work of Mr. Field in connection with the trans-Atlantic cable was of special importance; ten years later he came to the Centennial Exposition, where he saw the telephone invented by Mr. Bell; in 1884 he found the electric light of Mr. Edison; in 1897 he saw the electrical industries of Niagara Falls. Lord and Lady Kelvin were very cordially greeted and applauded by the 2,500 people present. In addition to the reception at Columbia University, Lord Kelvin was entertained at Cornell University, at the University of Rochester—the main object of his visit was to attend a meeting of the Kodak Company at Rochester—and at Yale University, where the degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred on him. In conferring this degree, President Hadley said: "You have joined the different regions of the earth by your investigations of the submarine telegraph; you have joined the different realms of human thought by your contributions to physical theory."[1]

 

THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES.

The spring meeting of the National Academy of Sciences did not differ in any unusual respect from other annual stated meetings. The Academy has three main objects—it is the official adviser of the government in scientific matters; it holds scientific sessions for the presentation of papers, and it has certain functions in recognizing scientific eminence and in bringing scientific men together. The first of these objects has become relatively unimpor-


  1. The portrait of Lord Kelvin given as a frontispiece is from an etching made for Minerva by Professor Hubert Herkomer.