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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/291

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

a society assume the character of popular lectures, but it might interfere with the proper work of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Professor Boas proposes that a national society be established in cooperation with the American Association, and the council of the association has appointed a committee to consider the plan. It contemplates all members of the Anthropological Society being members of the American Association, assuming for the special society the conduct of the special papers and discussions, and leaving to the general association such steps as may be desirable for the popularization of the science. This plan appears to be in the line of development. We need in each center societies composed of specialists in a given department. These societies should unite, on the one hand, to form a local academy and on the other to form a national scientific society. Then, in addition to these special students, it is important that all those who wish to ally themselves with science and to assist in its development should be permitted to become members both of the local academy and of the national association.

 

THE ROYAL SOCIETY'S CONVERSAZIONE.

It is an open question whether it is for the interests of science that there should be in a country a number of small centers or one chief capital where its intellectual life is gathered. The civilizations of Greece, Italy and Germany seem to have been advanced by their competing cities and principalities, whereas France and England seem to have profited by the great concentration in Paris and in London. The Paris Academy of Sciences and the London Royal Society occupy positions unrivaled by the societies of other countries; and there are certainly very great advantages in the intimate union of all the men of science of a country in a single society. These advantages are illustrated by the conversaziones annually held by the Royal Society at which are exhibited the scientific advances of the year. A similar exhibition and reception was for several years held by the New York Academy of Sciences, and it is to be hoped that this may be resumed. It can not be expected, however, that the scientific advances made in a single city of the United States will compare with those of London which represent in large measure those of the whole kingdom.

It appears from the descriptive catalogue that there were fifty-six exhibits at the conversazione of the Royal Society held on May 14. They all represent valuable scientific advances, but without any really noteworthy discovery, so that it is somewhat difficult to select any of the exhibits for special mention. The new fields opened up by the discoveries of the X-rays and of the inert gases of the atmosphere, have ever since furnished material for the exhibits. This year, for example, Mr. Davidson showed an X-ray stereoscope, Mr. Cossor a new tube and Mr. Pidgeon a new electrical influence machine for X-ray work, while Professor Ramsay exhibited a vacuum tube containing crypton, the color of which appears to some observers to be lilac and to others green. Other physical exhibits were a kymograph in which the writing pen is moved instead of the drum, an improved coal calorimeter and an electricity meter. Color photography was well represented, apparatus being shown and exhibits made, those of special interest being in photomicrography. The methods of manufacture of synthetic indigo, now threatening to supersede the use of the indigo plant, were exhibited. The Marine Biological Association presented an exhibit showing how the age of fishes is indicated by the growth of layers of scales somewhat similar to the eccentric lines on the section of the trunk of a tree. The School of Tropical Medicine exhibited a parasite from