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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

tion and willingness that the plan should be carried into effect.

The great discovery of the antiseptic method in surgery was first announced in 1867. In an address before the meeting of the British Medical Association held in Dublin in that year, Lister said: "When it had been shown by the researches of Pasteur that the septic property of the atmosphere depended, not on the oxygen or any gaseous constituent, but on minute organisms suspended in.it. which owed their energy to their vitality, it occurred to me that decomposition in the injured part might be avoided without excluding the air, by applying as a dressing some material capable of destroying the life of the floating particles."

Lister used carbolic acid as an antiseptic, and although the methods were at first imperfect, the results were remarkable. The wards of which he had charge in the Glasgow Infirmary were especially infected with gangrene, but in a short time became the healthiest in the world; while other wards, separated by a passageway, retained their infection. Like all great discoveries, Lister's antiseptic methods have been extended and improved, being now rather aseptic than antiseptic, the precautions being largely directed toward preventing infection by sterilization. It must be remembered that in addition to the work for which Lister is famous, he has made important contributions to surgery and the practise of medicine. Lister's father was a member of the Society of Friends; a man of business, but also engaged in scientific work. He was a fellow of the Royal Society, as are also his son, Arthur, and his grandson, J. J. Lister, the brother and nephew of Lord Lister. Lister married the daughter of the eminent surgeon, Professor Syme, to whose chair at Edinburgh he succeeded. He has no heir. Lister became assistant surgeon at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in 1856, and moved to Glasgow as professor of surgery in 1860, returning to Edinburgh in 1869. He then became professor of clinical surgery in King's College, London, in 1877.

Lord Lister has been honored by the government by being raised to the peerage; by his fellow men of science by his election to the presidency of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Royal Society; by his colleagues in medicine and surgery by the naming in his honor of the Lister Institute, one of the most important institutions in the world for medical research. But his highest honor is the use in every hospital of the world of the antiseptic system of surgery that he discovered. This treatment has relieved endless suffering and saved innumerable lives, and has permitted the extension of surgery to operations which without it would have been impossible. It is indeed the foundation on which modern surgery is built.

 

THE CENTENARY OF THE BIRTH OF LOUIS AGASSIZ

On May 28, 1807, Jean Louis Rudolphe Agassiz was born in the Canton of Freiburg, Switzerland, his father being pastor of the protestant parish of Motier. The centenary of his birth is being celebrated at Harvard University and at Cornell University. At Harvard there is a gathering of his former pupils with addresses by President Eliot and Professor Niles. At Cornell, where Agassiz was nonresident professor, a commemorative address is to be made by Professor Burt G. Wilder. Professor Niles and Professor Wilder were among the group of eminent naturalists who were pupils of Agassiz, which includes, in addition to his son, Mr. Alexander Agassiz, Bickmore, Clark, Hartt, Hyatt, Lyman, Morse, Packard, Putnam, Scudder, Shaler, Stimpson, Tenney, Verrill and Ward.

A biographical sketch of Agassiz will lie found in the fourth volume of The Popular Science Monthly. In