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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

of twenty-two. He matriculated as a student at the age of eleven, and at the age of seventeen began to publish papers on the mathematical theory of heat. Migrating to Peterhouse, Cambridge, he became second wrangler. Within four years Stokes, Cayley and Adams had been senior wranglers, illustrating the precocity of mathematical genius and the mathematical activity of Cambridge at that period. For fifty-three years Kelvin was professor of natural philosophy at Glasgow. Like Helmholtz he was not a good lecturer, but like his great German friend he exercised an enormous influence on the progress of science directly as well as by his published work. The jubilee of his professorship was adequately celebrated in 1896; from the volume giving some account of it, the portraits here reproduced are taken. Kelvin was president of the Royal Society and of the British Association, and was active in their work, rarely failing to take a leading part at the annual meeting of the association. All the highest scientific honors were of course conferred on him. He was twice married, but leaves no issue.

To the general public Kelvin is best known for his share in submarine telegraphy, for his improvements in the compass, for his machine for taking soundings and for other inventions, scores of which he patented. To the electrician and the engineer many important instruments and improvements in methods of measurement will occur, such as his three electronometers, his mirror galvanometer and his syphon recorder. With Professor Tait he began a "Treatise on Natural Philosophy," which has become a classic for parts of mechanics. His popular addresses have been published in three volumes. But it is only the scientific man who can appreciate the range and originality of Kelvin's performance. As Shelly is the poet's poet and Velasquez the artist's artist, so Kelvin is the man of science who appeals especially to his fellow-workers. They may criticize what they regard as his limitations, but they are full of admiration for the man and his work. It covers an immense field—elasticity, hydrodynamics, heat, electricity and magnetism, the nature of the ether and the constitution of matter. This is not the place to attempt to describe his experimental work or his far-reaching speculations. A sketch will be found in the tenth volume of this magazine, and among the many obituary notices we may refer especially to one in the issue of Science for January 3, by Professor Webster.

It is pleasant to remember that Kelvin three times visited this country. He brought Great Britain and the United States closer together by his contributions to transatlantic telegraphy and to navigation, and his most elaborate mathematical speculations are to be found in the lectures given at the Johns Hopkins University in 1884 and published many years later under the title "Molecular Dynamics and the Wave Theory of Light."

 

THE CONVOCATION WEEK MEETING AT CHICAGO

There was a notable assemblage of scientific societies and scientific men at the University of Chicago during convocation week. Not hitherto has there been such a meeting west of the Atlantic seaboard. This is gratifying as an indication of the increased readiness of scientific men to cooperate in their organizations, and especially as a demonstration of the great growth of science in the central states. The American Association for the Advancement of Science last met at Chicago forty years ago. It was the seventeenth meeting and the third in size, the attendance being 259, of whom probably less than half were scientific men. Other meetings held so far to the west with the registration have been: 1877, Nashville, 173; 1878, St. Louis, 134; 1883, Minneapolis, 328; 1893, Madison, 290; 1901, Denver, 311; 1903-4, St. Louis, 385; 1905-6, New Orleans, 233.