Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/418

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to take its place. The best advice that Sir William Ramsay can give is to use it economically. He, however, calls attention to the forestry systems of Germany and France, and the efforts in this country on behalf of conservation. He reminds us of the enormous quantity of energy stored up in radium and its constituents. If the energy of a ton of radium could be utilized in thirty years, instead of being evolved at its invariable slow rate of 1,760 years for half-disintegration, it would suffice to propel a ship of 15,000 tons, with engines of 15,000 horse power, at the rate of 15 knots an hour, for 30 years—practically the lifetime of the ship. To do this actually requires a million and a half tons of coal. We are told, however, that the production of radium will never surpass half an ounce a year. If, however, the elements which we have been used to regard as permanent are capable of changing with evolution of energy, and if some form of catalyzer could be discovered which would increase their slow rate of change, then a boundless supply of energy would be available for the human race. Sir William Ramsay says that it would be folly to consider seriously a possible supply of energy in an acceleration of the liberation of energy by atomic change; but he concludes the address with the remark that while radioactive substances are in all probability incapable of industrial application, apart from medicine, their study has shown us to what enormous advances in the concentration of energy it is permissible to look forward, with the hope of applying the knowledge thereby gained to the betterment of the human race.


Dr. Frederic A. Lucas, recently appointed director of the American Museum of Natural History, was born in Plymouth, Mass., in 1852. At the age of nineteen he entered Ward's Natural Science Establishment, a commercial museum for the preparation of natural history objects of all kinds. Here he acquired his first practical training in the preparation of natural history specimens, including the mounting of birds, mammals and other vertebrates, the preparation and mounting of skeletons and casts of fossils, and in time he became manager of the establishment. During his connection with the famous Rochester institution two of his colleagues were William T. Hornaday and Charles H. Townsend, and it is noteworthy that these three men who were working together thirty-one years ago should one after another have been called to direct the work of three of the most important institutions of the kind in this country if not in the world—the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Zoological Park and the Aquarium.

In March, 1882, Dr. Lucas was called to the United States National Museum as osteologist. He is to be credited with the assembling, preparation, mounting, classifying and labeling of the fine osteological hall of the National Museum. He was gradually promoted until in 1902 he was placed in charge of all the exhibits of the department of biology.

His admirable work in the National Museum and long experience in museum methods of preparation and exhibition, as well as his growing reputation as an investigator and writer, led to his selection as curator-in-chief of the Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, where he had free play for his talents. Dr. Lucas's work in the Brooklyn Museum has been marked not only by great activity in the acquisition of specimens and collections but also by rare originality in the display of natural history objects, especially for the purpose of bringing out principles of zoology and classification in such a manner as to both attract and instruct all classes of visitors. He is practically the originator of the small but admirably arranged collection