Popular Science Monthly/Volume 51/October 1897/Notes


The Columbia University Bulletin notices the retirement, at his own request, of Prof. Thomas Egleston, of the Faculty of Applied Science, the creator of the original School of Mines, of which the faculties of Applied Science have been the outgrowth. Returning from his studies abroad in 1863, he saw that the time was ripe for a school in which chemistry, geology, mineralogy, metallurgy, and engineering might be taught young men with a view to fitting them for practice in the field of mining. The success of the School of Mines was surprising and encouraging. The demand for instruction in allied branches was so great that schools of architecture and engineering and chemistry, etc., were formed and set off in 1896 in the Faculty of Applied Science. What has been done at Columbia has happened to a greater or less extent at several other institutions, so that schools and departments of this sort are multiplying.

The ascent of Mount St. Elias, Alaska, was successfully accomplished by Prince Luigi, of Savoy, and his party of Italian mountain climbers, July 31st. On their way up they met the American party led by Mr. Bryant, who were returning on account of one of their number having been taken ill. The Italians remained two hours on the summit, and took scientific observations and photographs. The height of the mountain was for the first time satisfactorily measured and found to be 18,120 feet. In the previous attempts to ascend this mountain the Topham expedition reached a height of 11,400 feet, and Prof. I. C. Russell, in the second attempt, made under the auspices of the National Geographical Society in 1891, 14,500 feet. Prince Luigi found nothing to indicate that the mountain had ever been a volcano.

The vessel Evelyn Baldwin arrived at Christiania, Norway, August 13th, from Spitzbergen, whence she had sailed northward to 80° 45′ of latitude and until stopped by pack ice. The expedition has secured valuable geological and botanical collections for some American colleges.

Prof. S. P. Langley, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, recently attended a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences, and spoke concerning his experiments in mechanical flight. He said he had greatly enlarged the distance which his aëroplanes would run, without much changing his apparatus.

Prof. Wolcott Gibbs, who had been designated president, was not able to be present at the Detroit meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Mr. W J McGee took his place as acting president.

A report by Dr. Lambusto Loria on war customs of certain tribes of New Guinea mentions homicide and the "naming of the dead relatives of others" as the two great causes of intertribal war. Homicide is the result of various savage ideas. After a death, "all the gardens and plantations of cocoanuts and betel nuts, etc., belonging to the murdered person are destroyed, to allow the relatives and friends to forget quickly the departed person." Revenge is then decided upon, and preparation is made for it with curious preliminary religious rites.

In a paper in the American Association on the Destruction of Forests and its Effects on Drainage and Agriculture, Mr. H. W. De Courcy advised the farmer. Let him but follow the lines of least grade in his tillage, and "he will soon see the effect of his improved line of cultivation in better crops, greater resistance to droughts by retaining the drainage water, and his young plantations of trees will gladden his sight on the former bare hillside." A safe guide to the line of least grade is the course of a railroad, if there be one through the farm, which always seeks that line.

The French Association for the Advancement of the Sciences recently held its meeting at St. Éticnne, and was opened with an address by the president, M. Marey, on The Graphic Method and the Experimental Sciences. The review of the past year's work of the association, read by M. Cartaz, includes notices of studies during the interim of historical geography; of legislation for workingmen, by M. Lebon; of alcoholism, by M. Alglave; a memoir of Pasteur, by M. Brouardel; and a work on bibliography, by Prof. Charles Richet. The death list is rather large, and includes, among the best-known names, those of D'Abbadie, Daubrée, Des Cloiseaux, Schutzenberger, Léon Say, Cernuschi, and Victor Lemoin, physician and geologist.

The Hon. Ralph Abercromby, author of some excellent works on meteorology, including that on Weather in the International Scientific Series, died at Sydney, New South Wales, June 21st, fifty-four years of age.

The death was announced in July of J. J. S. Steenstrup, ex-Professor of Zoölogy and Director of the Zoölogical Museum in Copenhagen, aged eighty-four years. His studies and his books covered a wide field. His principal work was that on the Alternation of Generations. Besides publishing much on natural history, he studied the prehistoric remains found in Denmark, and in conjunction with Sir John Lubbock contributed, in 1866, to the Ethnological Society of London a memoir on the Flint Instruments recently discovered at Persigny-le-Grand.

Prof. Thierry Wilhelm Preyer, formerly of Jena, died in Wiesbaden in July, fifty-six years of age, of Bright's disease. He was distinguished in physiology and psychology. He was born in Manchester, England, in 1841, was taught in London, attended several German universities, and took his degrees at Bonn in 1862 and 1865. He began scientific life as a privat docent at Bonn in 1865, and was appointed Professor of Physiology at Jena at 1869. He retired from this position a few years ago, and went to Berlin and then to Wiesbaden. He was author of a famous work on hæmoglobin; published researches on the mental development of the child, some of which appeared in The Popular Science Monthly, and some form a volume in Appletons' International Education Series; carried on researches in acoustics; investigated the cause of sleep, and published observations on hypnotism; and was the author of Elements of General Physiology.

The distinguished chemist, Prof. Victor Meyer, died at Heidelberg, August 8th. He was born in Berlin in 1848, and was professor successively at Stuttgart, Zurich, Göttingen, and Heidelberg; was author of numerous original researches in organic chemistry, and also contributed to chemical physics, especially in the field of vapor densities.