Popular Science Monthly/Volume 55/August 1899/Notes


The Royal Institution of Great Britain, on the occasion of its one hundredth anniversary, has elected as honorary members the following Americans: Prof. Samuel Pierpont Langley, astronomer, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.; Prof. Albert Abraham Michelson, physicist, of Chicago; Prof. Robert Henry Thurston, mechanical engineer, Director of the Sibley College of Cornell University; Prof. J. S. Ames, of Johns Hopkins University; George Frederick Barker, physicist, Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and Prof. William Lyne Wilson, President of Washington and Lee University, ex-Congressman, and Postmaster-General.

The foundation stone of an oceanographic museum, instituted by Prince Albert of Monaco, was laid in that city April 25th. The museum is designed, primarily, to receive the large and valuable collections obtained by the prince in the voyages of ocean exploration which he has conducted, and to become a general depository for oceanographic spoils. The principal address was made by the governor-general, who glorified the prince's meritorious scientific career. The German Emperor, who is named a patron of the museum, and the French President were represented on the occasion by deputies.

The City Library Association of Springfield, Mass., has been holding, during April, May, and June, an elaborate and instructive exhibit of geographic appliances of special interest to teachers in the elementary schools. The exhibition included a number of sets of wall maps, relief maps and globes, models for use in structural geography, pictures, photographs, etc., of geographical features, aids in teaching, geographical texts, manuals and treatises, books of travel, and an exhibit of geographical work done in the elementary schools of Springfield and vicinity. The association has also published a brief Bibliography of Geographical Instruction, which was prepared by W. S. Monroe, of the State Normal School at Westfield, Mass.

Dr. Daniel G. Brinton has presented to the University of Pennsylvania, where he is Professor of American Archæology and Linguistics, his entire collection of books and manuscripts relating to the aboriginal languages of North and South America. The collection represents the work of twenty-five years, and embraces about two thousand titles.

Mr. Andrew Carnegie has offered to complete, with a contribution of £50,000, a fund which Mr. Joseph Chamberlain is trying to raise in order to make the scientific school the principal department of the University of Birmingham, England.

A noteworthy experiment in bird protection has been made in a boys' school at Coupvray, France, by forming a society of the pupils for that purpose. The president, vice-president, and secretary of the society are selected from among the pupils of the first division, and all the other pupils are members. Meetings are held every Saturday afternoon in March, April, May, June, and July, under the presidency of the teacher, to hear the reports of members and record the nests protected and noxious animals destroyed in a notebook kept for the purpose. In 1898, 570 nests were protected by the school, and more than 400 mice, rats, weasels, and dormice were destroyed. Such societies cost nothing, and are capable of rendering great service.

Ernest D. Bell, whose formula for determining animal longevity by the length of the period of maturity was published in a recent Monthly, has sent a later communication to Nature, changing his constant from 10.5 to 10.1, the latter figure giving much better results.

The report of Mr. J. C. Hopkins on the Clays and Clay Industries of Western Pennsylvania is the second one of a series of economic reports on the natural resources of the State in course of publication by the Pennsylvania State College. The first report, published in 1897, was on the Brown Stones of Pennsylvania. The report represents that a capital of nearly $7,000,000 is invested in the clay industries about Pittsburg, of which more than $3,000,000 are in the fire-clay industry. The value of the annual output of material is nearly $4,000,000, more than fifty per cent of the capital invested. The 139 companies employ 4,403 men.

Herr Hansemann, of the University of Berlin, who examined the skull of Helmholtz, reports in the Zeitschrift für Psychologie that he found the head about the size of Bismarck's, and a little smaller than Wagner's. By metrical standards the brain weighed about 1,700 grammes with the coagulated blood, and about 1,440 grammes without it—about 100 grammes more than the average. The circumvolutions, which are now thought to have more relation to mental capacity than mere weight, were particularly deep and well marked. The skull was 55 centimetres in circumference, 15.5 centimetres broad, and 18.3 centimetres long, and the cephalic index was 85.25.

Our obituary list for this month includes the names, among persons known in connection with science, of Miss Elizabeth M. Bardwell, Professor of Astronomy in Mount Holyoke College, who died May 28th, aged sixty-seven years; G. F. Lyster, long Engineer-in-Chief of the Mersey Docks and Harbor Board, and author of valuable improvements in the Liverpool docks, member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Institute of Civil Engineers, aged seventy-six years; Prof. Lars Fredrik Nilson, Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Stockholm, Sweden, May 14th, aged fifty-nine years; M. Adolphe Lageal, a French geologist, killed by natives while making explorations in the French Soudan; Sir Frederick McCoy, Professor of Natural Science in the University of Melbourne, died in May, aged seventy-six years; he was a member of the Geological Survey of Victoria, founder of the Melbourne National Museum, and author of numerous papers on Victorian geology; before going to Australia he was Professor of Geology in Queen's College, Belfast, and had already attained a high reputation as a geologist by the work he had done as assistant to Sedgwick and by the publication of important memoirs in geology and paleontology; and Lawson Tait, an eminent English surgeon, author of numerous books of a high order relative to his profession, and an active worker in practical sanitary matters; he died at Llandudno, Wales, June 13th, aged fifty-four years.