Popular Science Monthly/Volume 55/October 1899/Notes


A piece of experimental glass pavement was laid in Lyons, in the Rue de la République, last fall, and it is reported to have worn very well thus far. The silicate of which the pavement is composed is called by the manufacturers ceramo-crystal or devitrified glass. It may be finished in various colors and with a rough or smooth surface. The blocks are made by heating broken glass to a temperature of 1,250° C. and then compressing it by hydraulic power. The resulting compound is said to have all the qualities of glass except its transparency.

The New York Agricultural Experiment Station reports of its analyses of sugar beets in 1898 that the average percentage of sugar in the samples analyzed is 14.2, with a coefficient of purity of 85. In general the yield of beets was between nine tons and twenty tons per acre.

An altitude of 12,440 feet, or 366 feet greater than any attained before, was reached in the kite-flying experiments at Blue Hill Observatory, Massachusetts, on February 21st. The flight was begun at twenty minutes to four in the afternoon, with a temperature of 40° and a wind velocity of seventeen miles an hour at the surface. At the highest point reached by the kite the temperature was 12° and the wind velocity fifty miles an hour. Four improved Hargreave kites with curved surfaces, like soaring birds' wings, were used tandem, and the flying line was a steel wire.

The first to be unveiled of a series of tablets to be fixed by the Municipal Council of Bath, England, to mark historical houses is on the house where William Herschel lived in 1780. and was officially unveiled by Sir Robert Ball, April 22d. In a little workshop at the end of the back garden of this house Herschel made his Newtonian reflector, and here he discovered Uranus.

Attention is called by Dr. Martin Ficker to the fact, brought out in his experiments, that cultures of microbes are affected by the glass of the tubes in which they are made. By virtue of differences in composition, different sorts of glass give varying degrees of alkalinity to water in contact with them, and the activity of the bacteria they contain is correspondingly affected.

We have to add to our obituary list of persons in whom science is interested the names of Professor Socin, late of the University of Leipsic, Orientalist, and author of Baedeker's Palestine and Syria and many special works on the Arabic language and dialects; M. N. Rieggenbach, correspondent of the Paris Academy of Sciences, Section of Mathematics, at Olten, Switzerland; Elizabeth Thompson, donor of liberal gifts for scientific purposes, at Stamford, Conn.; she contributed toward the telescope for Vassar College, was a patron of the American Association, and endowed the Elizabeth Thompson Scientific Fund; George Averoff, who died at Alexandria, Egypt, July 27th, leaving, among other bequests, £20,000 to create an agricultural school in Thessaly, and £50,000 to the polytechnic schools at Athens; Charles J. Stillé, ex-Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, under whose administration the institution took a great stride in its development; Mrs. Arvilla J. Ellis, an assiduous student of the fungi, who assisted her husband, J. B. Ellis, in preparing and mounting the five thousand specimens for the North American Fungi and the Fungi Columbiani, and more than two hundred thousand other specimens which were distributed to the botanists of the world, at Newfield, N. J., July 18th; M. Balbiani, Professor of Embryology at the Collége de France; Prof. Pasquale Freda, Director of the Station for Agricultural Chemistry at Rome; Dr. S. T. Jakčič, Professor of Botany and Director of the Botanic Gardens, at Belgrade; Dr. Carl Kuschel, formerly Professor of Physics in the Polytechnic Institute at Dresden; M. A. de Marbaix, Professor of Zoölogy and Anatomy in the Agricultural Institute at Louvain; Dr. N. Grote, Professor of Psychology and Philosophy in the University of Moscow and editor of a journal devoted to those subjects; Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, the eminent German chemist, of whom a fuller notice will be given; and Sir Edward Frankland, another eminent chemist (English), one of Bunsen's pupils, a member of the Royal Commissions on Water Supply and River Pollution, and author of researches on the luminosity of flame and the effect of the density of a medium on the rate of combustion, died in Norway, aged seventy-four years.