Popular Science Monthly/Volume 8/December 1875/Notes


Sir Charles Wheatstone died at Paris, October 21st, at the age of seventy-three. In England, he is reputed to have been the inventor of the electric telegraph, but in this country his claim is disputed, the credit of that momentous invention being assigned to Morse and Henry. By general consent, he is esteemed one of the most eminent of electricians. He also gained distinction by scientific researches in various other directions, especially in acoustics and optics. At the time of his death. Prof. Wheatstone was Vice-President of the London Royal Society, corresponding member of the Académie des Sciences, Knight of the Legion of Honor, etc.

In the article entitled "A Home-made Microscope," published last month, regret was expressed that the objectives of Gundlach, of Berlin, had not been introduced into this country. Since the appearance of the article, we have received a note from Mr. James Colegrove, of Kendallville, Ind., stating that Gundlach, of Berlin, has for the past two years resided in Jersey City, where he continues the manufacture of his objectives.

Died, in Jersey City, September 4th, Prof. Samuel D. Tillman, for many years Corresponding Secretary of the American Institute, and editor of its annual "Transactions." He was a native of Utica; graduated from Union College at the age of twenty; studied law, and for some time was engaged in legal practice at Seneca Falls. About twenty years ago he quitted the legal profession and devoted himself to the study of science. He was an active and prominent member of the American Association. He was familiar with almost every department of science, and, in addition, possessed a great fund of general knowledge. He was the author of a treatise on the theory of music, originated a very ingenious chemical nomenclature, and proposed a new theory of atoms. At the time of his death he was in his sixty-third year.

In an ancient mound recently opened near Detroit there were found a number of human skulls, unaccompanied by any other bones. Dr. Dalrymple, who described this find at the Maryland Academy of Sciences, says that each of the skulls was pierced at its vertex with a hole about an inch in diameter; this was apparently done some time after death.

Dr. Guillaume-Benjamin Duchesne, recently deceased, was born at Boulogne-sur-Mer, in 1806; graduated M. D., at Paris, in 1831. He practised medicine for a while in his native town, and in 1842 came to reside in Paris. He was one of the founders of electrotherapy. He studied with eminent success the play of the facial muscles in the expression of the passions, and his observations and experiments were of great service to Mr. Darwin in the composition of his work on the "Expression of the Emotions." Not to mention his numerous contributions to medical journals, he was the author of several published works, among them a "Treatise on Localized Electrization;" "Researches on the Muscles of the Feet;" "Mechanism of Human Physiology;" "Anatomy of the Nervous System;" "Physiology of Movement," etc.

On comparing the statistics of the German universities for the summer semester of 1874 with those of the same semester of 1875, the Allgemeine Zeitung finds a decrease in the number of medical students; it has fallen from 6,190 to 6,039. One of the causes of this is the fact that now Jewish students devote themselves, in great numbers, to the study of jurisprudence. Until lately, the legal career could hardly be said to be open to Jews in Germany, and hence a great number of them studied medicine.

The California Peat Company are manufacturing peat-fuel at Roberts's Landing, San Joaquin County, at the rate of from fifty to one hundred tons per day. A recent trial of the product in the furnace of a steam-boiler is said, by the Scientific and Mining Press, to have been thoroughly satisfactory in its results.

The authorities of Tufts College have lengthened their philosophical course to four years, at the same time giving the student greater freedom in the choice of studies.

According to the American Railway Times, the first suspension-bridge was constructed by James Finley over Jacob's Creek, on the turnpike between Uniontown and Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 1796.

The first shipments of tin from Tasmania have arrived in England. This tin is pronounced by the Mining Journal to be of excellent quality, soft and of very good color. It is free from even a trace of wolfram, so often found in combination with tin.

The two-hundredth anniversary of Antony van Leeuwenhoek's discovery of infusoria was celebrated on September 8th at Delft, his birthplace. All the natural history associations of Holland were represented on the occasion, and a fund was established for a Leeuwenhoek gold-medal, worth six hundred marks, to be awarded to distinguished microscopists. The first recipient of this medal was Prof. Ehrenberg, of Berlin, the oldest microscopist of Europe, and Leeuwenhoek's legitimate successor.

A trial-trip was recently made on a Scotch railway with a Scott-Moncrieff tramway-car, worked by compressed air. The vehicle resembles a common railway-car, but is a little higher, the reservoir of air being on the roof The initial pressure was two hundred pounds, and the speed attained ten miles per hour. The car was fully under control; the speed could be increased or reduced at pleasure, and the operations of starting, stopping, and reversing, were readily performed. The estimated cost of the power is three half-pence per mile, as against seven pence per mile for horse-power.

The cells in a large mushroom, weighing four and a half pounds, were found by Worthington G. Smith to number 106,596,000,000,000. Each of these is furnished with a coat or cell-wall, and contains within itself protoplasm, water, and other materials. These cells are so extremely light that in one species of fungus it takes 1,624,320,000,000 to weigh an ounce troy.

The British Association this year makes grants of money amounting to nearly £1,500 in aid of scientific research. For the prosecution of researches on "British Rainfall," the Association voted £100, and a like sum respectively for the exploration of Settle Cave and Kent's Cavern, for a record of the progress of zoölogy, and an examination of the physical characters of the inhabitants of the British Isles. The sum of £75 was voted in support of Dr. Dohrn's zoölogical station at Naples, and £200 for competing and setting up in London Sir W. Thomson's tide-calculating machine. The number of beneficiaries is in all twenty-seven.

It is proposed to hold, in 1877, at the Palais de l'Industrie, Paris, an exposition of all the applications of electricity to art, science, and household use. The enterprise is zealously patronized by men of high distinction in the world of science and of industry. The necessary funds have been guaranteed. The committee in charge have their temporary headquarters at No. 86 Rue de la Victoire, Paris.