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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 83/November 1913/The Progress of Science

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Eadweard Muybridge.

 
THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE SCIENTIFIC ORIGIN OF MOVING PICTURES

Eadweard Muybridge began his experiments in instantaneous photography in California in 1872 and subsequently carried them forward at the University of Pennsylvania, which provided him with grants amounting to more than $40,000. We thus have an instance in which scientific investigation supported by a university has been the origin of an enterprise of immense practical and commercial importance. The annual receipts from moving-picture shows in the United States are about $150,000,000; a royalty of ten per cent, on these receipts would defray the entire cost of all the real university and research work in this country.

The experiments of Muybridge at the University of Pennsylvania were originally undertaken to study animal locomotion, and in this direction were of much importance, both for science and for art. Painters and sculptors should represent men and animals as they appear to the eye, not as they appear in instantaneous photographs; but the knowledge of the position of the body in movement, first learned through such pictures, is of value to the artist comparable with a knowledge of anatomy. Several of the original pictures taken by Muybridge are here reproduced from original plates in the possession of the University of Pennsylvania, by the courtesy of Mr. George Nitzsche, recorder of the university, who has contributed to Old Penn an article describing the methods used.

On the grounds of the University of Pennsylvania a shed was built, about 120 feet in length, painted black with a net-work of white threads. Opposite the shed was the camera-house, shown in the illustration, in which were 24 cameras, each having a lens.3-inches in diameter. The cameras were operated electrically by a motor clock, so that twelve successive exposures could be made in one fifth of a second. In some cases three batteries of cameras were arranged so that simultaneous views from different positions were obtained. Thus in one of the pictures here reproduced the stride of a walking horse is shown in 36 different photographs, twelve successive positions being reproduced from three points of view. There is similarly shown the front and side views of movements in making a high jump. Instantaneous pictures of animal locomotion were subsequently made by M. Marey in Paris, who used a sensitized film, so that a succession of pictures could be taken with a single lens. Mr. Edison later applied the film to the kinetoscope and to projecting moving pictures on a screen with a lantern.

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Building Showing Battery of Twenty four Cameras. Photographic Camera Divided into Compartments, each having a lens of the same construction, and arranged to correspond with the compartments in the Electro Photographic Exposors.

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Walking Horse. Side, Front and

Muybridge, however, not only took the first photographs of moving objects but also first projected them on a screen, thus leading directly to the modern exhibitions of moving pictures. This he did in lectures, beginning in 1880, and on a large scale at the Chicago exposition of 1893, where a building was especially erected in which he exhibited flocks of birds flying across a screen, athletes wrestling and similar moving pictures. In 1886 Muybridge consulted the inventor of the phonograph with a view to reproducing simultaneously visible actions and auditory words. Neither method of reproduction was, however, at that time sufficiently advanced, and. it was necessary to wait until last year, when Mr. Edison was able to synchronize in a satisfactory manner the pictures and the sounds.

Although the reproduction of a play by moving pictures and the phonograph

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Back Views in Twelve Positions.

is far from being perfected, it may be that before long such copies of plays and operas by leading actors and singers with the best possible stage settings may be more effective than the average performance, as the photographic reproduction of a great painting may have more artistic value than an inferior original. As much as $150,000 has been spent on the production of a single set of films, and leading actors, such as Madame Bernhardt and Sir H. Beerbohn Tree have acted before the film camera. At present most of the shows exhibit crude farces and melodramas, and it may not be altogether satisfactory that a third as much money is spent on them as on our entire public school system. We may hope, however, that the moving picture show will make possible a democratic development of art and become an educational institution of the greatest possible consequence.

 

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Athlete Making Standing High Jump.


LEGAL LIMITATIONS OF MARRIAGE

A Pennsylvania law became operative in August, requiring those wishing to marry to appear at the license bureau and answer under oath some fifty questions. It is rather absurd to swear that one is not an imbecile, and a physician's certificate, as required by a law passed by the last Colorado legislature, is a better guard against communicable disease than a statement of the patient. Still such a law may be of use, though not so much in punishment following its violation as in the reflections and precautions which it may occasion in those who propose to marry. The laws of the different states limiting marriage relations have recently been summarized in a bulletin prepared by Dr. Charles B. Davenport and issued by the Eugenics Record Office. They are more numerous and complicated than most people suppose.

Marriages of idiots and the insane are illegal in about half the states and those marriages are presumably invalid everywhere, as such persons can not make contracts. On similar grounds in three states a marriage is invalid when one of the parties is intoxicated. Only five states forbid the marriage of those suffering from venereal disease. It should surely be made as serious a crime to communicate diseases as to commit larceny or assault and battery, and public sentiment would probably uphold legislation to this effect. In only a few cases have laws been passed with direct reference to the eugenic aspect of the case. Connecticut and Kentucky forbid illicit union with imbeciles, the latter state under penalty of twenty years' imprisonment. In Delaware a child of a parent insane before it was born can not marry. In Utah, an epileptic woman may marry after the age of forty-five, but not before.

Laws limiting closeness of relationship in marriage are based on social rather than on biological considerations. Indeed we have no scientific knowledge that would enable us to prescribe limits of consanguinity within which marriage is undesirable from the point of view of heredity or eugenics. The marriage of first cousins is illegal in about half of the states, including Pennsylvania and Illinois, yet such marriages have been and are common in all classes of society. The most distinguished family known to the writer

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Front and Side Views of Twelve Positions.

are the seven children of Charles Darwin, who married his first cousin. The royal families of Europe are closely inbred, but form a superior group. A consideration of their heredity shows, as might have been anticipated, that both desirable and undesirable qualities are enhanced by the marriage of those related by blood.

The social reasons making it desirable to forbid the marriage of those who become related through marriage are not urgent; indeed they have practically disappeared since segregation of the sexes has been largely abandoned. The limitations do not exist in many of the states and in others are curiously inconsistent. Marriage with a deceased wife's sister is not prohibited, but in West Virginia a man may not marry his deceased wife's step-daughter and in Massachusetts he may not marry his deceased wife's grandmother.

The laws in regard to intermarriage of races differ greatly in different states, as does public sentiment. Just now southern newspapers are urging the dismissal of a university professor because in an article in this journal he spoke kindly of the mulattoes. In Maryland whites and negroes or mulattoes who intermarry are deemed "guilty of an infamous crime," and are subject to ten years' imprisonment, while a mile away such marriages are legal. Apparently a white person and a mulatto who marry in Pennsylvania can return to live in Maryland, but would be subject to five years' imprisonment if they went to Texas. In California and in several other states marriage of a Caucasian with a Mongolian is illegal, and several states have laws against marriage with a North American Indian.

The diversity of the laws of the different states, marriages that are legal and approved by public sentiment in one part of the country being crimes elsewhere, indicates that it may be less difficult to apply eugenics in practise than it is to determine which kind of eugenics it would be desirable to apply.

 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS

We record with regret the death of Dr. Reginald Faber Fitz, professor emeritus in the Harvard Medical School; of Dr. John Green Curtis, from 1876 to 1909 professor of physiology in Columbia University; of Professor Lucien Augustus Wait, emeritus professor of mathematics in Cornell University; of Dr. Alexander Macfarlane, of Chatham, Ontario, known for his contributions to vector analysis and quaternions; and of Dr. Charles Lester Leonard, professor of roentgenology in the University of Pennsylvania, who died from X-ray dermatitis, contracted in the course of his work nine years ago.

The British Association for the Advancement of Science has accepted an invitation to hold the meeting of 1915 at Manchester. It will be remembered that next year's meeting will be held in Australia under the presidency of Dr. William Bateson.—The University of Birmingham on September 11 conferred its doctorate of laws on the following foreign representatives in attendance at the meeting of the British Association: Madame Curie (Sorbonne, Paris), Professor H. A. Lorentz (Leyden), Professor Keibel (Freiburg), Professor R. W. Wood (Johns Hopkins) and Professor Svante Arrhenius (Stockholm).—On the occasion of the meeting of the International Geological Congress at Toronto, the University of Toronto conferred the degree of doctor of laws on the following geologists: T. C. Chamberlin, U. S. A.; W. G. Miller, Canada; P. M. Termier, France; E. Beck, Germany; J. J. Sederholm, Finland; T. Tschermyschev, Russia, and A. Strahan, England.

The government through Secretary of Commerce Redfield has decided to change the sale of all the government catch of seal, fox and other Alaska furs, from London to St. Louis. At the present time St. Louis is said to be the largest primary fur market in the world. It is estimated that three fourths of all the furs trapped on the North American Continent are shipped to St. Louis houses to be sold.