Popular Science Monthly/Volume 84/March 1914/The Progress of Science

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Sketch of the new Educational Buildings of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


The corporations of Harvard University and of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology entered into an agreement in January, according to which all work in mechanical, electrical, civil, sanitary and mining engineering will be conducted in the new buildings of the Masachusetts Institute of Technology on the site recently acquired by the institute on the Charles River embankment in Cambridge, not so very distant from the site of Harvard University.

The university agrees to devote to the courses in engineering the income of the funds of the Lawrence Scientific School and the use of equipment not more urgently needed for other purposes, together with not less than three fifths of the Gordon-McKay endowment. This will provide at present some $60,000 a year, and may ultimately amount to more than $250,000. The institute devotes to the work all funds that it now holds for the purpose, and both institutions agree to use in future all funds acquired for the promotion of teaching and research in engineering. Buildings are to be erected only from the share of the funds supplied by the institute. All funds are to be expended through the bursar of the institute, but the corporation that supplies the funds is to prescribe the way in which they shall be expended.

All members of the instructing staff in the engineering departments referred to who give instruction in courses leading to degrees in both institutions are appointed and removed by the corporation that pays their salaries after consultation with the other corporation. The faculty of the institute is to be enlarged by the addition of the professors, associate professors and assistant professors in the school of applied science of Harvard University, and at the same time the professors of the institute receive the title and privileges of professors of the university. The president of the institute is the executive head for all work carried on under the agreement and is to make an annual report to both corporations. When a future president of the institute is to be selected, the president of Harvard University is to be invited to sit with the committee that recommends the appointment.

Students at the institute in the engineering courses mentioned are admitted to be candidates for degrees at Harvard University and have the same rights and privileges as students in the other professional schools. Students may receive degrees from either or from both institutions.

Both institutions are unaffected in name, organization and rights over their property and either institution may terminate the agreement on notice of at least five years, or a shorter period if mutually agreed on.

It will be remembered that some eight years ago the corporations of the I Massachusetts Institute and Harvard! University voted a plan of affiliation which was later abandoned owing, it was said, to the fact that the institute could not sell its present site for business purposes, though in fact the abandonment of the plan was due to opposition on the part of the faculty and
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Copyright, 1914, by Haeseler, Phila.
Dr. S. Weir Mitchell,
The distinguished man of science, author, physician and citizen of Philadelphia, who has died at the age of eighty-four years.

alumni of the institute. The former plan would have in large measure merged the institute in Harvard University; the present plan seems to use the funds of the university for the support of the institute. It may, however, be that both institutions will gain by the arrangement and both President Lowell and President Maclaurin emphasize the fact that educational institutions do not exist for their own glory, but for the welfare of the community as a whole, and that the combination of resources of the two institutions will provide a school of engineering at present unequalled in this country and perhaps in the world.


About four years ago the bureau began to investigate the subject of railroad track and elevator scales with the idea of standardizing them. It soon became evident that the greatest diversity of opinion existed among the experts regarding these subjects and that there was very little reliable information on the subject. In order to secure reliable data, and to be in a position to test large scales upon the request of the railroads, elevators, shippers or state officials the bureau secured an appropriation of $25,000 from congress last winter to purchase an equipment and to provide the necessary expenses for its operation. This appropriation became available July 1, 1913. The equipment was completed October 1, and over thirty-five track scales were investigated in Connecticut, Vermont and New York during the following six weeks. Throughout this whole period the car met with every expectation and is ready for further tests.

The car designed by the bureau differs radically from those ordinarily used by the railroads. The usual test weight car is a heavy compact steel body with four wheels and a base of approximately six feet. It may weigh from 25,000 to 80,000 pounds and has

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Truck Scale Testing Equipment.
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The Truck Loaded with Weights.

to be standardized on a master scale of the capacity of the car. Also since the wheels, brake shoes, air brake connections, etc., are part of the standard weight such a car must be constantly checked on the master scale. This equipment is satisfactory for a railroad where the hauls from the master scale to the scales to be tested is not great, or where the operations are restricted to a single state, but plainly such an equipment would not answer the purpose of the bureau since it expects to send the car to all parts of the country, and it would not be possible to establish the necessary master scales at enough points to insure the correctness of the test ear. The car of the bureau was therefore designed to reduce the wear on the equipment to a minimum, and this is accomplished by carrying a specially built, short, six wheeled truck, and 100,000 pounds of standard weights inside a box car which is equipped with the necessary power to operate a crane for handling the truck and test weights. The test weights consist of eight 10,000 -pound, four 2.500-pound weights and ten thousand pounds of 50-pound weights. The total error of the eight 10,000-and the four 2,500-pound weights, is less than half a pound and since the large weights are bolted down to the floor of the car in shipment from one scale to another and are very carefully handled when used, there is no reason why they should change appreciably in a year. The same is practically true of the truck, which may, in a test of a 52-ft. scale with three different loads, travel about 300 feet or about sixty miles in testing 1,000 scales. As this travel would be at a very low speed, and without the application of brakes or the accumulation of dust or mud, it is hardly conceivable that its weight will change as much as five pounds in a year, an amount that would be insignificant in the combined weight of the truck and test weights. The truck which is operated by an electric motor supplied with current from a gasoline engine generator in the box car weighs 5,059 pounds.

Fig. 1 shows the general arrangement
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Sir David Gill,
The eminent British astronomer, who has died at the age of seventy years.

of the equipment, while Fig. 2 shows a closer view of the truck loaded with seven 10,000-pound and four 2,500pound weights, and the method of handling the weights.

In testing a scale the procedure is as follows: First, the box car which opens at one end is placed by a shifting engine five or ten feet from one end of the scale. Then the weights are unbolted, the gas engine is started and the crane is run out the open end about seven feet. Then the truck is picked up and set on the scale by the crane. This is followed by placing on the truck the necessary number of 10,000pound weights to make up the desired first-test load. The truck is then moved over the bearing points of each section of the scale and the reading of the scale noted. The truck is run back to the original position and additional weights are added to make up the next test load, and the separate sections of the scale are again tested. This can be repeated until all the standard weights have been placed on the truck. If it is desired to go still higher the truck with its load of standard weights can then be run off the scale, the box car placed on the scale and weighed, the correction to the scale having been ascertained by the previous test. Knowing the weight of the empty car, the standard weights and truck can then be loaded, and the box car again placed upon the scale and weighed. In this way the scale may be tested up to approximately 175,000 pounds.

The general plan of the equipment is due to L. A. Fischer, physicist, Bureau of Standards, and to C. A. Briggs, assistant physicist, the whole being constructed by A. H. Emery, Stamford, Conn.


We record with regret the death of Dr. Boswell Park, the distinguished surgeon of Buffalo; of Dr. George William Peckham, librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library, known for his contributions to entomology; of Dr. Edmund B. Huey, a student of genetic psychology, recently of the Johns Hopkins University, and of Mr. W. D. Marks, formerly professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, later & consulting engineer in New York City.

Colonel William C. Gorgas has been appointed to be surgeon-general of the army of the United States, with the rank of brigadier-general.

The fourth annual award of the Willard Gibbs Medal, founded by Mr. William A. Converse, will be made by the Chicago Section of the American Chemical Society to Dr. Ira Remsen, of Johns Hopkins University. The previous recipients of this medal are Professor Svante Arrhenins, Professor Theodore W. Richards and Dr. Leo H. Baekeland.

Arrangements have been made for the establishment, as a memorial to Lord Lister in Edinburgh, of a Lister Institute.

The General Education Board has given $750,000 towards an endowment of $1,500,000 for the medical department of Washington University, St. Louis, to create full time teaching and research departments in medicine, surgery and pediatrics.