Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/432
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
practicable. The high-school of every town ought to be the headquarters of a Field-Naturalists' Club that shall have for its object to study the natural history of the locality.
It has not been our habit in this Monthly to make much parade about what we are going to do, being quite content with plain statements of what we are doing. In this spirit we ask attention to an important series of articles now begun on the subject of "Physical Education," and which may be expected to continue through the year. Dr. Oswald is widely known to the American public as a vigorous, thoroughly-informed thinker, and one of the most racy, incisive, and brilliant writers of the period. He will treat the subject from an original and especially modern point of view. It is a suggestive circumstance that in all modern languages the terms corresponding to what we call physical culture have acquired a specific meaning, being applied nearly exclusively to gymnastics and calisthenics as a branch of practical education. Yet the advocates of physical training in this limited sense were the first to take issue with the educational methods of the mediæval system—of the anti-natural school, as it has been justly termed, since its exponents ignored the physical interests of man as persistently as they denied his right to temporal happiness. The founders of the Turn-bund, like their Grecian prototypes, held that our highest physical and our highest moral well-being can only be conjointly attained; that health is the principal condition of happiness, and the normal condition of all whose mode of life is not grossly at variance with the simple laws which Nature proclaims in the unmistakable language of our instincts.
These principles Dr. Oswald has applied to the science of Physical Education in the widest sense of the word. The serial will comprise an exposition of "Dietetics," the first installment of which is herewith issued, to be followed by chapters on "Indoor Life," "Out-door Life," "Gymnastics," "Hereditary Influences," "Clothing," "Remedial Education," etc.
Dr. Oswald has studied the social conditions and sanitary habits of many communities, having traveled in Mexico, South America, and Southern Europe, so that his articles will be enriched with the results of wide and careful personal observation; and it will be found that the author has solved the problem of making a scientific work as attractive to the most fastidious amateur of belles-lettres as to the scientific reader and the public in general.
The Atomic Theory. By Charles Adolph Wurtz, Member of the French Institute. Translated by E. Cleminshaw, F.C.S. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 344. Price, $1.50.
There is a certain sense in which the modern atomic theory may be regarded as the realization of a dream or the fulfillment of a prophecy, or, still better, the verification of a shrewd guess inspired by common reflection and common sense. The notion of matter being all made up of infinitely small particles or atoms was a speculation of the ancient Greek philosophers which has been revived in modern times, and during the present century has become established as a fundamental theory of chemical and physical science. The atomic theory has now assumed a definite form, and binds into unity wide ranges of facts so as to afford a consistent and intelligible view of the constitution of material things. It has been a subject of acute, profound, and protracted controversy, but has grown in clearness and strength with time, as our experimental knowledge of matter has been gradually extended. The most subtle attacks upon it have generally resulted in confirming it, and it has been an instrument of progress even in the hands of those who have doubt-