Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/410

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396
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

"Yes, just as much room as ever, as much room as the whole earth offered to the first man"; for that field is simply unbounded, and everything that has been done in the past is, I believe, as nothing to what remains before us.

The days of hardest trial and incessant bewildering error in which your elders have wrought seem over. You "in happier ages born" you of the younger and the coming race, who have a mind to enter in and possess it, may, as the last word here, be bidden to indulge in an equally unbounded hope.

[Concluded.]


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GAUSS AND THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.

WE have been favored with the following interesting letter, giving some facts in relation to Prof. Gauss in addition to the sketch of this distinguished mathematician which appeared in "The Popular Science Monthly" for September, 1888, and inclosing the appended extracts from letters by Gauss in regard to his invention of a form of electric telegraph:

Denver, Colorado, October 24, 1888.

Dr. W. J. Youmans, New York.

Dear Sir: Please allow me, as a grandson of Carl Friedrich Gauss, the German mathematician, to thank you for the sketch of his life and works which appeared in the September number of "The Popular Science Monthly." I should have made this acknowledgment long ago, and intended doing so, but for various reasons postponed it from time to time, for which I beg your pardon.

There are two slight errors in your article, one, at least, of which is hardly worth mentioning. The first is in regard to the date of Prof. Gauss's birth. "The Popular Science Monthly" article says that he was born on April 23, 1777. In fact, however, he was born on April 30th of that year.

The other error amounts to little, but perhaps you may think it worth correcting. You say that he and Prof. Weber sent telegraphic signals from Göttingen to a neighboring town. They were, in fact, sent only from the astronomical observatory to the physical cabinet, which was under the direction of Prof. Weber; this was in 1833. The wire used was about eight thousand feet long; it was destroyed by a stroke of lightning in 1845. On pages 64 and 65 of "Gauss zum Gedachtniss," by W. Sartorius von Waltershausen, there is a description of this telegraphic line. In a work entitled, I believe, "Electricity in the Service of Man," there is a picture of the telegraphic apparatus used by Gauss and