Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/446

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
462
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

cient examples, but bear a proportion to the size of the body. At the head and feet are small upright slabs about two feet broad; long slabs are placed upright at the sides, and another of sufficient length and breadth to cover these four upright stones is laid on the top. In some instances a separate stone is placed upright at the head of the grave."

Mr. J. R. Werner has, in his account of his visit to Stanley's rear guard, some pointed remarks on the healthfulness of Nature as compared with the unsanitary conditions induced by civilization. He says: "Nature, when left alone, does her own scavengering; but as civilization advances, the works of man often interfere with the natural drainage, without providing any substitute; and it is only when the population has been decimated by disease that men's eyes are opened. . . . The primitive savage living in his hut has no need of dust-bin or dust-cart. The ants from the large hill close by will soon make short work of any meat he may have left on the bones; the sexton-beetle will soon bury what remains out of sight; and the wind and rain sweep all feathers and dirt into the river. . . . As civilization advances, roads are made, the ant-hills get destroyed, and hawks and carrion birds disappear before the death-dealing shotgun. The natives congregate together in large towns, without any improvement in their sanitary arrangements, where the salutary effects of wind and rain are probably neutralized by the way in which the streets are built; and so things go on till disease is generated and men fall by hundreds."

A reward was offered by the French Government in 1882 for killing wolves. In the next year 1,316 wolves were destroyed; but the number has since decreased almost yearly as follows: 1,035 in 1884, 900 in 1885, 760 in 1886, 701 in 1887, 505 in 1888, and 515 in 1889. It is believed that very soon no specimens of the animal will be left in France except those which occasionally reach it from neighboring countries.



OBITUARY NOTES.

Prof. Julius E. Hilgard, late Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, died at his home in Washington, May 8th, in his sixty-seventh year. He was born in Bavaria, the son of a jurist of much literary cultivation, and when nine years old came with his father to St. Clair County, Illinois. Here the father settled on a farm and introduced the cultivation of the vine, in connection with which he discovered and made known the merits of the native Catawba grape. Young Hilgard began the study of engineering in Philadelphia in 1843, and two years later entered the service of the United States Coast Survey, in connection with which most of the work of his life was done, and of which he was one of the most valuable and efficient members. In 1881 he became Superintendent of the Coast Survey and so remained till 1885, when he fell a victim to political operations. He was ill at the time, with disorders from which he never recovered. A brief sketch of his life, and a portrait, were published in The Popular Science Monthly for September, 1875.

Colonel Émile Gautier, who, besides his military career, was distinguished in astronomy, died in Geneva, February 25th, of heart disease. He was born in 1822; was directed to astronomical study by his uncle, Alfred Gautier, of the observatory; was a pupil of Leverrier's, and assisted him in his calculations of the perturbations of Uranus; published an essay on the theory of the perturbations of the comets; determined the elements of the planet Metis; observed the solar eclipse of 1860 at Tarragona, Spain, and published his observations; recognized the true nature of the solar prominences, and defended his opinions; became director of the observatory at Geneva on the death of Plantamour, and added many new instruments to the apparatus of the establishment.

Prof. Joseph Leidy, of the University of Pennsylvania, and President of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, died April 30th, in the sixty-eighth year of his age. He was distinguished in different fields of science, but most eminently in biology, in which he published more than eight hundred papers. He was a member of the principal American and numerous foreign scientific societies. A sketch of his life and work, by Edward J. Nolan, was published in The Popular Science Monthly for September, 1880.

John Le Conte, Professor of Physics in the University of California, died in Berkely, Cal., April 29th, aged seventy-two years. We have recently given, in The Popular Science Monthly for November, 1889, a full sketch of his life and labors, by his relative and co-worker in physical investigations, Prof. W. Le Conte Stevens, with a full list of his publications.

The death has been announced, in the latter part of March, of M. Auguste Thomas Cahours, a distinguished French chemist, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. He was successively connected with the chemical departments of the Central and Polytechnic Schools in Paris, and was afterward assayer at the Mint. He was one of the earliest to promulgate the later chemical theories. He was the author of works on the density of vapors, the determination of the indexes of refraction of liquids, metallic radicles, sulphurets, etc., and of Elementary Lessons in Chemistry, a text-book highly esteemed in France.