Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/446

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

containing "bowlders of coral." As fast as the sand was got out fresh material poured in, and the water pumped down the tube with a view of cleaning it actually flowed out into the surrounding bed. So far as the reef was pierced, it proved to be not solid coral, but more like a vast coarse sponge of coral, with wide interstices either empty or sand filled.

 

Signor Luigi Palmieri, the famous Italian meteorologist, who died September 10th, was especially renowned for his observations of the volcanic phenomena of Mount Vesuvius, where he was director of the observatory for forty-two years. He was born at Faicchio, Italy, in 1807, and was Professor of Mathematics successively at Salerno, Campobasso, and Avelino, and afterward Professor of Physics at the Normal School and in the University of Naples. He was appointed to the Observatory of Mount Vesuvius, where he spent the remainder of his life, in 1854. He invented some extremely delicate instruments in the course of his researches—a bifilar electrometer, used in the study of atmospheric electricity; a pluviometer; and a seismometer for the detection and measurement of ground vibrations. With the last instrument he was able to detect extremely slight movements of the ground and to predict the eruptions of the volcano. During the eruption of 1872, while every one else fled as far from the mountain as he could, he stayed at his post and wrote a description of every phase of the phenomena.

 

The death was announced in September, 1896, of M. Armand Hippolyte Louis Fizeau, a French physicist, eminently distinguished for his experimental determinations of the velocity of light. He was born in 1819, the son of a distinguished physician, and, having an independent fortune, was able to devote himself mainly to science. He communicated the results of his experiments in numerous memoirs to the Academy of Sciences and to the Annales de physique et chimie. Many of these were very important. He received in 1856 the grand prize of one hundred thousand francs awarded by the Academy of Sciences. One of the most interesting of his discoveries was that of the means of determining by means of the alteration of the wave-lengths as revealed through the spectroscope the direction and velocity of motion of bodies advancing or receding along the line of vision, a method which has been much used by astronomers in late years with very fruitful results.

 

Dr. Harley pointed out, in the British Association, that an understanding of the fast-dying system in Australia of conveying ideas by horizontal straight lines might afford a clew to the better interpretation of the ancient Irish oghams, as these two systems are identical in form and to a certain extent in modes of arrangement. The Gilas of central Asia had also the same linear forms of writing, the same grouping of the characters, and a distinctly columnar arrangement. The author thought that the Australian aborigines had advanced one stage beyond the ancient Irish, inasmuch as they possessed two distinctly different kinds of line characters—small and large—analogous to our capital letters, and also adopted the plan of emphasizing the small characters by turning them into a kind of Italics. All the natives did not write alike.

 

In view of the anticipated exhaustion of the quarries of lithographic stone at Solenhofen, Bavaria, the use of aluminum as a substitute in engraving has been suggested, and the German journal, Neueste Erfindungen und Erfahrimgen, enumerates the qualities that may render that metal suitable for the purpose. The Natianal Druggist, of St. Louis, points out, however, that there are lithographic quarries in Tennessee which can furnish immense quantities of stone fully equal, for purposes of engraving, to the best Solenhofen.

 

M. Félix Tisserand, Director of the Observatory at Paris and professor in the scientific faculty, whose death has been recently announced, was one of the most famous French astronomers and the author of important works. He was born in 1845, and obtained the degree of Doctor in Science in 1869. In 1875 he was appointed by Le Verrier Director of the Observatory at Toulouse, and was also Professor of Rational Mechanics there. He became astronomer adjunct at the Paris Observatory in 1878, Professor of Astronomy in 1883, and Director of the Observatory in 1892. In his works he treats