Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/490

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486
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The address sketched a brief comparison between the scientific conception of the physical universe to-day and that of one hundred years ago. It was remarkable in this respect that a man so full of other work, as Mr. Balfour must be, should be able to frame such a statement without committing errors of fact of a serious sort. As an analytic review it had no great value (notwithstanding the one or two ingenious points brought forward) on account of the speaker's lack of expert knowledge in physics and on account of the constant assumption of a position entirely apart from and unlike that of the physical investigator. The address could be called on the whole clever, interesting and suggestive from the philosophical standpoint, and to have

 

PSM V65 D490 Jesus college cambridge university.png

Jesus College, from the Meadows.

 

presented such a paper is an evidence of great intellectual alertness and ability on the part of a man whose hands are full of practical business.

The occasion of the presidential address on the evening of the first day was the most interesting event of the meeting and the one which brought together the most interesting audience. Mr. Balfour read his address, explaining that in this he followed precedent, although speaking was easier to him than reading. He spoke with a clear, pleasant voice and in a perfectly natural and easy manner. His delivery throughout was most effective. On the platform beside him sat many of the best known men in British scientific circles, the veteran Lord Kelvin occupying a place to the Left of the speaker, and looking like an idealized version of Uncle Joe Cannon.