Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/111

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THE

 

POPULAR SCIENCE

 

MONTHLY



AUGUST, 1912



NOTES ON GAUSS AND HIS AMERICAN DESCENDANTS
By Professor FLORIAN CAJORI
COLORADO COLLEGE

UPON the Hohehagen, the highest mountain summit in the vicinity of Göttingen, there was dedicated on the twenty-ninth of July, 1911, an observation tower which commands an imposing and picturesque view of the university town of Göttingen, as well as of the ruins of proud medieval castles upon the mountain ridges beyond. This observation tower on the Hohehagen, now becoming a favorite objective point for excursionists, bears the name of a great scientist who made Göttingen famous. It is called the "Gaussturm" or "Gauss tower." Rising to a height of 120 feet, it overlooks all surrounding trees and objects. Within this tower is a room, called the "Gausszimmer," the chief ornament of which is a large marble bust of the great scientist, designed by the sculptor Eberlein. Another interesting exhibit is a reproduction of the Gauss-Weber electro-magnetic telegraph. It is well known that Gauss and Weber in 1833 had a crude telegraphic line between the observatory and the physical laboratory in Göttingen, a distance of 9,000 feet. This was eleven years before Morse sent his message from Washington to Baltimore, "What hath God wrought." Gauss and Weber employed, in signaling, the deflection of a galvanometer needle moving to the right or left. Henry and Morse in this country produced signals by an electro-magnet attracting an armature. While the Morse instrument is widely used in land telegraphy, the galvanometer needle found early application in ocean telegraphy. Germany has always prided itself on the Gaussian telegraph. On the Potsdamer bridge in Berlin there is a statue representing Gauss in a sitting position, watching with keen interest the deflection of the needle of a telegraphic instrument before him. By his side there is a youthful allegorical figure stretching a telegraphic wire around the globe.