Popular Science Monthly/Volume 46/November 1894/Obituary Notes

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The eminent physicist Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz died, after a second stroke of paralysis, at Charlottenburg, Prussia, September 9th, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. The outlines of his early life and labors, including his principal researches into the nature of the phenomena of light and sound, the enunciation of the principle of the conservation of force, and the invention of the ophthalmoscope, were given in the fifth volume of the Monthly (June, 1874). His labors since were on like lines, and various, in the fields of mathematics, physics, physiology, psychology, etc. They involved questions of vortex motion, the discontinuity of motion in liquids, the vibrations of sound at the open ends of organ pipes, thermodynamics, electrodynamics, stereoscopic vision, galvanic polarization, the theory of anomalous dispersion, the origin and meaning of geometrical axioms, the mechanical conditions governing the motions of the atmosphere, metaphysics, and mental science. On all these subjects he shed a clearer light than the world had enjoyed before, and in some he made order out of chaos. The event of his seventieth birthday, in 1891, was made the occasion of an international celebration, when the principal rulers of Europe and the scientific institutions of the world vied in conferring their honors upon him. "Science," says Nature, "has had few investigators who have furthered her interests more than Helmholtz. He was constantly exploring new fields of research, or bringing his keen intellect to bear upon old ones. With his contributions he helped to raise science to a higher level." Like other real masters of science, he believed in making it intelligible to the whole intellectual world, and did so. He was ready to recognize the merits and acknowledge the achievements of other workers in the fields he cultivated; and while he did not always keep out of controversies, he so bore himself when engaged in them as to show that his sole desire was to establish the truth.

Prof. Josiah Parsons Cooke, of Harvard University, died at his summer home in Newport, R. 1., September 3d, after an illness of about one month. He was graduated from Harvard College in 1848, and, having served for two years as an instructor, he was appointed Erving Professor in the same institution in 1857. He rearranged the system of instruction in chemistry in the institution and brought it up to its present high state of efficiency. He was the author of several important books and papers in chemistry and qualitative analysis, among which may be mentioned The New Chemistry in the International Scientific Series, and a Manual of Laboratory Practice. One of his best published papers was a plea for a broader education of men of science. He was a president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A portrait and sketch of him were published in The Popular Science Monthly for February, 1877.

George Huntington Williams, Professor of Inorganic Geology in Johns Hopkins University, died of typhoid fever July 12th. He was born in Utica, N. Y., and was graduated from Amherst College in 1878. He resided for a short time in Berlin, and afterward studied under Rosenbush in the University of Heidelberg, where he obtained the degree of Ph. D. in 1882. He was associate professor at Johns Hopkins University from 1885 till 1892, and after that full professor. He was author of a book on the Geology of Maryland, a text-book on crystallography, and several memoirs on petrography, and was preparing at the time of his death a work on the microscopic structure of American crystalline rocks.

Prof. H. K. Brugsch, a distinguished philologist, and one of the most eminent of Egyptologists, died September 9th, aged sixty seven years. He was for many years an officer in the Egyptian service, where he held the rank of bey, and devoted much time to archaeological exploration and the study of the Egyptian records. His History of Egypt is one of the best of the works at first hand on that subject.

The British naval commander, Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield, a distinguished arctic navigator and explorer, died early in September, at the age of seventy-four years. During a voyage in the Isabel, on private account, in search of Sir John Franklin, he discovered an open polar sea and traced a coast line eight hundred miles long. From another expedition sent for the relief of Sir Edward Belcher in 1853, an officer returned with him bearing the news of the discovery of the northwest passage. With a third expedition he brought home the officers and crews of five ships which had been abandoned in the ice. For these services he received the arctic medal, and was knighted at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of her Majesty's reign. He devised a hydraulic steering apparatus, a screw-turning engine, and an anchor, which were used on various vessels. He was author of the books A Summer Search for Sir John Franklin, Maritime Warfare, Naval Tactics, and Terrestrial Magnetism.