Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/545

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527
ON THE STUDY OF BIOLOGY.

in the volume of air through which it swept, the diameter of the drop after passing through 2,000 feet would be more than an eighth of an inch, and after passing through 4,000 feet a quarter of an inch, and so on. So that, in passing through 8,000 feet of such cloud, it would acquire a diameter of half an inch.

The fact that raindrops never attain the size of large hailstones is explained as being due to the mobility in the case of large drops of the surface tension of the water, by which alone the drop retains its form, to withstand the disturbing force of the air rushing past; when the drop reaches a certain size, therefore, it is blown in pieces like the water from a fountain.

The origin of stones and drops is then discussed—why some of the particles in a cloud should be larger than the others, as it is necessary for them to be in order that they may commence a more rapid descent. A cloud does not always rain; and hence it would seem that in their normal condition the particles of a cloud are all of the same size and have no internal motion, and that the variation of size is due to some irregularity or disturbance in the cloud.

Such irregularity would result when a cloud is cooling by radiation from its upper surface. The particles on the top of the cloud being more exposed would radiate faster than those below them, and hence they would condense more vapor and grow more rapidly in size. They would therefore descend and leave other particles to form the top of the cloud. In this way we should have in embryo a continuous succession of drops.

Eddies in the cloud also form another possible cause of the origin of drops and stones.—Nature.

 

ON THE STUDY OF BIOLOGY.[1]
By Professor T. H. HUXLEY.

IT is my duty to-night to speak about the study of biology, and while it may be that there are many among you who are quite familiar with that study, yet, as a lecturer of some standing, it would, I know by experience, be very bad policy on my part to suppose such to be extensively the case. On the contrary, I must imagine that there are many of you who would like to know what biology is; that there will be others who have that amount of information, but would nevertheless gladly learn why it should be worth their while to study biology; and yet others, again, to whom these two points are clear, but who desire to learn how they had best study it, and, finally, when

  1. A lecture by Prof. Huxley, delivered at the South Kensington Museum, on Saturday, December 16, 1876.