Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/639

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LITERARY NOTICES.

LITERARY NOTICES.

Fragments of Science: A Series of Detached Essays, Addresses, and Reviews. By John Tyndall, F. R. S. Fifth edition. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 625. Price, $2.50.

Prof. Tyndall's position in the world of thought, at the present time, is one of very marked individuality, and there go several strong factors into the composition of that wide and powerful influence as a thinker which he has exerted upon the mind of the period. In the first place, the age is scientific to so great a degree that all human interests are more disturbed by this agency than ever before. Prof. Tyndall's scientific acquirements and training are therefore in harmony with the great intellectual movement of which he has become a leader and representative. His chosen field of labor, moreover, that of physics, is the one which people generally are best prepared to appreciate, while his ingenuity and fertility in devising new and striking experiments for the illustration of facts, and the proof of principles, always compel attention to what he has to offer. Again, his consummate mastery of the arts of exposition, the clearness and beauty of his statements, and the high literary finish of all his work, give him the command of cultivated minds wherever English is read. Equally important, also, in any estimate of Prof. Tyndall's power, is that fearlessness of spirit, and unflinching allegiance to what he considers the truth, that give boldness to his utterances, and carry him to the front of the conflict, in which science struggles with the forces of ignorance, prejudice, and superstition. These elements, of course, are not equally combined in all his productions. In his scientific memoirs we have only the record of laborious and painstaking researches, but they are always elegantly written. In his volumes upon "Heat" and "Sound" we are chiefly struck by the lucid and methodical exposition, interspersed with poetic touches and expressions of fine feeling, awakened by the study of Nature's deeper harmonies, and which are a constant source of pleasure to the student. But it is in his various miscellaneous papers, some of them didactic, some controversial, and others devoted to the development of advanced opinions in which he is deeply interested, and all of them with a scientific substratum, and exhibiting the best excellences of his eloquent style, that we shall find the chief secret of the hold he has obtained upon all classes of readers. These papers were collected, a few years ago, in a volume entitled "Fragments of Science," which proved one of the most popular of his works. It passed through four editions, and the fifth now appears, greatly enlarged by recently-published articles, and containing one hundred and ninety-three pages of matter not found in the former American edition. Prof. Tyndall has rearranged the work, grouping together the more scientific articles in Part I., and the controversial discussions in Part II., to which there is a special and able introduction. All the articles have been carefully revised, with a view to making them, in the highest degree, clear and accurate. Commendation of this work is superfluous, but it is one of the volumes that wide-awake readers cannot well do without, and which is always ready to furnish instruction and entertainment for an odd hour.

Tollhausen's Technological Dictionary. Part I, French-German-English; Part II., English-German-French; Part III., German-English-French. New York: Holt & Co. Price, $3.50 per vol.

The compilers of general dictionaries of two or more languages have hitherto given but little thought to secure either fullness or accuracy in their vocabularies of technical terms, especially those employed in the useful arts. Such terms having no place in literature proper, and the existing dictionaries being designed mainly as keys to the literature of the various languages, the defect of which we speak becomes, under the circumstances, venial. But we are from day to day coming into closer industrial relations with the outer world, and the need of such a work as that before us has long been felt. The author of this work has spared no pains to make his dictionary complete and accurate, and he is to be congratulated upon the success with which he has performed his very difficult task. The first part of the work (French-German-English) embraces some 65,000 technical terms and