Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/120

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on the part of his own countrymen, Prof. Tyndall was indignant that Englishmen, who pride themselves upon fair play, should detract one iota from the just fame of the unfortunate foreigner. The man was unknown to him, but the rights of the discoverer and the honor of science were involved, and against the attacks of Professors Thomson, Tait, and others, Prof. Tyndall made a defence so effectual that the claims of the German philosopher will hardly be brought in question again.

Of Prof. Tyndall as an author, it is hardly necessary to speak, as his various works have been widely circulated, and the reading public is familiar with them. Yet his genius as a writer is so marked that it cannot be omitted even in the briefest sketch of his character. Among scientific writers he stands almost alone in the poetic vividness, force, and finish of his style. His descriptions and narrations are enriched by a bold and striking pictorial imagery, which presents the subject with almost the perspective and "coloring of reality." No man better understands the high office of imagination in science, or can more effectively employ it to fascinate and illuminate the minds of others. Of an ardent and poetic temperament, and at home among the grandeurs of natural phenomena, there is often an inspiration in his words that rouses and thrills our highest feelings.

Prof. Tyndall is now among us, to speak upon science in several of the chief cities of the country, and it is therefore as a lecturer that the public will be chiefly interested in him. We quote an excellent account of his characteristics as a public teacher from the October Galaxy:

"Prof. Tyndall's manner as a lecturer is in a remarkable degree individual and unique. He never reads, but holds his audience by the power of lucid and forcible extemporaneous statement. He is not what would be called a fluent or even speaker, who keeps up a continuous strain of agreeable utterance. He is not an elegant declaimer, whose measured cadences are accompanied by graceful and appropriate gestures. He is irregular and sometimes hesitating in speech, and unstudied in gestures and movements. His habit of speaking has been formed in connection with bis habit of experimenting, and this latter is so essential a feature of his platform exercises that it greatly influences his manner of public address. Clearness, force, vividness of description, felicity of illustration, and the eloquence inspired by grand conceptions are the striking features of his style. Of a poetic and imaginative temperament, but with these traits under thorough discipline, he gives vivacity and attractiveness to accurate and solid exposition. Prof. Tyndall is a thoroughly-trained and well-poised enthusiast in science. He is intensely in earnest, and is always as much interested in the subject and the proceedings as the audience he carries with him. He is a remarkable example of self-forgetfulness upon the platform, being always absorbed in his subject. Strongly sympathetic with his audience, he seems animated by but one purpose: to make them understand the question before them, to make them see it and feel it as he sees and feels it. As an original and skilful experimenter Prof. Tyndall is unrivalled. Fertile and ingenious in contrivances for bringing out his points, the effects are always telling and im-