Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/585

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569
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

fragments of meteorites than any other person, he has never discovered anything like organic remains in any of them. Besides, he adds, "the well-known chemical composition of these bodies is averse to the exigence of any such remains as are spoken of by Professor Hahn. Were these remains present, we should discover carbonate of lime in their interior. The two or three that have any carbonate of lime were discovered and analyzed by myself, and in those cases the carbonate of lime was an accidental constituent of incrustation deposited on the surface after their fall. In the microscopic examination of the polished plates of meteorites the two predominating minerals, enstatite and bronzite, will, by their fissures and forms, sometimes remind one of vegetable and other organic forms, but the merest tyro of an observer will trace here nothing but a rare resemblance. And, furthermore, the very igneous nature of these minerals precludes the possibility of organic remains, even in terrestrial minerals of a similar kind. Professor Hawes, of the Smithsonian Institution, who is familiar with lithological microscopical researches in Germany, agrees with Professor Smith, describes Professor Hahn as an observer whose "imagination has run wild with him," and regards his observations as not entitled to credit.

 

Obituary.—American science has lost during the last month two of its most distinguished names. Lewis H. Morgan, the anthropologist, died at his home in Rochester, New York, December 17th, of a complication of disorders, from which he had suffered for several months, at the age of sixty-three years. We have recently (November, 1880) given a sketch of his life and his principal investigations and writings. His fame has been growing and the influence of his ideas extending for many years; and it has long been usual to see him quoted as an authority whose views were entitled to the highest respect, even when dissented from, in the anthropological discussions of all nations. Professor John William Draper, M. D., LL. D., died at Hastings-on-the-Hudson, January 4th. He was born near Liverpool, England, Hay 5, 1811, came to the United States in 1833, was graduated in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1836, and began the connection as professor with the University of the City of New York in 1839, which he maintained till the end of his life. He assisted in founding the medical department of the university in 1841. He was closely identified with the progress of chemical science in the United States, particularly in connection with the investigation of the chemical action of light, and of the temperature of incandescence, and in the early history and development of photography. His most noteworthy works were his treatise "On the Forces which produce the Organization of Plants," which marked an epoch in this branch of investigation, and his "History of the Intellectual Development of Europe," which has been translated into nine languages. He also published books on "Human Physiology, Statical and Dynamical; or the Conditions and Course of the Life of Man," "Thoughts on the Future Civil Policy of America," the "History of the American Civil War," and a "History of the Conflict between Religion and Science," all of which have made their mark; and text-books in chemistry and natural history. A fuller account of Professor Draper's life and works is given in the "Popular Science Monthly" for January, 1874, and frequent references to his later labors may be found in subsequent volumes.

 

Influence of the Electric Light on Plant Life.—M. P. P. Déhérain has just published the results of the experiments he conducted during the Exposition of Electricity at Paris, on the influence of the electric light upon vegetation. A conservatory was built within the palace, in which plants were disposed in four groups, each receiving a different treatment. One group was deprived of the light of day and was exposed to the electric light all the time; another had the diffused daylight, weakened by having to pass through the glass roofs of the Exhibition Palace, by day, and the electric light at night; a third group had only the diluted daylight by day and was left in the dark at night; and the fourth group, kept during the day in a shaded garden-bed, and was taken into the conservatory and exposed to