Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/855

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.



in the measurement of time. The time is not far distant when instruments will be devised for ascertaining in the simplest manner and with the utmost accuracy the time of day from the sun and stars. In general, astronomy will find occasion each year, in ever-increasing measure, to communicate for universal use its advanced determinations and measurements.

The study of astronomy is especially fascinating and helpful to the understanding, in that the mind, translated so far away from the sphere of earth, catches glimpses of the grand and universal outlines of celestial phenomena, and is enabled to emancipate itself from the astrological superstition which we have endeavored to illustrate in the foregoing pages.


THE advancement of American science has been greatly promoted by the co-operation of a host of earnest workers, who, asking nothing in the way of money profit or fame, but moved by the pure love of science for its own sake, have been satisfied to labor in special or local fields, and contribute of what they could produce as free gifts to the sum of knowledge. Such a man of science was Dr. I. A. Lapham, who, according to a most excellent authority, "would have held a more prominent position if he had been more ambitious"; who was, however, well enough known to the people of his own State and in scientific circles everywhere; and the fitting memorials of whose life-work are conspicuously visible in the organization of the Weather Service of the United States and the prominent position Wisconsin has taken as a region where scientific thought is active.

Increase Allen Lapham was born at Palmyra, New York, March 7, 1811, and died on Lake Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, September 14, 1875. His father was a contractor on public works, which, in the days of the son's youth, were chiefly canals; he built the arches of the first aqueduct at Rochester, and the wood-work of the combined and double locks at Lockport, on the Erie Canal, and was engaged in other important works of a similar character. Young Lapham's earlier tastes were guided largely by the business pursuits of his father. He earned his first money by cutting stone for canal-locks and making plans of the locks for travelers; then he became interested in the minerals that were found in the rock-cuts at Lockport, and was thus directed to the observation of nature. He next appears, in 1826, as an aid to his father, an assistant engineer, in laying out a road down the Canada bank of the Niagara River below the falls; afterward on the Welland Canal; then on the Miami Canal, under Byron Kilbourn; and, during the two years from 1827, on the canal around the falls of the Ohio,