Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/510

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and therefore a continual creation of force. This conclusion I am not willing to accept, as I fully believe in the indestructibility of both matter and force.

The least objectionable view that I have been able to arrive at is, that all ideas are sensations excited primarily by material impressions, and hence that we can have absolutely no idea of space independent of matter.

And, as a stellar system in the universe of matter consists of millions of aggregated masses which are individually very small in proportion to the inter-spaces, so I believe that the chemical molecule is very small in proportion to the space between the molecules. And as each sun has (probably) various attendants (the planets), so each chemical molecule consists in general of several different bodies that may be easily separated (in consequence of the space between them being of the same order as the spaces between the molecules). But, like the different bodies of the solar system, or of a stellar system, each of these bodies is a compound mass consisting of millions of units of a different order, holding probably the same relation to the chemical molecule that the chemical molecule does to the matter of the solar system; and so on, both upward and downward, to infinity.

There is, therefore, as I conceive, absolutely no limit to the division of matter, physically as well as mathematically; but our organization is such that, of the infinite series of terms in which it manifests itself, we can know, experimentally, only two: viz., the stellar universe, constituting the first order, of which the stars and the planets are the units; and, secondly, the chemical molecule, which constitutes the second order.

According to this view, the material universe might be represented, in orders, by the following series: d-mx, . . . d-3x, d-2x, d-1x, d0x, dx d2x, d3x, . . . dn-1x, dnx, in which x is the unknown quantity, which we call matter, and m and n are both infinitely great.

In this series, d0x, or simply x, would represent all tangible matter; and dx, which is the next term descending, would represent chemical molecules and their constituents, the atoms of all known and unknown elementary bodies.

As in the analogous expression used in mathematical investigations, d2x is infinitely small in respect to dx, which in its turn is infinitely small in respect to d0x, and so on; yet each represents the elements of which the next preceding order is constituted. So in the physical world, as represented by the above series: the units in x, which are represented by the visible worlds in space, are infinitely large when compared with the units in dx, which are represented by the chemical molecules; the units in each preceding order, in both series, being aggregations of the units in the next succeeding order.

This view of the constitution of matter, though it necessitates the assumption of its actual infinite division, yet, to my mind, involves much less absurdity than to suppose it imparticled, and yet "elastic to the core," or to suppose that the chemical molecule, or even the chemical atom, is an absolute solid.J. E. Hendricks.

Des Moines, Iowa, November 21, 1873.


To the Editor of the Popular Science Monthly:

Judge Stallo's valuable contributions to the Popular Science Monthly, on the "Primary Concepts of Modern Science," can scarcely fail to give the reader a clearer conception of elementary being. But it seems to me that his criticism of Mr. Faraday's "complex forces," and Baine's assertion that "matter, force, and inertia, are substantially three names for the same fact," is clearly illogical.

On the ground that the existence of all reality lies in relation and contrast, the author assumes that inertia and force are ever coexisting contrasts. He says: "We know nothing of force except by its contrast with mass, or (what is the same thing) inertia; and, conversely, as I have already pointed out in my first article, we know nothing of mass, except by its relation to force. Mass, inertia (or, as it is sometimes though inaccurately called, matter per se) is indistinguishable from absolute nothingness; for matter reveals its presence, or evinces its reality, only in its action, its