Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/872

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thing which we term the atom. Such a ring in Mich a medium would be indestructible, it would be elastic, and the size of the ring and its rate of motion would constitute the differences which we recognize between the elementary substances, instead of these differences being due to the size and shape of ultimate hard particles and their impressed forces.

In this view matter itself becomes but a mode of motion, and the old conception of forces as entities disappears. Everything is in the last analysis reducible to motion in the ether, and whether any given set of motions manifest themselves as heat, light, or electricity depends upon the character of the motions. The ether is at once the medium for the transfer of all motion and the storehouse of all energy.

Prof. Dolbear has set forth these new views of modern physics briefly but clearly, and without calling upon the reader for more knowledge than that possessed by the average cultivated man. He does not present them as demonstrated science, but as the views which are gaming ground among scientific workers, and which hold out the promise of our ultimately understanding, in some greater measure than now, the ultimate structure of the physical universe.

Waterdale Researches; or, Fresh Light on the Dynamic Action and Ponderosity of Matter. By "Waterdale." London: Chapman & Hall, 1892. Pp. 293.

Since Newton first announced the law of gravity there have been innumerable attempts to formulate some working hypothesis of a mechanism by which the observed results might be produced. Newton himself repudiated the idea of the particles of matter acting upon each other through void space, and, though this conception of isolated particles endowed with attractive forces is commonly made use of in mathematical analysis, it has never been regarded by physicists as answering to any reality. They have recognized that the universe must be a plenum, and that gravity must in some way result from strains set up in a medium which fills all space. This view is now taking on more definite shape, and it is hoped that before a great while it may be possible to frame some intelligible and consistent theory of the operation of gravity.

To do this appears to be the purpose of "Waterdale" in these "researches," as he is pleased to call them. The book does not seem to have met with a very favorable reception in England, where it was published in the summer of 1891, and the author, therefore, prefaces the present volume with a wearisome plaint over his lack of recognition by scientific men. A dip into the book, which is all we have had time for, seems to amply confirm the judgment of the English scientific world. It may be that the author has arrived at some valuable ideas on the subject, but until he either puts them himself in readable English or has some one else do it for him he has not much cause for complaint if busy men refuse to spend time in hunting for the kernel of truth which may lie hidden.

Ethan Allen, the Robin Hood of Vermont. By Henry Hall. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 207.

The purpose of the author of this work, who died, leaving it for his daughter to complete, was "to make a fuller life of Allen than has been written, and, singling him from that cluster of sturdy patriots in the New Hampshire Grants, to make plain the vivid personality of a Vermont hero to the younger generations." A picturesque hero he is made to appear. Had the records been less exact and romance been left to deal unrestrained with his career, he might in time have shone forth comparably with the most airy heroes of ancient myth and saga. He is compared with Robin Hood—that is, the Robin Hood of Ivanhoe—whose life was "an Anglo-Saxon protest against Norman despotism," as Allen's life was "a protest against domestic robbery and foreign tyranny." Although never a citizen of the United States, "he is one of the heroes of the State and the nation." While we find much about him to study profitably and admire, there are some features in his career that we can not unqualifiedly commend for imitation by our youth; neither can we censure him, for he acted according to his conscience, and consistently for a single end—the freedom of Vermont. He is best known for the capture of Fort Ticonderoga; but