Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/306

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somewhere in Germany, Mr, Shenstone has a message. He wishes them to know who Liebig was, what he did, and why all chemists and all those who are versed in the history of science admire and esteem him so greatly. To this end our author has taken especial pains to set forth Liebig's applications of chemistry to the arts, even at the expense, as he concedes, of doing "something less than justice" to the great German's labors in pure science. Liebig was the son of a color-maker, who was able to give him a university education, but this was of little benefit to him in becoming a chemist. His private studies, supplemented by admission to Gay-Lussac's private laboratory, prepared him for his profession. Mr. Shenstone enumerates four great departures in which Liebig took the lead. First, he devised the process now followed in analyzing organic compounds, and with this as an implement he determined the composition and discovered cheaper and safer ways of making many substances important to science and industry. Second, he showed that plants derive their nourishment not so much from the humus as from the inorganic salts in the soil and the carbon dioxide of the air, and went on to formulate rules for the making and application of fertilizers and for the practical conduct of other agricultural operations. His third great work was closely connected with this. It related to physiological chemistry, taking up the office of the food of animals in producing tissue, maintaining the animal heat, etc. Liebig's fourth great departure was introducing the laboratory method of teaching chemistry. This alone would have won him high fame. Mr. Shenstone does not dwell upon Liebig's private life, but gives an insight into his combative but generous character when telling of his collaboration with Wöhler and with Dumas, also in the chapter on his later years. Accounts of the work of Faraday, Maxwell, Lyell, Davy, Pasteur, Darwin, and Helmholtz are announced as in preparation, and if they are executed as acceptably as the earlier volumes, this series will be a notably attractive and instructive one.

The multiplication of untechnical, familiar books about flowers, whether of the garden, field, or forest, is a good sign. It.shows that more and more people are growing interested in the subject, and that those who have not had opportunity to take a course in botany, or whose time, or eyes, or patience are not sufficient to enable them to plod through the mass of minute details involved in the technical identifications of the manuals, want to know what they are and what their relationships. Mr. Matthews, author of Familiar Flowers of Field and Garden[1] enjoys a point of observation farther north than do most of the others who have given us books of this kind, wanting from Campton, N, H., on the edge of the Franconia Mountains. There he has a garden in which most of the western and southwestern wild flowers are cultivated, while the wild flowers of New England grow in the fields and woods around. With these he spends much time; and in this book he attempts to introduce them to the reader by name and familiar description and picture, and to supplement the introduction by a little friendly gossip based on personal experience. These flowers are treated according to the seasons and months in which they appear; while

  1. Familiar Flowers of Field and Garden, described and illustrated by F. Schuyler Mathews. Pp 308, 12mo. New York: D. Appleton & Ca Price, $1.75. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.