Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/154

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144
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tophora psenes, which inhabits the wild fig trees or caprifigs of the Mediterranean countries, and which the fig-growers procure by bringing down twigs of these trees from the mountains at the fertilizing season. Artificial fertilization of figs has been tried in California with considerable success; but it is thought that if the caprifig and its insect can be naturalized in California, there will be no difficulty in raising figs the equal to those of Smyrna.

Discussing at the meeting of the American Association the position of the trilobites in classification, Prof. A. S. Packard referred to the discovery of Beecher that certain genera of them have antenna? together with biramose legs, essentially the same for the head and trunk, and double, so that one portion is available for swimming and the other for crawling. He then showed that this uniformity of appendages does not occur in the Crustaceæ, to which the trilobites have been referred heretofore. For this reason, and because the young have a different form from crustacean young, zoölogists are inclined to refer the trilobites to a separate class and to regard them as an older, more primitive group. From certain obvious affinities, the Limulus, or king crab, may be regarded as a descendant from the trilobites.

On Thursday, September 15th, Mr. Stanley Spencer and Dr. Berson ascended from the Crystal Palace, near London, in a balloon inflated with pure hydrogen to the remarkable height of twenty-seven thousand five hundred feet, only fifteen hundred feet below the highest ascent of Coxwell and Glaisher. Numerous scientific instruments were carried, and also a cylinder of compressed oxygen for inhaling at great heights. It was found necessary to use the oxygen at twenty-five thousand feet.

In the discussion in the British Association of a communication by Professors E. B. Roser and W. O. Atwater recording their experiments (American) on the amount of energy supplied to and obtainable from the human body—which are found to be equal—Prof. W. E. Ayrton, presiding, pointed out that the energy of muscular action is probably capillary or electrical, the human machine being more analogous to an electric battery or motor than to a steam engine.

In the list of officers of the American Association for 1899, published in our last number, the name of L. 0. Howard, of the Department of Agriculture, Washington, should have appeared as permanent secretary.

The hundredth anniversary of the invention of the voltaic or electric pile is to be celebrated in 1899 at Como, the birthplace of Alexander Volta, by an international electrical exhibition. A national exhibition of the manufacture of silk—machinery, preparation, and processes—will be held in connection with it. An international congress will also be held for the discussion of the progress and applications of electricity.

A prize of five hundred guineas is offered by the Sulphate of Ammonia Committee, 4 Fenchurch Avenue, London, for the best essay on The Utility of Sulphate of Ammonia in Agriculture; the committee to have entire disposal of the selected essay, and the refusal of any of the others for not more than fifty guineas each. The essays—in English—should be in the hands of the committee not later than November 15, 1898.

Recent death lists include the names, among men known to science, of Prof. Park Merrill, chief of the Forecast Division of the Weather Bureau, at Washington, August 8th; Dr. E. V. Aveling, late assistant in physiology at Cambridge and professor of chemistry and physiology at New College, a writer upon scientific topics, in London, August 4th, aged forty-seven years; M. Paul Sevret, mathematician and member of the French Academy of Sciences, in Paris, June 24th, aged seventy years; W. F. R. Surringer, professor of botany in the University of Ley den, and director of the Botanical Garden and Herbarium; J. A. R. Newlands, the discoverer of the periodic law of the chemical elements, in Lower Clapton, London, July 29th, aged sixty-nine years; the astronomer Romberg, who succeeded Encke at Berlin in 1864, and was called to Pulkova in 1873, author of numerous papers in Monthly Notices on double stars and planetary and cometary observations, at Pulkova, July 6th, aged sixty-four years; John Hopkinson, an eminent British electrician, president of the Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1890 and 1896, killed with his three children in an attempt to ascend the Dent de Visivi, Alps, August 24th; Dr. H. Trimble, professor of practical chemistry in the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and editor of the American Journal of Pharmacy; M. de Windt, geologist of the Belgian Exploring Expedition to the Congo, drowned in Lake Tanganyika, Africa, August 9th; Dr. Paul Glan, assistant professor of physics in the University of Berlin, aged fifty eight years; Dr. E. J. Bonsdorf, formerly professor of anatomy and physiology at Helsingfors, Finland, aged eighty-eight years; Dr. Robert Zimmerman, formerly professor of philosophy in the University of Vienna, at Salzburg, Austria, aged seventy-seven years; M. J. M. Moniz, known by his investigations of the natural history of Madeira, at Madeira, July 11th, aged sixty-six years; and M. Pomel, a distinguished French mining engineer, professor of geology and past director at the Algiers Scientific School, and author of a number of special works, at Oran, Algeria.