Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 58.djvu/227

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

The statue of Lavoisier, shown in the frontispiece of this number, was unveiled at Paris on the 27th of July. It stands facing the Rue Tronchet, near the house in which Lavoisier dwelt. The figure, of bronze, stands upon a granite pedestal, ornamented by bas-reliefs representing Lavoisier before his colleagues at the Academy, and at work in his laboratory. M. Leygues presided at the ceremony, at which the members of the international congress of chemistry were present. In the course of the address written for the occasion M. Berthelot characterized Lavoisier's work as follows: "The labors of Lavoisier are related to a fundamental discovery from which they all spring, namely, the discovery of the chemical constitution of matter and of the difference between bodies possessing weight and imponderable forces—heat, light, electricity—the influence of which extends over these bodies. The discovery of this difference overturned the old ideas handed down from antiquity and held till the end of the last century." Lavoisier was a notable example of the excellence of scientific men in other than scientific fields of activity. He wrote a good book on education, was an efficient officer in a number of public undertakings, and was for some years 'fermier général.' His scientific work is summed up by the inscription on the pedestal of the monument: 'Fondateur de la chimie moderne.'

 

There is now evidence that yellow fever, as well as malaria, is caused by inoculation by mosquitoes which serve as the intermediate hosts of the parasites. Drs. Reed, Carroll, Agrámonte and Lazear, who were appointed last summer by the Surgeon-General to investigate infectious diseases in Cuba, have in a preliminary report of their work denied that the bacillus icteroides of Sanarelli is the cause of yellow fever. In general they have not found it present in the blood of yellow fever patients or in the organs of those who have died of the disease, and consider that when present it is a secondary invader. After these results had been reached they tested the hypothesis advanced by Dr. Carlos J. Finlay of Havana in 1881 that yellow fever is transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes which had bitten fever patients were allowed to bite eleven persons. In nine cases no evil results followed, but in two cases, Dr. Carroll himself being one, regular attacks of yellow fever followed. It is true that in these cases there was a possibility of infection from other sources, but since out of 1,400 non-immune Americans at the Columbia Barracks there were in two months only three cases and since of the three two had been bitten within five days of the commencement of their attacks by contaminated mosquitoes, the board seems justified in assigning the role of efficient cause to the mosquitoes. The positive evidence is increased by the sad history of Dr. Lazear, one of the investigating board. Dr. Lazear was one of the nine who had not suffered in the inoculation experiment just described. While working with yellow fever patients he was bitten by a mosquito, which because of the previous experiment he did not even attempt to avoid. He was bitten on September 13, and became ill on September 17 with the fever, which thereafter ran its course, ending in death. It was not demonstrated that this particular mosquito had previously bitten any yellow fever patient, but of course there was every opportunity for it to do so. Dr. Reed