Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/96

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As has already been noted here the Nobel prizes in science have this year been awarded to Lord Rayleigh, Sir William Ramsay and Professor Ivan Pavlov. Each of these men of science has that international reputation which is said to be the best forecast of the verdict of posterity. Lord Rayleigh and Sir William Ramsay are famous for their joint discovery of argon, to which the latter has added helium, neon, krypton and zenon; but each has long been known as a leader in his science. Lord Rayleigh's great work is his 'Theory of Sound'; his collected papers, recently published, cover a wide range of subjects in mathematical physics. He was Maxwell's successor in the chair of experimental physics at Cambridge, now held by Professor J. J. Thomson, but has since 1884 carried on his researches in his private laboratory in his country place in Essex. Lord Rayleigh is one of those who have given distinction to science in Great Britain without holding a professional position, a class unfortunately lacking in this country. Like Darwin and others of this class, he also represents a hereditary interest in science, his brother having done scientific work, and his son having this year been nominated for membership in the Royal Society. Sir William Ramsay, who has recently been knighted, is professor of chemistry in University College, London. Apart from his discovery of new elements and their properties, he has done important work on the molecular surface energy of liquids and in other directions, including improvements in the teaching of chemistry. His recent visit to America has left most pleasant memories. His address on the 'The Present Problems of Inorganic Chemistry,' given at the St. Louis Congress was published in the issue of this journal for November last. Professor J. P. Pavlov is less well known to Americans than Rayleigh and Ramsay, partly because his researches were originally published in a language difficult to read. His important work on digestion with special reference to the control of the nervous system was translated into German in 1898, and by specialists, at least, it is now fully appreciated. He has also made important improvements in technique and discoveries in regard to the formation of urea, the functions of the liver and in other directions. He is professor in the Imperial Institute for Experimental Medicine at St. Petersburg, which is liberally supported by the Russian government.

It will be remembered that Alfred Nobel, who amassed a fortune by the invention of dynamite, bequeathed it to form a trust, which amounts to about $8,000,000, "the interest of which shall be distributed annually as a reward to those who, in the course of the preceding year, shall have rendered the greatest services to humanity. The sum total shall be divided into five equal portions, assigned as follows: (1) To the person having made the most important discovery or invention in the department of physical science. (2) To the person having made the most important discovery or having produced the greatest improvement in chemistry. (3) To the author of the most important discovery in the department of physiology or of medicine. (4) To the author having produced the most notable literary work in the