Popular Science Monthly/Volume 16/February 1880/Notes

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Extensive excavations near Waldorf, in the neighborhood of Bonn, Germany, have brought to light the site of an old town believed to be of Roman origin, but the extent of which is yet quite unknown. The remains of a large Roman villa were discovered in the vicinity, situated a little below the site of an extinct volcano—a circumstance going to show that at the time of the Roman occupation the volcanoes of the Rhine had ceased to be dangerous.

James Clerk Maxwell, the distinguished Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge, and the author of numerous works on physics, died at Cambridge, November 5, 1879, at the early age of forty-eight years.

A case of serious injury to the eyes, by the use of chloral, is given in a late number of the "Medical Record," on the authority of Dr. G. H. Felton, of Haverhill, Massachusetts. The Doctor writes that the drug was administered for a few days only, and apparently in the usual small doses. It caused severe pain in the eyes, obliged retirement to a darkened room for several days, and left a condition of weakness that has persisted for two years, and that still necessitates the occasional use of colored glasses.

By the death of Dr. Karl Friedrich Mohr, of Bonn, the science of chemistry has lost a worker whose valuable labors have extended over half a century. He was born in Coblenz, in November, 1806, and will be best remembered by the "Lehrbuch der chemisch-analytische Tetrirmethode," which appeared in 1855 and 1856. His published papers are mainly those devoted to meteorology and those bearing on volumetric analysis. Among the various subjects treated by him are ground-ice, ozone, St. Elmo's fire, lightning-conductors, hail, and rain. His various papers on chemical analysis extend over a period of fifty years.

The Brussels International Congress for Commercial Geography passed, among others, the following resolutions: "1. The Congress is of opinion that, in the interest of all nations, it is desirable that one or more lines of railway should connect the coasts of Africa with its interior. 2. Complete freedom of trade should reign there. 3. In the expectation of a complete abolition of custom-houses, it is desirable that as many commercial treaties as possible should be concluded. It is particularly necessary that a treaty of this kind should be preliminarily entered into between Belgium and Holland. 4. The Congress expresses the wish that everywhere instruction in history should be separate from that in geography."

Died September 13, 1879, William W. Saunders, F.R.S., F.L.S., etc., of London. He was chiefly interested in natural history pursuits, giving special attention to botany and entomology, and was three times elected President of the Entomological Society of London. His natural history collections were extensive, and especially his cabinet of insects, which at one time was considered the most complete in England.

Stellar's manatee, which is supposed to have become extinct in 1786, has until recently been represented in Europe by only a few bones preserved in the museum at St. Petersburg. During his recent voyage Professor Nordenskiöld obtained numerous remains of the animal in the neighborhood of Behring Strait.

The death is announced of Lady Lubbock, the wife of Sir John Lubbock, on October 30, 1879. Besides a warm interest in her husband's scientific pursuits, Lady Lubbock was herself an occasional contributor to scientific journals, and among others published several years ago a paper of much interest on the "Shell-Mounds of Denmark," which attracted wide attention.

The Council for the Royal Society has awarded, this year, the following medals: "The Copley medal to Professor Rudolph J. E. Clausius, of Bonn, for his well-known researches upon heat; the Davy medal to Mr. P. E. Lecoy de Boisbaudran, for his discovery of gallium; a Royal medal to Mr. William Henry Perkin, F.R.S., for his synthetical and other researches in organic chemistry; and a Royal medal to Professor Andrew Crombie Ramsay, F.R.S., for his long-continued and successful labors in geology and physical geography.

The Apennine Railway reaches its highest point at an elevation of 2,000 feet above sea-level; the Black Forest Railway ascends to 2,762 feet, the Semmering line to 2,892 feet, the Caucasus line to 3,168 feet. The St. Gothard Tunnel is 3,750 feet above sea-level; the railway across the Brenner reaches 4,443 feet; the Mont Cenis Railway ascends to 4,348 feet, the North Pacific line to 5,369 feet, the Central Pacific to 6,121 feet, and the Union Pacific to 8,167 feet. The highest is the line across the Andes, which reaches an elevation of 15,500 feet.