Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

the nature and the destiny of the soul of man. And the old learning no longer contests the share in education which is claimed by the new, or is blind to the supreme influence which natural knowledge is exercising in molding the human mind." Passing directly to his chosen theme instead of attempting to review in all its interesting detail the history of a particular science, he preferred to call "attention to the condition in which we stand toward three or four of the most important physical questions which it has been the effort of the last century to solve." Of these scientific enigmas he first took up the nature and origin of what are called elements as being the most notable. It is not, perhaps, easy to give a precise logical reason for the feeling that the existence of our 65 elements is a strange anomaly and conceals some much simpler state of facts; but the conviction is irresistible. We can not conceive, on any possible doctrine of cosmogony, how these 65 elements came into existence." Research in laboratories fails to afford the slightest foundation for the theory that the elements consist of hydrogen. Spectral analysis has enabled us to measure the speed with which clouds of hydrogen course across the surface of the sun. Also we have learned from it the pace at which the stars approach or recede from our planet, but it has left us as ignorant as ever as to the nature of the capricious differences which separate the atoms from each other or the cause to which those differences are due." Mendeleeff's discovery of the periodic laws, which is now universally accepted, has rather thickened than dissipated the mystery which hangs over the elements. The boundary of our knowledge in this direction remains where it was many centuries ago. A second of these unsolved riddles concerns ether, which may be described as a half-discovered entity. The brilliant researches of Maxwell, of Herz, and of Lord Kelvin have demonstrated certain relations between ether and electricity, but our knowledge of ether is in a very rudimentary condition. "It has no known qualities except one, and that quality is in the highest degree anomalous and inscrutable. The extended conception which enables us to recognize ethereal waves in the vibrations of electricity has added infinite attraction to the study of those waves, but it carries its own difficulties with it. It is not easy to fit in the theory of electrical ether waves with the phenomena of positive and negative electricity. As to the true significance and cause of those counteracting and complementary forces to which we give the provisional names of negative and positive, we know about as much as Franklin knew a century and a half ago." A more striking but more obvious illustration still of these scientific enigmas is life-animal and vegetable life. Biology has been exceptionally active and successful during the last half century. Its triumphs have been brilliant, and they have been rich enough not only in immediate result, but in the promise of future advance, yet they give at present no hope of penetrating the great central mystery. The advances made in antiseptic surgery by Lister, and the magnificent researches of Pasteur, have added greatly to our knowledge, but "certainly the most conspicuous event in the annals of the last half century has been the publication

of Mr. Darwin's work on the Origin of Species,' which appeared in 1859." The depth of the impression which it made on scientific thought, and even on the general opinion of the world, and its momentous effect can hardly be overestimated. With more special reference to Charles Darwin, he said: "And whatever final value may be assigned to his doctrine, nothing can ever detract from the luster shed upon it by the wealth of his knowledge and the infinite ingenuity of his resource." In some respects the Darwinian theory has not effected the conquest of scientific opinion. Natural selection can not be accepted as the sole or even the main, agent of whatever modifications may have led up to the existing forms of life. The deepest obscurity still hangs over the origin of the infinite variety of life. Moreover, it has been shown that the amount of time required for working this theory can not be conceded without a totally different set of natural laws from those with which we are acquainted. Until the physical discrepancies are adjusted "the laity may be excused for returning a verdict of 'not proven' upon the wider issues the Darwinian school has raised." Quoting from Prof. Weisman, he said: "We accept natural selection not because we are able to demonstrate the process in detail, not even because we can with more or less ease imagne it, but simply because we must-because it is the only possible explanation that we can conceive.' The reason that he gives seems to me instructive of the great danger scientific research is running at the present time-the acceptance of mere conjecture in the name and place of knowledge in preference to making frankly the admission that no certain knowledge can be attained. The cloud of impenetrable mystery hangs over the development, and still more over the origin, of life. If we strain our eyes to pierce it, with the foregone conclusion that some solution is and must be attainable we shall only mistake for discoveries the figments of our imagination." His concluding words were the striking ones used by Lord Kelvin on a similar occasion more than twenty years ago: “I have always felt that the hypothesis of natural selection does not contain the true theory of evolution, if evolution there has been in biology. ... Overpoweringly strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie around us, and if ever perplexities, whether metaphysical or scientific, turn us away from them for a time, they come back upon us with irresistible force, showing to us through Nature the influence of a free will, and teaching us that all living things depend on one everlasting Creator and Ruler."

Proceedings of the Sections. A. Mathematics and Physics.-The presiding officer of this section was Prof. Arthur W. Rücker, who has been for many years engaged on the Magnetic Survey of the United Kingdom. Ilis address was devoted to problems and conclusions suggested by his work on the survey. He referred at the outset to the inaccuracy of the instruments used at present, notably those for measuring the declination and horizontal force which are affected with errors amounting to five or even ten times that of a single field observation. In 1891, at the meeting of the International Meteorological Conference held in Mu

nich, it was resolved that it was "necessary that the instruments employed for absolute measurements at the different observatories should be compared with each other and the results published." Notwithstanding the urgency of this matter, nothing had been done. In recent years much activity had been displayed in the conduct of local magnetic surveys, and the great desirability of collecting the results obtained was pointed out. An official international comparison of the magnetic standards in different countries should be instituted, and for this purpose it would be necessary to begin by comparing the standard magnetic instruments in use in the different observatories. Already one step in this direction has been taken by the Royal Society, which will publish the records obtained in Falmouth side by side with those obtained in Kew. The cause of the variations on the magnetic condition of the earth has entered a new stage. It has long been recognized that the earth is not a simple magnet, but that there are in each hemisphere one pole or point at which the dip of the needle is vertical and two foci of maximum intensity. The conclusion is now tending to a belief that one or both foci in each hemisphere is in motion, and that to this motion, however caused, the secular change in the values of the magnetic elements is due. New facts lead us to look upon the earth not as magnetically inert, but as itself-at the equator as well as at the pole-producing or profoundly modifying the influences which give rise to secular change. Experiences tell the same tale. The earth seems alive with magnetic forces, be they due to electric currents or to variations in the state of magnetized matter. Two causes of regional and local disturbances have been suggested, viz., earth currents and the presence of magnetic rocks. After discussing these theories the following subjects for future investigation were considered: First, as to the nature of the material causing local magnetic disturbances, whether virgin iron or pure magnetite, or merely a magnetic rock; and, second, as to the permanent magnetization of magnetic rocks.

Among the important papers presented before this section were:

[ocr errors]

"Preliminary Experiments to find if Subtraction of Water from Air causes its Electrification," by Lord Kelvin and Magnus Maclean; " Comparison of Leyden Jar Discharges through Different Branches of a Divided Channel," by Lord Kelvin and Alexander Galt; Photo-electric Leakage," by Oliver Lodge. On Friday, Aug. 10, a joint meeting was held of this section with the section on mechanics for the purpose of listening to a discussion “On Integrators, Ilarmonic Analyzers, and Integraphs, and their Application to Physical and Engineering Problems," by Prof. Olaus Henrici, followed by papers on "The Behavior of a Rotating Cylinder in a Steady Current, by Arnulph Mallock; "The Resistance experienced by Solids moving through Fluids," by Lord Kelvin. Then came a paper describing "Experiments in the Construction of a Flying Machine," by Hiram Maxim, which was discussed by Lord Rayleigh, Prof. Samuel P. Langley, Lord Kelvin, and Prof. Osborne Reynolds; Other papers were "A New Analytical Representation of Terrestrial Magnetism," by Adolph Schmidt; "An Experiment showing the Boiling of Water in an Open Tube," by Osborne Reynolds; "Researches on the Infra-red Spectrum," by Samuel P. Langley, of Washington, D. C.; "Suggested Explanation of Sec

[ocr errors]

ular Variations of Terrestrial Magnetism" and "Construction of Delicate Galvanometer," by Arthur Schuster; Minimum Current audible in the Telethe Telephone," and Amplitude of Sonorous Waves phone," แ An Attempt at a Quantitative Theory of which are but just audible," by Lord Rayleigh; "On the Production of Beats and Beat Tones from Notes so high as to be inaudible" and "The Variation of the Modulus of Elasticity with Temperature," by Alfred M. Mayer, of Hoboken, N. J.; An Instrument for measuring Small Strains," by J. A. Ewing; "Volume Changes accompanying Magnetization in Nickel Tubes," by C. G. Knott; Hysteresis of Iron and Steel in rotating Magnetic Fields," by F. G. Baily; "Mirrors of Magnetism," by Silvanus P. Thompson.

[ocr errors]

section on physiology, to discuss theories of vision On Aug. 14 a joint session was held with the resulting from certain experiments to illustrate Clerk Maxwell's theory of light presented by Oliver Lodge:

"Determination of the International Ohm in Absolute Measure" and "An Electrical Standard of Low Resistance." by J. Vivianus Jones; "The Comparison with the British Association Units of some Coils of Low Resistance," by R. T. Glazebrook; "The Specific Resistances of Silver and Copper," by T. C. Fitzpat rick; and "Displacement of the Rotational Axis of the Earth," by W. Forster. There were presented also "Report on the Present State of our Knowledge on Thermodynamics," by G. H. Bryan; "Report of the Committee on Earth Tremors," by J. G. Symons; Report of the Committee on Meteorological Photography," by G. W. Clayden; "Report of the Committee on Underground Temperature;" Report of the Committee on Solar Radiation;" and the "Report of the Committee on Electric Standards."

[ocr errors]

66

B. Chemical Science. This section was presided over by Prof. Harold B. Dixon, of Owens College, Manchester, who addressed the members concerning "Our Oxford School of Chemists." As the chemists were gathered in Oxford, it seemed appropriate to consider what this "school of chemists had accomplished, and wherein it failed; what led to the sudden growth, and what led to the decline of chemical investigation here, and what lessons for modern Oxford may be read in the history of that rise and fall." Robert Boyle was born in 1624, and went to Oxford in 1654. His writings contained the record of numerous important chemical observations, notably the synthesis of niter and the preparation of nitric acid by the distillation of niter with oil of vitriol. He discovered several delicate tests still in use, as that of solution of ammonia for copper, silver nitrate for chlorides, and gallic acid for iron. Like Van Helmont, Boyle recognized differences in gases, but did not distinguish them as being different in kind from air. He prepared hydrogen by the action of hydrochloric and sulphuric acids on iron, but his concern was to show that the new gas was compressible, and was dilatable by heat. His observations contained the first undoubted description of hydrogen, and the first method devised for collecting and examining freshly prepared gases. The genius of Robert Hooke was in sharp contrast with that of Boyle. Quick, restless, imaginative, he sprang from discovery to discovery. We could hardly name a discovery of this age which Hooke had not in part anticipated and claimed as his own. In 1665, Hooke published a description of flame and the phenomena of combustion that perhaps has never been surpassed. Mayow went further, and dis

tinctly showed the dual nature of the air. He detected the existence of what we call oxygen in the air, and demonstrated some of its most remarkable properties. The Oxford School of Chemistry was a school of research. Boyle gave no instruction and had no official connection with the university. Notwithstanding his devoutness and his charity, his work was attacked in the university pulpit, in public orations, in private squibs; his theories were described as destructive of religion, his experiments as undermining the university. Chemistry in modern Oxford is accorded place side by side with older studies, but I believe we have made two mistakes with regard to the teaching of science we have by our science scholarships encouraged too early specialization at school, and we have overburdened our undergraduates with a multitude of facts. We teach too many facts. Finally, we want men trained not only in what has been done, but taught how to be set about winning new knowledge. The universities, I urge, should teach the art of research.

The following-named papers were among those read before this section:

[ocr errors]

"The Proportions of Carbonic Acid in Air which are extinctive to Flame, and which are irrespirable," by Frank Clowes; Demonstration of the Properties of Hydroxylamine," by Lobry de Bruyn; The Chemical Action of a New Bacterium in Milk," by Alexander Bernstein; "Behavior of Gases with regard to their Electrification," by J. J. Thomson; Experiments on the Influence of Moisture on Chemical Substances," by H. Brereton Baker; "The Rate of Oxidation of Phosphorus, Sulphur, and Aldehyde," by T. Ewan; New Methods of Spectrum Analysis, and on Bessemer Flame Spectra," by W. N. Hartley; The Chemistry of Coal Formation," by J. W. Thomas: The Iodine Value of Sunlight in the High Alps," by S. Rideal. The special paper presented at this meeting was one by Lord Rayleigh and Prof. William Ramsay, announcing their discovery of a new gas, procured by exposing nitrogen obtained from the air to the action of magnesium. This substance constitutes 1 per cent. of the atmosphere, and gives a spectrum with a single blue line much more intense than the corresponding blue line in the nitrogen spectrum; "Schuler's Yellow Modification of Arsenic," by Herbert McLeod; "Experiments on the Electrolysis of Glass," by William C. Roberts-Austen; "Experiments on the Relations between the Viscosity of Liquids and their Chemical Nature," by James W. Rodger: "Some Experiments on the Rate of Progress of Chemical Change," by John H. Gladstone; A New and Delicate Method for determining the Freezing Points of very Dilute Solutions," by Percy B. Lewis; "An Apparatus for measuring the Color Tint of Dilute Solutions," by W. W. Randall; "On the Distinction between Compounds and Homogeneous Mixtures," by Philip Hartog; New Evidence as to the Atomic Weight of Carbon," by G. A. Wanklyn: "A Simple Form of Apparatus for determining Carbonic Acid in the Air" and "The Constitution of the Acid Amides," by J. B. Cohen; "Certain Phenomena of Equilibrium during the Evaporation of Salt Solutions," by W. Meyerhoffer; "The Diffusion of very Dilute Solutions of Chlorine and Iodine," by A. P. Laurie; "On Dinitroso-derivatives of the Aromatic Series" and "On the Formation of Indazoles from Diazo-compounds," by E. Noelting: "A Method of obtaining a New Rhodamine," by Dr. Caro; "Investigations on Tautomerism," by J. W. Bruhl: and "On Tetrarsenites," by G. G. Henderson and A. R. Ewing. The following reports were presented: "Report of the Committee on an International Standard for the Analysis of Iron and Steel "; " Report of the Committee on Electrolytic

Methods of Quantitative Analysis"; "Report of the Committee on the Action of Light on Dyed Colors"; and Report of the Committee on Isomeric Naphthalene Derivatives."

C. Geology. Mr. Lazarus Fletcher, keeper of minerals in the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, presided over this section. His address was a summary of the important results obtained in mineralogy since 1832; also he contrasted the encouragement given to the study of mineralogy abroad with its neglect in England. He said that with the exception of the year 1862, when Prof. William H. Miller occupied the chair, no mineralogist had presided over the section since 1832, when Dr. William Whewell, then Professor of Mineralogy in Cambridge, was invited to draw up a report on the state of knowledge of the science, which report was published a year later. It was therefore desirable to consider the advances made in pure mineralogy since that time. The special topics then taken up one by one and discussed included: The systems of crystallization; crystallographic notation; rationality of indices and the law of zones; symmetry; 32 types of symmetry in crystals; simplicity of indices; complexity of indices; optical characters; optical anomalies; planes of gliding; piezo-electricity; pyro-electricity; electrical methods; and other physical characters. Brief mention was made of the increase of knowledge of the chemical relations of minerals, in which reference was made of the work done on the topaz by Prof. Samuel L. Penfield, of Yale University. The history of the development of instrumental appliances which have been placed at the disposal of the mineralogist since the time of Whewell was given. In concluding, he called attention to the position of mineralogy in Germany, where that science has been assiduously cultivated since 1766, when the scientific training of students in minerals was begun in Freiberg, Saxony, under Werner. To-day the laboratories and instruments available for the teaching of practical work are in many cases-notably in Strasburg, Munich, Göttingen, and Berlin-of an elaborate character. Contrasting this situation with that at home, he said: "In the universities of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland there is a grand total of two professorships of mineralogy-one of them in Cambridge, the other and younger one in Oxford. Further, the stipends are as low as they can be made," being £300 in Cambridge and less in Oxford. In conclusion, he said: "I shall not have broken the long silence in vain if I have made clear to you that, though the science of mineralogy is itself making great progress, we have hitherto given too little encouragement to its study in our own universities, and lag far behind both Germany and France in the recognition of its importance."

There were 43 papers read before this section, among which were the following:

"Points of Special Interest in the Geology of the Neighborhood of Oxford." by A. H. Green; "On the Terraced Hill Slopes of North Oxfordshire," by Edwin Walford; "On the Probable Range of the Coal Measures in Oxfordshire" and "On Some Iron Ore found in the Boring at Shakespeare Cliffs at Dover," by W. Boyd Dawkins; "The Cause of Earthquakes,” by Logan Lobley: "On Volcanic Subsidences in the North of Ireland," by Tempest Anderson; "Some Traces of Two Rivers of Tertiary Time in the Inner

Hebrides," by Sir Archibald Geikie; "A New Method of Measuring Crystals," by H. A. Miers; "The Pebbles of the Trias of Budleigh Sallerton and of Cannock Chase," by T. G. Bonney; "A Soda Felspar Rock at Dinas Head, Cornwall," by Howard Fox; "Notice of a New Fossil Fish from the Upper Old Red Sandstone of Elginshire," by R. H. Traquair; “Historical Account of the Discovery of the Cambrian Fauna in Britain," by H. Hicks; "Some Vertebrate Remains from the Rhaetic Strata of Britain," by Montagu Browne: "Some Forms of Saurian Footprints from the Cheshire Trias," by Osmund W. Jeffs; "On Some Limestone Deposits of the Glacial Period in Middlesex," by H. Hicks; "On Sporadic Glaciation in the Harlech Mountains," by J. F. Blake; "On the Probable Temperature of the Glacial Period," by T. G. Bonney; “An Examination of Croll's and Ball's Theory of Ice Ages and Genial Ages," by Edward P. Culverwell; "On the Mechanics of an Ice Sheet," by the Isle of Man" and "The Carboniferous Limestone, Triassic Sandstone, and Salt-bearing Marls of the North of the Isle of Man," by W. Boyd Dawkins. The following special reports were presented: "Report of the Committee of the Stonesfield Slate"; "Report of the Committee on Geological Photographs"; "Report of the Committee on Fossil Phyllopoda of the Palæozoic Rocks"; "Report of the Committee on the Eurypterid-bearing Deposits of the Pentlands"; Report of the Committee on Erratic Blocks"; "Report of the Committee on the High-level Shell-bearing Deposits of Clara, the Elbolton Cave, and the Calf Hole Cave"; and the "Report of the Cominittee on Earth Tremors."

J. F. Blake: "The Permian Strata of the North of

[ocr errors]

D. Biology. This section was presided over by Prof. Isaac B. Balfour, Professor of Botany in the University of Edinburgh. His address was chiefly devoted to the advocacy of systematic and scientific forestry in Great Britain. In opening his address he referred to the Oxford School of Biologists and the loss that it had recently suffered in the death of Prof. George J. Romanes. Concerning forestry, which was the chief subject of his address, he said, "It is a division of rural economy which ought to be the basis of a large national industry.' Great Britain is specially well adapted for tree growing. Forests are of importance to a country, firstly, as a source of timber and fuel, and, secondly, on account of their hygienic and climatic influences. These aspects were discussed, and Dr. Nisbet was quoted as authority for the statement, "Where the rainfall is over forty inches it is undesirable to increase the forest area." The economic importance of sylviculture was clearly shown by a statement of the value of imports of forest produce, much of which could be produced at home. The amount of state ownership of forests on Continental Europe was of value in preserving the timber supply, but in England this element has been largely ignored. While it is true that, owing to the condition of land tenure, tenants were not disposed to raise timber which would not result in any advantage to themselves, still recent legislation had tended to improve this condition of things. Lack of knowledge as well as the great length of time necessary for returns operated against raising timber. Ordinary crops yield returns in a year, but cultivating woodlands would yield returns only to posterity. The state should set an example. It ought to treat its own forest areas in a reasonable and scientific manner, instead of leaving them as objects of scientific scorn. The

area of state ownership should be increased, and forest stations should be established. The profits from such areas would more than repay any outlay. The diffusion of accurate knowledge is, after all, the true solution of the question. Landowners must be convinced that a profitable investment for their capital is to be found in woodlands. The literature of the subject is improving, but more standard manuals are necessary. Chairs of forestry in the universities and schools of forestry are needed. For teachers, it would be necessary to draw upon the Indian Forest Service, for they could not be found in Great Britain. Botanists must be the apostles of forestry, and forestry in turn will react upon their treatment of botany. Botany can not thrive in a purely introspective atmosphere. It tional life, and the path by which it may at the can only live by keeping in touch with the napresent time best do this is that offered by forestry."

Owing to the large number of papers before this section, it divided itself into a subsection of zoology, that met under the presidency of Prof. Ray Lankester, and a subsection of botany. under the presidency of Prof. I. B. Balfour. The papers were as follow:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"The Didermic Blastocyst of the Mammalia," by A. A. W. Hubrecht; "Ancestry of the Chordata," by Walter Garstang; "The Rudimentary Scales of the Spoonbill Sturgeon (Polyodan)," by W. E. Collinge; sues," by T. Johnson; "The Development of the CysAlgae which deposit Calcareous Matter in their Tistocarp in Polysiphonia Nigrescens," by H. Phillips; "On the Relations of Protoplasm," and "On the Origin and Morphological Signification of the Notochord," by E. Van Beneden; "On the Periodic Variation in the Number of Chromosomes," by E. Strasburger; "On Chlorophyll in Animals," by Ray Lankester;"On the Carpus of the Greenland Right Whale compared with that of Fin Whales," by John Struthers; "On the Species of Amphioxus," by Miss Kirkaldy; "Chalazogamic Amentiferæ," by Miss Benson; "On the Hygroscopic Dispersal of Fruits in Certain Labiata," by Miss Pertz; The Hybridization of Orchids," by James Clark; "Temperature as a Factor in the Distribution of Marine Animals," by Otto Mars; "Marine Fish Hatching and the Dunbar Establishment of the Fishery Board for Scotland," by W. C. McIntosh; "Correlation between Root and Shoot," by L. King: "On the Sensitiveness of the Root Tip," by Prof. Pfeffer; "Pachytheca," by George Murray; "Structure of Fossil Plants," by Dr. Scott;"A Thames Bacillus," by H. Marshall Ward; "Influence of Light on Diastase," by J. R. Green; "Geological History of Darwinism," by D'Arey Thompson; "Serial Insects the Cycads," by A. C. Seward; "Some Difficulties of and Evolution." by Charles V. Riley, of Washington, D. C.; "The Phenomena of Mimiery in Butterflies," by F. A. Dixey; "A Plea for a Suspension of Judgment regarding the Transmission of Acquired Characters," by Henry F. Osborn, of New York city; "On the Wing of the Archæopteryx," by W. P. Pycroft: "The Origin of the Sexual Organs in the Pteridophyta," by Douglas H. Campbell; "The Function of the Nucleus," by E. Zacharias; and "Sterilization and a Theory of the Stropilus in the Archegoniata," by F. O. Bower. The following reports were also presented, viz.: "On the Naples Zoological Station "; "On the Plymouth Biological Laboratory"; "On the Zoology of the Sandwich Islands"; "On the Zoology and Botany of the West Indies" dex Generum of Specierum Animalium "; " On the Migrations of Birds as observed at Lighthouses"; "On the Legislative Protection of Wild Birds' Eggs"; "On Experimenting with a Deep-sea Tow Net for

[ocr errors]

The In

opening and closing Under Water"; "On the Marine Zoology of the Irish Sea"; and "On Collecting Facts and Observations on Telegony."

E. Geography. This section was presided over by Captain W. J. L. Wharton, of the royal navy and hydrographer to the Admiralty, who devoted his address to a review of the present state of our knowledge concerning the sea. the outset he mentioned that Mr. John Murray, after a laborious computation, has shown that the

At

cubical extent of the ocean is fourteen times that of the dry land. In considering the subject of ocean currents, he pointed out that it was doubtful whether we shall ever much advance in our knowledge of this subject except in small details. It may now be safely held that the prime motor of the surface currents is the wind-not by any means the wind that may blow, and even persistently blow, over the portion of water that is moving more or less rapidly in any direction, but the great winds which blow usually from the same general quarter over vast areas. These combined with deflection from the land settle the main surface circulation. The velocity of the Gulf Stream and the long and patient investigation by officers of the United States Coast and Geodotic Survey was mentioned. Observations of other currents were described and deductions made from the results obtained. Concerning the depth of the ocean, he said the deepest soundings known were obtained 110 miles outside the Kurile Islands, where there are 4,655 fathoms, or 27,930 feet, of water. The mean depth of the northern Pacific Ocean is over 2,500 fathoms, and that of the southern Pacific Ocean 2,400 fathoms. The Indian Ocean has a mean depth of a little over 2,000 fathoms, while the Atlantic has a mean depth of 2.200 fathoms. The temperature of the ocean is an interesting point. That of the surface is most important to us, as it is largely on it that the climates of different parts of the world depend. Great differences of surface temperature prevail in localities in which storms are generated. Wind driving off a shore drifts the surface water before it. This explains why on all western coasts of the great continents off which the trade winds blow we find an almost absolute dearth of coral. Of the waves that continually disturb the face of the sea, the greatest and most regular is the tidal wave. The researches of Lord Kelvin and Prof. Darwin on this subject were referred to, and they afford an explanation of the great and sudden waves that have caused devastation and great loss of life on the shores of western South America. Observations on the mean level of the sea show that it constantly varies-in some places more than others. This is frequently accounted for by the action of the wind, but in some instances can not as yet be explained. The value and necessity of accurate coast charts was mentioned, and the statement made that the main efforts of the hydrographer were directed to the improvement of charts for safe navigation, and the time that can be spared to the elucidation of purely scientific problems is limited."

Among the papers read before this popular section were:

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and Albania," by W. H. Cozens-Hardy; “A Bathymetrical Survey of the English Lakes," by Hugh R. Mill: "Methods of surveying and constructing Bathymetrical Maps of the French Lakes," by M. E. Delebecque; "The Currents of the Faroe Shetland channel and the North Sea," by H. N. Dickson; Geographical Photography," by John Thomson; "A New Light on the Discovery of America," by H. Yule Oldham; Explorations in the Sierra Madre of Mexico," by Osbert H. Howarth: "A Visit to British New Guinea," by Miss Frances Baildon; "Bhutan and the Eastern Himalaya," by H. H. GodwinAusten; "On a Climatology of Tropical Africa," by E. G. Ravenstein; "On the Expansion of the Royal Geographical Society's Rules for the Spelling of Foreign Names," by G. G. Chisholm; "A Journey in the Libyan Desert," by Weld Blundell; "Researches by the Prince of Monaco in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean during the Summer of 1894," by J. T. Buchanan; "On the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition," by A. Montefiore; "Geographical and Bathymetical Distribution of Marine Organisms," by John Murray; "The Geography of the Hadramaut in South Arabia," by Theodore Bent; and “ Geography of Lower Nubia," by Semers Clarke. A "Report of the Committee on Antarctic Exploration sented by Hugh R. Mill.

[ocr errors]

was pre

F. Economic Science and Statistics.-The presiding officer of this section was Prof. C. F. Bastable, of Dublin, whose address consisted of a review of the progress in economic science since 1860, when the British Association met last in Oxford. He said: What is usually known as orthodox political economy had taken its final shape and reached its highest point of practical influence just at the time when Nassau W. Senior, one of its most typical expositors, was chosen to preside over Section F at its first meeting here. Three causes have operated in bringing about the change in the position of the science, viz.: (1) The influence of foreign, and chiefly German, workers in the same field; (2) the profound though peaceful political revolution by which power has been transferred to the working classes; and (3) the growth of the doctrine of evolution, which has been more potent in its effects on the social than even on the biological sciences. Still, the amended economic doctrine, as it appears to-day, seems to require further expansion and readjustment. Questions of value, money, credit, and foreign trade are more affected by social conditions than the theoretic economist will formally admit. Only through study of these influences can the materials needed for the correct theoretical solution be obtained and due weight given to the several elements involved. Attention has often been called to the neglect of the problems connected with transportation by English writers. We possess no recent works on the great subjects of colonization and commercial crises that can bear comparison with the French and German studies. În reference to the study of economics abroad, he said: "In the United States, where economies has taken so prominent a position, courses in social science are being established, and one university has gone so far as to create a chair of general sociology, in addition to the special ones assigned to different branches of economics and polities. France has long been known as the home of economic orthodoxy." Also similar indications are to be found in the movement of thought among economists in other European nations. It is highly desirable that certain pro

« EdellinenJatka »