Obrazy na stronie


, } British Association. The President's Address. Sept. 8, 1876.


of three and a half years, is a subject of general congratuTHE CHEMICAL NEWS. lation. Our knowledge of the varied forms of animal life,

and of the remains of animal life, which occur, it is now

known, over large tracts of the bed of the ocean, is chiefly VOL. XXXIV. No. 876.

derived from the observations made in the “ Challenger" and in the previous deep-sea expeditions which were organised by Sir Wyville Thomson and Dr. Carpenter.

The physical observations, and especially those on the BRITISH ASSOCIATION

temperature of the ocean, which were systematically con. ducted throughout the whole voyage of the “ Challenger,"'.

have already supplied valuable data for the resolution of ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE, the great question of ocean-currents. Upon this question,

which has been discussed with singular ability, but under Glasgow Meeting, SepteMBBR 6, 1876.

different aspects, by Dr. Carpenter and Mr. Croll, I cannot attempt here to enter; nor will I venture to forestall,

by any crude analysis of my own, the narrative which Sir INAUGURAL ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT,

Wy ville Thomson has kindly undertaken to give of his THOMAS ANDREWS, M.D., LL.D., F.R.S., own achievements and of those of his staff during their Hon.F.R.S.E., M.R.I.A., &c.

long scientific cruise.

Another expedition, which has more than fulfilled the

expectations of the public, is Lieutenant Cameron's re. Six and thirty years have passed over since the British markable journey across the continent of Africa. It is by Association for the Advancement of Science held its tenth such enterprises, happily conceived and ably executed, meeting in this ancient city, and twenty-one years have that we may hope at no distant day to see the Arab slave elapsed since it last assembled here. The representatives dealer replaced by the legitimate trader, and the depressed of two great Scottish families presided on these occasions; populations of Africa gradually brought within the pale of and those who had the advantage of hearing the address civilised life. of the Duke of Argyll in 1855 will recall the gratification From the North Polar Expedition no intelligence has they enjoyed while listening to the thoughtful sentiments been received ; nor can we expect for some time to hear whích reflected a mind of rare cultivation and varied whether it has succeeded in the crowning object of Arctic acquirements. On the present occasion I have under. enterprise. In the opinion of many, the results, scientific taken, not without anxiety, the duty of filling an office at or other, to be gained by a full survey of the Arctic regions first accepted by one whom Scotland and the Association can never be of such value as to justify the risk and cost would alike have rejoiced to see in this Chair, not only as which must be incurred. But it is not by cold calculations a tribute to his own scientific services, but also as recog- of this kind that great discoveries are made or great enternising in him the worthy representative of that long line prises achieved. There is an inward and irrepressible of able men who have upheld the pre-eminent position impulse—in individuals called a spirit of adventure, in attained by the Scottish schools of medicine in the middle nations a spirit of enterprise—which impels mankind of the last century, when the mantle of Boerhaave fell forward to explore every part of the world we inhabit, upon Monro and Cullen.

however inhospitable or difficult of access; and if the The task of addressing this Association, always a diffi- country claiming the foremost place among maritime cult one, is not rendered easier when the meeting is held nations shrink from an undertaking because it is perilous, in a place which presents the rare combination of being other countries will no: be slow to seize the post of at once an ancient seat of learning and a great centre of honour. If it be possible for man to reach the poles of the modern industry. Time will not permit me to refer to the earth, whether north or south, the feat must sooner or distinguished men who in early days have left here their later be accomplished; and the country of the successful mark behind them; and I regret it the more, as there is a adventurers will be thereby raised in the scale of nations. growing tendency to exaggerate the value of later dis- The passage of Venus over the sun's disk is an event coveries, and to underrate the achievements of those who which cannot be passed over without notice, although have lived before us. Confining our attention to a period many of the circumstances connected with it have already reaching back to little more than a century, it appears become historical. It was to observe this rare astronothat during that time three new sciences arose, at least as mical phenomenon, on the occasion of its former occur. far as any science can be said to have a distinct origin, in rence in 1769, that Captain Cook's memorable voyage to this city of Glasgow-Experimental Chemistry, Political the Pacific was undertaken, in the course of which he Econoiny, and Mechanical Engineering. It is now con- explored the coast of New South Wales, and added that ceded that Black laid the foundation of modern chemistry; great country to the possessions of the British Crown. and no one has ever disputed the claims of Adam Smith As the transit of Venus gives the most exact method of and of Watt to having rot only founded, but largely built calculating the distance of the earth from the sun, exup, the two great branches of knowledge with which their tensive preparations were made on the last occasion for names will always be inseparably connected. It was here observing it at selected stations—from Siberia in northern, that Dr. Thomas Thomson established the first school of to Kerguelen's Land in southern latitudes. The great Practical Chemistry in Great Britain, and that Sir W. maritime powers vied with each other to turn the opporHooker gave to the chair of Botany a European celebrity; tunity to the best account; and Lord Lindsay had the it was here that Graham discovered the law of gaseous spirit to equip, at his own expense, the most complete diffusion and the properties of poly basic acids; it was expedition which left the shores of this country. Some here that Stenhouse and Anderson, Rankine and J. of the most valuable stations in southern latitudes were Thomson made some of their finest discoveries; and it desert islands, rarely free from mist or tempest, and with. was here that Sir William Thomson conducted his physico-out harbours or shelter of any kind. The landing of the mathematical investigations, and invented those exquisite instruments was in many cases attended with great diffi. instruments, valuable alike for ocean telegraphy and for culty and even personal risk. Photography lent its aid to scientific use, which are among the finest trophies of record automatically the progress of the transit; and M. recent science. Nor must the names of Tennant, Mackin. Janssen contrived a revolving plate, by means of which tosh, Neilson, Walter Crum, Young, and Napier be from fifty to sixty images of the edge of the sun could be omitted, who, with many others in this place, have made taken at short intervals during the critical periods of the large and valuable additions to practical science.

phenomenon. The safe return of the “Challenger," after an absence The observations of M. Janssen at Nagasaki, in Japan, 98

British Association.-The President's Address.


Sept. 8, 1876.

In 1872,

were of special interest. Looking through a violet-blue a high temperature. Mr. Lockyer is also engaged on a glass he saw Venus, two or three minutes before the new and greatly extended map of the solar spectrum. transit began, having the appearance of a pale round spot Spectrum analysis has lately led to the discovery of a near the edge of the sun. Immediately after contact ihe new metal-gallium-the fifth whose presence has been segment of the planet's disk, as seen on the face of the first indicated by that powerful agent. This discovery is sun, formed, with what remained of this spot, a complete due to M. Lecoq de Boisbaudran, already favourably circle. The pale spot when first seen was, in short, a known by a work on the application of the spectroscope partial eclipse of the solar corona, which was thus proved to chemical analysis. beyond dispute to be a luminous atmosphere surrounding Our knowledge of aërolites has of late years been greatly the sun.

Indications were at the same time obtained of increased; and I cannot occupy a few moments of your the existence of an atmosphere around Venus.

time more usefully than by briefly referring to the subThe mean distance of the earth from the sun was long ject. So recently as 1860 the most remarkable meteoric supposed to have been fixed within a very small limit of fall on record, not even excepting that of L'Aigle, ocerror at about 95,000,000 miles. The accuracy of this curred near the village of New Concord, in Ohio. On a number had already been called in question on theoretical day when no thunder-clouds were visible, loud sounds grounds by Hansen and Leverrier, when Foucault, in were heard resembling claps of thunder, followed by a 1862, decided the question by an experiment of extraordi- large fall of meteoric stones,

some of which were distinály nary delicacy. Taking advantage of the revolving-mirror, seen to strike the earth. One stone, above 50 lbs. in with which Wheatstone had some time before enriched weight, buried itself to the depth of two feet in the ground, the physical sciences, Foucault succeeded in measuring and when dug out was found to be still warm. the absolute velocity of light in space by experiments on another remarkable meteorite, at first seen as a brilliant a beam of light, reflected backwards and forwards, within star with a luminous train, burst near Orvinio, in Italy, a tube little more than thirteen feet in length. Combin. / and six fragments of it were afterwards collected. ing the result thus obtained with what is called by astro- Isolated masses of metallic iron, or rather of an alloy of nomers the constant of aberration, Foucault calculated iron and nickel, similar in composition and properties to the distance of the earth from the sun, and found it to be the iron usually diffused in meteoric stones, have been one-thirtieth part, or about 3,000,000 miles, less than the found here and there on the surface of the earth, some of commonly received number. This conclusion has lately large size, as one described by Pallas, which weighed been confirmed by M. Cornu, from a new determination about two-thirds of a ton. Of the meteoric origin of he has made of the velocity of light according to the these masses of iron there is little room for doubt, method of Fizeau; and in complete accordance with these although no record exists of their fall. Sir Edward results are the investigations of Leverrier, founded on a Sabine, whose life has been devoted with rare fidelity to comparison with theory of the observed motions of the the pursuit of science, and to whose untiring efforts this sun and of the planets Venus and Mars. It remains to Association largely owes the position it now occupies, be seen whether the recent observations of the transit of was the pioneer of the newer discoveries in meteoric Venus, when reduced, will be sufficiently concordant to science. "Eight and fifty years ago he visited, with Capfix with even greater precision the true distance of the tain Ross, the northern shores of Baffin's Bay, and made earth from the sun.

the interesting discovery that the knife-blades used by the In this brief reference to one of the finest results of Esquimaux in the vicinity of the Arctic highlands were modern science, I have mentioned a great name whose formed of meteoric iron. 'This observation was afterwards loss England has recently had to deplore, and in connec- fully confirmed ; and scattered blocks of meteoric iron tion with it the name of an illustrious physicist whose have been found from time to time around Baffin's Bay. premature death deprived France, a few years ago, of one But it was not till 1870 that the meteoric treasures of of her brightest ornaments—Wheatstone and Foucault, Baffin's Bay were truly discovered. In that year Nordensever to be remembered for their marvellous power of kiöld found, at a part of the shore difficult of approach eliciting, like Galileo and Newton, from familiar pheno- even in moderate weather, enormous blocks of meteoric mena, the highest truths of nature !

iron, the largest weighing nearly 20 tons, imbedded in a The discovery of Huggins that some of the fixed stars ridge of basaltic rock. The interest of this observation is are moving towards and others receding from our system, greatly enhanced by the circumstance that these masses has been fully confirmed by a careful series of observa- of meteoric iron, like the basalt with which they are assotions lately made by Mr. Christie in the Observatory of ciated, do not belong to the present geological epoch, but Greenwich. Mr. Huggins has not been able to dis- must have fallen long before the actual arrangement of cover any indications of a proper motion in the nebulæ ; land and sea existed-during, in short, the middle but this may arise from the motion of translation being Tertiary, or Miocene period of Lyell. The meteoric less than the method would discover. Few achievements origin of these iron masses from Ovifak has been called in in the history of science are more wonderful than the question by Lawrence Smith; and it is no doubt possible measurement of the proper motions of the fixed stars, that they may have been raised by upheaval from the from observing the relative position of two delicate lines interior of the earth. I have indeed myself shown by a of light in the field of the telescope.

magneto-chemical process that metallic iron, in particles The observation of the American astronomer Young, so fine that they have never yet been actually seen, is that bright lines, corresponding to the ordinary lines of everywhere diffused through the Miocene basalt of Slieve Fraunhofer reversed, may be seen in the lower strata of Mish in Antrim, and may likewise be discovered by carethe solar atmosphere for a few moments during a total ful search in almost all igneous and in many metamorphic eclipse, has been confirmed by Mr. Stone, on the occa- rocks. These observations have since been verified by sion of the total eclipse of the sun which occurred some Reuss in the case of the Bohemian basalts.

But, as time ago in South Africa. In the outer corona, or higher regards the native iron of Ovifak, the weight of evidence regions of the sun's atmosphere, a single green line only appears to be in favour of the conclusion, at which M. was seen, the same which had been already described by Daubrée, after a careful discussion of the subject, has Young.

arrived--that it is really of meteoric origin. This Ovifak I can here refer only in general terms to the observa- | iron is also remarkable from containing a considerable tions of Roscoe and Schuster on the absorption bands of amount of carbon, partly combined with the iron, partly potassium and sodium, and to the investigations of diffused through the metallic mass in a form resembling Lockyer on the absorptive powers of metallic and metal. coke. In connection with this subject, I must refer to the loidal vapours at different temperatures. From the able and exhaustive memoirs of Maskelyne on the Busti vapour of calcium the latter has obtained two wholly and other aërolites, to the discovery of vanadium by R. distinct spectra, one belonging to a low, and the other to Apjohn in the meteoric iron, to the interesting observa.

, } Sept. 8, 1876. British Association.The President's Address.

99 tions of Sorby, and to the researches of Daubrée, Wöhler, , names of Weber, Helmholtz, Thomson, and Clerk Max Lawrence Smith, Tschermak, and others.

well. The work of the latter on electricity is an original The important services which the Kew Observatory has essay worthy in every way of the great reputation and of rendered to meteorology and to solar physics have been the clear and far seeing intellect of its author. fully recognised; and Mr. Gassiot has had the gratifica- Among recent investigations I must refer to Prof. Tait's tion of witnessing the final success of his long and noble discovery of consecutive neutral points in certain thermoefforts to place this observatory upon a permanent footing. electric junctions, for which he was lately awarded the A physical observatory for somewhat similar objects, but Keith prize. This discovery has been the result of an on a larger scale, is in course of erection, under the guid- elaborate investigation of the properties of thermo-electric ance of M. Janssen, at Fontenay, in France, and others currents, and is specially interesting in reference to the are springing up or already exist in Germany and Italy. theory of dynamical ele&ricity. Nor can I omit to mention It is earnestly to be hoped that this country will not lag the very interesting and original experiments of Dr. Kerr behind in providing physical observatories on a scale on the dielectric state, from which it appears that when worthy of the nation and commensurate with the import- ) electricity of high tension is passed through diele&rics, ance of the object. On this question I cannot do better, a change of molecular arrangement occurs, slowly in the than refer to the high authority of Dr. Balfour Stewart, case of solids, quickly in the case of liquids, and that the and to the views he expressed in his able address last year lines of electric force are in some cases lines of comto the Physical Section.

pression, in other cases lines of extension. Weather telegraphy, or the reporting by telegraph the Of the many discoveries in physical science due to Sir state of the weather at selected stations to a central office, William Grove, the earliest and not the least important so that notice of the probable approach of storms may be is the battery which bears his name, and is to this day given to the seaports, has become in this country an the most powerful of all voltaic arrangements; but with organised system; and considering the little progress a Grove's battery of 50 or even 100 cells in vigorous meteorology has made as a science, the results may be action, the spark will not pass through an appreciable disconsidered to be on the whole satisfactory. Of the warn- tance of cold air. By using a very large number of cells, ings issued of late years, four out of five were justified by carefully insulated and charged with water. Mr. Gassiot the occurrence of gales or strong winds. Few storms succeeded in obtaining a short spark through air; and occurred for which no warnings had been given ; but lately. De la Rue and Müller have constructed a large unfortunately among these were some of the heaviest chloride of silver battery giving freely sparks through gales of the period. The stations from which daily re- cold air, which, when a column of pure water is interposed ports are sent to the meteorological office in London in the circuit, accurately resemble those of the common embrace the whole coast of Western Europe, including electrical machine. The length of the spark increasing the Shetland Isles. It appears that atmospheric disturb- nearly as the square of the number of cells, it has been ances seldom cross the Atlantic without being greatly calculated that with 100,000 elements of this battery the altered in character, and that the origin of most of our discharge should take place through a distance of no less storms lies eastward of the longitude of Newfoundland. than 8 feet in air.

As regards the velocity of the wind, the cup-anemometer In the solar beam we have an agent of surpassing of Dr. Robinson has fully realised the expectations of its power, the investigation of whose properties by Newton discoverer; and the venerable astronomer of Armagh has ) forms an epoch in the history of experimental science been engaged during the past summer, with all the ardour | scarcely less important than the discovery of the law of of youth, in a course of laborious experiments to deter. gravitation in the history of physical astronomy. Three mine the constants of his instrument.' From seven years actions characterise the solar beam, or, indeed, more or observations at the Observatory of Armagh he has found less that of any luminous body—the heating, the physiothat the mean velocity of the wind is greatest in the logical, and the chemical. In the ordinary solar beam S.S.W. o&ant and least in the opposite one, and that the we can modify the relative amount of these actions by amount of wind attains a maximum in January, after passing it through different media, and we can thus have which it steadily decreases, with one slight exception, till luminous rays with little heating or little chemical action. July, augmenting again till the end of the year.

In the case of the moon's rays it required the highest Passing to the subject of electricity, it is with pleasure skill on the part of Lord Rosse, even with all the resources that I have to announce the failure of a recent attempt to of the Observatory of Parsonstown, to investigate their deprive Oerstedt of his great discovery. It is gratifying heating properties, and to show that the surface of our thus to find high reputations vindicated, and names which satellite facing the earth passes, during every lunation, all men love to honour transmitted with undiminished through a greater range of temperature than the difference lustre to posterity. At a former meeting of this Associa: between the freezing- and boiling-points of water. tion, remarkable for an unusual attendance of distinguished But if, instead of taking an ordinary ray of light, we foreigners, the central figure was Oerstedt. On that oc: analyse it as Newton did by the prism, and isolate a very casion Sir John Herschel, in glowing language, compared fine line of the spectrum (theoretically a line of infinite Oerstedt's discovery to the blessed dew of heaven which tenuity), that is to say, if we take a ray of definite reonly the master-mind could draw down, but which it was frangibility, it will be found impossible, by screens or for others to turn to account and use for the fertilisation otherwise, to alter its properties. "It was his clear percepof the earth. To Franklin, Volta, Coulomb, Oerstedt, tion of the truth of this principle that led Stokes to his Ampère, Faraday, Seebeck, and Ohm, are due the funda- great discovery of the cause of epipolic dispersion, in mental discoveries of modern electricity-a science whose which he showed that many bodies had the power of abapplications in Davy's hands led to grander results than sorbing dark rays of high refrangibility and of emitting alchemist ever dreamed of, and in the hands of others them as luminous rays of lower refrangibility,--of ab(among whom Wheatstone, Morse, and Thomson occupy sorbing, in short, darkness, and of emitting it as light. the foremost place) to the marvels of the ele&ric tele. It is not, indeed, an easy matter in all cases to say whether graph. When we proceed from the actual phenomena of a given effect is due to the action of heat or light; and electricity to the molecular conditions upon which those the question which of these forces is the efficient agent in phenomena depend, we are confronted with questions as causing the motion of the tiny disks in Crookes's radiorecondite as any with which the physicist has had to deal, meter has given rise to a good deal of discussion. The but towards the solution of which the researches of Fara. answer to this question involves the same principles as day have contributed the most precious materials. The those by which the image traced on the daguerreotype theory of eleátrical and magnetic adion occupied formerly plate, or the decomposition of carbonic acid by the leaves the powerful minds of Poisson, Green, and Gauss; and of plants, is referred to the action of light and not of among the living it will surely not be invidious to cite the heat; and applying these principles to the experiments

100 British Association.The President's Address. { ,

Sept. 8, 1876. made with the radiometer, the weight of evidence appears, advance without having to deal with physical principles ; to be in favour of the view that the repulsion of the and it is to Boyle, Dalton, Gay-Lussac, and Graham that blackened surfaces of the disks is due to a thermal reaction we owe the discovery of the mechanical laws which occurring in a highly rarefied medium. I have myself govern the properties of gases and vapours. Some of had the pleasure of witnessing many of Mr. Crookes's these laws have of late been made the subject of searching experiments, and I cannot sufficiently express my admi- inquiry, which has fully confirmed their accuracy, when ration of the care and skill with which he has pursued the body under examination approaches to what has not this investigation. The remarkable repulsions he has inaptly been designated the ideal gaseous state. But when observed in the most perfect vacua hitherto attained are gases are examined under varied conditions of pressure interesting, not only as having led to the construction of and temperature, it is found that these laws are only par. a beautiful instrument, but as being likely, when the ticular cases of more general laws, and that the laws of subject is fully investigated, to give valuable data for the the gaseous state, as it exists in nature, although they theory of molecular actions.

may be enunciated in a precise and definite form, are very A singular property of light, discovered a short time different from the simple expressions which apply to the ago by Mr. Willoughby Smith, is its power of diminishing ideal condition. The new laws become in their turn in. the electrical resistance of the element selenium. This applicable when from the gaseous state proper we pass to property has been ascertained to belong chiefly to the lu- those intermediate conditions which, it has been shown, minous rays on the red side of the spearum, being nearly link with unbroken continuity the gaseous and liquid absent in the violet or more refrangible rays and also in states. As we approach the liquid state, or even when heat-rays of low refrangibility. The recent experiments we reach it, the problem becomes more complicated; but of Prof. W. G. Adams have fully established the accuracy its solution even in these cases will, it may confidently be of the remarkable observation, first made by Lord Rosse, expected, yield to the powerful means of investigation we that the action appeared to vary inversely as the simple now possess. distance of the illuminating source.

Among the more important researches made of late in Switzerland sent, some years ago, as its representative physical chemistry, I may mention those of F. Weber on to this country the celebrated De la Rive, whose scientific the specific heat of carbon and the allied elements, of life formed lately the subject of an eloquent éloge from Berthelot on thermo-chemistry, of Bunsen on spectrum the pen of M. Dumas. On this occasion we have to wel. analysis, of Wüllner on the band- and line-spectra of the come, in General Menabrea, a distinguished representative gases, and of Guthrie on the cryohydrates. both of the kingdom of Italy and of Italian science. His Cosmical chemistry is a science of yesterday, and yet great work on the determination of the pressures and ten- it already abounds in facts of the highest interest. Hysions in an elastic system is of too abstruse a character drogen, which, if the absolute zero of the physicist does to be discussed in this address; but the principle it con- not bar the way, we may hope yet to see in the metallic tains may be briefly stated in the following words :- form, appears to be everywhere present in the universe. "When any elastic system places itself in equilibrium It exists in enormous quantity in the solar atmosphere, under the action of external forces, the work developed by and it has been discovered in the atmospheres of the fixed the internal forces is a minimum." General Menabrea stars. It is present, and is the only known element of has, however, other and special claims upon us here, as whose presence we are certain, in those vast sheets of the friend to whom Babbage entrusted the task of making ignited gas of which the nebulæ proper are composed. known to the world the principles of his analytical ma. Nitrogen is also widely diffused among the stellar bodies, chine-a gigantic conception, the effort to realise which and carbon has been discovered in more than one of the it is known was one of the chief objects of Babbage's comets. On the other hand, a prominent line in the later life. The latest development of this conception is spectrum of the Aurora Borealis has not been identified to be found in the mechanical integrator of Prof. J. with that of any known element; and the question may Thomson, in which motion is transmitted, according to a be asked-Does a new element, in a highly rarefied state, new kinematic principle, from a disk or cone to a cylinder exist in the upper regions of our atmosphere ? or are we, through the intervention of a loose ball, and in Sir W. with Ångström, to attribute this line to a fluorescent or Thomson's machine for the mechanical integration of phosphorescent light produced by the ele&rical discharge differential equations of the second order. In the exqui- to which the aurora is due ? This question awaits further site tidal machine of the latter we have an instrument by / observations before it can be definitely settled, as does means of which the height of the tide at a given port also that of the source of the remarkable green line which can be accurately predicted for all times of the day and is everywhere conspicuous in the solar corona. night. The attraction-meter of Siemens is an instrument of

I must here pause for a moment to pay a passing tribute great delicacy for measuring horizontal attractions, which

to the memory of Ångström, whose great work on the it is proposed to use for recording the attractive influences solar spectrum will always remain as one

of the finest of the sun and moon, upon which the tides depend. The monuments of the science of our period. The influence, bathometer of the same able physicist is another remark- indeed, which the labours of Ångström and of Kirchhoff able instrument, in which the constant force of a spring have exerted on the most interesting portion of later phyis opposed to the variable pressure of a column of mer- sics can scarcely be exaggerated; and it may be truly cury. By an easy observation of the bathometer on ship- said that there are few men whose loss will be longer felt board, the depth of the sea may be approximately ascer- or more deeply deplored than that of the illustrious astro. tained without the use of a sounding.line.

nomer of Upsala. The Loan Exhibition of Apparatus at Kensington has I cannot pursue this subject further, nor refer to the been a complete success, and cannot fail to be useful, other terrestrial elements which are present in the solar both in extending a knowledge of scientific subjects and and stellar atmospheres. Among the many elements that in promoting scientific research throughout the country. make up the ordinary aërolite, not one has been discovered Unique in character, but most interesting and instructive, which does not occur upon this earth. On the whole we this exhibition will, it is to be hoped, be the precursor of arrive at the grand conclusion that this mighty universe a permanent museum of scientific objects, which, like the is chiefly built up of the same materials as the globe we present exhibition, shall be a record of old as well as a inhabit. representation of new inventions.

In the application of science to the useful purposes of 'It is often difficult to draw a distinct line of separation life, chemistry and mechanics have run an honourable between the physical and chemical sciences; and it is race. It was in the valley of the Clyde that the chief perhaps doubtful whether the division is not really an arti- industry of this country received, within the memory of ficial one. The chemist cannot, indeed, make any large many here present, an extraor jinary impulse from the

, }

British Association.The President's Address.
Sept. 8, 1876.

101 application by Neilson of the hot blast to the smelting of machine, the influence of this agent upon our supply of iron. The Bessemer steel process and the regenerative animal food from distant countries will undoubtedly be furnace of Siemens are later applications of high scien- | immense. The ice-machine is already employed in tific principles to the same industry. But there is ample paraffin works and in large breweries; and the curing or work yet to be done. The fuel consumed in the manu- salting of meat is now largely conducted in vast chambers, facture of iron, as, indeed, in every furnace where coal is maintained throughout the summer at a constant temused, is greatly in excess of what theory indicates; and perature by a thick covering of ice. the clouds of smoke which darken the atmosphere of our I have now completed this brief review, rendered diffimanufacturing towns, and even of whole districts of cult by the abundance, not by the lack of materials. Even country, are a clear indication of the waste, but only of a confining our attention to the few branches of science upon small portion of the waste, arising from imperfect com- which I have ventured to touch, and omitting altogether bustion. The depressing effect of this atmosphere upon the whole range of pure chemistry, it is with regret that I the working population can scarcely be overrated. Their find myself constrained to make only a simple reference to pale- I had almost said etiolated-faces are a sure indi- the important work of Cayley on the Mathematical Theory cation of the absence of the vivifying influence of the of Isomers, and to elaborate memoirs which have recently solar rays, so essential to the maintenance of vigorous appeared in Germany on the reflection of heat- and lighthealth. The chemist can furnish a simple test of this rays, and on the specific heat and conducting power of state of the atmosphere in the absence of ozone, the gases for heat, by Knoblauch, E. Wiedemann, Winkelactive form of oxygen, from the air of our large towns. mann, and Buff. At some future day the efforts of science to isolate, by a The decline of science in England formed the theme, cheap and available process, the oxygen of the air for in- fifty years ago, of an elaborate essay by Babbage; but the dustrial purposes may be rewarded with success. The brilliant discoveries of Faraday soon after wiped off the effect of such a discovery would be to reduce the con- reproach. I will not venture to say that the alarm which sumption of fuel to a fractional part of its present has lately arisen, here and elsewhere, on the same subject amount; and although the carbonic acid would remain, will prove to be equally groundless. The duration of the smoke and carbonic oxide would disappear. But an every great outburst of human activity, whether in art, in abundant supply of pure oxygen is not now within our literature, or in science, has always been short, and exreach; and in the meantime may I venture to suggest perimental science has made gigantic advances during that in many localities the waste products of the furnace the last three centuries. The evidence of any great failure might be carried off to a distance from the busy human is not, however, very manifest, at least in the physical hive by a few horizontal flues of large dimensions, termi, sciences. The journal of Poggendorff, which has long nating in lofty chimneys on a hill-side or distant plain? been a faithful record of the progress of physical research A system of this kind has long been employed at the throughout the world, shows no signs of flagging; and mercurial mines of Idria, and in other smelting.works the Fubelband by which Germany celebrated the fiftieth where noxious vapours are disengaged. With a little care year of Poggendorff's invaluable services was at the same in the arrangements the smoke would be wholly deposited, time an ovation to a scientific veteran, who has perhaps as flue-dust or soot, in the horizontal galleries, and would done more than any man living to encourage the highest be available for the use of the agriculturist.

forms of research, and a prouf that in Northern Europe The future historian of organic chemistry will have to the physical sciences continue to be ably and actively culrecord a succession of beneficent triumphs, in which the tivated. If in chemistry the case is somewhat weaker, the efforts of science have led to results of the highest value explanation, at least in this country, is chiefly to be found to the wellbeing of man. The discovery of quinine has in the demand on the part of the public for professional probably saved more human life, with the exception of aid from many of our ablest chemists. that of vaccination, than any discovery of any age; and But whatever view be taken of the actual condition of he who succeeds in devising an artificial method of pre-scientific research, there can be no doubt that it is both paring it will be truly a benefactor of the race. Not the the duty and the interest of the country to encourage a least valuable, as it has been one of the most successful, pursuit so ennobling in itself, and fraught with such imof the works of our Government in India, has been the portant consequences to the wellbeing of the community. planting of the cinchona tree on the slopes of the Hima. Nor is there any question in which this Association, whose laya. As artificial methods are discovered, one by one, special aim is the advancement of science, can take a of preparing the proximate principles of the useful dyes, deeper interest. The public mind has also been awakened a temporary derangement of industry occurs, but in the to its importance, and is prepared to aid in carrying out end the waste materials of our manufactures set free large any proposal which offers a reasonable prospect of adportions of the soil for the production of human food. vantage.

The ravages of insects have ever been the terror of the In its recent phase the question of scientific research agriculturist, and the injury they inflict is often incalcu. has been mixed up with contemplated changes in the lable. An enemy of this class, carried over from America, great universities of England, and particularly in the Unithreatened lately with ruin some of the finest vine districts versity of Oxford. The national interests involved on all in the South of France. The occasion has called forth a sides are immense, and a false step once taken may be chemist of high renown; and in a classical memoir re- irretrievable. It is with diffidence that I now refer to the cently published, M. Dumas appears to have resolved the subject, even after having given to it the most anxious and difficult problem. His method, although immediately ap. careful consideration. plied to the Phylloxera of the vine, is a general one, and As regards the higher mathematics, their cultivation has will no doubt be found serviceable in other cases. In the hitherto been chiefly confined to the Universities of Camapterous state the Phylloxera attacks the roots of the bridge and Dublin, and two great mathematical schools plant, and the most efficacious method hitherto known of will probably be sufficient for the kingdom. The case of destroying it has been to inundate the vineyard. After a the physical and natural sciences is different, and they long and patient investigation, M. Dumas has discovered ought to be cultivated in the largest and widest sense at that the sulpho-carbonate of potassium, in dilute solution, every complete university. Nor, in applying this remark fulfils every condition required from an insecticide, to the English universities, must we forget that if Cam. destroying the insect without injuring the plant. The bridge was the Alma Mater of Newton and Cavendish, process requires time and patience; but the trials in the Oxford gave birth to the Royal Society. The ancient revineyard have fully confirmed the experiments of the nown of Oxford will surely not suffer, while her material laboratory.

position cannot fail to be strengthened, by the expansion The application of artificial cold to practical purposes is of scientific studies and the encouragement of scientific rapidly extending; and, with the improvement of the ice. I research within her walls. Nor ought such a proposal to

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