« ZurückWeiter »
O R ,
YEAR-BOOK OF FACTS IN SCIENCE AND ART
MOST IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES AO IMPROVEMENTS
MECHANICS, USEFUL ARTS, NATURAL PHILOSOPHY, CHEMISTRY,
NOTES ON THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE DURING THE YEAR I862| A LIST
DAVID A. WELLS, A.M.,M.D.,
AUTHOR OF PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY, PRINCIPLES OF CHEMISTRY,
GOULD AND LINCOLN,
69 WASHINGTON STREET.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by GOULD AND LINCOLN, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
OEO. 0. RAND & ATIRT,
.NOTES BY THE EDITOR
PROGRESS OF SCIENCE FOR THE YEAR 1862.
No meeting of the American Association for the Promotion of Science took place during the past year, and the old organization of this body may probably be regarded as defunct.
The thirty-second annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science was held at Cambridge, October, 1862, Prof. Willis, of Cambridge, being in the chair. The meeting was less interesting, and far less numerously attended, than most of the former sessions of this body; and some of the discussions were in a measure acrimonious and personal. The annual address of the President, moreover, contained nothing particularly interesting to the general reader. The meeting for 1863 was appointed to be held at Newcastle-on-Tyne; Sir William Armstrong, of Armstrong gun notoriety, being elected President for the year.
A most ludicrous illustration of misapplied and mistaken zeal in the pursuit of science, which occurred at this meeting, is worthy of notice. A Rev. Dr. Mill read a very long paper, displaying extraordinary learning in Hebrew, Greek, and almost every language that could be brought in. The subject of it was an inscribed stone, found in Aberdeenshire, a county containing many of what are commonly called Druidical monuments. Dr. Mill read the inscription backwards, decided that the letters were Phoenician, and explained them by the corresponding letters of the Hebrew alphabet. According to his interpretation, it was a votive monument dedicated to Eshmiin, god of health (the Tyrian Esculapius), in gratitude for favors received during the "wandering exile of me thy servant," — the dediicator being "Han-Thanit-Zenaniah, magistrate, who is saturated with sorrow." Dr. Mill very learnedly discussed the question whether Han-Thanit-Zenaniah had suffered from disease or shipwreck, and whethsr his sorrow had been caused by the loss of companions, or friends, or relations. He discussed, also, the peculiarity of the word used in the signification of magistrate, and pointed out that he appeared to have been a man of consular dignity, who had commanded a ship or fleet which came to Britain, and that this and other circumstances pointed to the earlier period of the history of Tyre.
At the conlusion of the reading of the paper, another member, Mr. Wright, arose, and in a few words showed that the monument was sepulchral; that the inscription was not in Phoenician, but in rudely-formed Roman characters, and that its antiquity was of a period subsequent to what is usually termed the withdrawal of the Romans from Britain. He then read the inscription, which showed that the stone simply marked the burial place of some person named Constantine, and recorded his own name and that of his father.
Mr. William Fairbairn, the eminent engineer, who presided over the Section of Mechanical Science, thus expressed himself, in an opening address, on the importance of making instruction in the theory of steam and its applications an essential part of all general elementary education: —
"The general principles of the steam engine and the locomotive are, however, easily acquired, and in this age of steam it should, in my opinion, form a separate branch of education for the benefit of both sexes, to whom it would be highly advantageous. It is a branch of knowledge of deep importance to the present and rising generation; and as steam and its application to the varied purposes of civilized life becomes every day more apparent, a knowledge of its powers and properties is much wanted, and ought not to be neglected. I am the more desirous that instruction of this kind should be imparted to the rising generation in our public schools, as it would lead to practical acquaintance with instruments and machines in daily use, and would familiarize the more intelligent classes with objects on which at the present day we almost exclusively depend for the comforts and enjoyments of life. I do not mean that we should make scholars engineers; but they ought to be taught the general principles of the arts in order to appreciate their value, and to apply them to the useful purposes by which we are surrounded."
In this connection we would also call attention to certain educational views expressed by Sir John Packington, a well-known British statesman, in an address recently made before the citizens of Birmingham, on the opening of a new industrial school. The speaker urged the importance of making the study of physiology a branch of elementary education, as follows: "The study of physiology and the