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positions. Chemical research, as indeed all research, is of two kinds; capital discoveries are made by some, and in this Great Britain probably leads. But the patient development of known ground requires men of a different calibre-men of more ordinary attainments; such men are lacking in numbers in Great Britain.
3. Men of the first rank exist both in the universities and in industry. It is of these that the Chemical Council should consist. About twenty
men of this class could easily be named, of the highest reputation and of great experience. Among them every one of the numerous branches of chemistry could be covered; one or more of them would be competent to give expert opinion on every subject which falls within the purview of chemistry.
4. The manufacturing chemists in Great Britain are, generally speaking, not combined. It is true that the alkali-makers work on a mutual understanding; so do the ironmasters. But chemical products are so varied that it may be truly said that industrial chemists work in isolation from each other. It is also generally true that there is little contact between industrial and scientific chemistry. The teachers and students in universities and colleges know little of what passes in the world of manufacture, nor do industrial chemists, as a rule, consult the heads of scientific laboratories. This, again, does not obtain abroad.
5. A Chemical Council for the United Kingdom or for the Empire should comprise both classes of men scientific investigators and those who apply scientific discoveries to industry. It should contain about twenty-four members, of whom onethird should be technical chemists, one-third scientific investigators, and one-third analytical and consulting chemists.
6. Its duties should be:
(a) To ascertain from every chemical factory in the kingdom (1) the nature of its raw material; (2) the nature and amount of its finished products; (3) the nature of its by-products and what becomes of them. Also to learn by inquiry of the purchasers and users of chemical products-(1) what articles they obtain from home manufacturers; (2) what articles they purchase from abroad; and (3) the causes which induce them to encourage foreign rather than home industries.
(b) To establish connection with the chemical laboratories of universities and colleges, and to bring chemical researchers into contact with manufacturers, so that the latter should indicate to the former what problems await solution; and the former should keep the latter posted in any dis
coveries which appear to promise to be of technical value.
(c) To advise the Government on questions involving a skilled knowledge of chemistry and its applications.
7. It would not be desirable to enlist the services of the members of such a committee free of remuneration; a small annual retainer would, however, be sufficient to create a feeling of responsibility. It would, of course, be necessary for the Council to employ agents, who must also be skilled chemists, to carry out such work as visiting factories and interviewing the heads. of departments both of factories and colleges; also some clerks and typewriters would be essential.
8. It would make for efficiency if a certain proportion of the members of such a committee were to offer themselves for retirement annually, as do the directors of a company. It would be open to the remaining members to recommend their continuance in office or their replacement by fresh blood. If the Council consisted of twenty-four, eight members might retire each year, with the possibility of re-election.
9. This Council would resemble to some extent a Royal Commission, but it should be appointed for a term of years, say ten, with the possibility of continuance as a permanent body should its work be successful. It must be remembered that the progress of science and its applications has no end.
10. The Committee should report once a year at least, or even at shorter intervals, to the Crown. It would appear advisable not to attach it to any Government department, but to associate it with the Board of Trade, the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Local Government Board, the Board of Education, and also with the Government laboratories.
II. As it is clearly of advantage that such a committee should be non-political, it would be well if it were appointed by and were directly responsible to the Crown.
To whom is the nomination of the first members of such a committee to be entrusted? For on that
will depend its success or its failure. I suggest that the President of the Royal Society, himself a most distinguished chemist, should be asked to nominate from the Fellows four persons, two scientific chemists and two technical chemists; and that they, under his chairmanship, should select the names of twenty other persons, themselves constituting four members of the Council. It is unlikely that Sir William Crookes could be prevailed
on to add to his numerous onerous duties by himself serving on the Council; but he would probably consent to act as chairman of the electoral committee.
It is earnestly to be hoped that members of the Government will agree to adopt some such scheme. To embark without expert-real expert-advice on nominating the members of such a Council would be to expose it to risks equal to that attending the dye scheme, and would make it impossible to achieve the objects which they appear to have at heart. Let us hope that they will, in this case at least, trust the expert.
Lastly, it is earnestly to be hoped that Mr. Pease's good intentions will not take the form of the institution of a number of Government scholarships. It is grossly unfair to induce young men by scholarships to embark on a career which has little if no outlook; and that has hitherto largely been the case. The status of chemists in Government employment, for example, is not such as to induce any young man who can choose any other profession to devote himself to the career of an official chemist. Compared with other civil servants, he is underpaid and overworked.
although certain manufacturers, to their credit, maintain excellent laboratories, in which a young man has scope to show his ability and may meet with a suitable reward, yet these are the exception. It is to increasing their number and organising their resources that the efforts of the Chemical Council should be devoted.
The suggestion of the foundation of chemical institutes will not meet the case. Those at Dahlem, near Berlin, I am informed at first hand, are not appreciated by the young chemists who work in them; they do not lead to permanent positions. The same cause has resulted in the comparative failure of our Davy-Faraday Institution; and it would be futile to embark on an ambitious scheme for training research chemists without first making sure of their having a reasonable chance of earning a living when they leave. WILLIAM RAMSAY.
A GREAT PLANT COLLECTOR. Journal kept by David Douglas during his Travels in North America, 1823-1827. Pp. 364. (London: W. Wesley and Son, 1914.) Price
AVID DOUGLAS, whose journals
in Perthshire, in the year 1798. He was apprenticed as a gardener in the Earl of Mansfield's gardens at Scone. When he was about twenty years of age he went to the botanic garden at Glasgow, where at that time the elder Hooker held the position of professor of botany. He became Hooker's assistant and companion during his famous botanical tours in the western Highlands, and showed such a love and enthusiasm for plants that when the Royal Horticultural Society, in quest of a suitable man for a botanical expedition to North America, applied to Hooker, the latter at once recommended Douglas. Douglas accordingly visited the eastern United States and Canada in 1823. His journal describing this trip has but a mild interest, much of the ground he traversed having been already well trodden. He fulfilled his task, however, so much to the satisfaction of the Royal Horticultural Society that, in 1824, he was again dispatched to North America, this time to the western side. By reason of the number of plants he discovered and introduced this journey proved an epoch-making one, both in botany and horticulture. Douglas left Gravesend in July, 1824, and, going by way of the Straits of Magellan, reached the mouth of the Columbia River the following April. After two years' work in Oregon and California he returned by the overland route to York Factory, south of Hudson's Bay, and reached England in October, 1827. He made a second journey to the same regions in 1829, but of this the present volume gives no account.
Douglas stands undoubtedly in the very first rank of plant collectors, having as his compeers such men only as Masson, Allan Cunningham, William Lobb, Robert Fortune, and Wilson. The journals show that he possessed to a high degree those peculiar and diverse qualities that go to make a first-class plant collector-physical courage and endurance, contempt of hardships, a love and knowledge of botany, together with a certain business aptitude and adaptability to new surroundings. He enjoyed the advantage of a practically virgin field for his labours, for scarcely any botanical exploration had been done in this region since Vancouver's voyage of survey some thirty years before, when Archibald MenziesVancouver's surgeon and botanist-had made a few excursions near the coast. And not only was his field a virgin one; it comprised the finest sylva of temperate regions, one might even say, of the entire world.
These were written in simple style,
Dying neglected for nearly ninety years often apparently after the day's journey was done,
have recently been printed and published by the Royal Horticultural Society, was born near Scone,
with no attempt at literary embellishment and agreeably free from any bombast or undue self
consciousness, such as has been too often characteristic of self-educated men of Douglas's class. It is not often even that Douglas indulges in a reflection on the marvels of nature, new and wonderful as they must have appeared to him. Much of what he records is little more than what has happened on previous days, and is going to happen on succeeding ones. Yet in spite of a certain monotony, the narrative possesses that charm and interest which mark even the plainest story of the pioneer. Douglas was apparently but seldom in danger from Indians or animals, although, with regard to the former, the situation became strained on more than one occasion. Grizzly bears, too, provide an occasional excitement, and we have a glimpse (p. 217) of one of Douglas's companions hurriedly climbing an oak, with the claws of an angry grizzly so close behind that his coat and trousers were torn to tatters. But, on the whole, it was storm and rain, cold, swollen rivers, excessive fatigue, and an insecure food supply that made up the chief hardships of his wanderings. The botanical interest of his writings is not so great as it would have been had the plants he met with and enumerates been identified. There is not so much to interest one in a paragraph like "(467) Poa sp.; annual; small, creeping; on the sandy banks of rivers, plentiful," as there would be if we knew the particular grass to which he was referring.
One of the most interesting items in the narrative is the collector's quest for a pine of extraordinary dimensions of which from time to time he heard accounts. His final success in exciting circumstances is recorded on page 230:
"About an hour's walk from my camp I was met by an Indian, who on discovering me strung his bow. . . and stood ready on the defence. As I was convinced this was prompted by fear, I laid my gun at my feet and waved my hand for him to come to me, which he did with great caution. With my pencil I made a rough sketch of the cone and pine I wanted and showed him it, when he instantly pointed to the hills about fifteen or twenty miles to the south. As I wanted to go in that direction he, seemingly with much good will, went with me. At midday I reached my long-wished pine, and lost no time in examining and endeavouring to collect specimens and seeds. Lest I should never see my friends to tell them verbally of this most beautiful and immense tree, I now state the dimensions of the largest one I could find blown down by the wind: Three feet from the ground, 57 feet 9 inches in circumference; 134 feet from the ground, 17 feet 5 inches; length, 215 feet."
The editor gives no indication of what this tree proved to be, but from the description we have no doubt that Douglas here describes the first dis
covery of that most wonderful of pines, Pinus Lambertiana. He was not permitted to get away from the spot unmolested, for in bringing down the cones with shots from his gun the reports brought some armed and painted Indians on the scene, and it was only after some hazardous moments and a combination of palaver and display of pugnacity that Douglas escaped with but three cones and a few twigs.
Where a plant is mentioned by Douglas under a name which is not now accepted, the editor has given its modern equivalent in a footnote. This, of course, is helpful in many instances, but where the collector was palpably in error the fact might have been pointed out. Douglas was in a new country, but he often erroneously assumed that a plant he found on the western side of America was identical with one he already knew on the eastern. A novice is thereby led to believe that Abies balsamea, Pinus Strobus, Tsuga canadensis, Amelanchier canadensis, Picea rubra, and several more eastern trees are to be found in Oregon or California.
We are given a portrait of Douglas (showing a mild but Napoleonic cast of countenance), but in reading the book one feels very much the need of a chart giving an indication of his itinerary. Some of his place names are not discoverable in the atlas. Considering the book is published at the not ungenerous price of one guinea net, we think this addition might reasonably have been made. In a series of appendices are given a brief memoir of Douglas, an account of some ascents of the mountains in the Sandwich Islands, a list of the plants he introduced, and an account of his early and tragic death at the age of thirty-six in the Sandwich Islands, where he fell into one of the pit-traps made to catch wild cattle, in which an infuriated animal was already entrapped.
and Senderens started their epoch-making researches in 1897. These chemists found that finely divided metals other than platinum, namely, iron, cobalt, copper, and especially nickel, could be used with marked success as catalysts in reactions of this type, and the catalogue of Poulenc Frères, of Paris, bears witness to the practical success which has attended their work.
It is stated that the nickel most suitable for the purpose is obtained by reducing the oxide by hydrogen at a temperature of between 270° and 300°, but no one who has worked on this subject can have failed to experience the extraordinary differences in the activity of the metal produced under various experimental conditions, and it is therefore not surprising that no great technical use has been found for the process until within comparatively recent years.
The fact that the liquid or unsaturated fats of the olein type are unsuited for the purposes of soap-making, as well as for the production of edible fats, has caused numerous experiments to be made with the object of converting these substances, either wholly or partially, into the saturated or hard fats of the stearin series. As early as 1875 Goldschmidt showed that oleic acid could be reduced to stearic acid by phosphorus and hydriodic acid at a high temperature, and, indeed, this process, or a modification of it, was applied on the industrial scale at about this time, but the method was not successful, and it was not until W. Normann, in 1903, took out a patent for a "process for converting unsaturated fatty acids or their glycerides into saturated compounds " that the Sabatier and Senderens' method was applied to the saturation of unsaturated fats and the tremendous possibilities of the process from an industrial point of view became evident.
The patent of Normann was obviously bad, and it was rendered invalid in 1913, as the result of an action between Joseph Crosfield and Sons, Ltd., and Techno-chemical Laboratories, Ltd.
In the book under review, the first two chapters are devoted to a description of all the various processes which have been used for the purpose of effecting hydrogenation, and it is in this portion that the author seems to have erred on the side of over-elaboration. The point had evidently occurred to him, because, in his introduction he states that "The observations and opinions of many minds have been brought together. Some of these views obviously are sound, others are open to grave doubt, and still others are of a contradictory or polemical nature. Whether or not in the treatment of this material to carry through a vein of critical comment was a problem which confronted the author." That he decided not to introduce this vein of criticism and to give the
valué of his experience in discriminating between the various processes is, we think, a matter which will be regretted by the average reader. As it is, one almost feels inclined to say that some of the methods described could scarcely have been expected to yield satisfactory results even by their discoverers, and the reader who is not an expert will arrive at the conclusion that there are some fifty different ways by which hydrogenation may be accomplished, and that all of them are of equal importance. To the expert, however, who is able to sift grain from chaff, this section will be of the greatest service.
The same criticism applies to the next section of the book, which deals with the various kinds of catalysers which have been used. This section occupies two chapters, and is succeeded by an admirable account of nickel carbonyl, followed, in chapter vi., by an interesting account of the work of Paal and others on the use of the rare metals in the colloidal state as catalysts. Chapter viii. deals with the analytical constants of hydrogenated oils, and the two succeeding chapters contain a description of the methods by which these oils may be converted either into edible fats or into soap. The last nine chapters of the book, some hundred pages in all, deal with the various methods which have been devised for the preparation of hydrogen. This section is treated in a most exhaustive manner, and the influence of impurities in the hydrogen, acting either as poisons to the catalysts or as substances injurious to the oils, are discussed. The book ends with an appendix containing an account of the recent litigation over the Normann patent.
This excellent treatise is well illustrated by some 145 photographs and drawings both of scientific apparatus and of plant. The admirable manner in which the author has emphasised the scientific basis of the technical processes which he has described causes it to be a noteworthy addition to our literature on specialised organic chemistry. J. F. T.
point of view of efficiency. "An efficient process is one in which the available results exceed the expenditure" (p. 4); and the work is an attempt to analyse the various forms and sources of efficiency into a few elemental principles. "While the book has been cast in a form adapted to general reading, groups of exercises have been inserted which, it is hoped, will add to its value if it is used as a text-book in any institution where the principles of efficiency are taught."
Surely it is only in America that we could have a professor of efficiency. From the preface we also learn that, since the importance of investigating the elements which constitute fitness, that is, efficiency, becomes evident as soon as the principle of the survival of the fittest is recognised, the leading ideas of the book were suggested by the reading of Herbert Spencer. Many important details have been obtained from the publications of the Efficiency Society and the works of various modern writers.
The most primitive and, in a sense, fundamental source of efficiency is the act of re-use or repetition, and human progress in general is marked by an increasing amount and by higher forms of re-use (p. 31). A superior efficiency to more or less haphazard re-use is attained by the "unit and multiplier principle" treated in chapter iii. : "A unit is any entity used manifoldly in space or time or in any relation. The multiplier expresses the number of manifold uses made of a unit" (p. 50). This principle may be extended so as to form a still more general agent of efficiency, that of the "group," and this is dealt with in chapter iv. The group is so fundamental in its nature that the other primal sources of efficiency may be regarded as various methods of using the group. Groups may be used not only singly, but also in combination, with a corresponding increase of efficiency (chapter v.). It is often a source of efficiency to substitute for a given system of groups a series of groups or "orders" of the system (chapter vi.). The use of an object or objects external to a given domain as a means of obtaining results by forming new and large groups is the source investigated in chapter vii. Chapter viii. deals with sources obtained by the perceptions of diversities and of uniformities. After a study (chapter ix.) of the aims and ends of efficiency processes, chapter x. contains a good treatment of symbolism as an agent of efficiency, and here pp. 174-175, 177, 185, 187 (cf. p. 359) seem especially noteworthy. The other chapters are on the principle of directive action, the study. of speed and rhythmic methods as means to efficiency, the principle of "dialectic" or unexpected discovery, the study of limitations of processes,
Elementary Human Biology. By J. E. Peabody and Dr. A. E. Hunt. Pp. xii+ 194. (New York: The Macmillan Co.; London: Macmiilan and Co., Ltd., 1915.) Price 4s. UNDER this somewhat curious title the two authors, American schoolmasters, have produced a manual which deals with elementary hygiene. It is evidently written for children, for the pronunciation and derivation of comparatively simple words, such as involuntary and ventilation, are given. however, manifests a curious lack of perspective, for while it contains simple exercises which teach young pupils the reasons for rules of health, such as cleaning the teeth, masticating the food, and washing the skin, it also deals with elaborate details for comparing bacteriologically with Petri dishes the air of a room after sweeping it with a broom, and after the use of a vacuum cleaner. One home exercise which with unconscious humour is marked optional consists in chewing popped corn and noting that it becomes sweet during the process. The conditions of American life are so often different from those in this country, for instance, in the matters of heating and ventilating will profitably replace the many excellent text-books houses, that we doubt whether the present book on hygiene we already possess here; the same may be said in relation to subjects such as profitable housekeeping and cooking. Even if the English child or his parent overcomes the difficulty of converting dollars into shillings, we doubt whether they will be much enlightened by such words as skillet, round steak, and string beans.
A few of the many errors noted are: that milksugar is changed into grape-sugar by heating it with Fehling's solution; that the saliva forms dextrose from starch; that nerve impulses travel 100 ft. per second; that Nissl granules in nerve cells appear as a result of fatigue; that the epiglottis closes as a lid on the larynx during swallowing; that peptone is the end-product in digestive proteolysis; that Sylvester's method for artificial respiration is the best. Children, it is true, require teaching to be simple, but they deserve that it should be accurate. W. D. H. Inorganic Plant Poisons and Stimulants. By Dr. W. E. Brenchley. Pp. ix + 110. (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1914.) Price 5s. net. MISS BRENCHLEY has set herself a difficult task in attempting to deal with problems such as are indicated in the somewhat ambitious title of her