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rcunxne at any part of the earth's surface, and the megadyne is bout 1 -02 times the weight of a kilogramme.

The kilogram-metre is rather less than the erg-eight, being bout 9S million ergs.

The gramme-centimetre is rather less than the kilerg, being bout 9S0 ergs.

For exact comparison, the value of g (the acceleration of a >ody falling in vacuo) at the station considered, must of course >e known. In the above comparisons, it is taken as 980C.G.S. inits of acceleration.

One horse-power is about three quarters of an erg-ten per second. More nearly, it is 7 \}6 erg-nines per second, and one Kfnre de eheval is 7'36 erg-nines per second.

The mechanical equivalenl of one gramme-degree (centigrade) of heat is 41 6 megalergs or 41,600,000 ergs.

SCIENTIFIC SERIALS

I* the current number of the Quarterly Journal of Microscopic Scienei; Mr. E. T. Newton commences with a paper on he Structure of the Eye of the Lobster, his observation being the result of suggestions from Prof. Huxley. The structure of the eye is minutely discussed, and the accompanying illustrations are abundant. As a concluding remark, we read that "Notwithstanding all that has been written up to the present time concerning the mode of artion of the compound arthropod eye, we are still unable satisfactorily to solve this difficult physiological problem."—A paper by Prof. Betz, of Kieff, on the methods of investigating the structure of the central nervous system in Man, will be found of special interest, the hardening, cutting, and tinting of specimens being discussed.—M. Pasteur's new contributions to the theory of Fermentation, are translated from the "Comptes Rendus," and Prof. H. L. Smith's paper on Archebiosis and Heterogenesis, is reprinted from the lens.—A Resume, by Mr. W. Archer, of recent observations on Parasitic Alga;, is followed by Dr. Klein's Contributions to the Anatomy of Auerbach's Plexus in the Frog and Toad, and this by a valuable series of observations by Prof. Lister on the Natural History of Bacteria, in which a study of the life of Bacteria under different circumstances as regards the fluid in which they grow, shows that their general appearance, size, and shape depend in great measure on the fluid in which they are growing, their removal from one to another fluid causing them to take on quite a different form, and their replacement the reassumption of the original condition. Many important facts are to be learned from this paper. —Mr. E. R. Lankester describes in detail the microscopic and spectroscopic appearances of a new Peachcaloured Bacterium, named by him Bacterium rubescens. The colouring matter he names Becterio-rubrin. This Bacterium does not generally occur in isolated plastids, but generally forming films, encrustations, or tufts. Most are aggregated in adherent masses, several excellent drawings of which accompany the paper.

The Journal of the Franklin Institute, Sept. 1S73.—This number contains a useful paper by Mr. Hugo Bilgram, on the theory of steam governors.—In government reports on the decay and preservation of timber, Generals Cram and Gillmore recommend the Seely process as the best. It consists in subjecting the wood to a temperature above the boiling point of water, and below 300° Fahr. while immersed in a bath of creosote a sufficient length of time to expel the moisture. When the water is thus expelled the pores contain only steam ; the hot oil is then quickly replaced by a bath of cold oil, by means of which change the steam in the pores of the wood is condensed, and a vacuum formed into which the oil is forced by atmospheric pressure and capillary attraction. Gen. GiUmore thinks a wooden platform, thoroughly creosoted, would last twenty to thirty years, and be better than a stone platform during that entire period.—An important paper by Prof. Thurston (extracted from the Iron Age), treats of the molecular changes produced in iron by variations of temperature.—Mr. Mott points out the conditions of good construction in lightning rods, and Dr. Feuchtwanger gives some information as to nickel and its uses in the arts, coinage, and nickel plating.—An oil discovery of unusually rich character is announced from the neighbourhood of Tiluirille, Pa. ; the production of the new region being estimated at 30,000 barrels per day.

Dtr Haturfrrscher, September 1873.—We note, in this num

ber, two striking observations in animal physiology. One of these refers to the torpedo, which has been a puzzle to physiologists, inasmuch as, while giving shocks strong enough to lame or kill another animal, its own muscles do not show the least contraction. Du Bois Reymond's hypothesis is, that while the stimulation to discharge goes forth from the central organ, the same organ sends out at the same time a counteractive influence through the nervous system, which neutralises the excitability of the nerves. M. Frani Boll took a recent opportunity of experimenting with the fish on the Italian coast, and, among other things, he tested this theory by cutting some nerves, and watching their muscles when he stimulated the electric nerves. The neutralising stimulation being thus cut off, the muscles should, he thought, contract, if the hyphothesis were true; and they did so, the muscles of the unsevered nerves remaining at rest. Still, he hardly thinks the experiment decisive, because nerves are more excitable after section.—The other observation is by Prof. Fick, who has found, by manometric measurement, a less pressure of blood in the left ventricle than in the aorta; 80 mm. of mercury in the one case, 104 to 128 in the other (in a dog). He supposes the blood, only partially filling'.the ventricle, at the apex, to be shot against the semilunar valves, forcing them open by its vis :m In the neighbourhood of the valves the pressure must quickly rise. In short, as the author puts it, the blood is not pressed, but hurled (geschleudert) into the aorta.—There is a useful abstract of the chief points in a paper by Prof. Abbe (to Schuhe's Arc/iiz') on the capability of the microscope and its limits. He seeks to show, by physical deductions, that the limit of magnification is as good as reached, in our best systems. Some curious observations by M. van Tieghem are given in a note on the independence of the individual organs of the embryo of plants.—M. Ebermayer, we find, has been examining the influence of forests on ozone-contents of the air; he states there is more ozone in and near forests than in the open, but among the denser branches there is somewhat less than in the open closely bordering the forest; and in the tops of the trees there is more than in the lower parts.—Several French Academy notes are abstracted: on the magnetic force of annealed steel, on development of electricity in liquid mixtures, on the planet Mars, &c. ; also Royal Society papers. Some meteorological observations as to distribution of heat in Switzerland deserve notice.

Bulletin Afensuel Je la Societi" d'Acclimatation de Paris. August.—In a paper on the "Causes of the Depopulation of our Rivers," M. C. R. Wattel enters at length into the question of the French river fisheries, which will be read with interest by fish-culturists. Some interesting information as to the effect of navigation and trade on the rivers is given; but the great danger to the fisheries lies in the unrestricted destruction of immature breeding-fish: and M. Wattel recommends that steps should be taken to prevent over-fishing and to facilitate the erection of fishways on the rivers.—The notes of Dr. P. Mares on the acclimatisation of various sorts of Eucalyptus in Algeria, are interesting.—The results of the experiments to produce different coloured silks go to show that silkworms fed on cherry-leaf produce a bright chromo-yellowcoloured silk, those on pear-leaves a darker shade of the same colour, those on apple-leave* a nearly white silk, but coarser than that of the silk-worms fed on mulberry-leaves.—An extract is given of a work by M. E. Ferris, on "Birds and Insects," in which he considers the advisability of protecting small birds. M. Perris, granting all the birds are insectivorous, either continually or occasionally, acknowledges the good they may do, but doubts whether a large proportion of the insects destroyed are hurtful to man; and he raises the question whether, therefore, it is desirable to protect birds to kill what would otherwise do no harm.

The September number commences with a paper by the Secretary on some Australian vegetables, the introduction of which into Algeria is proposed.—An interesting paper on the breeding of ostriches in captivity is contributed by Capt. Crepu, who has kept several pairs of these birds. I lis observations throw much light on the natural history of the ostrich. M. Comber describes the mortality which has seized the deer and other animals in King Victor Emmanuel's park at La Mandria. The calamity is a' tributed partly to over-crowding and partly to the want of shelter and proper protection. In 1S65, when the park and grounds were carefully cultivated, 13 deaths occurred. In 1873, the park being left in its natural state, 172 deaths are I recorded.—An important paper on the production of milk is the result of a conference at the Jardin d'Acclimatation in July, and appears opportunely at the present moment, when the subject is attracting so much public attention. —M. E. Perris continues his remarks on "Birds and Insects."

SOCIETIES AND ACADEMIES Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, October 7.—E. W. Binney, vice-president, in the chair.—" Atmospheric Refraction and the last rays of the Setting Sun," by Mr. D. Winstanley. It is recorded in the Proceedings of this Society that a letter dated from Southport and written by Dr. Joule was read at the meeting held on the 5th October, 1869. In that letter it is remarked that "Mr. Baxendell noticed the fact that at the moment of the departure of the sun below the horizon the last glimpse is coloured bluish green." Dr. Joule also observes that on two or thrre occasions he had himself noticed the phenomenon in qui- .ion, and that "just at the upper edge where bands of the sun's disc are separated one after the other by refraction, each band becomes coloured blue just before it vanishes." During the past eighteen months the writer, from his residence in Blackpool, has had frequent opportunities of observing the setting sun, and has noticed the phenomenon of the final coloured ray certainly more than fifty times. To the naked eye its appearance has generally been that of a green spark of large size and great intensity, very similar to one of the effects seen when the sun shines upon a well-cut diamond. The colour, however, is by no means constant, being often, as in the case of Mr. Baxendell's observation, bluish green, and at times, as mentioned by Dr. Joule, quite blue. The period of its duration, too, is likewise variable. Sometimes it lasts but half a second, ordinarily perhaps a second and a quarter, and occasionally as much as two seconds and a half. When examined with the assistance of a telescope, it becomes evident that the green ray results at a certain stage of the solar obscuration, for it begins at the points or cusps of the visible segment of the sun, and when the "setting " is nearly complete, extends from both cusps to the central space between, where it produces the momentary and intense spark of coloured light visible to the unaided eye. From the fact of the gieen cusps being rounded I apprehend that irradiation contributes to the apparent magnitude of what is seen. The range of colour too as seen in the telescope is more varied, and the duration of the whole phenomenon more extended, than when the observation is made only with the naked eye. Respecting the increased range of colours seen when the phenomenon is observed with telescopic aid, I may mention that on the 28th of June the sea was calm and the sky quite cloudless at the setting of the sun. Of the final coloured rays fiftfen diameters showed the first to be a full and splendid yellow, which was speedily followed by the usual green, and then for a second and a half by a full and perfect blue. Respecting the increased duration of the colour, I have found that when the atmosphere is sufficiently favourable to allow a power of sixty diameters being employed with a three-inch object-glass, the green effect is seen at that part of the sun's limb in contact with the horizon even when one half the sun is still unset, and of course from then till final disappearance. The different colours seen, together with the order of their appearance, are suggestive of the prismatic action of the atmosphere as the cause of their production, and the interception of the horizon or the cloud as the cause of their separation. Assuming the correctness of this view, it becomes evident that an artificial horizon would prove equally efficacious in separating the coloured bands, and also that if employed during an inspection of the sun's lower limb, the least refrangible end of the spectrum would be disclosed. By projecting a large image of the tun into a darkened room I was enabled to get the whole of the spectrum produced by the prismatic action of the atmosphere in a very satisfactory manner. In this case a semicircular diaphram was used, so placed that its straight edge divided the field of view into equal parts, from one of which it obscured the light. The diaphram was placed in the focus of the eyepiece, and by rotating it every portion of the sun's limb could be in turn examined, and that too in the centre of the field, so as to be equally subjected to the minimum of the peculiarities of the instrument. When the sun's lower limb was allowed to descend into the field of view the first rays were intensely red. After a momentary duration they gave place in succession to orange, yellow, and green, which were then lost

in the ordinary refulgence of the sun. The upper limb gin green, blue, and finally purple, which latter colour I have rhs far never seen upon the natural horizon. I apprehend that the results here given sufficiently prove that atmospheric refraction 1 the cause of the coloured rays seen at the moment of the ta'i departure below the horizon.

Cambridge Philosophical Society, Oct 20.—The foliaring communications were made to the Society :—By Mr. J. C. W Ellis, Sydney College: Mechanical means for obtaining the rei roots of algebraical equations. — By Mr. A. Marshall, St- John'; Graphic representation by aid of a series of hyperbolas of sore economic problems having reference to monopolies.—By Mr. H H. Cunyngame. St. Johns : A machine for constructing a sens of rectangular hyperbolas with the same asymptotes, Paris

Academy of Sciences, October 27.—M. de Quatrtbgo, president, in the chair.—The following papers were read ;— Sixth note on guano, by M. ChevreuL—Answer to Respighi'i note on the magnitude and variation of the sun's diameter, it Father SecchL The author defended his method from Resptgbu criticisms as regards the effect of heat in distorting the im^! during the passage through the prisms. He found that the effect a heat on compound prisms was very considerable, and theretxr used his object-glass prism ; and stated that in a future letter it intended to show that there were true variations in the sots diameter.—On crystalline dissociation, by MM. Favre xod Vakon. The authors continued the account of their itsearches, the present portion of the paper dealing with ths valuation of the work done in the various solutions.—Note tct the tertiary supra-nummulitic formation of the Carcassonc basis, by M. Leymerie.—On certain cases of human double monstrocity, by M. Roulin.—Note on the origin and method of development of omphalosic monsteis, by M. C Dareste.— New method of condensing liquifiable substances held in suspension by gases, a reply to M. Colladon, by M M. E. Pelouie ani P. Audouin.—M. Guerin-Meiieville sent a letter in which he asserted that the Phylloxera is not the cause, but a consequence of the vine disease.—Note on the swellings produced on vine rootlets by the Phylloxera, by M. Max. Cornu.—Results of aperiments on the destruction of the Phylloxera by means of carbonic disulphide, by M. Bazille. The author found that tim agent was very successful, and that the doses could be reduced considerably but that different sous require different closes.—Oa the action of the condenser on induction currents, by M. Lecocq de Boisbaudran.—On the purification of hydrogen, by M. Ch. Viollette.—On the Cape diamond fields, by M. Hugon—On the sugar contained in vine-leaves, by M. A. Petit. The auih'Jf found in I kilo of leaves as much as 33 grammes of cane --ugar and 12 of glucose ; this was, however, exceptional, the latter generally exceeding the former and the total quantity of both being less.—On the Rhizocephalous Cirripeiles, by M. A. Giard.— On the irritability of stamens, by M. E. Meckel. The author has distinguished two orders of movement in these organs.

CONTENTS Pm

The Government And Our National Museums 1

Bain's Review Of " Darwin On Expression" 1

Lahore To Yarkand . j

Our Book Shelf 4

Letters To The Editor:

Prof. Young and the Presence of Ruthenium in the Chromosphere.

—Prof. H. E. Roscoe, F.R.S 5

The Miller- Caszlla Thermometer.—P. Pastorslli ..... *

Captain Hutton's "Rallus Modestus."—Dr. Walter L Bulloe =

Flight of Birds.—Prof. Ioseph Le Conte 5

Collective InstincL—George J. Romanes; Dr. A. Paladilhe . s

Venomous Caterpillars.—R. Riclachlan, F.L.S e

Harmonic Echoes.—Arnulph Mallock $

Evolution as applied to the Chemical Elements.—C.T. Blansharc G

Ancient Balances.—G. F. Rodwell, F.C.S $

Brilliant Meteors.—John Curry t

Sir Henrv Holland K

The American Museum Of Natural History In Central Park.

New York. By Albert L. Bickmorb, Ph.D >t

The Common Froc, III By St. George Mivart. F.R.S. (jpms*

Illustrations) ...*.,.« to

A Fossil Sirenian From The Red Crag Of Suffolk 13

On The Stick-fish {Osttoerlla septentrionalis) And On The Habits

Of Sea-pens. By Dr. J. E. Gray. F.R.S ij

The Relation Of Man To The Ice-sheet In Thr North Of

England. By R. H. Tiddbmann, F.G.S Sa

Atlantic Fauna. By Frou. P. Johnson . . Js

Notes 16

The Selection And Nomenclature Of Dynamical And ElecTrical Units 18

Scientific Skrials c?

Societies And Academies ja

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 1873

ON THE MEDICAL CURRICULU.W I N a recent number of this journal (nature, Oct. 2, -L 187 j) we made some remarks on medical studies, ■which were intended more for students themselves than in any way to bear on the principles of medical education. To the latter subject special attention has just been directed by Prof. Huxley, who, as Lord Rector of the University of Aberdeen, has drawn up a series of propositions for the consideration of the Court at the next meeting in February or March, on which occasion he will deliver his inaugural address.

Tie following are the motions that the Lord Rector will propose :—

u I. That, in view of the amount and diversity of tfcc knowledge which must be acquired by the student who aspires to become a properly qualified graduate in medicine; of the need recognised by all earnest teachers and students for the devotion of much time to practical discipline in the sciences of chemistry, anatomy, physiology, therapeutics, and pathology, which otstvt'-rte the foundation of all rational medical practice; «ii of the relatively short period over which the medical conicuUim extends—it is desirable to relieve that curriculum of everything which does not directly tend to prepare fe staxJaii for the discharge of those highly responsible duties, his fitness for the performance of which is certified lo the public by the diploma granted by the University.

"II. That it would be of great service to the student of medicine to have obtained, in the course of his preliminary education, a practical acquaintance with the methods and /elding facts of the sciences comprehended by botany tod nitural history in the medical curriculum; but that, as the medical curriculum is at present arranged, the attendance of lectures upon, and the passing of examinations in, these subjects occupy time and energy which he has no right to withdraw from work which tends more diiecuS- to his proficiency in medicine.

"III. That it is desirable to revoke or alter ordinance No. r6, in so far as it requires a candidate for a degree in medicine to pass an examination in botany and zoology v, part of the professional examination; and to provide, in lieu thereof, that the examination on these subjects iall, as far as possible, take place before the candidate 'uas entered upon his medical curriculum.

"IV. That it is desirable to revoke or alter said ordinance No. 16, in so far as it requires candidates for the degree of doctor of medicine to have passed an examination in Greek, and that, in lieu thereof, either German or French be made a compulsory subject of examination far said degree, dcek remaining as one of the optional Mib/ecu."

In considering these points a review of the method by »'hich the present position of the medical curriculum has •wtn arrived at, will throw considerable light on the steps which ought to be taken for its improvement, and will show how subjects which have but an indirect bearing, or none at all, on medicine proper have been gradually made to form an element of the course of study, without any 1 question having been asked as to whether their introduction does not bring its concomitant disadvantages.

The influence of Materia Medica seems to have been

Sjreat in bringing about the present state of affairs. When

Ur. Anthony Todd Thomson and Dr. Pereira, in their

enthusiasm for their favourite subject, extended its limits

Vol. Ix.—No. 211

so as to include a full account of the source and history of every one of the articles which were mentioned in the Pharmacopoeia, and went so far as to give a full description of Gallus bankiva, together with all the steps in the development of its egg, simply because Ovi vitellus is an antidote against poisoning by corrosive sublimate, and is employed in the preparation of Mistura Spiritus Vini Gallici (egg flip), it is evident that as the sciences of zoology and botany became more profound, Materia Medica as a subject would proportionately expand. At last a time came when separate lectures had to be given on the above-mentioned kindred subjects, in order that those on Materia Medica might be more easily comprehended by the student; and, as might be expected, these independent lectures on zoology and botany, as those on chemistry had done before, became so complete in themselves, as to reduce the subject which had given rise to their introduction, to a simple formulary for the chemist, with references to the sources of the necessary scientific information. The introduction, however, of zoology and botany as separate independent elements of the curriculum, brought into the medical education a large ma ss of matter, which is very valuable no doubt in itself, but to the student entirely irrelevant; and as in the short pupilage of three or four years there is a much larger amount that ought to be learned than can be-properly acquired in the time, it becomes a matter worth serious consideration, whether subjects which are not indispensable to a thorough training should be still taught and be required by the examining bodies. The question therefore resolves itself into the determination of whether the loss of time necessary for obtaining a superficial knowledge of a couple of sciences, is counteracted by the advantages of those sciences as a mental training and a basis for higher work? In an Introductory Lecture delivered some time ago at University College, Prof. Huxley throws the weight of his opinion in the scale against retaining the subjects which must be to him most dear, in the medical curriculum; and most will agree with him, notwithstanding the many difficulties in the way of an improved programme.

With regard to Prof. Huxley's fourth proposition, in which it is considered desirable to omit Greek from the preliminary examination, and substitute German or French in its place, the interest will not be so great to most, as that relating to the scientific qualifications that are necessary. The same conservative spirit which has prevented any reduction in^the overloaded Biological portion of the curriculum, has, without question]of any kind being asked, never even hinted at anytchange in the long-established and well-tried school-course, in which the at one time practically valuable and indispensable Greek and Latin are still retained, though of less importance at the present day. How many of our scientific men find that nothing deters them in every step of their work, more than a want of knowledge of the German language, now that the scientific activity of that country is so considerable and so rapidly increasing. There must be a change with the times, even in primary education, and we hardly think that in his introductory address to the King's College Medical Society on the 23rd of last month, Prof. Curnow put the case fairly when he disapproved of the substitution of German for Greek, because the one could be

result of a conference at the Jardin d'Acdimatation in July, and appears opportunely at the present moment, when the subject is attracting so much public attention. —M. E. Perns continues his remarks on "Birds and Insects."

SOCIETIES AND ACADEMIES Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, October 7.—E. W. Einney, vice-president, in the chair.—" Atmospheric Refraction and the last rays of the Setting Sun," by Mr. D. Winstanley. It is recorded in the Proceedings of this Society that a letter dated from Southport and written by Dr. Joule was read at the meeting held on the 5th October, 1869. In that letter it is remarked that "Mr. Baxendell noticed the fact that at the moment of the departure of the sun below the horizon the last glimpse is coloured bluish green." Dr. Joule also observes that on two or thr»-f occasions he had himself noticed the phenomenon in que .ion, and that "just at the upper edge where bands of the sun's disc are separated one after the other by refraction, each band becomes coloured blue just before it vanishes." During the past eighteen months the writer, from his residence in Blackpoo), has had frequent opportunities of observing the setting sun, and has noticed the phenomenon of the final coloured ray certainly more than fifty times. To the naked eye its appearance has generally been that of a green spark of large size and great intensity, very similar to one of the effects seen when the sun shines upon a well-cut diamond. The colour, however, is by no means constant, being often, as in the case of Mr. Baxendell's observation, bluish green, and at times, as mentioned by Dr. Joule, quite blue. The period of its duration, too, is likewise variable. Sometimes it lasts but half a second, ordinarily perhaps a second and a quarter, and occasionally as much as two seconds and a half. When examined with the assistance of a telescope, it becomes evident that the green ray results at a certain stage of the solar obscuration, for it begins at the points or cusps of the visible segment of the sun, and when the "setting " is nearly complete, extends from both cusps to the central space between, where it produces the momentary and intense spark of coloured light visible to the unaided eye. From the fact of the green cusps being rounded I apprehend that irradiation contributes to the apparent magnitude of what is seen. The range of colour too as seen in the telescope is more varied, and the duration of the whole phenomenon more extended, ihan when the observation is made only with the naked eye. Respecting the increased range of colours seen when the phenomenon is observed with telescopic aid, I may mention that on the 28th of June the sea was calm and the sky quite cloudless at the setting of the sun. Of the final colourtd rays fiftren diameters showed the first to be a lull and splendid yellow, which was speedily followed by the usual green, and then for a second and a hall by a full and perfect blue. Respecting the increased duration of the colour, I have found that when the atmosphere is sufficiently favourable to allow a power of sixty diameters being employed with a three-inch object-glass, the green eflect is seen at that part of the sun's limb in contact with the horizon even when one half the sun is still unset, and of course from then till final disappearance. The different colours seen, together with the order of their appearance, are suggestive of the prismatic action of the atmosphere as the cause of their production, and the interception of the horizon or the cloud as the cause of their separation. Assuming the correctness of this view, it becomes evident that an artificial horizon would prove equally efficacious in separating the coloured bands, and also that if employed during an inspection of the sun's lower limb, the least refrangible end of the spectrum would be disclosed. By projecting a large image of the tun into a darkened room I was enabled to get the whole of the spectrum produced by the prismatic action of the atmosphere in a very satisfactory manner. In this case a semicircular diaphram was used, so placed that its straight edge divided the field of view into equal parts, from one of which it obscured the light. The diaphram was placed in the focus of the eyepiece, and by rotating it every portion of the sun's limb could be in turn examined, and that too in the centre of the field, so as to be equally subjected to the minimum of the peculiarities of the instrument. When the sun's lower limb was allowed to descend into the field of view the first rays were intensely red. After a momentary duration they gave place in succession to orange, yellow, and green, which were then lost

in the ordinary refulgence of the sun. The upper limb, green, blue, and finally purple, which latter colour I hawc- _ far never seen upon the natural horizon. I apprehend thai :1 results here given sufficiently prove that atmospheric refra/ruoa the cause of the coloured rays seen at the moment of the s=^ departure below the horizon.

Cambridge Philosophical Society, Oct. 20.—The folVving communications were made to the Society :—By Mr. J. C- ** Ellis, Sydney College: Mechanical means for obtaining the rt roots of algebraical equations. — By Mr. A. Marshall, St. JohnGraphic representation by aid of a series of hyperbola.! of «c- = economic problems having reference to monopolies.—By Me. ■£ H. Cunyngame. St. John's: A machine for constructing a Ml---of rectangular hyperbolas with the same asymptotes. Paris

Academy of Sciences, October 27.—M. de Qaatreiaf^ president, in the chair.—The following papers were read :— Sixth note on guano, by M. Chevreul. —Answer to Respjgfe; note on the magnitude and variation of the sun's diameter. i* Father Secchi. The author defended his method from Respifi . criticisms as regards the effect of heat in distorting the ""-7during the passage through the prisms. He found that the e&er -heat on compound prisms was very considerable, and tbereuused his object-glass prism ; and slated that in a future letter t intended to show that there were true variations in the «"■'diameter.—On crystalline dissociation, by MM. Favre aai Val-on. The authors continued the account of their e> searches, the present portion of the paper dealing with tie valuation of the work done in the various solutions.—Note ■.•" the tertiary supra-nummulitic formation of the Carcasfone basin, by M. Leymerie.—On certain case! of human double moratrocity, by M. Roulin.—Note on the origin and method of development of omphalosic monsteis, by M. C. Dxreste.— New method of condensing liquifiahle substances held in suspension by gases, a reply to M. Colladon, by M M. E. Peluui- anO P. Audouin.—M. Guerin-Meieville sent a letter in which h; asserted that the Phylloxera is not the cause, but a consequence of the vine disease.—Note on the swellings produced on vim rootlets by the Phylloxera, by M. Max. Cornu.—Results of experiments on the destruction of the Phylloxera by means ot carbonic disulphide, by M. Bazille. The author found that ciif agent was very successful, and that the doses could be redacai

considerably but that different soils require different doses Oa

the action of the condenser on induction currents, by M. Lecoccj de Boisbaudran.—On the purification of hydrogen, by M. CbViollette.—On the Cape diamond fields, by M. Hugon—Oa the sugar contained in vine-leaves, by M. A. Petit. The author found in I kilo of leaves as much as 33 grammes of cane sugir and 12 of glucose; this was, however, exceptional, the latter generally exceeding the former and the total quantity of both being less.—On the Rhizocephalous CirripeJes, by M. A. OiardL— On the irritability of stamens, by M. E. Heckel. The author has distinguished two orders of movement in these organs.

CONTENTS PAa

The Government And Ouk National Museums 1

Bain's Review Of "darwin On Expression" «

Lahore To Yarkand . ,

Our Book Shelf ^

Letters To The Editor:

Prof. Young and the Presence of Ruthenium in the Chromosphere.

—Prof. H. E. Roscoe, F.RS s

The Miller-Casslla Thermometer.—P. Pastorelli . .... 5

Captain Hutton's " Rallus Modestus."— Dr. Walter L Bullbx . 5

Flight of Birds.—Prof. Joseph Le Conte 5

Collective Instinct—George J. Romanes ; Dr. A. Paladilhe . s

Venomous Caterpillars.—R. Mclachlan, F.L.S 6

Harmonic Echoes.—Arnulph Mallock 6

Evolution as applied to the Chemical Elements—C. T. Blanshakd 6

Ancient Balances—G. F. Rodwell, F.C.S 8

Brilliant Meteors.—John Curry g

Sir Henry Holland g

The American Museum Of Natural Hisrokv In Central Park

New York. By Albert L. Bickmorr, Ph.D o

The Common Frog, III By St. George Mivart. F.RS. (With

Illustration*) ..*.... 10

A Fossil Sirenian From The Red Crag Of Suffolk ...... tx

On The Stick-fish (OslexelUs scpUntrisnaliz) And On The Habits

Of Sea-pens. By Dr. J. E. Gray. F.R.S 13

The Relation Of Man To The Ice-sheet In The North Of

England. By R. H. Tiddemann, F.G.S i4

Atlantic Fauna. By Fred. P. Johnson ,,

Notes ,g

The Selection And Nomenclature Of Dynamical And ElecTrical Units jjj

Scientific Serials !!.'.!!. 19

Societies And Academies . M

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 1873

ON THE MEDICAL CURRICULUM I N a recent number of this journal (nature, Oct. 2, -■- 1873) we made some remarks on medical studies, which were intended more for students themselves than in any way to bear on the principles of medical education. To the latter subject special attention has just been directed by Prof. Huxley, who, as Lord Rector of the ■University of Aberdeen, has drawn up a series of propositions for the consideration of the Court at the next meeting in February or March, on which occasion he will deliver his inaugural address.

The following are the motions that the Lord Rector will propose :—

"I. That, in view of the amount and diversity of the knowledge which must be acquired by the student who aspires to become a properly qualified graduate in medicine; of the need recognised by all earnest teachers and students for the devotion of much time to practical discipline in the sciences of chemistry, anatomy, physiology, therapeutics, and pathology, which constitute the foundation of all rational medical practice; and of the relatively short period over which the medical curriculum extends—it is desirable to relieve that curriculum of everything which does not directly tend to prepare the student for the discharge of those highly responsible duties, his fitness for the performance of which is certified to the public by the diploma granted by the University.

"II. That it would be of great service to the student of medicine to have obtained, in the course of his preliminary education, a practical acquaintance with the methods and leading facts of the sciences comprehended by botany and natural history in the medical curriculum; but that, as the medical curriculum is at present arranged, the attendance of lectures upon, and the passing of examinations in, these subjects occupy time and energy which he has no right to withdraw from work which tends more directly to his proficiency in medicine.

"III. That it is desirable to revoke or alter ordinance No. 16, in so far as it requires a candidate for a degree in medicine to pass an examination in botany and zoology as part of the professional examination ; and to provide, in lieu thereof, that the examination on these subjects shall, as far as possible, take place before the candidate has entered upon his medical curriculum.

"IV. That it is desirable to revoke or alter said ordinance No. 16, in so far as it requires candidates for the degree of doctor of medicine to have passed an examination in Greek, and that, in lieu thereof, either German or French be made a compulsory subject of examination for said degree, GTeek remaining as one of the optional subjects."

In considering these points a review of the method by which the present position of the medical curriculum has been arrived at, will throw considerable light on the steps which ought to be taken for its improvement, and will show how subjects which have but an indirect bearing, or none at all, on medicine proper have been gradually made to form an element of the course of study, without any question having been asked as to whether their introduction does not bring its concomitant disadvantages.

The influence of Materia Medica seems to have been

great in bringing about the present state of affairs. When

Dr. Anthony Todd Thomson and Dr. Pereira, in their

enthusiasm for their favourite subject, extended its limits

Vol. Ix.—No. 211

so as to include a full account of the source and history of every one of the articles which were mentioned in the Pharmacopoeia, and went so far as to give a full description of Gallus bankiva, together with all the steps in the development of its egg, simply because Ovi vitellus is an antidote against poisoning by corrosive sublimate, and is employed in the preparation of Mistura Spiritus Vini Gallici (egg flip), it is evident that as the sciences of zoology and botany became more profound, Materia Medica as a subject would proportionately expand. At last a time came when separate lectures had to be given on the above-mentioned kindred subjects, in order that those on Materia Medica might be more easily comprehended by the student; and, as might be expected, these independent lectures on zoology and botany, as those on chemistry had done before, became so complete in themselves, as to reduce the subject which had given rise to their introduction, to a simple formulary for the chemist, with references to the sources of the necessary scientific information. The introduction, however, of zoology and botany as separate independent elements of the curriculum, brought into the medical education a large ma ss of matter, which is very valuable no doubt in itself, but to the student entirely irrelevant; and as in the short pupilage of three or four years there is a much larger amount that ought to be learned than can be-properly acquired in the time, it becomes a matter worth serious consideration, whether subjects which are not indispensable to a thorough training should be still taught and be required by the examining bodies. The question therefore resolves itself into the determination of whether the loss of time necessary for obtaining a superficial knowledge of a couple of sciences, is counteracted by the advantages of those sciences as a mental training and a basis for higher work? In an Introductory Lecture delivered some time ago at University College, Prof. Huxley throws the weight of his opinion in the scale against retaining the subjects which must be to him most dear, in the medical curriculum; and most will agree with him, notwithstanding the many difficulties in the way of an improved programme.

With regard to Prof. Huxley's fourth proposition, in which it is considered desirable to omit Greek from the preliminary examination, and substitute German or French in its place, the interest will not be so great to most, as that relating to the scientific qualifications that are necessary. The same conservative spirit which has prevented any reduction in'the overloaded Biological portion of the curriculum, has, without question]of any kind being asked, never even hinted at any^change in the long-established and well-tried school-course, in which the at one time practically valuable and indispensable Greek and Latin are still retained, though of less importance at the present day. How many of our scientific men find that nothing deters them in every step of their work, more than a want of knowledge of the German language, now that the scientific activity of that country is so considerable and so rapidly increasing. There must be a change with the times, even in primary education, and we hardly think that in his introductory address to the King's College Medical Society on the 23rd of last month, Prof. Curnow put the case fairly when he disapproved of the substitution of German for Greek, because the one could be

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