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The only case of exception on record to this statement is Prff. Plaza Smvth's observations on the Peak of Teneriffe. There, during several months of perfectly fair weather, the surface of the mountain was, if the electric test applied was correct, positively electrified; but Prof. 1'ia^zi Smyth has, I believe, pointed out that the observations must not be relied upon. The instrument, as he himself found, was not satisfactory. The science of observing the atmospheric electricity was then so much in its infancy tha% though he went prepared with the best instrument, and the only existing rules for usin>; it, there was a fatal doubt as to whether the electricity was positive or negative after all._ But the fact that there has been such a doubt is important. Now I suppose there «ill be a telegraph to Teneriffe before long, and then I hope and trust some of the operators will find time to climb the Peak. I am sure that, even without an electric object, they will go up the Peak. Now they must go up the Peak with an electrometer in fine weather, and ascertain whether the earth is positively or negatively electrified. If they find that on one fine day it is negatively electrified, the result will be valuable to science; and if on several days it is found to be all day and all ni^ht negatively electrified, then there will be a very great accession to our knowledge regarding atmospheric electricity.
When I say the surface of the earth is negatively electrified, I make a statement which I believe was due originally to Peltier. The more common form of statement is that the air is positively electrified, but this form of statement is apt to be delusive. More than that, it is most delusive in many published treatises, both in books and encyclopedias upon the subject. 1 have in my mind one encyclopedia in which, in the article "Air, Klectricity of," it is said that the electricity of the air is positive, and increases in rising from the ground. In the same encyclop.-edia, in the article "Electricity, Atmospheric," it is stated that the surface of the earth is negatively electrified, and that the air in contact with the earth, and for some height above the earth, is, in general, negatively electrified. I do not say too much, then, when I say that the statement that the air i< positively electrified has been at all events a subject for ambiguous and contradictory proposition-;; in fact, what we know by direct observation is, that the surface of the earth is negatively electrified, and positive electrification of the air is merely inferential.
Suppose, for a moment, that there were no electricity whatever in the air—that the air were absolutely devoid of all electric manifestation, and that a charge of electricity were given to the whole earth. For this no great amount would be necessary. Such amounts as you deal with in your great submarine cables would, il given to the earth as a whole, produce a very considerable electrification of its whole surface. You all know the comparison between the electricity of one Atlantic cable—the electro-static capacity of one of the Atlantic cables—with the water round its guttapercha for outer coating, and the earth and air with infinite space for its outer coating.* I do not remember the figures at this moment; in fact, I do not remember which is the greater. Well, now, if all space were non-conducting—and experiments on vacuum tubes seem rit'ner to support the possibility of that being the correct view—if all space were non-conducting, our atmosphere being a Doa-conductor, and the rarer and rarer air above us being a non-conductor, and the so called vacuous space, or the interplanetary space beyond that (which wc cannot admit to b; really vacuous) being a non-conductor also. then a charge could be given to the earth as a whole, if there were the other body to come and go oway again, just as a charge could be given to a pith ball electrified in the air of this room. Then, I say, all the phenomena brought to light by atmospheric electrometers, which wc observe on a fine day, would be observed just as they are. The ordinary observation of atmospheric electricity would give just the result that we obtain from it. The result that we obtain every day in observations on atmospheric electricity is precisely the same as if the earth were electrified negatively and the air had no electricity in it whatever.
Well, now I have asserted strongly that the lower regions of the air are ncgitively electrified. On what foundation is this assert on made? Simply by observation. It is a matter of fact; it t' not a matter of speculation. 1 find that when air is drawn into a room from the outside, on a fine day, it is negatively e'.cctrified. I believe the same phenomena will be observed in this city as in the old buildings of the Uni
* The eajlh'sradius is about 630 million centimetres, and its electrostatic capacity is therefore 630 microfarads, or about that of 1,600 miles of cable.
versity of Glasgow, in the middle of a very denselypeopled and smoky part of Glasgow; and therefore I doubt not that when air is drawn into this room from the outside, and a water-dropping collector is placed in the centre of the room, or a few feet above the floor, and put in connection with a sufficiently delicate electrometer, it will indicate negative electrification. Take an electric machine; place a spirit lamp on its prime conductor; turn the machine for a time ; take an umbrella, and agitate the air with it till the whole is well mixed up; and keep turning the machine, with the spirit-lamp burning on its prime conductor. Then apply your electric test, and you find the air positively electrified.
Again—Let two rooms, with a door and passige between them, be used for the experiment. First shut the door and open the windoA" in your observing room. Then, whatever electric observations you may have been performing, after a short time you find indications of negative electrification of the air. Then, during all that time, let us suppose that an electric machine has been turned in the neighbouring room, and a spirit-lamp burning on its prime conductor. Keep turning the electric machine in the neighbouring room, with the spirit-lamp as before. Make no other difference but this—shut the window and open the door. I am supposing that there is a fire in your experimenting room. Then, when the window was open and the door closed, the fire drew its air from the window, and you got the air direct from without. Now shut the window and open the door into the next room, and gradually the electric manifestation changes. And here somebody may suggest that it is changed because of the opening of the door and the inductive effect from the pissage. But I anticipate that criticism by saying that my observation has told me that the change takes place gradually. For a time after the door is opened and the window closed, the electrification of the air in your experimenting room continues negative, but it gradually becomes zero, and a little later becomes positive. It remains positive as long as you keep turning the electric machine in the other room and the door is open. If you stop turning the electric machine, then, after a considerable time, the manifestation changes once more to the negative; or if you shut the door and open the window the manifestation changes more rapidly to negative. • It is, then, proved beyond all doubt that the electricity which comes in at the windows of an ordinary room in town is ordinarily negative in fair weather. It is not always negative, however. I have found it positive on some days. In broken weather, rainy weather, and so on, it is sometimes positive and sometimes negative. Now, hitherto, there is no proof of positive electricity in the air at all in fine weather; but we have grounds for inferring that probably there is positive electricity in the upper regions of the air. To answer that question the direct manner is to go up in a balloon, but that takes us beyond telegraphic regions, and therefore I must say nothing on that point. But I do say that superintendents and telegraph operators in various stations might sometimes make observations; and I do hope that the companies will so arrange their work, and provide such means for their spending their spare time, that each telegraph-station may be a subsection of the Society of Telegraph Engineers, and may be able to have meetings, and make experiments, and put their forces together to endeavour to arrive at the truth. If telegraph operators wouH repeat such experiments in various parts of the world, they would give us most valuable information.
And we may hope that liesides definite information regarding atmospheric electricity, in which we are at present so very deficient, we shall also get towards that great mystery of nature —the explanation of terrestrial magnetism and its associated phenomena,—the grand secular variation of magnetism, the magnetic storms, and the aurora borealis.
NOTES We have frequently had occasion to refer to the energy and work of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science, and we rejoice to see that at its last meeting it has shown an example which we hope will be followed sooner or later by all scientific societies; it has resolved to make its influence felt in parliamentary elections. On the motion of the secretary, Dr. White, the following resolution was unanimously adopted :—" That in respect that Britain is apparently rapidly losing that commercial and manufacturing supremacy which has heretofore distinguished her, and that it is high time that the Government of this country .should take steps to retain that supremacy, and that means towards that desirable end is the appointment of a responsible Minister of Education whose duty it will be to see that our education machinery in all departments, both in extent and in efficiency, is kept up to the wants of the age, and that a thorough general education in the scientific principles on which the arts are founded (and without which training mere technical schools are of no use), is put within the reach of all, this society resolves that the candidates for the representation in Parliament of the County and City of Perth be respectfully requested to state, whether, in the event of their being elected they will use their influence to urge upon the Government; (1) the appointment of such responsible Minister of Education; (2) the promotion of scientific exploration expeditions, such as that of an Arctic expedition which the late Government was in vain requested to promote; (3) the providing of means for carrying on unremunerative scientific research." The secretary was accordingly directed to communicate with the candidates.
The post of Hydrographer to the Navy has been bestowed by Mr. Goschen on Capt. J. O. Evans, R.N., C.B., F.R.S., in succession to Rear-Admiral Richards, C.B., F.R.S., who has retired.
The first four wranglers on this year's Cambridge Mathematical Tripos, are, George C. Calliphronas, of Gonville and Caius College; Walter W. R. Ball, of Trinity College; James R. Harris, of Clare College; and Andrew Craik, of Emmanuel College.
The following lectures in Nat ural Science will be given at Trinity, St. John's, and Sidney Sussex Colleges, during Lent Term, 1874 :—On Sound and Light (for the Natural Sciences Tripos), by Mr. Trotter, Trinity College, in Lecture-room No. 11 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, at II, commencing Wednesday, Feb. 4); On Electricity and Magnetism (for the first part of the Natural Sciences Tripos and the special examination for the Ordinary Degree), by Mr. Trotter, Trinity College, in Lecture Room No. 11 (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, at II, commencing Thursday, Feb. 5); On Inorganic Chemistry, by Mr. Main, St. John's College (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, at 13, in St. John's College Laboratory, commencing Thursday, January 29). Attendance on these lectures is recognised by the University for the certificate required by medical students pre. vious to admission for the first examination for the degree of M.B. Instruction in practical chemistry will also be given. On Paleontology (the Annuloida, &c), by Mr. Bonney, St. John's College (Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 9, commencing Tuesday, February 3). On Geology (for the Natural Sciences Tripos, Physical Geology), by Mr. Bonney, St. John's College (Mondays, Wedne?days, and Fridays, at 10, commencing Wednesday, February 4). Lithology: demonstrations with the microscope every Saturday at II, commencing February 7. The class will be limited to six, and preference gived to members of the above colleges. Elementary Geology (for the First Part of the Tripos and the special examination) (Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 11. commencing Thursday, February 5). On Botany, for the Natural Sciences Tripos, by Mr. Hicks, Sidney College (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, at n, in Lecture-room No. 1, beginning on Tuesday, February 3). The lectures during this term will be on Vegetable Histology and Physiology. A Course of Practical Physiol gy, by the Trinity Prelector in Physiology (Dr. Michael Foster) at the new museums. Lectures on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, at 12, commencing Tuesday, January, 27. This course is a continuation of that given last term.
Dr. Schmidt, Professor of Astronomy' in the University of Athens, has just complete! his great map of the Moon. It is
two metres in diameter, and is a marvel of accurate mapping and minute draughtmanship. The shading is so exquisite that any pin of the map may be examined by a lens without the appearaut of coarse or rough work. The map represents the labour of thirty-four years, and is without doubt one of the greatest asircnomical results of the century.
The discourse at the Royal Institution on Friday next, Fra. 6, at 9 P.m., will be by Mr. A. H. G.irroJ, Fellow of St. Jok'i College, Cambridge, " On the Heirt and the Sphygraograph.'
A Marine and Fresh-water Aquarium is to be established in the Central Park, New York, in connection with the Free Museum and Menagerie already erected there; it will be placed under the superintendence of Mr. \V. Saville Kent, F.Z.S., who was, until a short time ago, Curator of the Brighton Aquarium. It is intended to raise the requisite funds by public subscription, and we are very pleased to be able to add that it is proposed to endow the Institution, so that it may be made available for the purposes of scientific research.
A Project is on foot for the erection of a public aijuarium at Liverpool, and a Company has liecn formed for this purpose; a suitable site has been secured close to the Philharmonic Hall, and operations will, we believe, be commenced at once. It is estimated the building will cost about 45,00a'.
The exhibition of appliances for the economic consumption of coal, which has been formed in the Peel Park, Salford, by the Society for Promoting Scientific Industry, was formally opened on Friday. Mr. J. Lowthian Bell, who had been announced 10 open the Exhibition, was prevented from being present, but forwarded the copy of an address which he had intended to deliver. This was read by the secretary, Mr. Larking The Exhibition will remain open for some "weeks, and wil doubtless receive its share of public notice when the election are occupying less attention than tlic-y are at present.
We learn from the Athcnxum that the Trustees of the Brili''; Museum have agreed to resign their patronage into the hands of the Government.
An interesting peculiarity in the habits of some Indian Siluroid fishes has been noticed at a recent meeting of the Zoological Society by Surgeon F. Day, which will be described in full in the forthcominj Pitt of the Proceedings of tlul Society. Mr. Day, when fishing at Cassegode, found that, after having caught a large number of specimens of various species of Arias and Vsteogeniosus, there were sevsrj! silnr.>iJ eggs at the bottom of the boats, and in the fish-baskes. These eg^s were, on an average, half-an-inch in diameter; and on looking into the mouths of sever.U of the males of both genera, from fifteen to twenty eggs were seen in each; those in the boats and baskets having evidently dropped out from a similar sittiati-'n. The eggs were in different stages of de\ elopment, some advanced so far as to be just hatched. They filled the mouth, extending as far back as the branch i;e. No food was found in the alimentary canal, though in the females it was full of nutriment.
In a paper on the Meteors of January 2, rjad before the American Philosophical Society, by Prof. Daniel Kirkwood, the author states, founding on data extending from A.D. S49 to 1S64, that the meteors of this group have probably a period of thirteen years; that the mean distance is 5 53, aphelion 10.06; and that the source of the meteors may be the fourth comet of iSfio, which in its ascending node approaches very near the point passed by the earth about January 3. If the period be thirteen years, the comet should have returned in the latter part of 1S73, and the maximum fall of the associated meteors should occur about 1877.
Two legacies hav e recently been left to the French Academy of Sciences for the purpose of founding prizes. The one, a perpetual legacy of 2,500 francs, has been bequeathed by the late M. Gay, to be awarded as a prize in physical geography ; and the other, a sum of 10,000 francs, the interest of which is to be awarded to the author of an astronomical work.
A r.BNTLEMAN in Glasgow who does not wi sh his name to be given, has just made a donation to Glasgow University of 1000/., for the better endowment of the chairs of astronomy, botany, and natural history.
At the meeting of the Academy of Sciences at Paris on Monday, January 26, the place in the section of Anatomy and Zoology, vacant by the death of M. Coste, was filled up. M. P. Gervais was elected, but M. Alph. Milne-Edwards was a good second , obtaining 24 votes to M. Gervais's 33.
A New work by Mr. F. W. Burbidge, on "Cool Orchids, and how to grow them," is announced by Mr. Hardwicke, Piccadilly. It will be illustrated by coloured plates and wood engravings, and will be furnished with a copious list, in the shape of an index, of what are termed cool Orchids.
In a despatch from Mr. Williams, H.M. 's Consul at Samoa, to the Foreign Secretary, dated Sydney, Oct. 28, 1873, it is stated that gold in quartz has been found in a valley in that island, about three miles from the Port of Apia; the samples assayed yielded at the rate of 3000 ozs. to the ton.
Mr. J. F. Gardner, geographer to Prof. Hayden's survey, in giving a short sketch of the method adopted by him to determine the altitude of the various points occupied by the party in the Rocky Mountains, states that the experience of the surveys of California and of the fortieth parallel show that in the determination of the altitude of any point a mercurial barometer is liable to an error varying from 150 to 300 feet, even when the base barometer is at the foot of the peak, and only 3000 feet below the summit. In connection with Professor Whitney (chief of the California Survey), the following plan was adopted for correcting the errors of barometrical work. Four points were chosen at successive levels of from one to 14,000 feet. These stations were carefully connected by levelling:, with a spirit level, and were occupied as permanent meteorological stations. The observations taken by field parties are classified according to their heights, and each class is referred to the base station which is nearest its own elevation; the lower station being Denver, the fourth the summit of Mount Lincoln (14,000 feet), where are a number of silver mines worked by CapDin Breese. The central position of this peak admirably fits it for the base of referenceBesides the barometric determination of heights, two connected systems of trigonometric levelling have been carried over the whole aiea surveyed, and the check observations are so arranged that the probable error can be easily determined, and it is hoped that the system will prove accurate enough to throw some light on the amount of refraction at great ele\ations. By these methods the altitudes of many high points have been determined, frum which to construct a map in contours 200 vertical feet apart, on a scale of two miles to one inc h.
Signalling between the earth and the planet Venus is a suggestion made in all good faith by a French astronomer, M. Chailes Cros, who considers the coming transit of Venus to be a good opportunity for ascertaining whether there are inhabitants on tliat planet, and, if so, entering into relations with them. He says: "It is possible that Venus is inhabited; that amongst its inhabitants are astronomers; that the latter judge the passage of their planet across the solar disc to be an object to excite our curiosity; finally it is possible that these savants will strive in
some way to make signals to us at the precise moment when they might suppose that many telescopes will be levelled at their planet."
In a recent communication to the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, Prof. Marsh gave a statement of the results of his recent expedition to the Far West in search of fossil remains of extinct .vertebrates. He said the richest field for exploration was found in the great basin of the prehistoric lake which is now drained by the Colorado River. This body of water was originally as large as all the present lakes of the North-West combined, and had existed so long that the sand washed down from the surrounding hills had accumulated to the depth of a mile. In the different strata of this bed at least ten distinct groups of extinct animals could be detected, among them some extremely remarkable forms. One of these was a rhinoceros with two horns; but these, not like those of the modem rhinoceros, in the axis of the body, but transversely. In a space of 10ft. square he had sometimes found the bones of 30 different animals. The number of species of extinct mammals in these remains he estimates to be three times as great as that at present inhabiting the same locality.
A PAPER on Electrical Warfare will be read by Mr. Nath. J. Holmes, at the Society of Telegraph Engineers, on Wednesday, the nth inst
The new Holmes' Shipwreck Distress Signal, of great power, will be exhibited from Primrose Hill on Thursday evening, 12th, at 8.30, in presence of the Marine Secretary of the Board of Trade. This signal is self-igniting in water, and inextinguishable.
The Naples correspondent of the Times, writing on Jan. 25, states that Pi of. Palmieri has just published the following letter in answer to the numerous applications sent to him for information :—"The activity of Vesuvius continues to increase in the crater towards the N.E. Frequent globes of smoke issue from the bottom of it, with a kind of hissing sound, accompanied by an unpleasant odour of chloridic and sulphuric acids. Not far from it, at the commencement of the grand fissure of 1872, alkaline sublimates make their appearance. Meanwhile the fire does not ytt show greater activity at the bottom of the crater, where it will probably manifest itself, unless some eccentric eruption should occur before the internal resistance of this crater is overcome. The great subterranean energy now at work does, indeed, appear to be making an attempt at an outlet in various parts. On the 21st inst. a slight undulatory shock of earthquake was felt at Casamicciola, in the island of Ischia, and during the last week many have heard the low continuous mutterings of the mountain at a distance of 15 miles. As I write, however, the sismograph, which has been very agitated for some days, is more quiet." He also reports the melancholy .death at Casamicciola of Mr. Moggridge, who having bathed in the open sea, died on his road to the hotel.
We have received the Report of the Senchcnbtrgische naturforschemie Gesdlsehaft for 1872-73, a society of long standing, and with several eminent names in its list of members. The membership, we are glad to learn, shows a considerable increase during the year ; though M. v. Fritsch states, in his report, that the efforts of the society are sadly hampered for lack of funds, and that "we exist and vegetate, rather than live." He laments, also, that the museum, which once stood fifth in importance in Europe, is being quickly surpassed by other like institutions, and thrown into the background; which is hardly creditable to a city of such wealth and culture as Frankfort. Among the researches detailed in this Btiicht, we note a paper by Dr. Koch on the Atachnida of North Africa, especially those (hitherto unstudied) of the Atlas region, and the coast of Morocco; the material having been collected by Drs. von Fritsch and Rein. The new types are not very numerous, but the remarkably wide distribution of spider-species is confirmed ; and good illustration afforded of the influence of climate and other local conditions in modifying type forms. Dr. Rein describes some plants found in the neighbourhood of Mogador, and also furnishes a sketch of the vegetation of the Bermudas. A new species of perforating cirripede, Kochlorinc hamata N., is described by Dr. Knoll; M. Scheidel contributes a note on lake dwellings and their inhabitants ; and there are interesting accounts of journeys to Iceland, and to the Puglia Petrosa, in Italy.
We have received the first Annual Report of the "Hailcybury Natural Science Society." It contains preliminary lists of the fauna and flora of the place, together with observations on the meteorology of the locality, and a humorous description of an experimental dinner at which the principal dish consisted of esculent snails which had been specially fed and fattened for the purpose by certain members of the Society. It need scarcely be added, that the repast amply rewarded the members for their generous devotion to the cause of Science.
The additions to the Zoological Society's Gardens during the past week include three Mauge's Daayures (Dasyurus mauga-i) from Australia, presented by Mr. J. Shaw; two Vulturrae Guinea Fowl (JVumida vullurina) from East Africa, presented by Dr. J. Kiik; a Chilian Sea-Eagle (Geraiwaetus agitui) from Bahia, presented by Mr. J. Judge; an Indian Leopard (Fclis fardus) presented by Mr. G. D. Elphinstone; two Orang Outangs (Simia satyrus) from Borneo, and a Ungko Gibbon (Hylobates variegatits ) from Sumatra, deposited; two Wanderoo Monkeys (Maeacus sifettus) from the Malabar Coast; a Brown Monkey (Maeacus brunneus) and two Adjutants (Leptoplilus argala) from India, two Pheasant-tailed Pigeons (Macropygia phasiandla) from N.S. Wales, and two Jambu Fruit Pigeons (Ptilonopwt jambu) from the Indian Archipelago, purchased.
American yournal of Science and Arts, December 1873.—In a paper on the magnetic permeability (that is "conductivity,'' according to Faraday), and the maximum of magnetism of iron, steel, and nickel, by Mr. Henry Rowland, C.E., the results are expressed, and the reasoning is carried out in the language of Faraday's lines of magnetic force. The quantity introduced, in mathematical theories of induced magnetisation, depending on the magnetic properties of the substance, is in these treated as a constant; but it was shown, in twelve cases of iron and two of nickel, to vary between wide limits. The author finds that the magnetisation of good iron can never exceed 175,000 times the unit magnetic field (on the metre, gramme, second, system), nor can nickel exceed 63,000 times; and from these data, and with aid of a formula of Prof. Maxwell's for tension of lines of force, it is inferred that the greatest weight which can be sustained by an electro-magnet with an infinite current, is, for iron, 354 lbs. per square inch of section, and for nickel 46 lbs. The results of experiment closely agreed with this.—Prof. Henry Draper communicates a note on diffract ion-spectrum photography, accompanied with a photograph printed by the Alberttype process. (See Nature, vol. ix. p. 223.)—We note several geological papers, one of them, by Prof. Fontaine, describing a remarkable deposit of bituminous matter, termed Grahamite, in Ritchie County, West Virginia, chemically re•embling the mineral Alhertite of New Brunswick, but differing considerably from this in its geological relations.—The age of the Lignitic formation of the Rocky Mountain region is far fiom decided, owing to the contrary evidence afforded by fossil plants and animals ; and the editors propose to cite the arguments from various sources, in order, if possible, to bring about agreement. They give in this number the conclusions of M. Lesquereux
from fossil plants. He refers the Lignitic beds to the U pper and Lower Eocene ; and he gives a number of facts showing the dilconnection of American Eocene flora from that of the Cretaceous, indicating truly separate formations.—Mr. Comslock describes thegeolngy of Western Wyoming.—Mr. VcrriU communicate* the results of a recent dredging expedition on the coast of New England. It was ascertained that the hotly of cold bot'om water approaches so nearly to the Coast of Maine as to manifest itsell distinctly within twelve or fifeen miles of Cape Elizabeth, both by its highly Arctic fauna, and .its icy temperature, even in summer.—In a letter from Cordoba, dated Sept. 8, 1S73, Dr. Gould describes a remarkable swarm of locusts then occurring.
Aitronomische Nachrichtcn, No. 1970, Jan. 14, contains the following papers :—On the determination of longitude by star-occultation and the telegraphically determined longitude between Madras, Singapore, and Batavia, by Dr. Oudemans. The author mentions his observations in 1859 as giving a longitude for Batavia of 7I1. 7m. 12'Js., .also others in later years giving rather a less result. In 1870-71, however, the telegraphic communication with Singapore was used, giving a mean result of tim.|40 S95S. longitude from that place. The same author gives a note on Kaiser's original proof of Foucault's pendulum researches. The proof is given by Prof. Oudemans, by winch the plane of motion of the pendulum moves in azimuth in 1 sec., 15". sin 'p. It is too long to give in full here, but appears simple and good. Prof. Oudemans has also two other papers on position observation made during the eclipse of Dec. 1871 at Java, and on the Spheroidal form of the earth, which consist chiefly of equations and tables which we have not space to introduce.—Dr. Holetschek gives epliemerides of a number of the minor planets,
Der Naturforscher, December 1873.—This number contains notes from the Bothkamp Observatory. In one of them SI. Vogel gives observations of the spectra of several fixal stars; comparing the results obtained by Huggins and Miller. Another treats of periodic changes in the atmosphere of Jupiter. The observation that the occurrence of certain coloured stripes in Jupiter, and of bright egg-shaped spots in his equatorial zone coincided with the maximum epoch of sunspots, appears to be confirmed by a number of fresh data collected by the writer, Dr. Lohse. A third note describes observations of Venus in 1871-73, by M. Vogel, who thinks it probable that the planet is surrounded with an atmosphere in which floats a thick and dense layer of condensation products, so that little insight is afforded to the planet's surface, and the observation of spots helps but little to ascertaining the time of rotation or the position of the axis of rotation.—In physics, we have a note on the curious fact which M. Budde has recently studied, viz, that chlorine, when acted on by very refrangible rays of light, undergoes expansion and heating. Some experiments, made by M. Hirn, on the optical properties of flame, tend to show that flame is not perfectly transparent to light (as Ara*;o and M. Offret have affirmed), but that particles in the glowing state are ; the weakening of light in its transmission through flames is due to the various refractions it undergoes, and consequent dispersion. The author is led to some speculations on the sun's temperature, and he puts the case thus: If the glowing parts of the photosphere are intransparent, the temperature must (according to mathematical calculation), be nearly six million degrees; if they are transparent, it must be considerably less ; and the lower, the greater the transparency. The problem is one for experimental physics, the question being. Are all solid or liquid bodies transparent and diathermanous when brought to a very high temperature? M. Hirn, we have seen, inclines to reply in the affirmative. We find accounts of Prof. Guthrie's discover)' of a netf relation between heat and electricity, and M. Herwig's experiments on pulverisation of electrodes in the voltaic arch.—Chemistry is represented by papers on the laws governing water of crystallisation, and the reduction of carbonic acid by phosphate of iron.—The action of camphor on plant life has been recently studied by M. Vogel at Munich, 111 a series of experiment; which confirm an almost forgotten observation by Barton in the last century, that camphor has a stimulant effect 011 plants analogous to that of spirituous liquors or opium, in certain quantity, on the human system. There are also botanical notes on the influence of COa on verdant growth of plants (M. Bohm), and on the geographical distribution of the Cupulifene (M. Oersted); and, in technology, M. Riche discusses the physical properties of certain alloys.
SOCIETIES AND ACADEMIES
Geological Society, Jan. 21.—Prof. P. Martin Duncan, F.R.S., vice-president, in the chair.—"The secondary rocks of Scotland (second paper). On the ancient volcanoes of the Highlands and their relations to the Mesozoic strata," by J. W. fudd, F.G. S. That the rocks forming the great plateaux of the Hebrides and the north of Ireland are really the vestiges of innumerable lava-streams, is a fact which has long been recognised by geologists. That these lavas were of subacrtal and not subaqmous origin is proved by the absence of all contemporaneous interbedded sedimentary rocks, by the evidently terrestrial origin of the surfaces on which they lie, and by the intercalation among them of old soils, forests, mud-strearas, river-gravels, lake deposits, and masses of unstratified tuffs and a.\hes. From the analogy of existing volcanic districts, we can scarcely d ubt that these great accumulations of igneous products, which must originally have covered many thousands of square miles, and which still often exhibit a thickness of 2,000 ft., were ejected from great volcanic mountains; and a careful study of the district fully confirms this conclusion, enabling us, indeed, to determine the sites of these old volcanoes, to estimate their dimensions, to investigate their internal structure, and to trace the history of their formation. The following is Mr. Judd's conclusion on the subject of his paper :—It appears that during the Newer Palaeozoic and the Tertiary periods, the north-western parts of the British archipelago were the scene of displays of volcanic activity upon the grandest scale. During either of these, the eruption of felspathic lavas, &c, preceded, as a whole, that of the basaltic; and in both the volcanic action was brought to a close by the formation of "puys." The range of Newer-Palaeozoic volcanoes arose along a line striking N.E. and S.W.; that of the Tertiary volcanoes along one striking from N. to S. ; and each appears to have been connected with a great system of subterranean disturbance. It is an interesting circumstance that the epochs of maximum volcanic activity, the Old Red sandstone and the Miocene, appear to have been coincident with those which, as shown by Prof. Ramsay, were characterised by the greatest extent of continental land in the area. The Secondary strata were deposited in the interval between the two epochs of volcanic activity, and the features which they present have been largely influenced by this circumstance. Apart from this consideration, however, the volcanic rocks of the Highlands are of the highest interest to the geologist, both from their enabling him to decipher to so great an extent the "geological records" of the district, and from the light which they throw upon some of the obscurest problems of physical geology.—-Remarks on fossils from Oberburi.', Styria, by A. W. Waters, F.G.S. The author noticed the limited occurrence of Eocene deposits in Styria, and referred briefly to the researches of Prof. Reuss and Prof. Stur upon them. He then indicated certain species of fossils which he had detected in these beds, adding about nine species to Stur's list.
Anthropological Institute, Jan. 27.—Prof. Busk, F. R.S., president, in the chair.—Aniversary Meeting.—Before proceeding to read his address, the president referred to the financial condition of the Institute, which, although it showed that the receipts were adequate for the necessary expenditure on the piesent economical principles of management, would not admit either of paying oil any more of the debt or of increasing the scope and usefulness of the Institute. Until the unfortunate and. utterly indefensible secession of members early in 1873, on a purely personal question, the Institute, since its formation, had paid off the combined debts of the two old societies at the rate of 100/. a year. He appealed to the loyalty of the members now forming the Institute to make a united effort finally to extinguish the debt of Soo7. A year's income would do it, and it was suggested that if each member contributed one year's subscription, that great result would be attained and the Institute would certainly before long occupy a high position amongst the scientific bodies of the kingdom. As an encouragement to the body of members and as an earnest of the sincerity and vigour of his colleagues in management, the president had much pleasure in announcing that nearly 250/. had been promised by members present at a council-meeting held that day, provided the sum of 500/. be contributed by other members of the Institute.—The president then delivered the annual address, in which lie viewed the work done during 1873 by English and foreign
anthropologists. Amongst a large number of topics he adverted at considerable length to the important contributions to craniometry, by Dr. II. von Jhering and Dr. Paul Broca, criticising the respective methods employed by those distinguished anthropologists ; and concluded that part of his address with the observation that the study of craniology is almost futile when applied to highly civilised, and consequently much mixed peoples, and that its results are the more certain in proportion to the puritv of race. That purity at the present time was rapidly disappearing, and with it the surest data for the determination of the problems involved in the antiquity and physical origin of man.—The following was the list of officers and council elected to serve for 1874 :—President—Prof. Geo. Busk, F.R.S. Vicepresidents—John Evans, F.R.S. ; Col. A. Lane Fox, F.S.A.; A. \V. Franks, M.A. ; Francis Galton, F.R.S. ; Prof. Huxley, F.R.S.; Sir John Lubbock, Bart., F.R.S. Director—E. W. Brabrook, F.S.A.—Treasurer—Rev. Dunbar I. Heath, M.A. Council—Dr. John Beddoe, F.R.S. ; W. Blackmore; H. G. Bohn, F.R.G.S. ; Dr. A. Campbell; Hyde Clarke; Dr. J. Barnard Davis, F.R.S.; W. Boyd Dawkins, F.R.S. ; Robert Dunn, F.R.C.S. ; David Forbes, F.R.S. ; Sir Duncan Gibb, Bart, M.D.; George Harris, F.S.A. ; J. Park Harrison, M.A. J. F. McLennan; C. R. Markham, C.B. F. R. S.; Frederic Ouvry, F.S.A.; F. G. H. Price, F.R.G.S. ; J. E. Price, F.S.A. ; F. W. Rudler, F.G.S.; C. R. Des Ruffieres, F.R.S.L.; £. Burnet Tylor, F.R.S.
Royal Physical Society, Jan 28.—Mr. Scot Skirving, president, in the chair.—The following communications were read: Note on the Crushed Boulders from the Old Red Conglomerate in Kincardineshire, by James C. Howden, M.D., —On Crushed Boulders from Arbroath, and other localities, by Mr. Charles W. Peach.—Report of the Dredging Committee for 1873, by James Middleton, M.B., convener. The meeting of the committee had been held conjointly with the Naturalists' Field Club. In all about 133 species of animals had been obtained, including two new to the Firth of Forth.— Note on the Suspension of Clay in Water, by Mr. William Durham. This research was undertaken in continuance of those recorded in the papers on the same subject read at the last meeting. As the general result of Mr. Durham's elaborate and careful series of experiments, it was found that clay held in suspension by water sinks more quickly if the water is slightly acidulated, and more slowly if a slight amount of an alkali is added, but that the conditions are reversed if a large amount of either substance is mixed with the water.
Manchester Geological Society, Jan. 27.—Mr. J. Dickenson Hill in the chair.—Mr. J. Aitkcn exhibited some new fossil fishes from the millstone grit, Yorkshire, and read a paper descriptive of the bed whence they were obtained. He said that evidences of fossils had been brought to the surface during the excavations connected with the scheme for taking water from Widdop colliery to the borough of Halifax by a tunnel cut through Wadsworth Moor, about two miles north of Iiebdenbridge. After an examination, by no means exhaustive, there had been discovered seven specimens of Goniatites, three of Nautili, two of Orthoctralifts, two nf Avicula paten, two of Posodonia, one of Gastropod, one of MUamia, fish remains, &c. The discovery of the most remarkable character was a new species of Acrolepis presenting peculiar characteristics. The situation in which these remains occurred was near but somewhat above the middle of the shells which usually divided the third floors from the fourth or undermost grit.
Royal Academy of Sciences, Nov. 1, 1873.—M. Schering communicated a paper on the Hamilton-Jacobi theory for forces whose measurement depends on the motion of bodies.—MM. Wagner, Philippi, and Tollens described some researches on the Allyl group, made with the view of establishing the constitution of allyl alcohol, and of some of its compounds, especially acrylic acid. They find new evidence, in opposition to Wislicenus, that acrylic acid, as well as acetic acid, propionic acid, and all other organic acids, contains the group COaH, and may therefore be classed with them.—MM. von Grole and Tollens described an acid obtained from cane sugar by mr-ans of dilute sulphuric acid; and M. Tollens gave the first results of an investigation as to combinations of starch with alkali.