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reduction. Previously Mme. Curie had spent of the Department of State on the United two hours at the plant of the Welsbach Com- States Geographic Board. pany, Gloucester, N. J., and the company pre- MR. FRANK C. BAKER, curator of the Museum sented her with 50 milligrams of mesothorium. of Natural History, University of Illinois, Mme. Curie, accompanied by her daughters, is
will spend the summer in Wisconsin, continunow visiting the Grand Canyon and the Yel
ing his study of the molluscan fauna under the lowstone Park.
auspices of the Wisconsin Geological and NatTHE Rockefeller Foundation gave a dinner ural History Survey. in honor of Dr. Carlos Chagas, head of the
ARTHUR D. LITTLE, INC., announce that department of health in the Republic of Brazil,
Chester M. Clark, formerly head of the corat the Waldorf-Astoria, on May 20. Dr.
poration department of Stone & Webster, has George E. Vincent presided as toastmaster, been elected treasurer. Merton R. Sumner has and addresses of welcome were made by John
been appointed chief engineer. Mr. Sumner D. Rockefeller, Jr., Dr. Hermann M. Biggs,
was formerly chief engineer for New England Dr. Paulo de Proenca and the Brazilian am
of Fred T. Ley & Company, and more recently bassador to the United States. Dr. Chagas, of the Fuller Industrial Engineering Corporadirector of the Institute Oswaldo Cruz, Rio
tion. de Janeiro, gave a series of three lectures on
THE centenary of Bloomingdale Hospital at “ American trypanosomiasis” at the Harvard
White Plains, N. Y., for the treatment of Medical School, May 26 and 27.
nervous and mental disorders, was celebrated We learn from Nature that the presentation on May 26. A special program of addresses of the first award of the Kelvin medal was made had been arranged by Dr. William L. Russell, by the Right Hon. A. J. Balfour in the hall medical superintendent, for the morning sesof the Institution of Civil Engineers to Dr. sion, and in the afternoon there were tableaux W. C. Unwin on May 4. The medal was showing the origin of the asylum, its growth founded in 1914, principally by British and and the development of science in the treatAmerican engineers, to commemorate the ment of the insane. Addresses were made achievements of Lord Kelvin in those branches by Dr. Pierre Janet, professor in the College of science which are especially applicable to of France, Paris; Dr. Richard G. Rowe, diengineering.
rector of the Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, LonA COMMISSION of five engineers has been ap
don; Dr. Llewellys F. Barker, of the Johns pointed to visit England in June to present the Hopkins Medical School, and Dr. Adolf John Fritz medal to Sir John Hadfield, in Meyer, professor of psychiatry in the Johns recognition of his scientific research work. Hopkins Medical School. The members of the commission are as fol- PROFESSOR WILLIAM CROCKER, in charge of lows: Dr. Ira N. Hollis, president of Wor- the plant physiology department of the Univercester Polytechnic Institute; Charles T. Main, sity of Chicago and director of the Thompson of Boston, representing the American Society Institute for Plant Research at Yonkers, New of Civil Engineers; Col. Arthur S. Dwight,
York, gave an address on “ The physiology of of New York, representing the American In
seed germination” before the biology club stitute of Mining and Metallurgical Engi- of the University of Minnesota at University neers; Ambrose Swasey, of Cleveland, of the Farm on May 16. The following afternoon John Fritz medal award board and the Ameri
Professor Crocker spoke on an "Effective atcan Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Dr. tack on plant physiological problems" before F. B. Jewett, of New York, of the American the experiment station staff and other faculty Institute of Electrical Engineers.
PRESIDENT HARDING, on June 3, designated A LECTURE entitled “The study of organic Major Lawrence Martin as the representative reactions occurring in living matter" was de
livered by Dr. Treat B. Johnson, professor of bers of the Engineering Foundation in New organic chemistry at Yale University, before York City, and has requested that body to inthe Philadelphia section of the American vestigate his claims and his methods. Dr. Chemical Society on the evening of May 14. Davis is a reputable chemist, a member of the DR. JOHN C. MERRIAM, president of the Car
Society of Chemical Industry, a Fellow of the negie Institution of Washington, delivered a
British Chemical Society, and an Honorary lecture at the State University of Iowa in
Member of the Société Académique d'Histoire April, entitled “Recent researches on the an
Internationale. He is the author of several tiquity of man in California.” He also ad- papers which have been published in chemical dressed the Geology Club on “ The Fauna of
journals." Rancho La Brea."
DR. EDWARD A. SPITZKA, formerly professor The committee organized in 1911 by the
of anatomy at Jefferson Medical College, Phil. late Professor MacGregor to promote a me
adelphia, has donated to the U. S. National morial to Professor Tait in the form of a sec
Museum his collection of brains of distinond chair of natural philosophy at Edinburgh, guished persons. reports that the Tait chair will shortly be es- We learn from the Journal of the American tablished.
Medical Association that at the annual meetCHARLES PICKERING BOWDITCH, known for ing of the New York Association for Medical his research in the field of archeology, died Education held at the Academy of Medicine on June 1, in his seventy-ninth year.
on March 7, the by-laws were amended and THE death is announced of Abbott Thayer,
the board of directors was reconstituted to the distinguished artist, known also for his
apportion the control of the association's studies of protective coloration.
affairs to the five medical schools of greater Dr. E. J. Mills, F.R.S., emeritus profes- College of Physicians and Surgeons; Cornell
New York; namely, Columbia University, sor of technical chemistry in the Royal Tech
University Medical College; the Long Island nical College, Glasgow, died on April 21, at
College Hospital; the New York Post-Gradseventy-nine years of age.
uate Medical School and Hospital, and the THE American Society of Mechanical En
University and Bellevue Hospital Medical gineers extended an invitation to members
College. This means that for the first time of the American Association for the Advance
in the history of New York City the five medment of Science, to attend the May meeting of
ical schools will cooperate to develop New the Society at Chicago. The program of this
York City as a medical teaching center. The meeting gave special emphasis to the problems
mayor, the commissioner of health, and the of Chicago as a mid-western rail-water gate
commissioner of public welfare are ex-officio way. Two excursions were planned: one to
members of the board of directors. UnnecMcCook Field, for those interested in aero
essary duplication of courses of instruction by nautics, and the other to the Rock Island
the several medical schools will be done away Arsenal.
with. New courses and a higher type of gradTHE Engineering Foundation assumes re- uato work will be instituted. The new officers sponsibility for sending the following note to
of the association are: president, Dr. Haven the daily press: “Dr. Charles Benson Davis, Emerson, formerly health commissioner of of New York City, claims in a paper which he New York City, and at present in charge of has prepared and submitted to Engineering the War Risk Bureau; secretary, Dr. Otto V. Foundation, that he can make and has made Huffman, at present associate professor of some of the chemical elements, such as gold, medicine at the New York Post-Graduate silver, platinum and copper, by transmutation Medical School and Hospital, formerly secreof a common element. He has shown samples tary of the state board of medical examiners, of the metals he claims to have made to mem- and secretary-treasurer of the Federation of
State Medical Boards of the United States, not visible here on account of clouds, but and formerly dean of the Long Island College again on the evening of May 14 there was Hospital; treasurer, Dr. George W. Kosmak, another great display visible here in spite of attending surgeon of the Lying-In Hospital, the half moon and a low-lying fog which and formerly secretary of the American Asso- tended to spoil the visibility. As in other ciation of Obstetricians.
great auroras, the great bundles of streamers
appeared to converge toward the zenith from UNIVERSITY AND EDUCATIONAL
the south as well as from the north, east and NEWS
west. The sky at times was virtually covered A DORMITORY for foreign students at Co
with auroral light. The outburst of May 13 lumbia University and other schools in New
caused great disturbance to telegraph and York has been made possible through a gift telephone wire transmission and must have promised to members of the Cosmopolitan
been of unusual magnitude. All the effects Club, an organization of students in Colum
noted in the aurora of May 14 a day later bia and New York University. Plans for the
conformed to the perspective ideas, pointed dormitory provide for a building of 500 rooms
out in my paper, “ Inferences concerning auto be erected at cost approximating
roras,” read at the Boston meeting of the $1,000,000, on Riverside Drive opposite Grant's
National Academy of Sciences on November tomb. The newspapers report that the donor is John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
14, 1916, and published in its Proceedings,
Vol. 3, pp. 1-7, January, 1917. DR. F. S. HARRIS, director and agronomist of
It is rarely that one great aurora follows the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station and
so closely on the heels of another and at an professor of agronomy at the Utah Agricul
interval so short as a day. In fact I have no tural College, has resigned to become president
record or recollection of such a happening in of the Brigham Young University, at Provo,
my time of observation, which now extends Utah, where he succeeds Dr. George H. Brim
over fifty years, more or lese. Hence the cor. hall, who has been made president emeritus.
ditions lead to the inquiry whether any unProfessor Wm. Peterson, station geologist and
usual condition existed in this instance. professor of geology in the college, has been
An examination of the solar surface apappointed to succeed Dr. Harris as director of
pears to provide, or at least suggest, a possible the station.
explanation, and at the same time throw light DR. NATHAN FASTEN, who went to the Ore- on the nature of the relation of the aurora to gon Agricultural College last September from the solar disturbances. the University of Washington, has been pro- On May 15 there were to be seen on the moted to the headship of the department of solar surface two large spot areas, separated zoology.
by an interval of about one-fourteenth of the DR. JOHN W. M. BUNKER, who has been for diameter of the sun, the one following the several years at the head of the bacteriological
other as the sun revolved. These two spot department of the Digestive Ferments Com- areas, quite distinct from each other, were pany of Detroit, has been elected assistant pro
nearly round, the first a single spot, the secfessor of biochemistry and physiology at the ond a compact group with a much disturbed Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
area adjacent. They were located near the
center of the solar disc. DISCUSSION AND CORRESPONDENCE As the solar revolution takes place in nearly CONCERNING RECENT AURORAS, MAY 13 AND 26 days, the interval between the spots appears MAY 14, 1921
to be approximately one day of the surface TO THE EDITOR OF SCIENCE: On the evening movement. of May 13, 1921, there occurred a great aurora, This means that in about one day the sec
have witnessed and in which it was possible to make an estimation. This should be confirmed or denied by measurement, for those streamers which bear the same relation to the observer, as variations in distance away may affect the result.
ELIHU THOMSON SWAMPSCOTT, Mass.,
May 16, 1921
THE LANDSLIDE NEAR MONT BLANC
ond spot would replace the first in relation to the earth. If the first spot gave rise to emission of ions, radially, which in its orbital motion the earth reached and in which it became enveloped, the aurora of May 13 was possibly the result. The same relation repeated a day later by the second spot replacing the first would account for the aurora of May 14.
The relation of the two auroras in time, and the sequence of spot positions on the revolving sun are significant to say the least.
In this connection it may be noted that the great aurora of March 22, 1920, had a very long and unusual duration, beginning early in the evening of that day and continuing all night, even being observed just before sunrise on the 23d. It may have continued during part of that day, invisibly of course. At that time an examination of the solar surface disclosed a remarkably elongated spot area or chain of spots, and at each end of the chain or elongated group was a well-marked rounded spot. The group was fairly uniform in width extending in a direction nearly parallel to the solar equator, and its length would amply account for the long continuance of the aurora if emanations were pouring out from the whole group as it revolved with the the sun. Moreover, its advance past the meridian of the sun was apparently much the same before the aurora as with the two spots believed to have caused the auroras of this year on May 13 and 14. Such an advance points to a period (several hours possibly) required for the ionic emanations from the spot area to traverse the radius of the earth's orbit, from the sun.
Another matter of interest may be mentioned. In many auroras, especially during the greater outbursts, there occurs at times the peculiar streaming upward, as if a luminous wave was running up toward the zenith crown; a sort of flaming effect. The motion is fairly rapid, perhaps one half second being required to traverse the length of the streamer. The point I wish to make is that the parent velocity of this wave-like luminosity upward seems to be constant in all auroras that I
THE March Bulletin of the Royal Italian Geographical Society contains an account, well illustrated with map and photographs, by Professor U. Valbusa of the landslides near Mt. Blanc which occurred on the 14th and 19th of November last and made much stir in the newspapers, even to the point of exciting fear that the round-topped "monarch of mountains” had lost some of its height (4,807 meters). Such was by no means the case, as the head of the slide was on the eastern side of the subordinate dome known as Mt. Blanc de Courmayeur (4,709 m.), two kilometers east of and nearly 500 meters lower than the main mountain dome. Granite rock masses about half a square kilometer in total slanting area, were dislodged from the oversteepened side of an east-facing spur, the top of the gray slide-scar being a little lower than the terminal point of the spur which has an altitude of 4,381 meters. The detached rock masses first slid down into a second-order cirque of small size between the spur of origin and the Aiguille blanche de Péteret, near by on the southeast; there they turned a short distance northeastward and descended from the hanging outlet of the small cirque to a level of about 3,200 meters on the Brenva glacier at the western side of the great first-order cirque in which this glacier gathers its névé branches, and from which a narrower glacial tongue cascades southeastward into the over-deepened trough-locally known as the Allée blanche
of the uppermost Dora Baltea. On reaching the main glacier beneath the small cirque, the slide turned to the right, and gathering ice as it rushed along spread over the whole 3-kilometer breadth of
the glacier at the cirque front, even dashing propositions: A is B; A is C; one of which a little upward on the opposite mountain side; must be true and for neither of which any eviand then, rushing down the steep glacial cas- dence is forthcoming, we are intellectually cade where it cut off séracs and clogged cré bound to accord hospitality-not adoption but vasses, it divided on the convex surface of the
hospitality-to the one which is marked by lower glacier and overran both lateral mo- the greater likelihood. Viewed without anraines but failed to reach the mid-extremity thropometric bias this earth is, as we know, of the tongue on the floor of the Allée blanche.
one of the less important members of the sysThe total distance traversed by the slide was tem to which it primarily belongs-a system about 8 kilometers according to the map, but dominated by a single undersized yellow star. only 5 according to the text; the total descent If we had a time word corresponding to the was from altitude 4,300 to 1,500 meters. The space word parsec, and also had more definite time of descent of the first slide on Nov. 14, as geological knowledge of the past and future estimated by eye witnesses, was between 2 duration of this planet, we might express and 3 minutes; the velocity of movement was quantitatively the fact that the human race is the greater because winter snows had not yet relatively a mere episode in the history of the fallen on the ice in the great cirque. The planet itself; while our increasing knowledge volume of the slide was roughly estimated at of the Milky Way with its encircled disk of between 4,000,000 and 5,000,000 cubic meters. stars must convince us that our solar system Dust of rock and ice was spread by the wind is, in turn, only an incident in the history of blast of the slide, right and left of its course the stellar system to which it belongs. Which on the glacier and the mountain flanks, for a is more probable, that this one insignificant width of a kilometer or more; trees were over- planet is the only world in which creatures caturned by the blast outside of the lower lateral pable of feeling and knowing have originated moraines; a temporary lakelet was formed and developed, or that multitudes of other where the right lower branch of the slide, worlds have afforded both conditions and cause crossing the trough floor and ascending a little for life, including intelligent life, and are the on the farther side, obstructed the Dora Bal- homes of beings of both physical and mental tea. The slide was evidently one of those parts. The latter supposition seems to be inspasmodic efforts by which the Alpine moun- vested with incomparably greater likelihood. tain faces, over-steepened by glacial sapping,
ELLEN HAYES try from time to time to regain more moderate WELLESLEY, Mass., slopes, such as they had in Preglacial time; May 22 but the volume of the fallen rock was but a
SCIENTIFIC BOOKS trilling fraction of the spur from which it was detached.
The Health of the Industrial Worker. By W. M. D.
EDGAR L. COLLIS and MAJOR GREENWOOD,
containing a chapter on Reclamation of the EXTRA-MUNDANE LIFE: A COMMENT
Disabled by ARTHUR J. COLLIS and an introTO THE EDITOR OF SCIENCE: In discussing
duction by Sir GEORGE NEWMAN. London, the highly speculative subject of intelligent
J. & A. Churchill, 1921. life in other worlds it is well to keep in mind The appearance of the first English book on two serviceable precepts of scientific reason- industrial hygiene could not have been more ing: First, failure to prove that A is B is not happily timed. With a combination of an ina proof that A is not B. Thus, failure to dustrial depression and a glutted labor market furnish evidence that other worlds are inhab- there is a widespread tendency among Amerited by intelligent creatures is not to be con- ican managers to scrap the elaborate personstrued as proof that such extramundane life nel machinery established during the wardoes not exist. Second, of two discordant " to safeguard the health and capacity of the