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fore, under the name Steindachneridion we rebaptize those catfish which, for thirty-one years have been nozing around on the river bottoms just north of Rio Janeiro under the improper appelation Steindachneria.
CARL H. EIGENMANN,
ROSA SMITH EIGENMANN
ACOUSTIC EFFECTS OF wires
THE thorough researches of Wallace C. Sabine, of Harvard University, showed that the acoustic qualities of a room depend largely on its reverberation times for various pitches, that is, the intervals during which the repeated echos of sounds remain audible. Good corrections can usually be made by altering the sound-absorbing qualities of walls and other surfaces against which the sound waves impinge and by which they are wholly or partially reflected.
Many attempts have been made, some within very recent times, to correct faulty rooms by stretching wires across them. There seems to be no reason for supposing, a priori, that a correction can be obtained in this way. To my knowledge no quantitative experiments to settle the question have been recorded. Many architects who have not given careful attention to the work of Sabine are inclined to believe that this method, because it has been used in so many instances, must give some degree of correction.
In the course of some experiments which I made a few months ago on the faulty acoustics of the chamber of the House of Representatives in the new parliament buildings in Wellington, New Zealand, I was requested to make an experiment on the effect of wires. The committee in charge of the work knew that a chamber in the Australian parliament buildings had been fitted with wires and that they were said to function well.
No. 16 copper wires were stretched both lengthwise and crosswise six inches apart in a horizontal plane over the entire middle part of the room bounded by the galleries. space constitutes two thirds of the crosssection of the room. 9,000 feet of wire were
used, possibly twenty times as much as would ordinarily be used in a room of this size. The reverberation times for a great variety of pitches were carefully measured both with and without wires, and were found to be the same in both cases to within about two per centum, which is not greater than the expected error of measurement.
In this particular case, therefore, the wires were without effect. I have not been able to discover any uniformity in the arrangements of wires where they have been used, and so the one described above may be considered as good as any. The probability is great that wires, however arranged, have no effect on acoustics. HARRY CLARK
THE HARVEIAN FESTIVAL OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS OF LONDON
THE Harveian Festival was, for the first time since 1913, celebrated with full honors by the Royal College of Physicians of London Luke's Day (October 18). The Harveian Oration has been delivered each year, but the other ceremonies have been intermitted. On this occasion the oration, delivered by Dr. Raymond Crawfurd, dealt with the forerunners of Harvey in antiquity. As will be seen when the full text is published in an early issue, the speaker supported the thesis that in the matter of the circulation of the blood Harvey's indebtedness to any but Aristotle was negligible. The fuller knowledge now possessed of the writings of men of science of ancient days demanded, he said a readjustment of traditional beliefs, for too much had been claimed for the ardent anatomists of the Renaissance and too little conceded to the master minds of antiquity. The oration was delivered in the library, and the speaker's development of his theme was closely followed by a large and attentive audience. Afterwards the President presented the Baly Medal to Dr. Leonard Hill, and in doing so recalled the circumstances of its foundation. William Baly was assistant physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, a Fellow of the
Royal Society as well as of the Royal College of Physicians, and had attained a leading position in London when he was killed in a railway accident in 1861. Five years later Dr. Dyster presented a sum of money to the college to found a medal in Baly's memory, to be given every two years to the person deemed to have most distinguished himself in the science of physiology, especially during the two years preceding the award of the medal. The first recipient was Richard Owen; among the others were William Sharpey, Charles Darwin, Sir David Ferrier, Sir Michael Foster, Dr. W. H. Gaskell, Sir Edward Sharpey Schafer, Professor E. H. Starling, Professor Halliburton, Dr. J. S. Haldane, Professor Gowland Hopkins, and Professor W. M. Bayliss. But the medal is not restricted to British subjects, and has been awarded at various times to Claude Bernard, Carl Ludwig, R. Heidenhain, M. Schiff, Professor Pavloff (the Russian physiologist), and Professor E. Fischer. Harvey, in giving the college his patrimonial estate of Burmarsh, in Kent, in 1656, just a year before his death, enjoined that once every year a general feast should be held within the college, and that on that day an oration should be delivered exhorting the fellows and members to search and study out the secrets of Nature by way of experiment, and also, for the honor of the profession, to continue in mutual love and affection among themselves, ever remembering that concordia res parvæ crescunt, discordia magnæ dilabuntur. It has been the practise of the college to obey this injunction by holding a dinner of the fellows, to which the guests are invited, on St. Luke's Day. Such a dinner was held on October 18. The President (Sir Norman Moore), in proposing a toast to the guests, dealt briefly with the changes and terrible events of the years since 1913, and remarked incidentally that the college had been prevented from celebrating as it would have wished the quatercentenary of its foundation, which fell on September 28, 1918. In happy sentences, illumined by many historical references, he showed how the college had always manifested its attachment to literature. He reminded
hearers that Linacre-who, with the aid of Cardinal Wolsey, obtained from Henry VIII. the charter of incorporation-was one of the earliest Greek scholars in this country, and the friend of such men as Erasmus, More and Tunstall. Ever since the college had shown its attachment to learning, and had never wanted among its fellows men of literary distinction and wide scholarship. The toast was acknowledged by Sir J. J. Thomson, President of the Royal Society, who vindicated the claims of medicine to be accounted an independent science, bringing to its task for the prevention and relief of human suffering special methods of observation and experiment, upon which the art of the physician is founded. The toast was acknowledged also by Mr. J. C. Bailey, the editor of Cowper. The health of the Harveian orator was given in a brilliant and sympathetic speech by the senior censor, Sir Wilmot Herringham, and briefly acknowledged by Dr. Crawfurd.-The British Medical Journal.
Konchûgaku Hanron Jôkwan (General Treatise on Entomology). By. DR. T. MIYAKE. Shokabo, Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Vol. II., 1919. IN SCIENCE for August 3, 1917, is published a brief review of the first volume of this excellent work by Dr. Miyake, of the Imperial Agricultural Experiment Station at Nishigahara, Tokyo. The second volume has just appeared, and includes a discussion of insects' relations to plants, animals and man, with methods of general study, classification and collecting. It also includes a history of entomology in foreign countries and also in the older days in Japan. Although published in Japanese, much of it will be intelligible to the American reader through the abundant illustrations, which, of course, constitute a universal language. Dr. Miyake expects to publish two additional volumes, and the work as a whole will be an admirable compendium for the students of entomology in Japan. He has done pioneer work in many directions, the educational value of which is very high.
L. O. HOWARD
GERMINATING FRESHLY HARVESTED WINTER
FREQUENTLY only a small percentage of freshly harvested winter wheat germinates readily under the conditions ordinarily used in making the germination tests even though it would germinate well under these same conditions a few weeks later. In sections of the country where farmers depend upon wheat from the current crop for the fall sowing the poor germination secured with the fresh grain has made it difficult for seed analysts to give accurate information as to the quality of winter wheat offered for seed in time for this information to be of service.
In a recent investigation by the Seed Testing Laboratories of the United States Department of Agriculture it has been found that the difficulty described in the preceding paragraph can be almost entirely overcome even with wheat taken from standing plants and never allowed to dry out by the use of a lower temperature than has been customary for making the germination tests. Thus of 16 samples of freshly harvested wheat an average of 99 per cent. began to germinate in 5 days at temperatures from 9° to 16° C. (48° to 61° F.), whereas in the same time an average of only 86 per cent. germinated at 22° C. (72° F.) which is about the temperature at which germination tests of wheat are frequently made. In the case of one lot 98 per cent. were germinating by the end of 5 days at 12°. C. (54° F.) and only 16 per cent. at 22° C. 72° F.). About 15° C. (59° F.) is recommended for use in making germination tests of all freshly harvested wheat. Of course at this temperature the rate of growth is slow after germination has begun. However, if one wishes to assure himself of the normal character of the seedlings it is only necessary to transfer the wheat grains as soon as the coverings are split over the embryo to some place where the temperature is about 20° C. (68° F.) and leave them at the higher temperature for a day or two.
A number of other methods have been dis
covered of overcoming this difficulty, at least partly, but none is as satisfactory as the use of a low germination temperature. Removing the coats over the embryo by the use of concentration sulphuric acid, followed by neutralization of the acid and washing, and a number of mechanical treatments which consist essentially of exposing the embryo to external conditions have been markedly successful, but are all tedious and some of them are attended with great danger of subsequent decay of the grain.
Drying the wheat at about 40° C. (105° F.) for a week had a somewhat beneficial effect upon its germination, but this method of treatment does not give wholly satisfactory results and, together with the following germination test, consumes more time than can be allowed, especially toward the end of the fall sowing season.
All of the methods which were beneficial with winter wheat gave equally good results with spring wheat and all except treatment with sulphuric acid were used with more or less success also in the germination of freshly harvested barley and oats, with which the same difficulty may be experienced as with wheat.
A full report of the investigation is to be published shortly by the United States Department of Agriculture.
GEORGE T. HARRINGTON
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1919.
THE CARNEGIE INSTITUTION OF
WHEN the armistice was agreed to by the contending nations in November, 1918, the Institution had become more of an agency for the promotion of warfare than one for the promotion of peaceful pursuits. About two thirds of the staffs connected directly with the Institution, or somewhat more than 200 men, were engaged in war work, and about the same proportion applies to the Research Associates of the Institution and their collaborators. Nearly every expert of the institution was able to render assistance and many of them devoted their entire time and energies to government work. Of the larger undertakings in this work, the most conspicuous are the development to the point of quantity production of the optical glass industry by the Geophysical Laboratory; the manufacture of precision micrometers for the U. S. Bureau of Standards and the manufacture of optical adjuncts for artillery by the staff of the Mount Wilson Observatory; the construction of special devices for the Navy in the shops of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism; the contributions of the Nutrition Laboratory to knowledge of the effects of undernutrition; and the information service rendered by the Department of Historical Research. These undertakings required many men in arduous researches and involved no inconsiderable costs to the institution, since it assumed, in most cases, the principal overhead expenses. Not less important relatively than these larger operations. were many special and individual contributions to the general cause. That essential occupations were quickly developed for what are sometimes called " narrow specialists" in nearly every branch of learning cultivated by
1 From the report of the president, Dr. R. S. Woodward, for the year ending October 31, 1919.
the institution affords striking evidence at once of the diversity of modern warfare and of the ultimate practical value of recondite researches.
Although formal requests from the government for services ceased nominally toward the close of the calendar year 1918, they actually continued until nearly the middle of 1919. Thus, the optical work and the researches on the concentration of nitrates for the War Department did not end until June, 1919; the information work of the Department of Historical Research continued until mid-July; some special work for the Navy was done by the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism as late as September of this year; while a few other relations in government undertakings still remain to be served. It is only recently, also, that members of the institution in the military and other services of the government have returned to their posts; so that emergence from the untoward conditions in which we find ourselves has only fairly begun.
Naturally, this deflection of interest from the normal activities of the institution has led to many changes, to some dislocations, and to the suspension, or even abandonment, of a number of projects. The war, in fact, has brought some sinister consequences to the institution as well as to most other organizations. Fortunately, of those who entered the military and naval service only two lives were lost, namely, Karl Edward Anderson and Billings Theophilus Avery, both of the Department of Experimental Evolution, who died during the year 1918. Fortunately, likewise, while some members of the investigatory staffs of the departments of research have been drawn off, by reason of their abilities, into industrial or other occupations, the number of such is not only small but not in excess of an inevitable and healthy exchange between a progressive establishment and its contemporaries.
Detailed reports concerning the war activities of the institution, and particularly concerning the work done by the departments of research, are on file in the office of administration; so that if it should become necessary to publish an account of these activities the
essential data are at hand. The time for publication of such an account does not appear to have arrived, since the government is entitled to initiative and priority in all these matters. Hence only the briefest references to them are made in this and other parts of the current Year Book.
It should go without saying that the disturbed conditions, social, industrial, economic and governmental, under which the world is now laboring are not without untoward effects on the institution. Being a part of and not apart from contemporary life, it must share to a greater or less extent in the consequences which follow from an unparalleled attempt at national supremacy based on the desperate doctrine of "dominance or downfall." But obvious as these consequences are in the abstract, there appear to be many outside and some within the institution who think that it may continue to expand regardless of the limits of its income and regardless of the fact that the purchasing capacity of this income has diminished by one half during the past decade. In line with these vagaries there is a recrudescence also of the juvenile notion so commonly held of the institution in its earlier years, that it may play the rôle of paternalism for other establishments and for individuals, and that it may act generally as a salvager in the wreckage of the world. Similarly, just as in political affairs it is often assumed that the prevailing scarcity of necessities and the burdens of taxation may be relieved by other means than by productive labor, so it is assumed that the institution may meet the increasing costs of its operations, not by appropriate restrictions and economies, but by increasing appropriations drawn from mythical sources. Thus the distribution of necessary disappointment, which has been so large a part of the unproductive business of the administrative office hitherto, is now increasing, stimulated by two generations of men unaccustomed to the practise of
2 A concise history of the production of optical glass is given by Dr. Fred E. Wright (major, Engineer Corps, U. S. A.), of the staff of the Geophysical Laboratory, in "America's Munitions," published by the War Department in 1919.