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could best be met by the compilation and publica. tion in English of tables of constants which have been critically reviewed as to their accuracy and has decided that this could best be done by the appointment of a committee to act as trustees in charge of such compilation and as far as is necessary to have charge of the determination of such constants as have not already been published or determined, and
WHEREAS, the trustees so appointed were selected as representing the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the representatives being, respectively, Julius Steiglitz, Edwin P. Hyde and Hugh K. Moore, therefore be it
Resolved, that the American Chemical Society in convention assembled heartily endorses this project and promises to the trustees its support in every way within its power.
SCIENTIFIC NOTES AND NEWS
THE American Philosophical Society on April 24 elected members as follows: Wilder D. Bancroft, Washington; Gary N. Calkins, New York; Edward Capps, Princeton; Heber D. Curtis, Mt. Hamilton, Calif.; Leonard E. Dickson, Chicago; William Duane, Boston; Moses Gomberg, Ann Arbor; Frank J. Goodnow, Baltimore; John F. Jameson, Washington; Douglas W. Johnson, New York; Vernon L. Kellogg, Stanford University, Calif.; George F. Moore, Cambridge; Paul Shorey, Chicago; William C. Sproul, Chester, Pa., and Pope Yeatman, Philadelphia.
THE Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia has conferred the Hayden Memorial Medal for 1920 on Professor Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin, professor emeritus of the University of Chicago, in recognition of his distinguished services to geologic science. This medal is presented every three years for distinguished accomplishments in geology or paleontology. It represents a memorial established by an endowment fund by Mrs. Emma W. Hayden in honor of her husband, Dr. Ferdinand V. Hayden, who was for many years director of the Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories. The medal was first presented to James Hall, formerly state geologist of New York, in 1890, and has since been presented to
various distinguished geologists both in America and in Europe. In the opinion of the Committee on the Award, Professor Chamberlin's numerous and remarkable contributions to geologic science place him in a rank high among the others who have received the Hayden Memorial Medal.
DR. VICTOR C. VAUGHAN, of the University of Michigan, has been elected a member of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago.
PROFESSOR A. FOWLER, F.R.S., has been elected a corresponding member of the Paris Academy in the section of astronomy.
On the occasion of the dedication of its new Agricultural Engineering Hall at University Farm on April 14, the University of Nebraska conferred the honorary degree of doctor of agriculture upon Roscoe W. Thatcher, dean of the department of agriculture and director of the agricultural experiment stations of the University of Minnesota, and the honorary degree of doctor of engineering upon Charles Rus Richards, dean of the college of engineering and director of the engineering experiment station of the University of Illinois. Dean Richards delivered the dedicatory address.
THE intimate international relationships with English and Continental laboratories held by the members of the nutrition laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, in Boston, Mass., which were interrupted by the war, are again to be resumed. Professor Walter R. Miles, of the department of physiological psychology of the Nutrition Laboratory, has recently left for an extended tour in European countries and for attendance at the International Congress of Physiology to be held in Paris in July.
DR. J. WALKER FEWKES, chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology, will return to the University of Texas in June to continue the work of archeological research begun last year. During Dr. Fewkes' former visit to Texas investigations were made of the Red Burnt Mounds extending from east of Austin westward beyond the New Mexico boundary.
DR. JOHN L. TODD, of McGill University, and Dr. Simeon B. Wolbach, of Harvard Medical School, have gone to Poland to study typhus fever. They are working under the Red Cross.
DR. DON M. GRISWOLD has been appointed state epidemiologist of Iowa to succeed the late Dr. E. G. Birge. Dr. Griswold will also act as head of the division of hygiene, preventive medicine and epidemiology of the department of pathology and bacteriology of the University of Iowa.
DR. E. G. TITUS, technologist in sugar-plant investigations, U. S. Department of Agriculture, who has been in charge of seed-breeding and other sugar-beet investigations in the intermountain region, has accepted a position with the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, Salt Lake City, as director of their new department of agricultural research.
PROFESSOR O. M. LELAND, of Cornell University, has accepted a position with the J. G. White Engineering Corporation and has taken up his work at their offices in New York City. He has been a member of the faculty of civil engineering at Cornell for seventeen years. During the war, Professor Leland was in active service as Lieutenant Colonel of Engineers, in the 78th Division, and, after the Armistice, in the 89th Division.
DR. JAMES BROWN, formerly research chemist for Zinsser and Co., Hastings-on-Hudson, N. Y., has accepted a position as research chemist with the Calco-Chemical Company, of Bound Brook, N. J.
PROFESSOR R. A. SAMPSON, F.R.S., astronomer royal for Scotland, has been appointed Halley lecturer in the University of Oxford.
THE courses and conferences arranged for the physicists and mathematicians who will be assembled at the University of Chicago during the summer quarter, beginning on June 21 and ending about September 1, include the subject of the General Theory of Relativity, by Dr. A. C. Lunn; the Theories of Quanta and Theories of Atomic Structure, by Dr. R. A. Millikan; New Developments in Optics, by Dr. H. G. Gale; Thermionic Phenomena and their Applications, by Dr. A. J. Van der Bijl, of the Re
search Laboratory of the Western Electric Company; the Theory of Sound, by Dr. Lunn; and Electro-Magnetic Theory, by Dr. A. J. Dempster. The facilities of the Ryerson Laboratory for research and conference purposes are extended to professors holding the doctor's degree from other institutions. A considerable number of physicists of this type are to be in attendance.
SIR RICHARD GLAZEBROOK, late director of the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington, England, was presented on March 17 by the staff with his portrait in oils, painted by his cousin, Mr. Hugh de T. Glazebrook. Accompanying the gift was an album, containing an illuminated address, followed by the signatures of past and present members of the staff and a photograph of the laboratory taken from an aeroplane. Mr. F. E. Smith, F.R.S., who presided, and Dr. T. E. Stanton, who made the presentation, reviewed the rise and progress of the laboratory under Sir Richard, and referred to the harmony that had always existed between him and the staff. Sir Richard Glazebrook thanked the staff for their gift, and, speaking of the future of the laboratory, said he was sure Mr. Balfour and the members of the council had its interests very seriously at heart, and would do all they could in the future to promote its prosperity. There was an intention on the part of the Ministry to carry on the study of aeronautics, which had been an important feature in the work of the labora tory in the past, and he hoped that place would be made one of the centers where research work would be continued.
AT the meeting of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago on April 16, Professor R. A. Millikan, professor of physics at the University of Chicago, presented a paper on "Twentieth century contributions to our knowledge of the atom."
PROFESSOR VERNON KELLOGG recently addressed the New York Alumni Society of Phi Beta Kappa, and also the Washington Academy of Sciences, on Europe's food in war and armistice."
DR. WILLIAM CURTIS FARABEE gave an address on 66 Ethnography at the Peace Conference" before the University of Pennsylvania chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at its twentieth anniversary meeting on April 15. At the same meeting Dr. Farabee was elected to honorary membership in the society.
DR. FRED HEYL, of the Upjohn Company, Kalamazoo, Michigan, recently lectured before the chemical department of Yale University on "The application of organic chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry." The next speaker in this course of industrial lectures being given this year in the Graduate School will be Mr. Walter S. Landis, of the American Cyanamide Company, who will give three lectures dealing with the "Fixation of nitrogen."
THE Lady Priestley Memorial Lecture of the National Health Society was given by Sir George Newman, K.C.B., M.D., F.R.C.P., on Thursday, April 22, at the house of the Royal Society of Medicine. The title of the lecture is "Preventive medicine: the importance of an educated public opinion."
PLANS have been made for an expenditure of about $10,000,000 for the establishment of 66 a medical center" at Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington, D. C. The hospital is to be gradually developed into one of the main hospitals of the Army, by the building of two additions to the main hospital building for various uses such as medical and surgical wards, dental department, laboratory, eye, ear and throat department and dispensary. Most of these activities now are housed in temporary buildings. The Mayo Brothers, of Rochester, Minn., will assist in the approved project for increasing its usefulness on modern lines.
THE Migratory Bird Act of 1918, designed to carry out provisions of a treaty between the United States and Great Britain for the protection of migratory birds, has been held constitutional by the Supreme Court. The statute was attacked by Missouri authorities, who alleged that it interfered with the sovereignty of the state and with the property right of the people of that state.
EDUCATIONAL NOTES AND NEWS
THE General Education Board has contributed $350,000 to the Endowment Fund of New York University, to endow the work in engineering and collegiate work. It is conditional on the raising of a total fund for these purposes of $1,200,000 and the clearing off of the floating indebtedness of the university, now versity, now amounting to approximately $400,000.
ANNOUNCEMENT is made of the establishment in the Yale Graduate School for the year 1920-1921 of a research fellowship in organic chemistry by the National Aniline and Chemical Company of New York. This fellowship is supported by a gift of $750, and the recipient must be a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
THE total civil service estimates of the year in Great Britain are put at £557,474,899. One of the largest increases is for the Board of Education. The following are typical in
Estimat d for
A ROYAL Commission has been appointed to inquire into the financial resources and working of the University of Dublin and Trinity College, Dublin. The commission is to consider the application for state financial help which has been made by the university. It will consist of five members with three as a quorum. The names of those appointed are: Sir Archibald Giekie, O.M., K.C.B., F.R.S.,; Sir John Ross, Bt., Judge of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice in Ireland; Dr. A. E. Shipley, D.Sc., F.R.S., Master of Christ's College, Cambridge; Professor J. S. E. Townsend, F.R.S., Wykeham professor of physics and fellow of New College, Oxford; and Profesor John Joly, F.R.S., professor of
Board of Education ..
geology and mineralogy in the University of Dublin. Professor Gilbert Waterhouse, LL.D., professor of German in Dublin University, is to be the secretary to the commisson. The commission will investigate the administration of the existing financial resources, and also the constitution both of the university and of Trinity College, and may make interim reports if it wishes to do so.
DR. L. D. COFFMAN, head of the department of education at the University of Minnesota, has been elected president of the university to succeed Dr. Marion L. Burton, who is president-elect of the University of Michigan.
THE trustees of the Peking Union Medical College, Peking, China, announce the resignation of Dr. Franklin C. McLean as director of the college, and the appointment of Dr. Henry S. Houghton, formerly dean of the Harvard Medical School of China, at Shanghai, as acting director. Dr. McLean retires from the directorship in order to devote himself to the professional work of the department of medicine of the Peking College of which he is professor and head.
DR. LAWSON G. LOWERY, for three years chief medical officer of the Boston Psychopathic Hospital, has been appointed assistant professor in the psychopathic hospital of the University of Iowa.
DR. J. B. CLELAND has been appointed to the newly created chair of pathology in the Adelaide University, South Australia.
DISCUSSION AND CORRESPONDENCE UNIFICATION OF SYMBOLS AND DIAGRAMS
THE recent attempts to unify the mathe matical symbols used in physics and chemistry are probably approved, in principle, by practically every one. They have stimulated and guided a large amount of voluntary effort and cooperation. Their complete recognition and adoption has been hindered by the difficulty of getting any one system to satisfy the very varied requirements and personal preferences involved.
These two facts suggest, first, a further field for the applying of unifying methods,
and second, an advantageous way of making the application. The field is the great number of special or minor subjects; such as electron tubes, radio work, gas theory, calorimetry. The notations used in most of these would be better if more nearly unified; and this could much more easily be brought about if each subject is treated as deserving a notation of its own, founded on the general scheme, but having also a special development. Such a treatment of the special topics would probably help solve the conflicts which impede the general scheme also.
A possible advantageous method of getting the work done is for the committees in charge to act more or less as referees, allowing the authors of new papers to do a good deal of the work and even to furnish much of the initiative. Most scientific workers seem to be strongly of the opinion that unification in these numerous subjects is desirable, but among those who would most naturally be expected to take the lead there is a lively appreciation of the work and difficulties involved. These obstacles should be diminished by the plan here suggested. It really puts the committee in a position just opposite to that which similar committees have usually held. Instead of canvassing the whole field and submitting a complete system to be judged by others, the committee would have the final judgment, and the constructive part would be done mainly by active workers specially interested in each different subject, and specially familiar with it. It might be that each decision of the committee, like the decision of a court, would apply to a single case submitted to it, that is, to a single paper. Frequently, then, a brief might be submitted by the author, giving reasons for the desired selection of symbols, and some review of those used by previous writers in the same subject and in those allied to it. The method would thus be flexible and the results capable of modification, though as a rule after one important paper had been passed upon there would be very little more work for the committee in that particular subject.
Whether any such general plan as that just
suggested is ever followed or not, it is at least fairly clear that the use of symbols in the various special and restricted subjects can be regulated with far less perplexity and conflict than attends the attempt to provide a single system to fit the whole of a very complex science. Another important conclusion is that voluntary effort and cooperation can accomplish much, even without any formal committee. For instance, most of the existing diversities in symbols are due to inadvertence or negligence, not to real difference in opinion or taste. Most of them would have been avoided if writers had simply made it a rule to notice the symbols of their predecessors, and not make changes without any reason. There is little doubt that the majority of writers are willing to follow this rule as soon as their attention is directed to it. Where previous usage differs, or where some writer wishes to make changes for a reason, the individual writer's judgment may not be wise. In such cases cooperation, through correspondence or otherwise, between different writers is advantageous. Such cooperating writers, however, will usually desire the cooperation of a formal committee. Indeed, my own reason for venturing to present these suggestions to the public is that I happen to belong to a small group who are willing to make mutual concessions and so secure a uniform set of symbols in a new minor subject, and who wish to have their work in this direction given the improvement and greater promise of permanence that would come by having it passed upon by a recognized committee.
The symbols used in diagrams, and in many cases the forms of the diagrams themselves, can also gain by standardization. Certain familiar conventions have long been used in electrical diagrams, but in general the field is so divided and varied that here, even more than with the symbols used in equations, piecemeal and detailed standardizations seem at once easiest and most useful. Sweeping and absolute rules are almost sure to prove detrimental in some cases, and have aroused opposition. Even in striving for uniformity
the greatest uniformity is not necessarily always the greatest benefit. Moreover, a set of general rules, formulated once for all, does very little to unify the special and minor details, which are, if anything, the most important, since they are the most numerous, and hardest for the reader to remember. The value of general rules for symbols and diagrams will hardly be denied, but a large measure of attention to separate subjects seems likely at once to be of value in itself and to avoid much of the difficulty and conflict which have hitherto impeded progress in standardization of symbols by more wholesale methods.
WALTER P. WHITE CARNEGIE GEOPHYSICAL LABORATORY
TO THE EDITOR OF SCIENCE: One of the characteristic by-products of our industrialism is carbon monoxide and the mild hysteria which one finds in certain parts concerning the possible accumulation of this compound in our atmosphere is interesting as an example of a little learning. The report of the press that a high percentage of this gas was discovered in some of our camps where automobiles, aeroengines and gas engines in general were operating has given color to the fears expressed by some of our scientists who should know better. There is probably more carbon monoxide produced during a severe lightning storm in a given locality than is emitted by our coke burners, gas engines and other sources in industry during much longer periods. The silent discharge which proceeds during storms in mountainous areas produces much of the gas. Now while carbon monoxide is inert chemically and scarcely absorbable by ordinary laboratory methods, under natural conditions there are sources of disposal which guarantee that the gas does not accumulate rapidly, at least, in our atmosphere. Chlorophyll "fixes" carbon monoxide in a stable way, so that much chlorophyll is lost to plants in regions where there is an unusually high concentration of the gas, being rendered impotent in photosynthesis by the attachment of CO. In like manner,