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Soirée of the Royal Microscopical Society

Nature volume 14, page 12 | Download Citation



ON Friday, April 2ist, Mr. H. C. Sorby, president of the Royal Microscopical Society, gave a large soirée in the apartments of King's College. Invitations had been issued for above 1,500, including the whole of the Fellows of the Royal Microscopical Society, the presidents and leading officers of many of the London Scientific Societies; all the distinguished foreigners now in London as commissioners from the various foreign Governments to the Exhibition of Scientific Apparatus at South Kensington; and many of the President's private friends. About 800 were present, including about 300 ladies. After having been received by the President and one of the secretaries, the visitors passed into the various rooms of the College, in which were exhibited many objects connected with microscopical science. For the number, variety, scientific value, or general interest of the specimens, this exhibition has probably never been surpassed. Amongst the new instruments may be mentioned Mr. Sorby's arrangement for accurately measuring the wave-length of the centre of absorption-bands in spectra; a new form of Stephenson's erecting binocular microscope, by Mr. Bevington, and another by Mr. Browning, of somewhat different construction. Mr. Browning also exhibited his new portable microscope, which is so constructed that the body can be turned on one side and reversed in such a manner as to reduce the height to about one half. The President also exhibited a large series of specimens illustrating his own special subjects, shown by means of fifty microscopes, lent to him by four of the principal makers in London (Becks, Browning, Crouch, and Ross), and about 150 first-rate instruments and objects were contributed by the Fellows of the society and other friends. These were so distributed over the large apartments of the College as to avoid crowding in any part. Almost every branch of science to which the microscope has been applied was well represented, and many of the finest specimens ever prepared were shown and described. Many very interesting living objects were sent direct from the Brighton Aquarium and elsewhere. In the lecture theatre were exhibited Dr. Hudson's most beautiful drawings of microscopic objects shown in a new manner as transparencies; Mr. Spottiswoode's splendid polarising apparatus, and various objects shown with the oxy-hydrogen microscope by How and Company. The large entrance hall was decorated with plants and flowers, and used as a promenade. The two museums of the College were also thrown open. Refreshments were supplied by the steward of the College. The guests were provided with a classified catalogue of the objects exhibited, but they were so numerous that it was impossible for any one to examine more than a small part of the whole. One of the most satisfactory results of the soirée is the great impression produced by it on the foreign scientific men, who appear to have been quite unprepared for, and greatly surprised at, what they saw during the evening.

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