Miscellany | Published:


Nature volume 23, pages 204206 | Download Citation



WE are enabled through the courtesy of the Council of the Royal Society of Edinburgh to present our readers with an abstract of a remarkable paper by Mr. John Aitken, on Dust, Fog and Mist. The paper opens up new lines of inquiry, and indeed a new future, to what has hitherto been one of the most difficult branches of meteorology, viz. the investigation of the vapour of the atmosphere, which we may safely predict meteorologists will not be slow in following up. Mr. Aitken continues the prosecution of the inquiry, and we learn that last week he has experimented with temperatures as low as 14°.0 F. with the result that equal ly as at higher temperatures, there is no cloudy condensation when there is no dust; but, when there is dust, cloudy condensation takes place on the dust nuclei, the amount of cloudiness being of course relatively small at such low temperatures on account of the small amount of vapour present. Taken along with Prof. Lister's experiments, in which it was shown that a single drop of rain developed organisms in sensitive solutions which would otherwise have remained for months unaltered, it shows that germ-producing matter, or germs themselves, form at least a part of the cloud and fog-producing dust. Hence a cotton-wool respirator may prove a protection against disease. We have said enough to show that the paper is one of interest, not only to the physicist and the meteorologist, but also (and perhaps even specially) to the physiologist and the sanitarian.

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