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Nature volume 24, page 328 | Download Citation



PARIS Academy of Sciences, July 25.—M. Wurtz in the chair.—The following papers were read:—On the comet b of 1881, by M. Mouchez. The result of M. Oudemans' search among the Dutch Colonial Archives in South Africa is that the comet of 1881 is probably not that of 1807, but seen now for the first time.—Determination of the horizontal and lateral flexure and the flexure of the instrumental axis of the meridian circle of Bischoffsheim, by means of new apparatus, by MM. Lœwy and Perigaud.—On the equivalence of quadratic forms, by M, Jordan. —On chlorhydric ether of glycol, by M. Berthelot.—Anthracic vaccination; résumé experiments made at Lambert, near Chartres, to test the method of M. Pasteur, by M. Bouley. The essence of the test consisted in inoculating vaccinated sheep with natural virus (anthracic blood from a sheep which died of the disease) instead of that prepared by processes of culture. The efficacy of the vaccination was fully demonstrated.—On the irreducible covariants of the binary quantic of the eighth order, by Prof. Sylvester.—Parabolic elements of the comet b 1881, by M, Bigourdan.—Observations of Schssberle's comet (c 1881) at Paris Observatory, by M. Bigourdan; also by MM. Henry. —Considerations on the forces of nature; inadmissibility of the hypothesis proposed by M. Faye to explain the tails of comets, by M. Picard. Whatever the nature of the repulsive force it can only be proportional to masses, not to surfaces, for ideal pressure on surfaces only arises from effective action on masses. No interposed matter can weaken or arrest its action, for the etherised medium penetrates all bodies. The action is propagated, not successively but instantaneously, being due not to an undulatory motion, but to shocks of etherised atoms and ponderable molecules, like gravitation; hence on a point in motion it is exerted in the same direction as the attraction exercised by the ponderable mass of the sun.—Remarks on the calculation of relative perturbations, according to M. Gyldén's method, by M. Callandreau.—Hemihedral crystals with inclined faces as constant sources of electricity, by MM. Jacques and Pierre Curie. A plate suitably cut in such a crystal and placed between two sheets of tin forms a condenser which becomes charged when it is compressed. The authors give an absolute measure of the quantities of electricity liberated by tourmaline and quartz for a determinate pressure. It is|shown how the instrument may serve in comparison of charges and capacities.— Determination of the angular distance of colours, by M. Rosenstiehl. He shows that three colours previously referred to, viz. orange, the third yellow-green, and the third blue, have the characters of a triad (that is, mixed in equal intensity, they produce the sensation of white). All the colours which occupy the angles of an inscribed equilateral triangle have the same properties.—Electric stopcock; transformation, transport, and use of energy, by M. Cabanellas —On the heat of formation of explosives, by MM. Sarrau and Vieille. When an explosive is decomposed the heat liberated is equal (according to thermodynamics) to the excess of the heat of formation of the products over the heat of formation of the explosive. Hence, knowing, in a given case, the heat liberated by decomposition, and the composition of the products of the reaction, the heat of formation may be arrived at. The authors have applied the method to the principal explosives, and will shortly give the results.—Industry of magnesia (continued), by M. Schlcesing. He treats sewage matter with phosphate of magnesia, obtaining the phosphoric acid from natural phosphates of lime, and the magnesia from sea-water or water of salt marshes (it is precipitated by slaked lime). He produces a sort of vermicelli of lime, which gives a porous magnesia, on which the acid liquid acts easily.—On some reactions of morphine and its congeners, by M. Grimaux.—On a new process of vaccination of chicken cholera, by M. Toussaint. He inoculated fowls with blood of rabbits which had died of septicemia (or with matter cultivated from it), and the effects were those of an attenuated virus, which made the fowls refractory to cholera.—On a volcanic breccia capable of being utilised as an agricultural manure, by M. Carnot. The rock (from l'Herault) contains notable amounts of iron, lime, potash, and phosphoric acid.—Boric acid; its existence in salt lakes of the modern period, and in natural saline waters (second note), by M. Dieulafait.—On the extraordinary temperature of July, 1881, by M. Renou. It rose to 38°.4 on the 19th at the Park Observatory, a degree never experienced in Algiers, the Antilles, and Cayenne.

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