Letter | Published:

On the Conservation of Solar Energy

Nature volume 25, pages 601602 | Download Citation



WITH your permission I should like to offer a few remarks upon the interesting paper of Dr. C. William Siemens on the “Conservation of Solar Energy,” published in NATURE (vol. xxv. p. 440). The main hypothesis upon which that paper is based, that of a fan-like action of the sun, is not improbable; nor are the consequences drawn illogical, if we could reasonably imagine space to be occupied by such condensed molecules as he supposes. That space is everywhere occupied by matter, there is no just reason to doubt. The hypothesis of an ether, specifically distinct from matter, is a gratuitous assumption, and one of the last surviving relics of eighteenth century science. Unless it can be proved that highly disintegrated matter is positively incapable of conveying light vibrations, there is no warrant for assigning this duty to a distinct form of substance. But that matter exists in outer space in the same conditions as in the planetary atmospheres is certainly improbable. Its duty as a conveyer of radiant vibrations seems to require a far greater tensity, and its disintegration is probably extreme.

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  1. Philadelphia, U.S.



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