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The Recent Development of Physical Science

Nature volume 71, pages 291292 (26 January 1905) | Download Citation



IT is now nearly thirty years since Prof. Tait published his lectures on “Recent Advances in Physical Science.” The period that has since elapsed has been one of remarkable fruitfulness, and it is a suggestive fact that the fundamental problems of physical science which were dealt with by Prof. Tait have to so large an extent supplied the motive for the investigations now described by Mr. Whetham. Foremost amongst these perennial problems must be placed the structure of matter, the mutation of energy, and the nature of comets and nebulæ. Lord Kelvin's vortex-ring theory of the atom, so lucidly expounded by Prof. Tait, finds in the later volume its analogue in the electrical or corpuscular atom of Prof. J. J. Thomson, and the doctrine of the conservation of energy, which occupies the foremost position in the earlier volume, is again brought into prominence by the recent suggestions that the internal motion of the atom, be it that of a vortex ring or of a moving electron, may perhaps be drawn upon to supply the energy that is liberated from some hidden storehouse by the radio-active elements.

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