Elementare kosmische Betrachtungen über das Sonnensystem und Widerlegung der von Kant und Laplace aufgestellten Hypothesen über dessen Entwickelungsgeschichte

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    THIS little book, in which is summarised the essential parts of a series of lectures given at various times, is another praisewurthy attempt to make the results of mathematical analysis available to those who have not received the necessary preliminary training. How far the author has been successful in conveying precise information to this class it is difficult to judge. As a rule, it would appear that those who do read such books do not stand in need of the elementary treatment offered, while those for whom the book is intended fail to grasp the nature of the demonstration. The author discusses some of the ordinary dynamical problems connected with falling bodies, and also Kepler?s laws, as resulting from the operation of a central force. He adds some remarks on perturbations and tidal phenomena, but these sections are necessarily of the most sketchy character. There is a very good chapter on the present condition of the sun, written in a popular manner, and in which the author introduces some interesting topics; but here, as in other parts of the book, we would willingly have been spared the quotation of such big numbers, inserted, apparently, with the view of arresting attention. Finally, Prof. Holzmflller examines the data on which rests the acceptance of the nebular hypotheses as developed by Kdnt and Laplace. We are not disposed to quarrel with his conclusions, which may be stated thus. The hypotheses set up by these philosophers to explain the development of the solar system are inadequate to explain the past history, and? furnish unsatisfactory guides for the future. They cannot be regarded as a contribution to?exact science, but rather as unhealthy accretions. At the same time, the author, following Gauss, has failed to recognise the extreme diffidence with which Laplace put forward his hypothesis. By many, the caution and reserve with which Laplace accompanied his suggestions will always be regarded as a model of good taste and evidence of a correct scientific attitude.

    Elementare kosmische Betrachtungen über das Sonnensystem und Widerlegung der von Kant und Laplace aufgestellten Hypothesen über dessen Entwickelungsgeschichte.

    By Prof. Gustav Holzmüller. Pp. v + 98. (Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1906.) Price 1.80 marks.

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