Societies and Academies



    Academy of Sciences, October 21.—M. H. Becquerel in the chair.—The transits of Mercury across the sun, and in particular on that of November 14: G. Bigourdan. A discussion of the various phenomena which have been observed in with the transits of Mercury, together with suggestions regarding instruments, &c, for use in the minima of classes of quadratic forms, binary and positive: G. Humbert.—The spawning of the cod in the south of the North Sea: Alfred Giard and C. Cépède. The authors criticise the views put forward by T. Wemyss Fulton in a recent paper on the same subject. The spawning of the cod in the Pas-de-Calais, the south of the North Sea, and the Baltic takes place in winter, the maximum being produced towards the middle of February, or a month earlier than indicated by Fulton. There is no indication of there being two spawning seasons in certain localities.—The installation of a large astronomical instrument at the summit of the Pic du Midi: B. Baillaud. This was carried out in 1906 and 1907 with the assistance of officers and men of the French artillery. Observations will be commenced in August, 1908.—Observation of the Mellish comet (19072) made with the bent equatorial of the Observatory of Lyons: J. Guillaume. The comet appeared on October 17 as a diffuse nebulosity of about 35″ diameter, with a faint central nucleus. Its lustre is about that of a star of the tenth magnitude. The apparent positions of the comet and comparison stars are given.—Observations of the new comet (1907e) made at the Observatory of Marseilles with the Eichens 26 cm. equatorial: M. Borrelly. Similar observations made on October 17 and 18.—Integral equations: E. Goursat.—The integrals of the differential equation y′+A2y2+A3y3=0: Pierre Boutroux.—The variation of the mass of the electrons in the interior of the atom: H. Pellat.—The formation and preparation of aluminium carbide: Camille Matifrnon. Four methods of preparing this carbide without the use of the electric furnace are described: heating a mixture of aluminium powder and lampblack in a Perrot gas furnace for twenty minutes, inducing the reaction to start at a point in the same mixture by the addition of iodine or sulphur, the use of the oxy-acetylerie blow-pipe, and by the interaction of aluminium and hexachlorobenzene. In the first two cases the purity of the product was tested by treating with water and analysing the methane produced.—A delicate method for the detection of nickel in the presence of Z. Tehettgraetf. A direct comparison of the dimethylglyqxim reagent suggested by the author some years ago with the reagent recently proposed by M. Pczzi-Eseot (ammdhitim molybdate) shows that the latter is much inferior in delicacy, and under certain conditions may also give rise to a precipitate with cobalt.—Syntheses in the camphor group. The complete synthesis of campholene: G. lane. The starting point of this synthesis is ethyl malonate, and the sodium derivative of this, treated with y-bromodimethylbutyric ester, CH2Br.CH2.C(CH3)2.CO2;C2H5, gives the ester of 1: i-dimethylbutane-i: 4: 4-tricarboxylic acid. This is saponified and the acid heated, giving aaδ-trimethyladipic acid, the anhydride of which, slowly distilled at the ordinary pressure, is converted into 1:1:4-trimethyl-cydopentanone-5. This with magnesium methyl iodide gives the corresponding tertiary alcohol, and the latter spontaneously loses water on dfstillation, giving a hydrocarbon identical in boiling point, density, and refractive index With campholene from B-campholenic acid.—Sodium anilarsenite in syphilis: Paul Salmon. This substance is sold commercially under the name of atoxyl, and by its use comparatively large quantities of arsenic can be administered with comparative impunity. A physiological comparison of three commercial specimens, two amorphous, one well crystallised, showed that no appreciable differences could be detected. It was noteworthy that whereas in animals poisonous symptoms in the medulla were not infrequent, no such untoward effects were observed in man. Of 181 syphilitic subjects, only about 15 per cent. showed intolerance of the drugf.—The causes of trypano-lytic crises and relapses which follow: A. Massaglia. From experiments in vitro it is concluded that the crises are due to the formation of an anti-body in the blood of the animals infected by trvpanosomes; a small number of the parasites escape destruclion and grow accustomed to the action of the antibody, and it is to these parasites which escape that the relapses are due.—The true accelerating action of sodium fltjoride on the coagulation of milk by vegetable ferments: C. Gerber.—A preliminary sketch of the geololgy of Dahomey: Henry Hubert.—The displacements of the maxima of the positive and negative anomaly of gravity relatively to the configuration of the earth: Giulio Costanri.

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