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A Course of Elementary Science, Practical and Descriptive

Nature volume 85, page 5 (03 November 1910) | Download Citation



THIS book, which Contains chapters on measurement, mechanics, and heat, is intended by the author for junior pupils who are attending class and laboratory instruction. As the title implies, it is partly descriptive and partly practical in character. After perusing the book one is led to the conclusion that the author has not a very wide acquaintance with physics or much experience of up-to-date laboratory methods. The book has the characteristic of those many manuals on this subject which appeared so hurriedly ten or twelve years ago. The language is often loose, e.g. p. IT, Expt. I, “Draw a large circle on a sheet of cardboard and divide it into degrees.” On p. 29 the author states that results need not be carried beyond the second decimal place as a rule. In determining quantities in the laboratory where the final result is obtained by arithmetical operations on quantities actually measured, it is the degree of accuracy with which these several quantities are measured that determines the number of significant figures in the final answer. Such examples as Expt. II, p. 35:— Weight of lead in air, 17 oz.; weight of lead in water; 15½ oz.; specific gravity, 11.3; or the example on p. 41:—3000/0.85 = 3529.4 c.c., are ill-chosen. On p. 131 we are told that the steel rails of a tram line have a small space left between their ends, when laid, to allow for expansion. How many observant boys have looked for such spaces and failed to find them? On p. 144 it is stated that water expands regularly from ordinary air temperature to 100° C.

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