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Societies and Academies

    Naturevolume 85pages327328 (1911) | Download Citation



    DUBLIN. Royal Dublin Society, December 20, 1910.—Mr. R. Lloyd Praeger in the chair.—Dr. J. H. Pollok: The vacuum-tube spectra of the vapours of some metals and metallic chlorides (part i.). By the use of a new form of vacuum tube, made entirely of quartz, which the author has recently devised, he can readily obtain photographs of The whole of the vacuum-tube spectra of the vapours of metals and metallic chlorides. In the present paper the author gives a description of the quartz vacuum tube and photographs of the spectra of the vapours of mercury, zinc, cadmium, arsenic, and antimony, together with photographs of the spectra of their chlorides, under varying conditions. The vapours of the metals and their compounds, so far examined, show substantially the same line spectrum in the vacuum tube that they do when metallic electrodes are sparked in air. When a condenser is introduced in the circuit, the metal and its compound show precisely the same change of spectrum, which would seem to indicate that the changes take place in the vibrating atom. If a large amount of vapour of the chloride is present without a condenser, bands are seen in addition to the line spectrum of the metal, and these appear to be due to the particular compound present, and must therefore be connected with the vibrations of the molecule.—Dr. G. H. Pethybridge: Considerations and experiments on the infection of potato plants with the blight-fungus (Phytophthora infestans) by means of mycelium derived direct from the planted tubers. The theory recently advocated by Massee, that the potato crop becomes attacked with the “blight,” not by means of the “spores” of P. infestans, but by means of the mycelium of this fungus, which, after lying dormant for a long period, passes from the planted tubers into the nearly full-grown stalks, is criticised, and it is pointed out how difficult it is to reconcile this mode of infection with the well-known facts of the disease. It is shown that, owing to the absence of controls, the experimental evidence on which the theory is based is quite worthless. A repetition of the experiments, carried out by the author with the necessary controls, gave results exactly the opposite to those on which the theory is based.—Rev. H. C. Browne: Some suggested improvement in epicyclic variable gears. The improvement applies specially to the modern bicycle, and consists in effecting the complete separation of the epicyclic train from all the moving parts on the middle speed, so that the friction is reduced to the same amount as if the machine were a single-geared machine, i.e. so that there is no movement except that of the ball races at each end of the axle. The high and low speeds are also improved by getting rid of all friction due to over-running pawls or the unnecessary rubbing of parts. The middle speed is produced directly by the engagement of the driving member with the hub, the epicyclic train being completely detached and in no contact with any of the moving parts. The linking up of the gear train with the drive for the high and low speeds is effected in a simple manner by the use of spring trigger pawls. Some care has been given to the construction of the epicyclic train so that it may be a proper mechanical unit in itself instead of being a somewhat loose assemblage of wheels. With this object, the wheels of the train are provided with friction discs reaching to the pitch lines, and the friction between the elements of the train is thereby reduced to rolling friction.

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