Air, Climate, and Tuberculosis 1


    IN October, 1891, Thomas George Hodgkins, of Setauket, New York, made a donation to the Smithsonian Institution the income from a part of which was to be devoted to “the increase and diffusion of more exact knowledge in regard to the nature and properties of atmospheric air in connection with the welfare of man.” From this fund a prize of 300l. was offered in 1908 for the best treatise on the relation of atmospheric air to tuberculosis. Numerous essays were submitted to the adjudicators, and Dr. Guy Hinsdale, of Hot Springs, Virginia, was one of the success ful competitors. His essay, enlarged and more fully illustrated, has now been printed in vol. lxiii. of the Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Publication No. 2254. It is necessary to recite these details; otherwise it would b difficult to understand the raison d'être of such a work as that now before us, which is that of an enthusiastic specialist. It has its faults—many of them—it also has the virtues of its kind. It is an expanded essay. It contains an enormous amount of information; facts and figures abound, and anyone studying questions of climate, the effect of elevation, the condition under which moisture is precipitated, the action of sunlight and the like, will here find ample data for consideration. One cannot but feel, however, that to it might be applied with pro priety the Scotsman's description of a “haggis” as “fine confused feeding”. This is to be regretted, as one is constantly coming across evidence that if the author could only leave his authorities severely alone now and again and let us have the result of his own cogitations, a far more stimulating and quite as in formative a book would have been the result.

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    Air, Climate, and Tuberculosis 1 . Nature 94, 374–376 (1914).

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