(1) SMALL school text-books frequently receive but scant attention from reviewers, but, when it is remembered that it is exactly in the earliest stages of a subject that students should be led to acquire those correct habits of thought and outlook without which real advance is impossible, we are not altogether persuaded that this attitude can be justified. It was with this in mind that Mr. Picton's book for the middle forms of schools was examined. An experimental exercise should have for its objects, first, the elucidation of physical principles, and secondly, should show how to conduct the measurements so as to obtain the best numerical result with the means at the disposal of the class. Most teachers will agree that the second of these is more easily secured than the first. As the preface puts it:—“A pupil may carry out conscientiously the written instructions, obtain a ‘good result,’ write a neat account, and yet have very indistinct ideas (and often no ideas at all) of the principles underlying the experiment.” To overcome this mental inertia several questions are associated with each exercise, which must be answered before the student is allowed to proceed to the next experiment. The instructions are brief but sufficient, and can be thoroughly recommended for class-work. It may especially be noted that in the optical experiments a method is used which makes visible the paths of the rays-a considerable gain at this stage. The sections on concave lenses need revision, as the methods given are not the best available; also it would be a great advantage in future work if some use were made of books of tables, especially of reciprocals in lens experiments.
(1) Practical Heat, Light, and Sound.
By T. Picton. Pp. xv + 151. (London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd., 1915.) Price 1s. 6d.
(2) Notes on Practical Physics for Junior Students.
By Prof. C. G. Barkla Dr. G. A. Carse. (London: Gurney and Jackson, 1915.) Price 3s. 6d. net.
(3) A Text-book of General Physics for College Students.
By Dr. J. A. Culler. (Philadelphia and London: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1914.) Price 7s. 6d. net.
(4) Manuale di Fisica.
Vol. ii., Acustica, Termologia, Ottica. By Prof. B. Dessau. (Milan: Societé Editrice Libraria, 1915.) Price 15 liras.
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(1) Practical Heat, Light, and Sound (2) Notes on Practical Physics for Junior Students (3) A Text-book of General Physics for College Students (4) Manuale di Fisica. Nature 95, 423–424 (1915) doi:10.1038/095423a0