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German Science



    A NEW quarterly review in English of German science has appeared under the title “Research and Progress” (Terramare Office, Berlin W.8), the editor being Dr. Karl Kerkhof. In the second number, which appeared in April, the articles are mostly geographical or cultural and historical in character. Prof. Erich von Drygalski discusses the effect of the polar regions on the history of the earth, dealing with the influence of currents of air from the pole from the physical, biological and human points of view, while Prof. Rudolf Spitaler considers the influence of shifts in the earth's axis on the production of earthquakes. Prof. Diedrich Westermann deals with a subject on which he has already made his views familiar to English readers-the changing African. The introduction of syphilis from the New World in 1493 is characterised by Prof. K. Sudhoff as a legend; it is suggested, however, that it may have spread by earlier contacts between the Old World and the New through eastern Asia. No reference is made to recent research, which seems to point to its existence in Europe in early prehistoric times. The cults and ritual of myth are discussed in two articles, one by Prof. K. Th. Preuss on the significance of birth and death and their relation to initiation and other forms of ceremonial in which sex is an element, and the second by Prof. Gustav Hubener, who regards the position of the hero in early epics as based upon his power as an exorcist. Although this does not exhaust the list of contents, mention can be made here of one other paper only-Prof. Erich Haenisch's interesting suggestion that the vertical arrangement in Chinese writing is due to the form of the ancestral tablet. The papers are brief, running to two or three pages only, and the treatment summary and popular. As a counter to English comment on Germany's ‘purge’, it does not make a really impressive showing.

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