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dominion of mathematical analysis, it will no doubt be by a very circuitous and intricate route, and in which at present we see no glimpse of light. We should therefore be all the more carefully on the watch in making the most of those classes of facts which seem to place us, not indeed within view of daylight, but at what seems an opening that may possibly lead to it.
Such are those in which the agency of light is concerned in modifying or subverting the ordinary affinities of material elements, those to which the name of actino-chemistry has been affixed. Hitherto the more attractive applications of photography have had too much the effect of distracting the attention from the purely chemical questions which it raises, but the more we consider them in the abstract, the more strongly they force themselves on our notice, and I look forward to their occupying a much larger space in the domain of chemical inquiry than is the case at present. That light consists in the undulations of an etherial medium, or at all events agrees better in the characters of its phenomena with such undulations, than with any other kind of motion which it has been possible to imagine, is a proposition on which I suppose the minds of physicists are pretty well made up. The recent researches of Professor Thomson and Mr. Joule moreover have gone a great way towards bringing into vogue, if not yet fully unto acceptation, the doctrine of a more or less analogous conception of heat. When we consider now the marked influence which the different calorific states of bodies have on their affinities—the change of crystalline form effected in some by a changing temperature—the allotropic states taken on by some on exposure to heat—or the heat given out by others on their restoration from the allotropic to the ordinary form (for, though I am aware that Mr. Gore considers his electro-deposited antimony to be a compound, I cannot help fancying that at all events the state in which the the antimony exists in it is an allotropic one); when, I say, we consider these facts in which heat is concerned, and compare them with the facts of photography, and with the ozonization of oxygen by the chemical rays or the electric spark, and with the striking attractions in the chemical habitudes of bodies pointed out by Draper, Hunt, and Becquerel; and when again we find these carried so far that, as in the experiments of Bunsen and Roscoe, we find the amount of chemical action numerically measuring the quantity of light absorbed, it seems hardly possible not to indulge a hope that the pursuit of these strange phenomena may by degrees conduct us to a mechanical theory of chemical action itself. Even should this hope remain unrealized, the field itself is too wide to remain unexplored ; and, to say nothing of discovery, the use of photography merely as a chemical test may prove very valuable, as I have myself quite recently experienced, in the evidence it has afforded me of the presence in certain solutions of a peculiar metal having many of the characters of arsenic, but differing from it in others, and strikingly contrasted with it in its powerful photographic qualities, which are of singular intensity, surpassing iodine, and almost equalling bromine.
There is another class of phenomena which, though usually considered as belonging peculiarly to the domain of general physics, and so out of our department, seems to me to want some attention in a chemical point of view. It is that of capillary attraction. The co-efficient of capillarity differs very remarkably in different liquids, and no doubt also in their contacts with different solids, a fact which can hardly be separated from the idea of some community of nature between the capillary force and those of elective attraction. I hardly dare to hint at the existence of some slight misgiving I have always felt as to the validity of the received statical theory of capillary action which carries with it the authority of such names as those of Laplace and Poisson. Any discussion of this point would be matter for another section of this Association, and if I here touch upon it, it is only to observe my impression of the requisiteness of a force so far allied to chemical affinity as to be capable of saturation, rests on other grounds besides that of the mere diversity of action above alluded to. But I must remember that you are not met here to listen to generalities of whatever nature, but that we have plenty of real and special business before us.
10. An account of some experiments on Radiant Heat, involving an extension of Prévost's Theory of Exchanges ; by Mr. B. STEWART, (Proc. Brit. Assoc., Ath. 1614).—These experiments were performed with the aid of the thermomultiplier, the source of heat being for the most part bodies heated to 212°. Four groups of experiments were considered. Group the first contains those experiments in which the quantities of heat radiated from polished plates of different substances at a given temperature, are compared with the quantity radiated from a similar surface of lampblack at the same temperature. The result of this group of experiments is, that glass, alum and selenite, radiate about 98 per cent of what lampblack does—thick mica, 92—thin mica, 81—and rock salt only 15 per cent. The second group of experiments was designed to compare together the quantities of heat radiated at the same temperature from polished plates of the same substance, but of different thicknesses. The result of this group was, that while the difference between the radiating power of thick and thin glass is so small as not to be capable of being directly observed, there is a perceptible difference between the radiation from thick and thin mica, and a still more marked difference between the radiation from plates of rock salt of unequal thickness. The third group of experiments was made with the view of comparing the radiations from various polished plates with that from lampblack, as regards the quality of the heat,-its quality being tested by its capability of transmission through a screen of the same material as the radiating plate. From this group of experiments it appears that heat emitted by glass, mica, or rock salt is less transmissible through a screen of the same material as the heated plate than heat from lampblack,—this difference being very marked in the case of rock salt, which only transmits about one third of the rays from heated rock salt. The common opinion that rock salt is equally diathermanous for all descriptions of heat is therefore untenable. The fourth group of experiments shows that heat from thick plates of glass, mica, or rock salt is more easily transmitted by screens of the same nature as the heated plate than heat from thin plates of these materials. It was shown that all these experiments may be explained by Prévost's theory of exchanges, somewhat extended. This extension consists of the following laws:-1. Each particle of a substance has an independent radiation of its own equal in all directions and without regard to the distance of the particle from the surface of the body. 2. The radiation of a particle equals its absorption, and that for every description of heat. 3. The flow of heat from within upon the interior surface of a polished plate of indefinite thickness is proportional to the index of refraction of the body, and that for every description of heat.
The bearing of these experiments on Dulong and Petit's law of radiation was then attempted to be traced. It was shown that unless bodies from simply being heated change their transmissibility for the same description of heat (which there is no reason to suppose), the radiation of thin plates or particles at a high temperature will bear a less proportion to the total radiation of that temperature than at a low,--the consequence will be, that the radiation of single particles will increase with the temperature in a less degree than Dulong and Petit's law would indicate. It may even be that the radiation of a particle or very thin plate may be proportional to the absolute temperature of that particle. Taking a piece of glass or mica, therefore, at a low temperature, as it is very opaque with regard to the heat radiated by itself, we may suppose that the total radiation consists of that of the outer layer of particles only, that from the inner layers being all stopped by the outer. At high temperatures, however, we may suppose that there is not only the radiation of the outer layer, but also part of that of the inner layer which has been able to pass, swelling up the total radiation to what it appears in Dulong and Petit's experiments. This way of looking at radiation may possibly bring the radiative power of particles to obey the same laws with the conducting power of particles, which Prof. Forbes has shown decreases with an increase of temperature. The author of this communication is indebted to Prof. Forbes for the use of the instruments and substances employed, and also for many valuable suggestions with regard to the experiments it contains.
11. On the Phosphorescent Appearance of Electrical Discharges in a Vacuum made in Flint and Potash Glass ; by Mr. J. P. Gassiot, (Proc. Brit. Assoc. Ath., 1615). The discharge from an induction coil when taken in a vacuum tube made of flint glass, has (under certain conditions) the property of rendering the glass highly phosphorescent, the phosphorescence being denoted by the intense blue color of the glass with which the stratifications are surrounded. On trying the discharge in some vacuum tubes I had obtained from Mr. Geissler, of Bonn, I observed that the phosphorescence was no longer blue, but was of a slight green color. To test whether this difference was due to the gaseous matter remaining in Geissler's tubes, or to the character of the glass which he uses, I had Torricellian vacuums prepared in German glass tubes, and in this manner ascertained that the difference in the color was entirely due to the character of the glass : that of Germany is, I believe, made with potash, and is entirely free from any lead, while in the English flint glass lead is introduced to some extent. I have recently obtained a vacuum tube from Bonn, which shows this difference in a very beautiful manner: the outer ends of the tube are composed of German glass, the centre of the tube is of English glass; by this arrangement the contrast between the two is very manifest.
12. On Induced Electric Discharges when taken in Aqueous Vapor ; by Mr. J. P. Gassiot, (Proc. Brit. Assoc. Ath., 1615).—If the tube of a well constructed water-hammer is partly covered with two separate coatings of tin-foil, and the coatings are connected one with the outer, and the other with the inner terminal of an induction coil, a discharge will be observable through the centre of the tube in the form of a wave line. On repeating this experiment I ascertained that the vacuum in the tube was very much deteriorated. I could no longer produce that peculiar bubbling in the ball of the apparatus which is always attainable by gently heating the tube with the warmth of the hand; this bubbling was originally very sensibly perceptible in the tube I now exhibit when I first received it froin the maker, Mr. Casella. I have repeated the experiment with other water-hammers, and always with the same result; but I have not yet opened one to examine whether the vapor has been decomposed, and gas evolved.
II. GEOLOGY. 1. On Marcou's “Geology of North America ;" by Prof. Agassiz.—I have not yet seen Marcou's latest publication on American Geology, but I have now open before me, his paper in the Proceedings of the Geological Society of France, and that in Petermann's “Geographische Mittheilungen," both bearing date 1855, as well as the Geological Map of the United States and British North America by H. D. Rogers, also bearing date 1855, and Hall's and Leslie's Map of the country west of the Mississippi river, published with the 1st vol. of Emory's Report in 1857. I take it that it will be no injustice to either Rogers or Hall to go to an earlier publication of Marcou's, in a comparison of their respective claims to correct illustration of our Western Geology. Let me premise by saying that as far as the geology of the East is concerned, from Iowa to the Atlantic coast, I acknowledge that to Hall is due, unquestionably, the credit of having settled by extensive comparisons, and by personal examinations, the true geological horizon of the vastest extent of our continent, not only by an examination of the superposition of the rocks, but also by the most minute and most extensive study of the fossils.
We all know also how much the Rogerses have done to elucidate the physical geography, the orography, and the order of succession of the formations of Pennsylvania and Virginia, which has thrown much light upon the general geology of the eastern part of the continent. It is equally well known how much the special state surveys have added to the details in this general investigation of the Geology of North America. But when we go west of the Mississippi valley to the Pacific shores the case is very different. The maps of Rogers, Hall and Marcou, are a compilation and an attempt at coordination of surveys which cover only a very small portion of the ground. They are, as it were, the reading of the authors of these different maps, of investigations made by others, though Marcou has here unquestionably the advantage of having gone himself over the ground.
A comparison for instance, of the manner in which the volcanic rocks are dotted over New Mexico, Sonora, and Lower California, as well as in California, Oregon and Washington Territories by Hall and Rogers, with Marcou's representation of the same cannot fail to show to a geological reader, that they are more natural in Marcou's map than in the two others. When a region is not more minutely surveyed than the whole western half of our continent, of which we have not even accurate geographical maps, it is not possible to expect accuracy in detail, and the critic must consider the general connection rather than special points.
I do not see, for instance, how the omission of State boundary lines which, in a former review of Marcou's map in the Journal, was made a prominent objection to his representation of American geology, can be of any importance in such a general survey of the subject. Rogers in his map does not give these boundaries any more than Marcou.
But I now come to the essential point. What is the true geological character of those five hundred thousand square miles of land, extending between the Mississippi, west of Arkansas and Missouri, and the great Salt Lake Basin ? Rogers colors it uniformly with Cretaceous rocks, and the well known Tertiary deposits, adding metamorphic rocks, flanked with Carboniferous in the mountainous tracts. Hall does the same only making in addition, a distinction between the upper and lower Cretaceous, while Marcou distinguishes further between Permian, Triassic and Oolitic beds. I do not suppose that he, any more than Hall and Rogers, imagines that the boundaries he assigns to any of these groups are any more accurate than those assigned by Rogers and Hall to the groups they distinguish. These appear to me simply in the light of the respective readings of isolated facts recorded in the way they have struck the authors of these different maps. When in his paper to the Geological Society of France, Marcou speaks of himself as a travelling geologist who “brings his little stone to the great edifice” (page 3) it does not appear to me as vain-glorious boasting, and we ought to take gratefully the contributions of a Frenchman, using language after the fashion of his nation, even though it be not the way in which we would have expressed ourselves. Now I confess that after reading the condensed Review of American Geology which Marcou has given, in Petermann's Contributions, I find in it a more comprehensive account of the general features of the orography and geology of the Western half of our continent, than in the other representations I have read upon this subject. I think that even now a translation of that paper would be welcome to every English student of American geology, and that far from circulating false impressions, it would greatly contribute to bring before the mind the grand features of that remarkable country, and to connect in an intelligible way the geology of the West with, that of the East. The middle tract of our continent is unquestionably occupied by deposits younger than the coal; I do not allude to the Lake Superior Sandstone respecting which I believe Marcou to be mistaken,but the five hundred thousand square miles of questionable character as to the details, certainly belong to those from recent formations.
Now it appears to me that the geology of our Atlantic States furnishes data upon which theoretical inferences, bearing upon the question which Marcou's assertions call forth, may be founded. We know that the Cretaceous formations extend from the Atlantic slope of the Alleghany range round their southern spur into the great geological gulf