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YEAR-B00K 0P FACTS IN SCIENCE AND ART
MOST IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES AND IMPROVEMENTS
HECHANICS, USEFUL ARTS, NATURAL PHILOSOPHY, CHEMISTRY,
A LIST OP BECENT SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS J A CLASSIFIED LIST OP
THE PBOGBESS OF SCIENCE DUBINO THE YEAB 1854, ETC. *
DAVID A.jWELLS, A. M.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855,
BY GOULD AND LINCOLN,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
Wm. White, Printer, 4 Spring Lane, Boston.
NOTES BY THE EDITOR
PROGRESS OF SCIENCE DURING THE YEAR 1854.
The sixth annual meeting and eighth regular session of the American Association for the Promotion of Science was held in Washington, D. C, in the rooms of the Smithsonian Institution, during the week commencing with Wednesday, April 20, 1854. The President, elected at the Cleveland meeting, was Prof. Jas. D. Dana. The Association was divided into two sections—the physical and the chemical. The whole number of communications presented was 92: 37 in Physics and Astronomy; 12 in Meteorology; 25 in Geology and Mineralogy; 12 in Chemistry; 6 in Zoology.
Prof. Bache, from the Committee on the Constitution of the Association, reported a series of amendments, guarding more closely the admittance to membership,—making the President and General Secretary ineligible for reelection,—requiring that local committees shall not arrange for excursions during the session before its opening,— enlarging the standing committees,—and prohibiting the recommendation of books, instruments, institutions, or processes. These and other amendments lie over until the next meeting, when they will be taken up for discussion, acceptance, or rejection.
The election of officers for the succeeding year resulted in the unanimous choice of the following:—For President, Prof. John Torrey, of New York; for General Secretary, Dr. Wolcott Gibbs, of New York; for Treasurer, Dr. A. L. Elwyn. The Permanent Secretary is Prof. Lovering, of Cambridge. The next meeting of the Association, by invitation of Brown University, will be held at Providence, R. I., on the third Wednesday of August, (the 15th,) 1855.
The twenty-fourth annual meeting of the British Association for the
Promotion of Science was held at Liverpool, commencing September 20, the Earl of Harrowby in the chair. The meeting at Hull, in 1853, was so thinly attended, and exhibited such a lack of interest on the part of the English savans, that the present meeting of the Association was looked upon by many as the crisis of its fortunes. Happily they have revived to a degree that promises well for the interests of science. The meeting at Liverpool was numerously attended, nearly all the distinguished promoters of science in Great Britain being present, together with a large number of foreigners of reputation. The Committee, in connection with the Royal Society, to whom was referred the plan of Lieut. Maury, of the National Observatory at Washington, for the improvement of navigation, reported that the English Government had established a department in the Board of Trade, with the view of carrying out in every particular the recommendations of the Royal Society and this Committee, in reference to this important scheme for improving navigation, and accumulating meteorological data to an extent far surpassing any thing which has hitherto been attempted. The Government have also appointed Capt. Robert Fitzroy, R. N., to be at the head of this new department, which is in itself a guaranty that it will successfully carry out all the important objects for which it has been established.
Scientific officers of the navy and mercantile marine will now feel assured that the records of their valuable observations and surveys will no longer slumber neglected amidst the dust of offices, but be reduced and rendered available to science and mankind without any unnecessary delay. The sum voted for the new department by the House of Commons for the present year is 3,200/.; but there can be no doubt that this sum will be augmented in future years, if the expectations that we have been led to form as to the inestimable public benefits likely to flow from the labors of this office shall be realized.
The "Kew Committee" reported that they had been especially engaged in securing accuracy for the various implements of observation—the thermometer, barometer, and the standard of weights and measures. At the present time they have intrusted to them, for verification and adjustment, one thousand thermometers and fifty barometers for the navy of the United States, as well as five hundred thermometers and sixty barometers for the English Board of Trade, the instruments which are supplied in ordinary commerce being found to be subject to error to an extraordinary degree.
The thermometer is constructed of enamelled tubing, and the divisions are etched on the stem with fluoric acid; the figures are stamped on the brass scale at every tenth degree, and each instrument is fitted to a japanned copper cases with a cup surrounding the bulb, and