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Owen's Reports on. Fossil Mammalia and Reptiles, with some other researches on Fossils.
The remainder was principally devoted to the surveys and measurement, in 1838, of a level line for the purpose of determining the permanence of the relative level of sea and land, and the mean level of the Ocean; and to the procuring of drawings of the geological sections exposed in railroad operations before they are covered up—a work which was carried on from 1840 to 1844, when the drawings were deposited in the Museum of Practical Geology, and the further continuance of it handed over to the geological surveyors of that establishment.
.£2300 have been devoted to the carrying out of various important experimental investigations in relation to the Section of Mechanical Science.
Of this sum .£900 were paid between 1840 and 1844, in aid of a most important and valuable series of experiments on the Forms of Vessels, principally conducted by Mr. Scott Russell, in connexion with the experiments on Waves. This investigation was ready for press in 1844, but it is greatly to be regretted that the great expense of printing and engraving it has hitherto prevented its publication.
Nearly the same sum has given to us various interesting and instructive experiments and facts relating to steam-engines and steam-vessels, carried on by different Committees from 1838 to the present time; amongst which may be especially noted the application of the Dynamometric instruments of Morin, Poncelet, and Moseley, to ascertain the Duty of Steam-engines, from 1841 to 1844.
Experiments on the Strength of Materials, the relative strength of Hot and Cold Blast Iron, the effect of Temperature on their tensile strength, and on the effect of Concussion and Vibration on their internal constitution, carried on principally by our late President and by the late Mr. Eaton Hodgkinson, at different intervals from 1838 to 1856, have been aided by grante amounting to £400.
The remainder of the sum above mentioned was principally devoted to the experimental determination of the value of Railway Constants, by Dr. Lardner and a Committee in 1838 and 1841.
The Section of Botany, Zoology, and Physiology has absorbed about £1400, of which nearly £900 have been applied to Zoology, partly for the expense of Dredging Committees for obtaining specimens of Marine Zoology on our own coasts and in the Mediterranean and other localities—whose useful labours have been regularly reported from 1840 to 1861—but principally for zoological researches in different districts and countries.
In Botany may be remarked the labours of a Committee, consisting of Professors Daubeny and Hcnslow and others, formed in 1840, to make experiments on the preservation of Vegetative Powers in Seeds; who continued their work for sixteen successive years, reporting annually, and assisted by a sum of £100. The greatest age at which the seeds experimented upon was found to vegetate was about forty years.
Another Committee, with Mr. Hunt, was engaged during seven years, from 1841, in investigating the influence of coloured light on the germination of seeds and growth of plants.
These are specimens of tho admirable effect of the organization of our Association in stimulating and assisting with the funds the labours of investigators in new branches of experimental inquiry.
It would occupy too much time to particularize a variety of interesting researches in the remaining sections of Chemistry and in the sections of Statistics, Geography, and Ethnology, to which small sums have been assigned.
The newly issued Report of our Manchester Meeting is admirably calculated to maintain the reputation of the Association. Besides a number of excellent Keporte which are the continuation of researches already published in our volumes, it contains elaborate and important Reports by Mr. Stewart on the Theory of Exchanges in Heat; by Dr. Smith and Mr. Milner on Prison Diet and Discipline; by Dre. Schunck, Angus Smith, and Roscoe on the progress of Manufacturing Chemistry in South Lancashire; Mr. Hunt on the Acclimatization of Man; Dr. Sclater and M. Hochstetter on the Apteryx of New Zealand; Professor Phillips and Mr. Birt on the Physical Aspect of the Moon. Professor Owen contributes a most interesting paper on the Natives of the Andaman Islands. The President of the Royal Society reports the Repetition Magnetic Survey of England; and Mr. Fairbairn, our late President, reports on the Resistance of Iron-Plate Pressure and Impact.
The Transactions of the Sections occupy nearly as much space as the Reports, and are replete with valuable and original matter, winch it would be impossible to particularize.
Many of my predecessors in their Addresses have alluded to the most striking advances that have been made in the various sciences since the last Meeting; I will mention a few of these in Astronomy, Chemistry, and Mechanics.
In Astbonomt, M. Delannayhas communicated to the Academy of Sciences of Paris the results of his long series of calculations in the Lunar Theory, destined to fill two volumes of the Memoirs of the Academy. The first volume was published in 1861; the printing of the other is not yet begun. This theory gives the expressions for the three coordinates of the moon under an analytic form, and carries those for longitude and latitude to terms of the seventh order inclusive, that of Plana extending generally only to terms of the fifth order. The addition of two orders has required the calculation of 1259 new terms for the longitude, and 1086 new terms for the latitude. It was by having recourse to a new process of calculation, by which the work was broken up into parts, that M. Delaunay has been able to advance the calculation of the lunar inequalities far beyond the limits previously reached.
The Earl of Rosse has given to the Royal Society (in a paper read June 20, 1861) some further account of researches in Sidereal Astronomy carried on with a Newtonian telescope of six-feet clear aperture. These researches arc prefaced by an account of the process by which the six-feet specula were made, a description of the mounting of the instrument, and some considerations relative to the optical power it is capable of. A selection from the observations of nebulae is given in detail, illustrated by drawings* which convey an exact idea of the bizarrerie and astonishing variety of form exhibited by this class of cosmical bodies.
Argelander, the eminent director of the Observatory at Bonn, is carrying on with great vigour the publication of his Atlas of the Stars of the Northern Heavens within 92° of Polar Distance. A large portion of this enormous work is completed, and two volumes, containing the data from observation for the construction of the Charts, were recently published. These volumes contain the approximate places of 216,000 stars situated between the parallels of 2° south declination and 41° north declination.
Simultaneously with the construction of Star-charts, among which those of M. Chacornac of the Paris Observatory deserve particular mention, additions have been made to the number of the remarkable group of small planets between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, their discovery being facilitated by the use of charts. The last announced, which is No. 74 of the Series, was discovered on the morning of Sept. 1 of this year, by M. Luther of Bilk, near Diisseldorf, whose diligence has been rewarded by the discovery of a large number of others of the same group.
The present year has been signalized by the unexpected appearance of a comet of unusual brightness, which, although its tail was far from being as conspicuous as those of the comets of 1858 and 1861, exhibited about its nucleus phenomena of a distinct and remarkable character, the records of which may possibly at some future time aid in the discovery of the nature of that mysterious action by which the gaseous portion of these erratic bodies is so strangely affected.
On an application made by the Council of the Eoyal Astronomical Society, Government has granted X1000 for the establishment, during a limited period, under the superintendence of Captain Jacob, of an Observatory at a considerable altitude above the level of the sea, in the neighbourhood of Bombay. The interesting results of the ascent by Professor Piazzi Smyth a few years since of the Peak of Teneriffe, for the purpose of making astronomical and physical observations, suggested to the President and Council of the Society the desirableness of taking this step.
In Chemistry, the greatest advance which has been made during the past year is probably the formation of compounds of Carbon and Hydrogen by the direct union of those elements. M. Berthelot has succeeded in producing some of the simpler compounds of carbon and hydrogen by the action of carbon intensely heated by electricity or hydrogen gas; and from the simpler compounds thus formed he is able to produce, by a succession of steps, compounds more and more complex, until he bids fair to produce from inorganic sources all the compounds of carbon and hydrogen which have hitherto been only known as products of organic origin. Mr. Maxwell Simpson has also added to his former researches a step in the same direction, producing some organic products by a synthetical process. But those important researches will be fully laid before you in the lecture on Organic Chemistry which Dr. Odling has kindly promised for Monday evening next.
Dr. Hofmann has continued his indefatigable researches on Poly-ammonias, as well as on the colouring matters produced from coal-tar. M. Schla?sing proposes a mode of preparing chlorine by a continuous process, which may perhaps become important in a manufacturing point of view. In this process nitric acid is made to play the same kind of part that it does in the manufacture of sulphuric acid, the oxides of nitrogen acting together with oxides of manganese as carriers of oxygen from the atmosphere to the hydrochloric acid,
The methods of dialysis announced last year by the Master of the Mint, and of spectrum analysis are now in everybody's hands, and have already produced many interesting results.
In Civil or Mechanical Engineering there is nothing very new.
The remarkable series of experiments carried on at Shoeburyness and elsewhere have developed many most interesting facts and laws in relation to the properties of iron, and its resistance to projectiles at high velocities, which will doubtless be fully laid before you at some future period; but in the present imperfect state of the investigation, and in consideration of the purpose of that investigation, prudential reasons forbid the complete publication of the facts. My able predecessor in this Chair, who has taken so prominent a part in these experiments, has given an account of some of the results in a communication to the Royal Institution in May last, and also in the new volumo for 1861; and is, as he informs me, engaged with a long series of experiments on this subject, which, with his experience and ability, cannot fail to develope new facts, and will, in all probability, ultimately determine the law of penetration.
In London we may direct attention to the commencement of the Thames Embankment and to the various works in progress for the concentration of the Metropolitan Railways; especially to the proximate completion of the Underground Railway. The lamentable disaster in the Fens of last summer has been most ably subdued, but the remedial measures adopted are not fully completed, and the interests involved are of so great a magnitude and complexity, that it is scarcely possible for this event to bo discussed on the present occasion with due impartiality.
The magnificent collection of machinery in the Great Exhibition shows a great advance in construction; but this is not the proper occasion to enter in detail into the various contrivances and processes which it displays.
Before I conclude I have the painful duty of reminding you that sinco our last meeting we have had to deplore the loss of that most illustrious patron of science and art, His Royal Highness the Prince Consort, the President of our Association at Aberdeen and the Chancellor of this University. In the latter capacity he afforded us many opportunities of observing his scientific attainments and genuine zeal and love for all branches of knowledge: his gracious kindness and respect to men of science and literature have left an impression upon us that can never bo effaced.
I must also ask a tribute to the memory of our late Professors of Chemistry and Botany, both of whom have done in their lifetime excellent good service to science, and especially to the British Association; Professor Cumming by contributing one of the invaluable primary Reports upon which our proceedings were based, as well as other communications; Professor Henslow by various Reports, some of which I have already alluded to. "We have had also to lament the loss of that able scientific navigator, Sir J. Clark Ross.
It remains for me to express my senso of the high and undeserved honour conferred upon me by the position in which you have placed me, and in the name of the University to welcome you hither, and wish you a prosperous and fruitful meeting, alike conducive to the progress of science and impulsive to its cultivation in the place of your reception.