The Project Gutenberg EBook of A History of Science, Volume 3(of 5), by Henry Smith Williams This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: A History of Science, Volume 3(of 5) Author: Henry Smith Williams Release Date: November 18, 2009 [EBook #1707] Language: English Character set encoding: ASCII *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HISTORY OF SCIENCE, V3 ***
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A HISTORY OF SCIENCE
BY HENRY SMITH WILLIAMS, M.D., LL.D.
ASSISTED BY EDWARD H. WILLIAMS, M.D. IN FIVE VOLUMES VOLUME III.
BOOK III. MODERN DEVELOPMENT OF THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES
I. THE SUCCESSORS OF NEWTON IN ASTRONOMY II. THE PROGRESS OF MODERN ASTRONOMY III. THE NEW SCIENCE OF PALEONTOLOGY IV. THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN GEOLOGY
V. THE NEW SCIENCE OF METEOROLOGY VI. MODERN THEORIES OF HEAT AND LIGHT VII. THE MODERN DEVELOPMENT OF ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM VIII. THE CONSERVATION OF ENERGY IX. THE ETHER AND PONDERABLE MATTER APPENDIX
BOOK III CHAPTER I. THE SUCCESSORS OF NEWTON IN ASTRONOMY The work of Johannes Hevelius—Halley and Hevelius—Halley's observation of the transit of Mercury, and his method of determining the parallax of the planets—Halley's observation of meteors—His inability to explain these bodies—The important work of James Bradley—Lacaille's measurement of the arc of the meridian—The determination of the question as to the exact shape of the earth—D'Alembert and his influence upon science—Delambre's History of Astronomy—The astronomical work of Euler. CHAPTER II. THE PROGRESS OF MODERN ASTRONOMY The work of William Herschel—His discovery of Uranus—His discovery that the stars are suns—His conception of the universe—His deduction that gravitation has caused the grouping of the heavenly bodies—The nebula, hypothesis,—Immanuel Kant's conception of the formation of the world—Defects in Kant's conception—Laplace's final solution of the problem—His explanation in detail—Change in the mental attitude of the world since Bruno—Asteroids and satellites—Discoveries of Olbersl—The mathematical calculations of Adams and Leverrier—The discovery of the inner ring of Saturn—Clerk Maxwell's paper on the stability of Saturn's rings—Helmholtz's conception of the action of tidal friction—Professor G. H. Darwin's estimate of the consequences of tidal action—Comets and meteors—Bredichin's cometary theory—The final solution of the structure of comets—Newcomb's estimate of the amount of cometary dust swept up daily by the earth—The fixed stars—John Herschel's studies of double stars—Fraunhofer's perfection of the refracting telescope—Bessel's measurement of the parallax of a star,—Henderson's measurements—Kirchhoff and Bunsen's perfection of the spectroscope—Wonderful revelations of the spectroscope—Lord Kelvin's estimate of the time that will be required for the earth to become completely cooled—Alvan Clark's discovery of the companion star of Sirius—The advent of the photographic film in astronomy—Dr. Huggins's studies of nebulae—Sir Norman Lockyer's "cosmogonic guess,"—Croll's pre-nebular theory. CHAPTER III. THE NEW SCIENCE OF PALEONTOLOGY William Smith and fossil shells—His discovery that fossil rocks are arranged in regular systems—Smith's inquiries taken up by Cuvier—His Ossements Fossiles containing the first description of hairy elephant—His contention that fossils represent extinct species only—Dr. Buckland's studies of English fossil-beds—Charles Lyell combats catastrophism,—Elaboration of his ideas with reference to the rotation of species—The establishment of the doctrine of uniformitarianism,—Darwin's Origin of Species—Fossil man—Dr. Falconer's visit to the fossil-beds in the valley of the Somme—Investigations of Prestwich and Sir John Evans—Discovery of the Neanderthal skull,—Cuvier's rejection of human fossils—The finding
of prehistoric carving on ivory—The fossil-beds of America—Professor Marsh's paper on the fossil horses in America—The Warren mastodon,—The Java fossil, Pithecanthropus Erectus. CHAPTER IV. THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN GEOLOGY James Hutton and the study of the rocks—His theory of the earth—His belief in volcanic cataclysms in raising and forming the continents—His famous paper before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1781—-His conclusions that all strata of the earth have their origin at the bottom of the sea—-His deduction that heated and expanded matter caused the elevation of land above the sea-level—Indifference at first shown this remarkable paper—Neptunists versus Plutonists—Scrope's classical work on volcanoes—Final acceptance of Hutton's explanation of the origin of granites—Lyell and uniformitarianism—Observations on the gradual elevation of the coast-lines of Sweden and Patagonia—Observations on the enormous amount of land erosion constantly taking place,—Agassiz and the glacial theory—Perraudin the chamois-hunter, and his explanation of perched bowlders—De Charpentier's acceptance of Perraudin's explanation—Agassiz's paper on his Alpine studies—His conclusion that the Alps were once covered with an ice-sheet—Final acceptance of the glacial theory—The geological ages—The work of Murchison and Sedgwick—Formation of the American continents—Past, present, and future. CHAPTER V. THE NEW SCIENCE OF METEOROLOGY Biot's investigations of meteors—The observations of Brandes and Benzenberg on the velocity of falling stars—Professor Olmstead's observations on the meteoric shower of 1833—Confirmation of Chladni's hypothesis of 1794—The aurora borealis—Franklin's suggestion that it is of electrical origin—Its close association with terrestrial magnetism—Evaporation, cloud-formation, and dew—Dalton's demonstration that water exists in the air as an independent gas—Hutton's theory of rain—Luke Howard's paper on clouds—Observations on dew, by Professor Wilson and Mr. Six—Dr. Wells's essay on dew—His observations on several appearances connected with dew—Isotherms and ocean currents—Humboldt and the-science of comparative climatology—His studies of ocean currents—Maury's theory that gravity is the cause of ocean currents—Dr. Croll on Climate and Time—Cyclones and anti-cyclones,—Dove's studies in climatology—Professor Ferrel's mathematical law of the deflection of winds—Tyndall's estimate of the amount of heat given off by the liberation of a pound of vapor—Meteorological observations and weather predictions. CHAPTER VI. MODERN THEORIES OF HEAT AND LIGHT Josiah Wedgwood and the clay pyrometer—Count Rumford and the vibratory theory of heat—His experiments with boring cannon to determine the nature of heat—Causing water to boil by the friction of the borer—His final determination that heat is a form of motion—Thomas Young and the wave theory of light—His paper on the theory of light and colors—His exposition of the colors of thin plates—Of the colors of thick plates, and of striated surfaces,—Arago and Fresnel champion the wave theory—opposition to the theory by Biot—The French Academy's tacit acceptance of the correctness of the theory by its admission of Fresnel as a member. CHAPTER VII. THE MODERN DEVELOPMENT OF ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM Galvani and the beginning of modern electricity—The construction of the voltaic pile—Nicholson's and Carlisle's discovery that the galvanic current decomposes water—Decomposition of various substances by Sir Humphry Davy—His construction of an arc-light—The deflection of the magnetic needle by electricity demonstrated by Oersted—Effect of this important discovery—Ampere creates the science of electro-dynamics—Joseph Henry's studies of electromagnets—Michael Faraday begins his studies of electromagnetic induction—His famous paper before the Royal Society, in 1831, in which he demonstrates electro-magnetic induction—His explanation of Arago's rotating disk—The search for a satisfactory method