Sabre-toothed tigers, the Piltdown man, the man in the moon, Depression, shooting stars, drugs, Element No. 87, the universe and an abstruse geometrical concept christened Rac-these and other matters were discussed & debated last week by the National Academy of Sciences, meeting in New Haven, Conn. For the first time in its history the Academy awarded its Henry Draper medal for research in astronomical physics to a woman: Harvard's Dr. Annie Jump Cannon, for her compilation of the Draper Memorial Catalog of 225,000 stars classified according to their spectra. Small Dr. Cannon is still searching them out. The Academy then turned to: Sabre-toothed Tigerst on whom nature played a sorry trick. "With small brain and powerful body and with the ferocity of both, this cat was more insistent on reaching and closing with its prey than probably any other animal." Then nature, which had evolved this perfect specimen, changed its environment, and the tiger, good for little but biting, soon disappeared.-Dr. John Campbell Merriam, president of the Carnegie Institution at Washington.
The Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus), who lived 1,125,000 years ago. and not Pithecanthropus erectus, who was wandering around as late as 500,000 B. C., was apparently the first true man. Darwin and Lamarck to the contrary, evolution is uniform, centrifugal, creational. It has proceeded steadily (Darwin said a minute "jump" in a favorable direction would survive in the species). It has developed outward from within the geneplasm (Lamarck thought the germ was affected from without by the activities of the body or the environment). Variation of species is the result of an original creative pattern which was within the germ from the beginning-Professor Henry Fairfield Osbom of the American Museum of Natural History.
Depression-born babies will probably grow into men and women of subnormal size (Professor Franz Boas of Columbia University). "Economic conditions influence the size of growing children. . . . Among the poor the period of adolescence is delayed and the final stature shorter than that of the well-to-do."
Drugs were used in successful treatment of 46 insane persons by Drs. H. Beckett Lang and John A. Pater son of Willard State Hospital, Willard. N. Y. Theirs was the first practical application of a recent Cornell University discovery that insanity is due partly to the colloids of the brain becoming too watery or too coagulated-like thick syrup. For watery colloids sodium amytal was given, for syrupy colloids sodium rhodanate.
Element No. 87's discovery was claimed last year by Dr. Fred Allison of Alabama Polytechnic Institute. Recently he said he had found No. 85, ekaiodine, the other unisolated element. Professor Jacob Papish also claimed discovery of No. 87, eka-cesium. He told the Academy he had made tests with Dr. Allison's magneto-optic device, found chemical mixtures sometimes made it register elements not really present.