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The Year-book of facts in science and art (1870)

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Pages: 260

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: John Timbs

Excerpt from book: 87 gtaiural THE FARADAY LECTCRE. The first Faraday Lecture, delivered before the Chemical Society, at the Royal lnstitution, presented several remarkable features. The Council chose for this purpose a Frenchman, M. Dumas, the great chemist, who gave up his time to this duty, and whose address to a large English audience was given in his native tongue. Dr. Williamson, the President, thought it was a fitting commemoration of Faraday, that a most intimate friend and associate in the great world of science should represent the catholicity of his discoveries. It was in this spirit M. Dumas accepted it: and from that place, so often occupied by Dr. Thomas Young, Davy and Faraday, Dumas proceeded to deliver his discourse. What the nature of it was to be no one knew, nor from the beginning could any tell whether it was to be a formal eloge or how it was to shape itself. After a few remarks on the nature of the individual discoveries of Faraday, he proceeded to observe that these discoveries connected themselves with four great topics, the nature of inorganic matter, and the nature of the forces by which' it is operated upon : the nature of organic matter, and the nature of the forces operating on this matter. These were problems which had occupied the ancient world, and particularly the great Greek philosophers: and he maintained that in substance our real and ultimate knowledge was in the same state as that of the Greeks, and went no further. In rendering a tribute to Aristotle and his fellows, he affirmed that Faraday had approached all those subjects in the spirit of a Greek philosopher. He described what Faraday, and more particularly Dalton and other Englishmen, had done to show the identity of matter: and he avoided all reference to foreign philosophers, except, as it were ...  


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