From the August 5, 1933, issue


A million years of the past history of man, as he climbed upward through the stone age, are recreated in exhibits and life-sized models and dioramas just placed on view by the Field Museum in Chicago.

The exhibits represent the results of years of research, of several museum expeditions, and of intensive collecting of archaeological material. The general plans for the hall were worked out by Henry Field, assistant curator of physical anthropology at the museum, who conducted the several expeditions necessary to study the various sites reproduced and to assemble the comprehensive series of archaeological objects displayed. Dr. Berthold Laufer, curator of anthropology, collaborated with Mr. Field in making and executing the plans.


A few million years ago all the galaxies were together in a space no larger than is now occupied by one of them, but they at once began to separate, so starting the expansion of the universe.

This theory has been presented to the Royal Astronomical Society in London by Prof. Willem de Sitter, the famous Dutch astronomer, whose previous theories of an expanding universe were accepted by a large number of physicists and mathematicians. He has lately changed his views, he said, as to the origin of the expansion.

“We have to choose between three types of expanding universe,” Prof. de Sitter declared.

“The first type begins with zero radius at a finite time in the past and expands to infinity. The second contracts from an infinite radius to a minimum and expands again to an infinite radius, while the third oscillates in a finite time between zero and a maximum radius.”

“The third type involves a periodically recurring catastrophe, a theory of which I have a very strong dislike. Until recently I was inclined to believe in the second type.”

“Lately I have come to think of the first case, where, according to the mathematical idealization, the universe contracted to a point at some definite epoch of time, the galaxies passing simultaneously through this point with the velocity of light. When the galaxies approach very near each other the mathematical approximation breaks down, so that the point becomes finite, and a physical interpretation is possible.”


The Wegener hypothesis of “continental drift,” which pictured the Earths great land masses as rafts afloat on a great sea of stiffly plastic sustaining rock, which permitted them to move slowly about, has been very attractive to many geologists; but lately some of them have been showing signs of doubt, and have turned on the theory with challenges that to a man on the sidelines seem hard to answer.

Dr. A.P. Coleman of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, in communications to the Geographical Journal and the Journal of Geology, goes after Wegeners theory of the origin of the ice ages.

The Pleistocene ice age, which was the most recent of such chilly episodes and was still in progress when man appeared on earth, Wegener accounted for by having North America, Britain, and Scandinavia all squeeze together in a huddle, while at the same time the North Pole wandered down and sat in the midst if them, so that a single great blanket of ice covered the northern end of the earth. Dr. Coleman calls attention to the well-known fact that in North America at least there were two distinct ice sheets, and the further fact that both the American and the European ice sheets reached the Atlantic Ocean, which they could hardly have done if that ocean had been squeezed out of existence.

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