From the June 10, 1933, issue


Stalagmite deposits shaped like human brains have been found on the floor of a newly discovered cave in Mount Etna, near Beaver Creek, Md., about 60 miles from Washington. James H. Benn of the Smithsonian Institution staff, who was detailed to make a geological investigation, brought one of them back with him for the U.S. National Museum collections.

The curious brainlike convolutions on the surface of the stone were formed by a double process, Mr. Benn explained. First the lime-charged drip of water from the roof formed rounded, smooth-surfaced deposits on the floor of the cave. Then the character of the water changed, and it lost its high lime content. After that it ceased to deposit lime on the stalagmitic masses, and instead began to dissolve away the lime already there, gradually wearing meandering channels that took on a striking resemblance to the furrows on the human cerebrum.


Tangible matter is being created out of light and cosmic rays that come to Earth from outer space. Radiation produced here on Earth is also manufacturing in some proved instances matter out of intangible waves.

Conversion of mass of the stars to produce light and heat has been the favorite method of explaining their long life. That has been the classic example of the interchange of matter and radiation.

Now evidence is accumulating for the reverse process, the creation of matter out of radiation, not in the far-distant stars, but here on Earth.

The idea that matter is created by light or photons was put forth by Dr. P.M.S. Blackett and G. Occhialini of Cambridges Cavendish Laboratory, in England. The light prefers to perform this miracle only in the neighborhood of an atomic nucleus. The matter is created in the form of a pair of electrons, one positive and one negative.

These Cambridge physicists formulated their theory on the basis of Dr. Carl D. Andersons discovery of the positive electron and their own subsequent confirming researches.


“As empty as interstellar space,” is a comparison that needs revision as a result of recent researches made at Yerkes Observatory, Williams Bay, Wis. For the gigantic voids between the stars that shine in the night sky are not truly empty. They are filled with an extremely tenuous cloud of fog, which contains so close to nothing that it would be pronounced perfect as a vacuum by a physicist if it were here on Earth.

Astronomers know that there is something in the space that seems to be empty because the light of distant stars is dimmed and reddened in its passage through space. This was shown by Dr. R.J. Trumpler of the Lick Observatory as well as by observations made with the Yerkes 50-inch telescope. Distant stars appear somewhat more ruddy than the ones nearer to us. This suggests to the astronomers that interstellar space has an effect like that of the atmosphere of Earth upon the suns rays. When the sun is near the horizon its rays look red because they must travel through a thick layer of air.

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