From the March 25, 1933, issue


Graves of mysterious blond and chestnut-haired people, who had a strange custom of making painted plaster masks for the dead, have been found by Russian scientists in Siberia, in the Minusinsk region. Word of the discovery was brought to the University of Pennsylvania Museum by Eugene Golomshtok.

Burial pits of the first centuries of the Christian era contained mummified remains of a chestnut-haired people, lying on wooden platforms and surrounded by rather poor possessions of pottery, iron and bronze, and wood. On their faces were plaster masks, painted with red cheeks and lips and nostrils, and with designs on the forehead. The inside of the masks were even more interesting, for they preserved the complete facial outline of the dead, even to wrinkles of face and neck. The impressions of these masks show that the people were beak-nosed, narrow-faced folk with long heads and blond and brown hair.

Who the masked people were is not yet known. Chinese historians, says Mr. Golomshtok, describe a tribe of “Gian-Gun” in western Siberia as having red hair, rosy cheeks, and blue eyes. Another possible clue is that a great migratory movement began in Asia about the second century before Christ. The Huns who dominated Mongolia may have played a role in this region.

The hawk-nosed people of the masks succeeded a much richer type of culture in this part of Siberia. They in turn were succeeded about the fourth century A.D. by a people who had flat, round faces.


The positron has been formally introduced to the world of physics in a communication by its discoverer, Dr. Carl D. Anderson of the California Institute of Technology, to the Physical Review.

A search for a negative particle of the mass of the proton was urged by Dr. Anderson, who predicted the possibility of its existence.

To date Dr. Anderson has obtained 15 photographs of positron tracks in a group of 1,300 photographs of cosmic-ray tracks. Positrons are let loose from atoms bombarded with cosmic rays.


A new and striking case of radioactivity, the spontaneous explosion of beryllium atoms, is the discovery announced at the California Institute of Technology by Dr. R.M. Langer and his associate, Russell Raitt, a graduate student.

This is probably the first successful prediction of radioactivity, and it promises to lead to many others. Dr. Langer and Mr. Raitt first predicted the radioactive disintegration of the metallic atoms of beryllium and then systematically searched for the expected effect until they found it.

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