From the October 10, 1936, issue


X rays are more than simply instruments for detecting injuries, combating certain diseases, and examining metals and other industrial materials. In the hands of a technician who is also an artist, they become the medium of an exquisitely developed expression of beauty.

Pioneer practitioner of this unique X-ray art is Mrs. Hazel Engelbrecht of Des Moines. Her daily work is making diagnostic X-ray photographs for physicians and surgeons and dentists; her all-absorbing hobby is the making of X-ray photographs that bring out, in the same picture, both surface and hidden beauty. The picture of the water-lily leaf shown on the cover of this issue of the Science News Letter, for example, gives an idea, not attainable in any other way, of the remarkable network of veins that are at once canals of the plant’s life-juices and girders to keep the leaf-blade properly spread and supported.


Improved treatment of Type III pneumonia is now possible as a result of experiments made in China and reported in the current issue of the journal Science (Oct. 2).

The antibody which helps fight pneumonia germs has been isolated in immunologically pure form, Drs. Bacon F. Chow and Hsien Wu of Peiping Union Medical College report. The precipitate of antibody which they obtained is much more effective in fighting pneumonia germs than the anti-pneumonia serums now in use, it appears from their report. This is of particular importance in connection with Type III pneumonia, the serum for which has a very low antibody content.

While this is the practical significance of the isolation of this antibody, the work is also significant because it gives scientists a much better means of studying the mechanism of antibody action.

The much mooted question of the nature of antibodies is also settled by this research, in the opinion of Drs. Chow and Wu. They report that their findings “leave little doubt that the antibody itself is a protein.” This means it belongs chemically in a class with meat and eggs, rather than with the fats or the sugar and starch group. Scientists have not been sure whether disease-fighting antibodies were themselves protein in nature or whether they were something carried by protein.


America’s first power-alcohol plant is producing new fuel for motor cars. Two batches of anhydrous ethyl alcohol made from corn, totaling 2,000 gallons, have poured from the stills of the Chemical Foundation–sponsored plant of the Bailor Manufacturing Company in Atchison, Kansas.

Officials expressed themselves as pleased with the performance of the new plant and predicted that in a month the capacity of 10,000 gallons a day would be realized.

Alcohol-blended gasoline under the name of agrol will be on sale shortly in seven midwestern states at prices that will compete on a quality basis with straight gasoline fuels. The production of power alcohol from surplus farm products in this plant is being watched by leaders in agriculture, the oil industry, and other fields, including government, because it is a practical demonstration of the Farm Chemurgic Council’s thesis that crops from American soil can be utilized for manufacture of industrial materials.

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