From the October 11, 1930, issue

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This week a senator gave a professor $5,000.

There was in the transaction no hint of any cause for other senators to start an investigation, fond as senators have become of doing that sort of thing. On the contrary, everybody knew why the senator gave the professor the $5,000, and everybody applauded the donation.

For the Capper Prize of $5,000 and a gold medal for the most distinguished service to American agriculture was awarded to Prof. Stephen M. Babcock of the University of Wisconsin because 40 years ago he invented a machine that made dairying an honest business and put the old farm pump out of commission as a source of sure-fire jokes. The award was made Thursday, October 9, in Madison, Wis., at the 13th annual banquet of the American Country Life Association.


With the discovery by Dr. J.H. Moore, Lick Observatory astronomer, that the planet Neptune turns once on its axis in about 16 hours, there remain only two of the larger members of the solar system for which the day is still unknown. Venus, which becomes brighter than any of the other planets, and which has been so conspicuous in the western evening twilight in recent months, is one. The other is the newly discovered Pluto, which represents the main contribution of 1930 to the history of astronomy, and which can only be discerned with the aid of a large observatory telescope.

Dr. Moore photographed the spectrum of light from Neptune along a line crossing the planet’s disc from east to west. The spectrum photographs showed the lines tilted, rather than displaced in their entirety to one end or the other. This indicates, of course, that one side of the planet is approaching Earth and the other side, receding; in other words, it is rotating. As the side of the lines made of light from the eastern edge tilted to the violet, it showed that the eastern side of the planet is approaching us. That is, the planet turns from west to east, like Earth and all of the known planets except Uranus.


Glass, which has been stuff of mystery and secrecy for thousands of years, is now explained in scientific terms, and the explanation is as much like magic as the ancient Assyrian formulas are. Glass is a liquid, George W. Morey of the Carnegie Institution of Washington has concluded. It is a liquid in a state of suspended animation.

Only three ingredients mixed in the proper proportions and melted and cooled can produce this unique state of matter, and it is one of the strange facts of prehistory that this narrowly limited combination was discovered by primitive men, probably in Syria, perhaps as far back as 5500 B.C.

The three ingredients of glass–lime, soda, and sand–when mixed in certain proportions have a particularly low melting point. As a result of this, by the time the mixture reaches its freezing temperature, it is so stiff and viscous that the molecular change that would cause the glass to become opaque can hardly take place. Too little or too much of any of the ingredients, and the glass becomes opaque, not durable, or otherwise worthless.

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