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October 5, 1901


JAMA. 1901;XXXVII(14):914-915. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.02470400038002

At the opening of the 71st annual session of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, which met in Glasgow last September, President Rücker of the University of London devoted his address to an interesting discussion of the present atomic theory of the constitution of matter. Through the century just ended, a century of wonderful progress in chemical and physical knowledge, three grand conceptions have dominated the so-called physical sciences as distinct from the biological, 1, that matter is made up of separate particles—Dalton's fruitful and comprehensive theory of the existence of atoms; 2, that heat is due to movement among these particles, and 3, that there is an all-pervading subtle medium called ether. While these conceptions have grown in strength with each succeeding decade, they have not been blindly accepted without question. Especially during recent years have voices been raised against their universal acceptance, and the opinion has