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THROWING BOMBS INTO

SCIENCE

By

MARTIN D. STEVERS

Scientists are becoming reckless anarchists. But instead of plotting in their laboratories, devising terrible, destructive mechanisms to hurl into the halls of government, or under the feet of statesmen, they are merely shattering previously conceived scientific theories. In this article are set forth some of the most startling and revolutionary ideas recently promulgated by scientists. These ideas take a vast range from such statements as to what electricity actually is, to the prospect of physical immortality for man.-The Editors.

A

LL the knowledge of the human race accumulated since the flood is now being swept into the discard, by a series of gigantic discoveries that have been made since the turn of the century. Within the last twenty years, a veritable whirlwind of new ideas has burst upon the staid world peopled by scientists, like a series of bombshells, shattering old notions, wrecking traditional ideas, and disproving accepted explanations, until it seems that within the next few decades, we are to have an entirely new science. Scientists have succeeded in giving practical immortality to plants, by methods that sooner or later may be applied to human beings; they have found the answer to the question, "What is electricity?" with which scoffers used to prove that scientists knew nothing; they' have made plants drunk, and have trained them to perform various feats; they have discovered that probably lead is slowly turning into gold. In short, the new science now being born is plunging with irresistible force into the heart of the mysteries that have puzzled men since first they began to think, a good many thousand years ago.

Let us take botany as an example. One of the fundamental notions of botany that dates from the time of Aristotle has

been that each species of plant has a definite life cycle-that is, that it takes just about so long to sprout, so much time to grow until it is able to give seeds or spores from which other plants grow, and so long to die. And now Dr. Georg Klebs, of the University of Halle, in Germany, has completely exploded this fundamental idea.

Dr. Klebs, by altering the conditions under which the plant is growing, has been able to shuffle these stages of youth, maturity, and death, as he wishes, and he has been able to keep plants living in any one of these stages apparently indefinitely. The life his plants lead might be compared to that of a human who was born as an old man, then became a boy, then grew to be a man-and then lived as a man for centuries.

For example, the ordinary period of life of a plant of Saprolegnia mixta—a water mold that grows on dead flies-is two weeks. Dr. Klebs has kept this plant alive for over six years. This is as though he had caused a man to live, in the full strength and glory of the prime of manhood, for 10,920 years. Dr. Klebs has taken these same plants, when they were old and decrepit, and hurled them into the vigor of youth, and kept them vigorous indefinitely an achievement that sounds strangely like the work of

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time and time again, by varying these conditions artificially in his laboratory.

Another intellectual bomb has recently been tossed into the subject of botany by a Hindu-Professor Jagadis Chunder Bose, of the University of Calcutta. For many years, scientists have sought to work out a satisfactory dividing line between plants and animals, without suc

fusion of all their work, by showing that, in many respects, plants act just like animals.

Dr. Bose made use of the well-known fact that every plant has, stored up throughout itself, a certain amount of static electricity, and that when any part of a plant is injured, some electricity flows through the plant to the injured portion. He measured this current in different ways, and by means of it made his startling discoveries.

He found that plants sleep regularly, that they become intoxicated when ex

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posed to the influence of alcohol, and that they may be trained just as animals may be trained, to give a definite response to a definite stimulus.

Occasionally a plant turns up in the laboratory, which is "backward"; that is, its responses are below the normal. When stimulated, there is a long wait before

are smaller than is usual. By repeating the same stimulus time and time again, Dr. Bose has educated individual plants to the point where their responses are quick and large, and fully up to the standard for that particular species. And most interesting of all, Dr. Bose found that when an individual was more

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PANORAMIC VIEW OF ONE OF THE GREATEST NAVAL OPERATIONS IN HISTORY The Allied fleets are lying in a gigantic arc, with a Turkish fort at the center, and are pouring tons of steel and explosives into the structure. When it has been reduced to ruins, the ships will move up the straits to the next, and so on, until they reach Constantinople, or are destroyed in the attempt.

COMBINED FORCES DEFENDING THE STRAITS

The view shows the combination of German guns and Turkish gunners, which the English and French are

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