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Much important research work in chemistry has been carried on in the Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory since January last, when the building was opened. The most important of these researches have been those on Atomic Weights of Sulphur and Carbon, by Mr. C. R. Hoover; Compressibility of Complex Organic Substances, by Dr. J. W. Shipley; Heats of Combustion of Organic Substances, by Mr. H. S. Davis; Automatic Contrivances for Adiabatic Calorimetry, by Mr. H. S. Davis and Mr. G. D. Osgood; and Electrochemical Study of Thallium Amalgams and of Alloys of Lead and the Alkali Metals, by Mr. F. Daniels and Mr. W. B. Meldrum. Besides these experimental researches, there has been a study of theoretical speculations concerning the significance of crystalline form and of the quantity "b" in Van der Waal's equation. "The Chemical Significance of Crystaline Form" was the subject of a recent paper written for the "Journal of the American Chemical Society" by Professor Theodore W. Richards, Erving Professor of Chemistry, and Director of the Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory, in which he summarizes the results of his investigations, with special reference to the theory of compressible atoms.
Statement by Professor Richards.
In a special interview with a representative of the CRIMSON, Professor Richards authorized the following statement in regard to the investigation carried out by Mr. C. R. Hoover, on the Atomic Weight of Sulphur and Carbon.
"This research was one involving great care and extraordinary purity of materials. It was carried as far as it could be carried in Boylston Hall, and the opening of the new laboratory was a great piece of good fortune for this research, because it could hardly have been finished under the conditions reigning in Boylston Hall.
"The research consisted in the preparation of pure sodium carbonate, a matter which required exceptionally pure atmosphere because sodium carbonate holds every trace of acid which may come in contact with it from the surrounding air. A pure atmosphere free from dust and fumes is therefore a desideratum. This was just what the new laboratory with its pure filtered air was able to provide." . . . . .
As to the results, "it appears that the accepted value for the atomic weight of carbon is very nearly if not quite in accordance with these results, but that the atomic weight of sulphur as usually taken is probably a little too high. On the whole, however, the results confirm very well the values obtained in this laboratory in other ways, and are decidedly reassuring with regard to the accuracy of all the processes concerned, both in the new and the older work, The value of such confirmatory experiments is great in work of this sort, since a single method may be always open to the suspicion that a small constant source of error may have been inadvertantly overlooked.
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