IN the workshop of science there are many labourers, both skilled and unskilled, and the particulars of their toil, which are not always interesting even to fellow- workers, can seldom be appreciated or even understood by the majority of well-educated persons. The increasing detail of geological work and the number of technical terms introduced, necessary as they are to progress, are calculated to repel not only the unemployed, who might like to gain a general knowledge of the subject, but also the numerous workers in other branches of science, who cannot keep themselves informed on the meaning of the many new terms. Nor can text-books, intended for serious study, be made interesting to the general reader, for the student wants his mental food in a concentrated form, with particulars sufficient for the class-room and examination; while the general reader can only be tempted with the net results of science in a diluted and yet attractive form. Such a reader, too, may approve of the Frenchman's dictum (quoted by William Spottiswoode in his address to the British Association, 1878), that no scientific theory “can be considered complete until it is so clear that it can be explained to the first man you meet in the street.” It may, however, take a long time or a big book to do this, though we may agree that conclusions are not of much service unless they are intelligible.
The Story of our Planet.
By T. G. Bonney, &c. Pp. 592. (London: Cassell and Co., 1893.)