16 APRIL 1932, Page 30


By W. Denham Verschoyle

:.'Those who are not contented to loll in the agnostic armchair or ',to kneel at the footstool of religion will welcome Mr.

✓ ci-schcsyle's thoughtful essay on The Soul of an Atom (The .Search Publishing Company, 75. 6d.). It is not easy reading

• fori the layman in science, and it may alienate the expert by . its I casual references to the neutralization of gravity as a practical possibility and to the intelligent movement of a table as " the most elementary experiment in one department of thought." But Mr. Verschoyle bases his argument on such facts as are set forth. in the popular pages of Jeans 'and , Eddington, and it can be followed by those who have no deeper

• knowledge of modern physics. His aim is to show that the • latest theories of the electronic constitution of matter thin* some light upon the problem of human survival and immor- tality, although, as he justly observes, these very interesting problems are not as yet susceptible of absolute proof. He modestly professes to do no more than present "a beginning point for scientific thought." . The electronic theory would suffice for background to a complete picture of the universe " if there were no Such thing§ as life and mind " ; but, as we can hardly deny their existence, we must ask for more. With the aid of a very subtle analogy between the atom and the spiral nebula—about halfway between which man stands in point of size—Mr. Verschoyle adumbrates a theory of the immaterial aura of an atom, which retains its individuality after the dissolution of its material source, and which thus