20 SEPTEMBER 1873, Page 3

The Inaugural Address to the British Association was delivered on

Wednesday at Bradford by Professor Williamson, the great chemist, who was chosen by the Council, on the illness of Dr. Joule, to take his place. Professor Williamson divided his address into two portions, one chemical, the other educational, the former being an attempt to give some notion of the direc- tion and general drift of the recent great activity in chemical science, and the latter an attempt to sketch out a general plan for the educational discrimination and discipline of the higher orders of young people's intellect, from the primary schools to the highest point of the University career. In the first part of his discourse, Professor Williamson dwelt on the value of the atomic theory of combining proportions, and tried to show how all modern discoveries sustained the hypothesis of the existence of ultimate indivisible atoms of given weight, and that no other hypothesis would be sustained by these discoveries. On this point, however, Profes- sor Williamson might have been clearer. He admitted that some eminent chemists do not see the necessity for the atomic hypo- thesis, as distinguished from the law of specific combining pro- portions, and that they exclude the mention of indivisible atoms from their language, and it would have been very interesting if he had given a popular explanation and illustration of his reasons for regarding this view as paradoxical. To the uninitiated reader of his discourse, some of his own statements would appear to support strongly the view he condemned.