In the winters of 1854-5 Gauss complained of his declining health, and on the morning of February 23, 1855, about five minutes past one o'clock, he breathed his last. He was laid on a bed of laurels, and buried by his friends. A granite pillar marks his resting-place at Gottingen.
WILLIAM EDWARD WEBER was born on October 24, 1804, at Wittenberg, where his father, Michael Weber, was professor of theology. William was the second of three brothers, all of whom were distinguished by an aptitude for the study of science. After the dissolution of the University of Wittenberg his father was transferred to Halle in 1815. William had received his first lessons from his father, but was now sent to the Orphan Asylum and Grammar School at Halle. After that he entered the University, and devoted himself to natural philosophy. He distinguished himself so much in his classes, and by original work, that after taking his degree of Doctor and becoming a Privat-Docent he was appointed Professor Extraordinary of natural philosophy at Halle.
In 1831, on the recommendation of Gauss, he was called to Gottingen as professor of physics, although but twenty-seven years of age. His lectures were interesting, instructive, and suggestive. Weber thought that, in order to thoroughly understand physics and apply it to daily life, mere lectures, though illustrated by experiments, were insufficient, and he encouraged his students to experiment themselves, free of charge, in the college laboratory. As a student of twenty years he, with his brother, Ernest Henry Weber, Professor of Anatomy at Leipsic, had written a book on the 'Wave Theory and Fluidity,' which brought its authors a considerable reputation. Acoustics was a favourite science of his, and he published numerous papers upon it in Poggendorff's ANNALEN, Schweigger's JAHRBUCHER FUR CHEMIE UND PHYSIC, and the musical journal CAECILIA. The 'mechanism of walking in mankind' was another study, undertaken in conjunction with his younger brother, Edward Weber. These important investigations were published between the years 1825 and 1838.
Displaced by the Hanoverian Government for his liberal opinions in politics Weber travelled for a time, visiting England, among other countries, and became professor of physics in Leipsic from 1843 to 1849, when he was reinstalled at Gottingen. One of his most important works was the ATLAS DES ERDMAGNETISMUS, a series of magnetic maps, and it was chiefly through his efforts that magnetic observatories were instituted. He studied magnetism with Gauss, and in 1864 published his 'Electrodynamic Proportional Measures' containing a system of absolute measurements for electric currents, which forms the basis of those in use. Weber died at Gottingen on June 23, 1891.
III. SIR WILLIAM FOTHERGILL COOKE.
WILLIAM Fothergill Cooke was born near Ealing on May 4, 1806, and was a son of Dr. William Cooke, a doctor of medicine, and professor of anatomy at the University of Durham. The boy was educated at a school in Durham, and at the University of Edinburgh. In 1826 he joined the East India Army, and held several staff appointments. While in the Madras Native Infantry, he returned home on furlough, owing to ill-health, and afterwards relinquished this connection. In 1833-4 he studied anatomy and physiology in Paris, acquiring great skill at modelling dissections in coloured wax.
In the summer of 1835, while touring in Switzerland with his parents, he visited Heidelberg, and was induced by Professor Tiedeman, director of the Anatomical Institute, to return there and continue his wax modelling. He lodged at 97, Stockstrasse, in the house of a brewer, and modelled in a room nearly opposite. Some of his models have been preserved in the Anatomical Museum at Heidelberg. In March 1836, hearing accidentally from Mr. J. W. R. Hoppner, a son of Lord Byron's friend, that the Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University, Geheime Hofrath Moncke. had a model of Baron Schilling's telegraph, Cooke went to see it on March 6, in the Professor's lecture room, an upper storey of an old convent of Dominicans, where he also lived. Struck by what he witnessed, he abandoned his medical studies, and resolved to apply all his energies to the introduction of the telegraph. Within three weeks he had made, partly at Heidelberg, and partly at Frankfort, his first galvanometer, or needle telegraph. It consisted of three magnetic needles surrounded by multiplying coils, and actuated by three separate circuits of six wires. The movements of the needles under the action of the currents produced twenty-six different signals corresponding to the letters of the alphabet.
'Whilst completing the model of my original plan,' he wrote to his mother on April 5, 'others on entirely fresh systems suggested themselves, and I have at length succeeded in combining the UTILE of each, but the mechanism requires a more delicate hand than mine to execute, or rather instruments which I do not possess. These I can readily have made for me in London, and by the aid of a lathe I shall he able to adapt the several parts, which I shall have made by different mechanicians for secrecy's sake. Should I succeed, it may be the means of putting some hundreds of pounds in my pocket. As it is a subject on which I was profoundly ignorant, until my attention was casually attracted to it the other day, I do not know what others may have done in the same way; this can best be learned in London.'