50, 100 & 150 Years Ago: December 2022

50, 100 & 150 Years Ago: December 2022

Psychic reward; desert sea

1972, desert sea: “The Mediterranean must have looked something like this six million years ago, when the basin was a great interior desert lying 10,000 feet below sea level. An opening was created at the Strait of Gibraltar some 5.5 million years ago. The Atlantic water inflowing created a great waterfall. Within a few thousand years the desiccated Mediterranean would be filled to the brim.” Credit: Scientific American, Vol. 227, No. 6; December 1972


Nobel Prize Repeat

“The 1972 Nobel prizes in science and economics have been awarded to 10 investigators. This is the first time that a prize in the same field has been awarded to one person in history. Marie Curie and Linus Paoling had previously been awarded two Nobel prizes, but in different fields. The new double winner is John Bardeen, who shared the 1956 Nobel prize in physics for discoveries leading to the transistor. Bardeen shares the prize now with Leon N. Cooper, John R. Schrieffer, “for their jointly developed theory superconductivity, commonly called the BCS theory


Fingerprints by Radio

” The latest obstacle in the path for wrong-doers is the long arm radio. This radio not only ensures rapid intercommunication among the various police forces around the world but also transmits fingerprints and photographs for instantaneous identification. A relief image of a fingerprint is created and wrapped around a transmitting device. The relief image is rotated in absolute synchronism to the turning of the receiving cylinder at the distant points. This causes the relief image’s high and low points to be brought under a point or stylus. The stylus is connected with a simple device that creates and breaks current according to the height or depth of the image .”


A Need to Reseed

“According to the president of the American Forestry Association, Charles L. Pack, statistics show that there is 11 percent more timber in the Black Forests of Germany today than in 1914. He sent millions of tree seeds to Europe in order to reforest the areas destroyed by the war. The government should have the power to demand that anyone who cuts down old timber be allowed to plant the beginnings for the new .”


Psychic Reward

We are unable to make a definitive conclusion about the validity of psychic claims. In the effort to clear up this confusion, the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN will pay $2,500 to the first person who produces a psychic photograph under its test conditions and to the full satisfaction of the judges. The SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN will also pay $2,500 to the first person who produces a visible psychic manifestation of other character, under these conditions. .” will not accept purely mental phenomena such as telepathy or rappings.


Quick Spark

” The spark’s extremely short duration was demonstrated by it lighting a rapidly rotating disk of paper with a number of slots. Despite moving so fast that the slots were not visible, the spark seemed to stop every time it flashed. Columbia College Professor Rood has demonstrated by his stunning researches that the duration a single spark lasts less than ninety-four millionths of a second. This is a staggering amount .”

Fertilized Luxuriance

“M. Jeannel, says Les Mondes, has made a series of experiments, in the use of chemical fertilizers. It was found that plants can be given the necessary mineral components in the solution of irrigation water. These results are from potted plants that were grown in sand and irrigated with regular water. Plants that were grown in mold were similarly irrigated. And plants that were grown in sand and irrigated with common water, which was supplemented with weekly mineral manure. These plants were twice as developed and more green than those raised in mold. They also flowered much more prolifically. The plants that were grown in sand and not fertilized proved to be poor and miserable. Ingredients include nitrate, biphosphate, ammonia and nitrate, potash, chlorhydrate, ammonia, sodium nitrate, sulphate, lime, and sulphate iron

Scientific American covers from 50, 100 and 150 years ago.

This article was originally published with the title “50, 100 & 150 Years Ago” in Scientific American 327, 6, 78 (December 2022)

doi: 10. 1038/scientificamerican1222-78



    Mark Fischetti is a senior editor at Scientific American. Follow him on Twitter 46418091956327100Follow him on Twitter @markfischetti Credit: Nick Higgins

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