ONEof the most notable events of the year, both to aeronauts and to the scientific world in general, is the establishment of the great laboratory to be known as L'Institut Aerotechnique de l Universite de Paris." The donor is M. Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe, long known as a munificent patron of those daring spirits who are seeking the conquest of the air. The opening exercises took place on the sixth of Julv before a distinguished assemblage, the inangtu l a.1-dress being delivered by Prof. Appell, member of the Academy and Dean of tIle Faeulty of Sciences. The institute consists of an immense laboratory £0 the study of practical problems in aeronautics by the aid of the most advanced science and with an equipment as perfect as possible. An important feature is a track 4,593 feet long, on which specially constructed cars run, giving opportunity for the study of the operation of planes, propellers, and other parts of the machines when moving through the air at high speed. There are associated laboratories of Physics, Chemistry, and Mechanics for the investigation of the materials used, with reference to such questions as their purity, durability, elasticity, strength, and resistance. The services rendered by this remarkable institution will be twofold. In the first place there will be a permanent staff of investigators making methodical researches in the endeavor to ascertain the fundamental data necessary to aeronautical achievement. Secondly, the establishment will be open to inventors and builders of aircraft who wish to test their apparatus, and to makers desirous of trying out new ideas. Furthermore, all its resources will be put expressly at the disposition of ofcers and engineers designated by the respective Ministers of Val, of the Marine, and of Public Works. The plans have been conceived and executed by the well-known engineer, M. Hugon. Details of management, programs of experiment, and method” of research have been elaborated by a council composed of the founder, of ofcers and engineers representing the ministers concerned, of builders and practical airmen, and of competent scientists and members of the faculty, such as the professor of Experimental Mechanics and the nominee to the Chair of Ayiation founded bv 11. Basil Zaharof. In a brief resume of the chief problems to be attacked, Prof. Appell pOinted out that the motor was the very heart of all aircraft, whether dirigibles or aeroplanes, and in the case of the latter the slightest defect in this essential organ, such as imperfect action of the carbureter, or ignition or lubrication system, might precipitate a catastrophe. Hence there is special provision of a thorough equipment in the institute for the determination of the essential facts regarding motors, such as consumption of fuel, horse-power, revolutions per minute, etc. Of almost equal importance are the propellers. Hence endeavors will be made to ascertain the characteristics upon which the propulsive power and efciency of propellers depend, besides determining whether their action is the same when revolving in an artifcial current of air as when driving a machine through the atmosphere. "But the most important and as yet the most obscure subject of all,” remarks Prof. Appell, “is Aero-dynamics itself. What are the laws of the resistance of the air? Can they be exactly determined by placing a plane in an artifcial current of air as in the adlrable experiments recently conducted by M. Eifel? Or must we admit that the phenomena afecting the back of the plane differ according to whether it is placed in a current of air from a blower or whether it is driven forward in free air like the wing of an aeroplane? An experimental thesis recently presented to the faculty by the Duc de Guiche tends to confrm such a difference." It will be an object of the institute to carefully compare such experiments as these, and the car running on a track is expected to be particularly useful in this connection. Besides a car for testing propellers there will be a second one electrically propelled, which will be used for testing full-sized aeroplanes, at a possible speed of 110 kilometers (68.3 miles) per hour. Registering apparatus will p ermit the measurement of the various pressures it IS deSIrable to determine. For experiments with smaller surfaces a special circular building, the largest ever constructed for this purpose, will be used. These cars will be very useful to inventors who wish to test their devices. By placing the machine, or a reduced model of it, on the car, it may be seen at once whether practice confrms theory. In the same way may be estimated without danger to the pIlot the .nfluence of the shape of the wings, of theIr angle of attack, of the inclination of the rudders, as well as the value of various passive resistances. All these results will serve, as Prof. Appell points out, for the establishment of fundamental formulr. “The general equations of the movement of the aeroplane have been given,” he observes, “authoritatively by our colleague, M. Painleve (in his treatise, On the Dynamics of the Aeroplane), but they still contain many unknown coefcients. "The determination of these coefcients must be made by careful experimentation. The experience of actual fight is too complex, as all the elements of the machine are operating at the same time, and it is hence impossible to study separately the efect of each of them. The method of the car, on the contrary, permits the analytic study of the individual role of each part, and the founding of the technique of the aeroplane upon a solid scientifc basis." One of the chief aims of this new research laboratory is the solving of the problem of automatic stability, which is the principal problem still remaining for the aeronautical engineer to clear up. The long track in the open air will make possible the testing of all sorts of stabilizing devices under actual conditions of fight, while similar tests on models can be made on the track within the circular building. A power plant of 2oo horse-power furnishes ample electricity to drive the testing cars at high speeds. The whole concept and execution of this great enterprise breathe a generosity and public-spirited endeavor creditable alike to the founder and to the savants associated with him. It cannot fail tu be productive of results of great and permanent value in the new art of air trafc. A New Relic of the Parthenon Gables THE extant sculptures of the Pathenon, which the current opinion erroneously attributes to the great Pheidias, are distributed in four principal groups. Several fne horse heads of the east gable and two coupled human fgures of the west gable remain in situ on the front and back cornices of the famous temple. The building retains, also, the twenty-eight mutilated metopes of its exterior, Doric friezes at front and back, and the sixteen very slightly injured relief slabs of its low relief Ionic frieze at the west end of the temple, where the procession of Athenian horsemen is still forming. Lord Elgin's Italian agent Lusieri spared some additional blocks of both friezes on the long north and south sides of the ruin, when he threw its cornices down to free and extract the sections which he conveyed to London through the vicissitudes of the Napoleonic blockades. It will be remembered that Lord Elgin himself was held prisoner in France for a season. But only one of his consignments of Athenian marbles was captured by a French frigate. The Scotch earl's generous rival, the Marquis de Choiseul, purchased and returned this to its British owner without charge. Part of the broken but superb torso of Poseidon, another torso supposed to be Prometheus, and the semi-fgure of the moon goddess Selene dr. vmg her steeds into the brine are amonr; the Parthenon marbles preserved in the Akropolis Museum. Another is the splendid frieze block with the sacrifcial cows, which Count de LabOrde excavated at the foot of the temple in 1840. A more recent excavation at Athens resulted in the recovery of the head of Hebe from the east frieze. Athens has never yet forgiven Lord Elgin's capture of the major part of its Perikleian inheritance in carven stone. The Elgin collection became the property of the British nation for 36,000 pounds sterling in 1816, and has been the British Museum's most priceless of art treasures ever since. The Louvre Museum, across the Channel, has the single slab of marching Athenian maidens which Choiseul secured. It is likely enough that France and not England would have got the whole treasure if Nelson had lost the battle of the Nile in 1799. The present Duc de Laborde has a fne female head from one of the Parthenon pediments at his Paris hotel. This relic reached France by way of Venice. Some scholars believe it to be a remnant of the Victory who drove Athena's car in the west gable. Besides the Choiseul slab, the Louvre owns the detached head of a Lapith from one of the centaur metopes at London. An American specialist, Dr. Charles Waldstein, frst ftted the two together. So much for the Parthenon sculptures at Athens, London and Paris. Very few other fragments of the world's most renowned group of decorative sculptures have been located. The celebrated horseman of the Vatican was once classed as one. But it was only the tombstone of some Athenian rough rider. Palermo has a pretty fragment of the eastward Ionic frieze; the Duke of Modena at Vienna has another of the south frieze; a third frieze fragment was recovered from a garden rockery in the north of England a few years back. Carlsruhe and Copenhagen have pieces of Parthenon metope slabs from the Doric frieze of the temple. Dr. Jan Six, the son of the Amsterdam medalist, and a descendant of Rembrandt's familiar Burgomaster Six, has the merit, :nd the rare good fortune, of locating a very important, new fragment of the Parthenonian pediment groups, in the Royal Museum of Stockholm. A female head which he has just published in The Journal of Hellenic Studies has hitherto borne the perfectly arbitrary nIme of “Dejanira.” The Stockholm marble has the same characteristic blocked modeling as the badly weathered head of the London “Theseus,” and that statue is the only complete pedimental fgure with a head on its shoulders. The new marble agrees, in this resemblance, with the Duc de Laborde's female head. This air de famille is, indeed, the clinching argument for the attribution of both the detached heads to the studio of the Parthenon sculptors. For of heads and statues chiseled over life size in Pentelic marble there are many. It is the eye that must decide. Kalkmann and other classical archr-ologists have enriched the machinerv of their favorite science with tables of comparative dimensions which are a lame substitute, at best, for the immediate perceptions of that sensitive organ. We suppress the dry fgures in the present case. Persons familiar with Anna Akerhjelm's letter to her brother Sam, containing 1 contemporary account of the explosion and wreck of the Parthenon bv a Venetian shell, in 1687, will fnd the Dutch critic's lucky location of a trophy of the fall of Athens in Sweden no more surprising than Weber's purchase of a similar one at Venice. Anna was a Swedish companion of Countess Konigsmark on board of Francesco Morosini's squadron. Count Konigsmark himself commanded a force of Hessian mercenaries under Morosini. One of his Germans pointed the fatal mortar which compelled the Turkish garrison's surrender of the citadel on September 28th of that year. A deserter had brought Konigsmark the information that the great temple was the enemy's chief casemate and powder magazine. Three hundred souls lost their lives in the historic explosion. The number included the harem of the Turkish commandant. One may indulge the fancy that Sam Akerhjelm's sister carried the Stockholm head to Sweden, just as some other follower of Morosini must have taken the Weber-Laborde head to Venice. As a matter of record, the broken Greek head was in a collection made at the royal Swedish castle of Drottningholm by Frederick the Great's sister Queen Louisa Ulrica of Sweden, before her accession in 1749.
This article was originally published with the title "The New Aerotechnical Institute in Paris, A New Relic of the Parthenon Gables" in Scientific American 105, 8, 162 (August 1911)