Punch,  27 (1854), 199.

The Airy and the Coalhouse



Drama, Satire


Astronomy, Measurement, Gravity

    A lengthy discourse between Porrex, 'A Young Sage', and Ferrex, 'A Young Swell', concerning George B Airy's attempt to 'weigh the Earth' down a coal-pit. Ferrex jokingly suggests that Airy 'As an Astronomer should know / a Shorter course. In his own Zodiac / Hang Libra, or the Scales. Let him take them, / And go his weighs'. Porrex explains that Airy wants to explore the dependence of density on depth but Ferrex insists that the astronomer could have done this by examining buckets raised from coal pits. Following Ferrex's insistence that Airy should stick to astronomy, albeit in the coal-pit, Porrex explains how Airy used pendulums and electric clocks to ascertain 'the fact of density's / Increase'.

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