Punch,  59 (1870), 144.

Queries Germane to Germs. (To Professor Huxley)





Zoology, Meteorology, Animal Development, Evolution, Measurement, Matter Theory

    A response to Huxley's recent address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science (a version of which was published as Huxley 1871), the author begins by asking Huxley to clarify his claim that there are germs in the atmosphere. Asks whether he means live germs which are 'animacules' that form 'In an infusion [...] of hay' rather than eggs which would lead to the 'absurd' notion that infusoria laid eggs in the air. Proceeds to question what Huxley means by the 'exceedingly small' size of germs of live matter, asking him 'how much more so than matter is all'. Explains that germs will not be destroyed by 'sulphuric acid and fire', but insists that 'more proof' is needed to support Huxley's claim regarding the nature of germs. Concludes by suggesting that 'all we can safely declare' is that 'Germs are small particles floating in the air'.

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