Savide, Eugene Coleman, M.D. The Philosophy of Radio-Activity. Cloth. 51 pp. William R. Jenkins, Sixth avenue and 48th street, New York. $1.50 net.

Radio-activity is forcing a change in the viewpoints of all the sciences. It is so new in idea and in working, that the man-on-the-street has little idea of the revolution that it has worked in the scientific mind. The “stream which revivifies the universe,” this unknown “energy,” this changeless something which we know in so many of its manifestations, but not at all in itself, no longer flows unnoticed by our doors. Its facts are beginning to be apprehended by science.

“Radio-activity,” says Dr. Savidge, “is the ebb of that stream of energy from its high point back to its source.” True transmutation of matter is now measured and timed in laboratory work. The presentation of the subject in this interesting and thought compelling treatise shows how the densest element of matter is but the lightest element in more compact and involuted form. And the lightest atom is but an orbit of electrons. What is packed into the electron is repacked into atom and again repacked into the denser atoms.

Less than 100 different varieties of atom make up all that forms the universe of matter. And each variety of atom is but a different manifestation of something which changes ever in its manifestations, but changes never in its own eternal elusive motility. And here is the nub of the philosophy of radio-activity:

“What coils the great Elusive Motility from the lightest to the densest is the energy that revivifies the universe. Radio-activity, uncoiling from uranium downwards, one helium atom at a time, is the ebb of that energy. But what is coiled and what is uncoiled we still seek — though we know it by many names at its many points of manifestation.”

To get at this wonderful idea in concrete form, let us consider in what way the science of astronomy has been affected by the discoveries in radio-activity. Astronomers are now accepting Professor Chamberlin’s view that glowing gases, which were termed nebulae, seen in spiral form in the heavens, are in the process of being involved into matter which will form stars. The spiral coiling seems to be going on about us in celestial regions with the same precision and by the name processes which built our world from nebula. Thus new astronomy — the last science to accept radio-activity — shows the changing Something coiling up for that terrestrial uncoiling now known as radio-activity. It is an ever-recurring circle.

The mystery of the coiling and the mystery of the uncoiling are finite when compared with the infinite mystery of the great illusive which is being coiled and uncoiled.

This concept of the uncoiling, or of radio-activity, is a rythmic [sic], measured disturbance of equilibrium. The negative electrons rotate around the positive center of an atom until an appointed time brings a fractional violation of ratio, when an explosion liberates an atom of helium and a new ratio is established for a new rhythm. Here is the uncoiling, the breaking down of matter on its way to its original ether or something unknown.

The strangest part of Dr. Savidge’s contention is that “there is an attraction of duration for matter” as mathematical as the attraction of gravitation. To go into this, and all that it involves, requires more space than a book review can give. But this with the other points in the new conception of radio-activity requires serious and continued study on the part of one educated in the idea of the eternity of the atom and the persistence of matter. This latter doctrine now seems to have gone by the board. Matter, like the “eternal hills,” is in the process of flux and of change and will vanish like a smoke wreath into its original ether, whatever that may be.

To those who wish to get in touch with modern thought as modified by this new subject of radio-activity, this book will be of priceless value. It suggests a great many possible avenues of approach to the great mysteries of existence, and indicates the marvelous “new knowledge” that has within a decade or two made so much of the old knowledge and teachings of science out of date.

The work is printed in large type, contains suggestive illustrations and is clearly written with copious notes of reference to modern experimenters and writers who have opened up this trail.