Page images

Milica D. Refore





N ICERON (JOHN FRANCIS,) in biogra. fell sick at Aix, in Provence, and died I phy, a French monk, and ingenious there in the autumn of 1646, when he was mathematician, in the seventeenth cen- only thirty-three years of age. This event tury, was born at Paris, in the year 1613. was lamented as a considerable loss to He early displayed a love of learning, and the republic of letters. He was the auby the progress which he made in his thor of the following works, which are elementary studies afforded fair promise held in high estimation. “ The Interpreof future excellence. At the age of nine. tation of Cyphers, or, a Rule for the perteen he entered into the order of Minims, fect understanding and certain explanaand before he had gone through his tion of all kinds of simple Cyphers, taken course of philosophy, discovered that his from the Italian of the Sieur Anthony predominant inclination was to the study Maria Cospi, secretary to the Grand Duke of mathematical sciences, to which, after of Tuscany; enlarged, and particularly he had completed his theological course, accommodated to the French and Spanish he devoted all the time that was not ne- Languages," 1641, octavo; “Curious Per. cessarily occupied by the duties of bis spective, or artificial Magic, produced by profession. The science of optics was the wonderful Effects of Optics, Catop. what principally engaged his attention; trics, and Dioptrics," &c. 1638, folio ; and he left behind him, in different which was only introductory to his houses belonging to his order, particu- “ Thaumaturgus Opticus, sive, admi. larly that at Paris, some excellent per- randæ Optices, Catoptrices, et Dioptrices, formances, which afforded satisfactory pars prima, de iis quæ spectant ad visioevidence of his profound skill in this nem directam," 1646, folio. On this branch of the mathematics. He was work he was employed six years, and was twice sent on business to Rome, and was prevented by his death from proceeding appointed regent of the philosophical to the completion of the intended second classes. Afterwards he was nominated and third parts, relating to the effects of to accompany father Francis de la Noue, reflection from plane, cylindrical, and covicar-general of the order, in his visita. nical mirrors, and the refraction of crys. tion of all the convents of Minims in tals. This task his friend father Mersenne France. The similarity of their taste undertook, not only by correcting wbat proved the means of introducing him to Niceron's papers in Latin and French the acquaintance of Des Cartes, who en- would furnish towards it, but by supplytertained a great regard for him, and ing what might be necessary to perfect made him a present of his “ Principles of it. But the other occupations of this Philosophy." Their intimacy, however, learned mathematician, during the two which commenced in 1644, proved but remaining years of his own life, prevent. of short duration, since our young monk ed him from finishing the work, which, upon his death, was committed for that nevix is the most simple. The metal ob. purpose to M. de Roberval, professor tained from kupfer-nickel, by roasting and royal of mathematics at Paris. A “Let. fusion with three times its own weight of ter" of father Niceron's is inserted in the black Aux, is dissolved in nitric acid, the third volume of Liceto's “ De quæsitis solution being boiled, so that the arsenic per Epistolas."

present receiving oxygen from the acic NICHE, in architecture, a concave re. may be converted into arsenic acid; a socess in a wall having a semicircular or lution of nitrate of lead is then dropped elliptical head, intended to contain a sta. in, and the liquor evaporated by a very tue or bust.

gentle heat, but not quite to dryness. AlNICKEL. A white metal, which, when cohol poured into this solution precipitates obtained pure, is both ductile and malle. every salt but the nitrate of nickel, which able. It may be forged into very thin has been formed by the double decompoplates, their thickness not being greater sition of the arseniate of nickel and the than 0.01 of an inch. Its colour inter- nitrate of lead. The alcohol of the solumediate between that of silver and tin, tion of nitrate of nickel being evaporated, and is not altered by the air. It is nearly the metallic salt is re-dissolved in water, as hard as iron. Its specific gravity is and decomposed by potash. The oxide, 8.279, and when forged 8.666.

well washed and dried, is reduced in an The species of nickel ores are, its alloy Hessian crucible lined with lamp-black. with arsenic, and a little sulphur and its By the experiments that have been oxide.

made on nickel in its pure state, it apThe first is the most abundant, and the pears to be proved that it is possessed of one from which nickel is usually extract- magnetic power, and that therefore iron ed. It is known to mineralogists by the is not the only metal to which it belongs. name of kupfer-nickel, or copper-nickel, The magnetic properties of nickel had from its colour and appearance. It oc. often been observed; but as, in the usual curs generally massive and disseminated; processes by which it is obtained, it is alits colour is copper-red of various shades: ways alloyed with iron, it was concluded, its lustre is weakly shining, and metallic; with probability, that the magnetism it it is perfectly opaque; its fracture is un- exhibited was owing to the presence of even ; it is hard, has no malleability, but that metal. Since methods, however, is not easily broken; its specific gravity have since been discovered of obtaining is from 6.6 to 7.5. Urged by the Aame nickel in a purer state, the error of this of the blow-pipe, it gives vapours with a conclusion has been discovered. The strong arsenical odour, and melts with effect of the magnet on it is very little indifficulty. It dissolves in acids, giving a ferior to that which it exerts on iron; and green solution. Bergman found it to be the metal itself becomes magnetic by composed of nickel, iron, cobalt, arsenic, friction with a magnet, or even by beatand sulphur. Vauquelin regards it as es- ing with a hammer. Magnetic needles sentially an alloy of nickel and arsenic, have even been constructed of it in the iron, cobalt, and sulphur, being acci- France, and have been preferred to those dental.

of steel, as resisting better the action of The other species, the oxide of nickel, the air. The nickel preserves its magoccurs generally as an incrustation, some- netic property when alloyed with cop. times also disseminated, of a friable tex. per, though it is somewhat diminished ; ture and earthy appearance; of an apple by a small portion of arsenic it is comgreen colour, without lustre. It is not al- pletely destroyed. tered by the heat of the blow-pipe ; but Nickel is extremely fusible; its fusing when mixed with borax gives to it a yel. point being higher than that of iron. lowish red colour. Its solution in acids. This metal is oxyded by exposure to is of a green colour. It occurs generally the atmospheric air at a high tempera. with kupfer-nickel, or with certain co- ture, though with difficulty. Its oxide is balt ores. It is also contained in small more easily obtained by exposure to heat quantities in a fossil of the siliceous ge- with nitre ; it is of an apple-green colour, nus, chrysoprase, to which it communi. and is obtained likewise of this colour by cates an apple-green colour.

precipitation from some of its saline comNickel is extracted from the kupfer. binations. It appears to be the oxide at nickel, but it is extremely difficult to free the minimum of oxydement; at least, acit entirely from the metals with which it cording to the experiments of Thenard, is associated. The process given by Che. another oxide can be formed more high

ly oxyded. It may be obtained by expos- ropean languages, with very little variaing the green oxide to a red heat, or by tion, and even in Tartary and Japan. Toheating it with oxymuriatic acid. It ap. bacco is derived from the island Tobago. pears, therefore, to be too bighly oxydiz. Petum is the Brasilian name. ed to be capable of directly combining NICTITATING membrane, in comparawith any of the acids. According to Rich. tive anatomy, a thin membrane, chiefly ter, oxide of nickle is reduced by heat found in the bird and fish kinds, which coalone ; and the only difficulty experienc. vers the eyes of these animals, sheltering ed is the intensity of the heat required to them from the dust, or from too much fuse the metal.

light; yet is so thin and pellucid, that Nickel is oxydized and dissolved by a they can see pretty well through it. number of acids; its solutions being ge- NIDUS, among naturalists, signifies a nerally of a green colour, and crystalliz. nest, or proper repository for the eggs of able.

birds, insects, &c. wherein the young of The salts of nickel are decomposed by these animals are hatched and nursed. the alkalies, and the oxide, more or less NIEUWENTYT, (BERNARD), in biofree from the acid, is thrown down. If graphy, a celebrated Dutch philosopher the alkalies are added in excess, they re- and mathematician, in the seventeenth and dissolve it: and with ammonia, in partis early part of the eighteenth century, was cular, soluble triple salts are formed. Pot. the son of a minister of Westgraafdyk, in ash and soda dissolve even a small quan- North Holland, where he was born in the tity of its pure oxide; ammonia dissolves year 1654. He afforded early indications it in a much larger quantity.

of a good genius, and a love of learning, Nickel combines with sulphur by fu. which his father took care to encourage,by sion. The compound has a yellow colour giving him the advantages of an excellent with some brilliancy. It is brittle and education. He was desirous of becoming hard, and burns when strongly heated in acquainted with all the branches of knowcontact with the air. Nickel is also dis- ledge; but he had the prudence and sasolved by the alkaline sulphurets.

gacity to proceed gradually in his acquireWith phosphorus, nickel unites, either ments, and to make himself master of one by projecting the phosphorus on the nick. science, before he directed his attention el at a high temperature, or by heating to another. It was his father's wish, that together phosphoric acid and nickel with he should be educated to his own profesa little charcoal. The nickel increases in sion; but when he found that his son was weight one-fifth. The compound is of a disinclined to such a destination, he very white colour with metallic lustre, and ap- properly suffered him to follow the bent pears composed of a congeries of prisms. of his own genius. The first science to

Nickel forms alloys with a number of which young Nieuwentyt particularly dithe metals; but our knowledge of these rected his study was logic, in order to fix combinations is very imperfect.

his imagination, to form his judgment, and NICOTIANA, in botany, tobacco, a ge. to acquire a habit of right reasoning; and nus of the Pentandria Monogynia class in this science he grounded himself upon and order. Natural order of Liridæ. So. the principles of Des Cartes, with whose lanex, Jussieu. Essential character: co. philosophy he was greatly delighted. In rolla funnel form, with a plaited border: the next place, he engaged in the study stamina inclined; capsule two-valved, two of the mathematics, with the various de celled. There are seven species, of which partments of which he became intimately N. rustica, English tobacco, seldom rises conversant. more than three feet in height, having He then entered upon the study of me. smooth alternate leaves upon short foot. dicine, and the branches of knowledge stalks; flowers in small loose bunches on more immediately connected with that the top of the stalks, of a yellow colour, science: and he afterwards went through appearing in July, which are succeeded a course of reading on jurisprudence. In by roundish capsules, ripening in the au the study of all these sciences he succeedtiimn. Sir Walter Raleigh, on his return ed so well, as deservedly to acquire the from America, is said to have first intro- character of a good philosopher, a good duced the smoking of tobacco into Eng- matlematician, and an able, just magisland. In the house in which he lived, at trate. From his writings it also appears, Islington, are his arms, with a tobacco that he did not permi: his various sulojects plant on the top of the shield. It is re- of inquiry to divert his thoughts from a markable, that tobacco has prevailed over due attention to the great and fundamenthe original name, petum, in all the Eu- tal principles of natural and revealed religion. He was naturally of a grave and Bothnia de Burmania, on his Article con. serious disposition; but at the same time cerning Meteors," inserted in the “ Nou. a very affable and agreeable companion. velles litter, du 22 Avril, 1719;" and So engaging were his manners, that they about a month before his death, he put conciliated the esteem of all his acquaint. the finishing hand to an excellent reance; by which means he frequently drew futation of Spinoza, wbich was pub. over to his opinion, those who differed lished in Dutch at Amsterdam, in 1720, widely from him in sentiment. With such quarto, a character, he acquired great credit and NIGELLA, in botany, fennel flower, a influence in the council of the town of genus of the Polyandria Pentagynia class Puremerende, where he resided; and also and order. Natural order of Multisilique. in the states of that province, who re. Ranunculacez, Jussieu. Essential characspected him the more, because he never ter: calyx none; petals five; nectary engaged in any cabals or factions, but re. five, two-lipped, within the corolla ; cap. commended himself only by an open, sule as many, connected. There are five manly, and upright behaviour. Had be species; these are annual herbaceous aspired after some of the higher offices of plants, with pinnate or bipinnate leaves, government, there is no doubt but that and linear leaflets; flowers terminating, his merits would have secured to him the in some species surrounded with a fivesuffrages of his countrymen; yet he pre- leaved calyx like multifid involucre. ferred to such honours the cultivation of NIGHT, that part of the natural day the sciences, contenting himself with be during which the sun is underneath the ing counsellor and burgomaster, without horizon; or that space wherein it is dus. courting or accepting any other posts, ky. Night was originally divided by the which might interfere with his studies. Hebrews, and other eastern nations, into He died in 1718, at the age of 63, having three parts, or watchings. The Romans, been twice married. He was the author and afterwards the Jews from them, diof various works, among which are, vided the night into four parts, or watch“ Considerationes circa Analyseos ad es, the first of which began at sun-set, and quantitates Infinite parvas applicatæ Prin- lasted till nine at night, according to our cipia, &c." 1694, octavo; in which he pro. way of reckoning; the second lasted till posed some difficulties on the subject of midnight; the third till three in the morn. the analysis of infinitessimals. “ Analysis ing; and the fourth ended at sun-rise.Infinitorum, seu Curvilineorum proprie. The ancient Gauls and Germans divided tates, ex Polygonorum deductæ," 1696, their time not by days but by nights; and quarto; which is a sequel to the former, the people of Iceland and the Arabs do with attempts to remove those difficulties. the same at this day. The like is also ob. “ Considerationes Secundæ circa Calculi served of our Saxon ancestors. Differentialis Principiæ, et Responsio ad NIGHTINGALE. See MOTACILLA. Virum nobilissimum G. G. Leibnitium, NIGRINE, in mineralogy, a species of &c.” 1696, quarto; occasioned by an attack the Menachine genus. Colour, dark of Leibnitz on the author's “ Analysis,” in brownish-black, passing to velvet-black; the Leipsic Journal for 1695. "A Trea. it occurs in larger and smaller angular tise on the new Use of the Tables of grains; specific gravity 4.5. It is not attractSines and Tangents," 1714. “ The propered by the magnet; it is infusible per se, Use of the Contemplation of the Uni. but with borax it melts with a transparent verse, for the Conviction of Atheists and hyacinth red globule; it yields its mena. Unbelievers,1715, quarto; of which a chine to acid of sugar. This species is French translation was published at Pa. found in Transylvania, consisting of yel. ris, in 1725, quarto, entitled “L'Exist. low sand, intermixed with fragments of ence de Dieu demontrée par les Mer- granite, gneiss, and mica-slate, and from veilles de la Nature :" and also an English which gold is obtained by washing. It one at London, in 1716, in three volumes, comes to us commonly intermixed with octavo, under the title of “The Religious grains of precious garnet, cyanite, and Philosopher, or, the right use of contem. common sand. Its name is derived from plating the Works of the Creator.” A its black colour; it is distinguished from memoir, inserted in a Dutch journal, en menachanite by its stronger lustre, supetitled “ Bibliotheque de l'Europe,” for rior hardness, the colour of the streak, as the year 1716, in defence of the preced. well as by its not being in the smallest de. ing work against a criticism of M. Ber- gree affected by the magnet, which also nard, in the “Nouvelles de la Repub. distinguisbes is from iron-sand. Its con. lique des Lettres." " A Letter to M. stituent parts are,

« PreviousContinue »