The influence of heat is so beneficent and sometimes so terrible that it is not surprising that from time immemorial it should have received not only the attention but sometimes the adoration of mankind.
It is through the agency of heat that all animal and vegetable life comes into being. Without heat there could be no life as we know it upon the planet.
Heat is the sensation produced by the motion of atoms of matter. If we pass the various effects of heat in review, we shall find that matter and motion are the necessary correlations of heat.
Heat coming in contact with certain substances brings about the phenomena that we call combustion. This is caused by the union of oxygen and carbon, which union produces at once both heat and light. The result is the disintegration of the substance.
There are other causes of combustion that proceed more rapidly. Take for instance a piece of gun-cotton. Gun-cotton is a combination of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. When heat is applied, the four kinds of atoms will become immediately disassociated leaving no trace of the gun-cotton. Where did it go? The carbon and a part of the oxygen formed carbonic gas, the rest of the oxygen combined with the hydrogen and formed vapor. The nitrogen remained free.
It will then be seen that heat does not change the nature of the atoms, it simply changes their respective positions with regard to each other.
The application of heat not only brings about a chemical change in the nature of the substances, but in so doing it liberates energy, and what is most interesting to observe the energy that is liberated is always solar energy.
In the combustion of coal, it is the remains of immense forests that existed upon the earth long before the advent of man. These forests depended for their existence upon the energy that they received from the Sun. We now burn the coal, which liberates the energy that was radiated by the Sun to the earth thousands of years ago and has been preserved intact.
If we apply the heat to water, we are simply combining the solar energy stored up in the wood or coal with the water and thereby converting it into vapor.
If we make use of hydraulic power, we are again utilizing the energy of the Sun that was required to lift water from ocean or lake and cam it to the mountain top.
The energy of the wind is but the force that is transmitted to the atmosphere by the condensation of vapor and is therefore received from the Sun.
All animal life is dependent upon food and this food is but the result of the action of solar energy upon the earth. Each atom of hydrogen in the blood of an animal disengages a certain specified amount of solar energy, and this in turn combines with oxygen and makes restitution to nature in another form.
Lines of energy crossing a center never fail to intensify at the focus into heat or light or both.
Suspended energy passing the intensified local centers becomes fixed in a state of rest, and materializes into static matter.
Matter in the sleep state becomes the core of the resistance to energized influx and the suns come into being, the focal centers and arc lights of the deep.
There is a bridge between energy and matter that is invariably used. That bridge is heat, which expresses according to the energy applied, resistance met and time consumed. If it be a great resistance and confined to a short time, the heat will be intense; if it be a lesser resistance or a longer period of time consumed, the heat will in like ration be reduced or extended. Not because there is a less quantity of heat, but because it is extended in keeping with the greater or lesser time used.
Matter in motion and ether under strain constitute the fundamental concrete things we have to deal with in physics. The first represents kinetic energy, the second potential energy; and all the activities of the material universe are produced by alterations from one of these forms to the other.
Energy is a potential force in the state of action, while matter is expended energy in the state of rest. Energy is prior to matter, a finer composition and more susceptible to the influence of Natural Law. Out from the eternal principles of nature, slowly the endless sea of cosmic energy came into being. The eternal silence was the womb that gave birth to the ocean of life.
Whenever the transference and transformation of energy occur, some effect is produced; but the energy is never diminished in quantity. It is merely passed on from one body to another.
Energy depends upon the rate of motion—that is the mass multiplied by the velocity—and we therefore find the greatest quantities of energy passing through stellar space, for certainly the heavenly bodies contain the greatest mass and attain the highest velocity. It has been calculated that the Sun is distributing energy into space at the rate of 12,000 horsepower per square foot of surface.
The ether, then, is the great vehicle of energy and the medium in which all energy originates. This energy passes from potential to kinetic and back again. For example, when a planet is at the farthest point from the Sun, her velocity will be least; consequently, her kinetic energy is least. As she rounds the farthest point in her orbit and begins to approach the Sun, she acquires kinetic energy at the expense of potential energy. When nearest the Sun, her velocity is greatest and her potential energy is least. As she rounds the nearest point and begins to retreat, her kinetic energy begins to diminish; it is used up in combating the powerful attraction of the Sun.
Such is the ebb and flow throughout all nature of the visible energies of the universe, and herein will be found an explanation for the different effects produced upon mankind by the planets as they continually change their location—all changes and phenomena being due to variations of the ethereal waves caused by the movement of stellar bodies, or mass multiplied by velocity.
The Sun contains enormous quantities of helium. Helium comes from radium and radium is a storehouse of the most concentrated energy known to man. It is a source of energy that will liberate three or four million times as much heat as any chemical reaction known, and continue to do this in almost unlimited quantity.
The molecule is a structure formed by a combination of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen; the four atoms which represent earth, air, fire, and water. These four elementary atoms form the various molecules from which eighty-six chemical elements are composed.
The character of the elements depends upon the proportion in which the four elementary atoms are united, each element contributing its rate of vibration in accordance with the proportion in which it is present in the combination.
These eighty-six different chemical elements constitute the basis for every group of matter, organic or inorganic, and the only difference in the elements is in the rate of vibration or the vibration activity of the molecules of which the structure is composed.
The constitution of matter is therefore simply a mode of motion, all form being the result of the vibratory motion of the cosmic energy.
The material changes that take place are caused by changes in atomic structure, and the changes in atomic structure are in turn the result of alterations in the vibratory motion of the cosmic energy. Because of these facts, we see that transmutation is not only entirely possible, but must actually take place continually.
The different manifestations of energy are: gravitation, heat, light, electricity, magnetism, chemical affinity, cohesion, and adhesion or molecular attraction.
The law of gravitation is: Every substance in the universe attracts every other substance with a force jointly proportional to the mass of the attracting and of the attracted body, and varying inversely as the square of the distance.
Light, heat, magnetism, electricity, chemical affinity are only different modes of one and the same energy, and each can, directly or indirectly, be converted into the original form from which it was taken.
Cosmic power, whether static or dynamic, can neither be increased nor lessened. But since scientists will accept for truth only that which can be demonstrated by experiment or by calculation, and since it is far more difficult to measure and calculate forces than to weigh matter, the rotation of force remained a mystery for many years; and not until recently has this theorem been recognized and demonstrated. It is now, however, secured and uncontested recognition.
To react chemically, two bodies must contain intrinsic energy at different chemical potentials. When such bodies are brought together, a part of the intrinsic energy of one or both is transferred into such new forms of combination as are stable under the new conditions.
We use the word "adhesion" to denote the attractions exerted between particles of two different bodies when placed in contact with one another. On the other hand, when particles of different bodies have such an attraction for each other as to rush together and form a substance of a different chemical nature, then we have the operation of chemical affinity.
When a substance is heated, it gives out part of its heat to a medium that surrounds it. This heat-energy is propagated as undulations in the medium, and proceeds outward with the enormous velocity of 186,000 miles per second. If the temperature of the hot substance be not very great, these undulations do not affect the eye, but are invisible, forming rays of dark heat; but as the temperature rises, we begin to see a few red rays, and we say that the body is "red hot." As the temperature still continues to rise, the body passes to a yellow and then to a white heat, until it ultimately glows with a splendor like that of the Sun.
This splendor of the Sun is but an indication of the nature of the process that is taking place, for light, heat, and energy are but the process of releasing solar energy.
Through the process of combustion, the vanished sunshine that has been laid up in wood or coal is again liberated.
The force that urges forward the locomotive is simply sunshine converted into power.
In 1857, Mr. Murray of London published a biography of the famous English engineer, George Stephenson, in which an interesting description of the light and heat cycle is given:
On Sunday, just when the company had returned from church and were standing on the terrace overlooking the railway station, a train rushed by, leaving a long line of white steam behind.
"Now," said Stephenson to Buckland, the well-known geologist, "can you tell me what power moves that train?"
"Why," replied the other, "I suppose it is one of your big engines."
"But what moves the engine?"
"Oh, probably one of your stout Newcastle engine-drivers."
"What do you say to the light of the sun?"
"What do you mean?"
"Nothing else moves the engine," said the great engineer. "It is light, which for thousands of years has accumulated in the earth—light which was inhaled by plants, that these during the time of their growth might fix the carbon, and which now, after having for thousands of years been buried in the coal beds of the earth, is again brought forth and set free to serve the great purpose of mankind, as here in this engine."
If the great engineer had been living today instead of in 1857, he might have asked not only "can you tell me what moves that train" but "what moves all of our trains, all of our machinery, what lights and heats our homes, our factories, our cities" and the reply would have been the same. Nothing less than the light of the Sun.
The same energy of the Sun takes up the water from the ocean in the form of vapor. Water would ever remain in perfect equilibrium if it were not for the action of the Sun. The rays of the Sun falling upon the ocean convert the water into vapor, and this vapor is taken up into the atmosphere in the form of mists. The wind gathers it together in the form of clouds and takes it across the continent. Here, through changes of temperature, it is again converted into rain or snow. So that the Sun is not only the source of electrical energy by which light and heat are developed, but it is the source of life itself. No life of any kind could exist on this planet without the energizing and vitalizing magnetism derived from the Sun. As the earth approaches the Sun in spring, we see the result in the myriad of plants and flowers and the verdure with which the fields are covered—the life-giving force becomes everywhere apparent.
The effect of this influence is seen in the temperament of the people inhabiting the globe. When the perpendicular rays reach the people, we find a cheerful, optimistic, "sunny" disposition; but as we reach the far north where the absence of light and heat make life a struggle, we find the people correspondingly dark and gloomy.
And not only the scientist, but the poet, too, with unerring insight has recognized this all-important influence of the sunlight on the temperament of men. Over a hundred years ago, Byron thus attributed this effect to the solar orb:
Thou chief star.
Center of many stars!
which mak'st our earth
Endurable, and temperest the hues
And hearts of all who walk within thy rays.
Sire of the seasons, monarch of the climes,
And those that dwell in them for near or far
Our inborn spirits have a tint of thee,
Even as our outward aspects!
All energy on this earth, organic or inorganic, is directly or indirectly derived from the Sun. The flowing water, the driving wind, the passing clouds, the rolling thunder, and the flashing lightening; the falling rain, snow, dew, frost, or hail; the growth of plants, the warmth and motion of animal and human bodies, the combustion of wood, of coal—all is but solar energy in action.
The most powerful physical energy, the one whose varied forms and fields of action increase daily, whose benefits are as great as the ignorance and prejudices that reign concerning it, is beyond a shadow of doubt electric energy.
When all its modalities are known, electric energy will become the basis of therapeutics; for all other forms of energy are either merely derivatives or means of equilibrating the play of electric phenomena in the depths of our tissues.
It is by means of electric currents that we succeed best in arresting cellular disturbances. It can be applied to all diminution of energies and to even species of depression or decay in physiological vitality and to all disorders supervening in the reflex circulation.
Acting on the nervous extremities, it redresses abnormal sensibility or bridles the feverish sensations. On disordered irritability, it acts as a harmonious equalizing force, as a regenerator of the endangered vitality; and finally as a curative for perverted stability, it possesses the characteristics of militating in the same helpful and rational manner as nature, preventing our complaints from becoming chronic.
All pathology lies within its domain, and it holds a preponderant place in the treatment for rejuvenation.
In the depths of the tissues, radiant heat transforms electric energy, raises the temperature of the tissues at the precise spot indicated to it, exerting a dual influence both by its electric effects and the torrents of heat of the desired intensity with which it can flood the organ under treatment.
Applied generally, it brings to the organization a bonus in the shape of a caloric ration, which enables it to resist effectively physiological decay.
Finally, high frequency, the youngest born of electrotherapy, sees the scope of its benefactions increase daily; and in the treatment for rejuvenation, it supplies the nervous energy needful; transfusing the largest available portion of effective resistance; storing up the vital dynamism in the nervous cell.
And all this accomplished with the most absolute certainty.
To insure its efficacy, electricity must be formulated and proportioned in the same way as any other active therapeutic agent.
Electricity will act powerfully on every organ, tonify the nervous system, counterbalance the cellular exchanges, regularize failing functions, reconstruct tissues, and compel the retrogression of old age.
In static form, the entire domain of neurosis, of fears, of hypochondria, nervous and intellectual strain, over-excitement and depression, is dominated by it. All depressed or neurasthenic persons, or those who suffer from insomnia, are well acquainted with its soothing and revivifying action.
Its astounding success in all dermatological affections is well known.
Progressive regeneration, marked awakening of the digestion and the nutrition, comfort, and pleasure walking and moving, increases power or resistance to the fatigue of work, pronounced increase in the joy of living—such are the results that are generally observed.
And electricity is but another form of vibration, another name for sunshine. It is but the rays of the sun, specialized and directed. Why, then, should it not be the greatest therapeutic agent known to man? Is it not the source of light, of heat, of energy, of life itself?