LtE in CMO #268

From David STRAUSS

® . . . . . . . . . Dear Masatsugu,


Thanks very much for your interesting email of Dec. 22.  Let me respond to a few of the most important points. 


 I too have noted the amazing interrelations between the New Englanders who visited Japan in the late 19th century. As you suggested, George Agassiz is the grandson of Louis who was Edward Morse's professor. I would not at all be surprised if Henry Bigelow is somehow related to William Sturgis, but, of course, the latter had no children, so Henry would have to be a cousin several times removed rather than a grandchild. But, unfortunately, I know nothing about the Bigelow family tree in the 20th century.


 On the matter of how to write Bigelow in katakana, I can be of no help. Someone once told me that there are very clear rules about how to convert English words into katakana so I was surprised to learn from you that there might be several ways to do the transcription.


 I am very interested in the claim that following Lowell and Agassiz's ascent of Ontakésan, they floated down the Tenriugawa. The chronology suggests that this is possible, as I indicated, since Lowell dated a letter from Tokyo on Aug. 16, 1891, but I have never seen any evidence that the trip was taken. I know, however, that Mr. Toshio Sato is a very good researcher and I hope that he will be able to supply the hard evidence we have been missing up to this point.


 Agreed that the problem with Lowell's science was that he was not sufficiently critical in collecting his evidence.  He was too ready to accept the images which he saw in the telescope as actual representations of the surface features of Mars rather than considering other possible explanations of those images.


 Thanks for sending the photo of the monument to Griffis on the Asuwagawa. Interesting to note that the monument was erected in 1948, shortly after the end of the Pacific War which may indicate a desire to encourage better relations between the U.S. and Japan during the Occupation.


 Again, my best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year. I hope that we will have the chance to meet one of these days.

             (23 December 2002 email)

David STRAUSS (Kalamazoo College, MI, USA)

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