In his presidential address before the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1900), Sir William Crookes painted a rather dark picture of the future of the world's wheat production.
Crookes, Ann., 1851, 78, p. 177).
Sir William Crookes took up in 1872 the study of electric discharge through The Work of Hertz (London, 1894).
The particular details of the phenomena observed will be found described in the article Electric conduction (§ The main fact discovered by researches of Plucker, Hittorf and Crookes was that in a vacuum tube containing extremely rarefied air or other gas, a luminous discharge takes place from the negative electrode which proceeds in lines normal to the surface of the negative electrode and renders phosphorescent both the glass envelope and other objects placed in the vacuum tube when it falls upon them.
Varley had advanced tentatively the hypothesis that it consisted in an actual projection of electrified matter from the cathode, and Crookes was led by his researches in 1870, 1871 and 1872 to embrace and confirm this hypothesis in a modified form and announce the existence of a fourth state of matter, which he called radiant matter, demonstrating by many beautiful and convincing experiments that there was an actual projection of material substance of some kind possessing inertia from the surface of the cathode.