Abbildungen der Seite

in 1.20 HNO,, washed in distilled water, and again placed in the salt solution, it is found that the time now required for activation is not shorter but is essentially the same as before, i. e., 8 to 10 seconds. Evidently the brief exposure to the acid has restored the partly altered film to its original condition. But if the process of alteration in salt solution is allowed to pass the critical stage (with, e. 9., 10 seconds exposure) before transfer to the acid, the latter has no passivating action, and the wire continues to react until completely dissolved. This observation shows that the progressive modification which the film undergoes in the salt solution is of a kind which is rapidly and completely reversible if the metal is returned to the acid before a certain critical stage is reached; but after this stage is once

e whole film breaks down when the wire is replaced in acid and the iron is no longer protected against solution. This be

rotected against solution. This De havior resembles that of living cells after transfer from a balanced salt-solution like sea water to a toxic solution like pure m/2 NaCl, as shown (e. g.) in Osterhout's experiments with Laminaria; the cells undergo a progressively injurious modification associated with an alteration in the properties of the plasmamembranes, shown by increasing permeability; this change may be reversed by transfer to the original medium before, but not after, the

after the modification has reached a certain critical stage. Thus the characteristic power, normally possessed by the living plasma-membrane, of

asma-membrane, of preserving intact its continuity and semipermeability is simulated in a general manner by the behavior of the surface-film of passive iron in dilute nitric acid.

The action of salt-solutions upon those surface-films (influence of nature and concentration of salts, relative rates of action of different salts, antagonisms) will be described more fully in the second part of this article.


The presidential address was given by Dr. E. W. Gudger on “On an extraordinary method of fishing—the use of remora for catching fish and turtles.

The following papers were presented: Undamped electrical oscillations: C. W. EDWARDS. A portable printing outfit for the ecologist: Z. P.

METCALF. Sanitation in the south: THORNDIKE SAVILLE. Some generic distinctions in sponges: H. V. WIL

SON. A magnetic paradox: F. N. EDGERTON, JR. Vegetation in the closing of ponds with special ref

erence to the Kamaplain ponds of Wexford county, Michigan: COLLIER COBB and H. D.

HOUSE. Preliminary studies of the reproduction rate of

Copepoda: FANNIE É. VANN. Deposits of volcanic ash: JOHN E. SMITH (by

title). Asymmetry in the formation of the nervous sys

tem in the frog embryo: BLACKWELL MARKHAM. Recent mosquito control work in North Carolina:

R. W. LEIBY. Reptilian folklore: C. S. BRIMLEY. New or little known diatoms from Beaufort, North

Carolina: J. J. WOLFE. Some notes on Protozoa: (a) Occurrence of Tintinnus serratus Kofoid in

Chesapeake Bay. (b) Arcella excavata nov. sp.: BERT CUNNINGHAM. The ovary of the Gaff-topsail catfish, Felichthys

felis : E. W. GUDGER. The seventeen-year locust in North Carolina in

1917: Z. P. METCALF. Our rats, mice and shrews: C. S. BRIMLEY. The high frequency electric furnace: F. N. EGER

TON, JR. The felsites of Mount Collier: JOHN E. SMITH

(by title). The inland waterway from Boston to Beaufort:

COLLIER COBB. (a) A new parasitic blue-green alga.

(b) Comparison of Rhododendron catawbiense
with a form occurring at Chapel Hill: W. C.

Locating invisible objects: C. C. HATLEY.




A Weekly Journal devoted to the Advancement of Science, publishing the official notices and proceedings of the American Association for

the Advancement of Science

Published overy Friday by THE SCIENCE PRESS LANCASTER, PA

GARRISON, N. Y. NEW YORK, N. Y. Estered in the post-otice at Leocamor, Pa., as second coco matter


THE annual meeting of the North Carolina Acad. emy of Science was held at Trinity College, Durham, on May 2 and 3.


A Basis for Reconstructing Botanical Educa-

tion: DR. C. STUART GAGER .............. 263

The Retirement of Professor Edward L.
Nichols ..

................ 269

Scientific Events:

The James Watt Centenary Commemoration i at Birmingham; The Subcommittee on i Pathometry of the Influenza Epidemic of

the American Public Health Association; The New England Federation of Natural History Societies; The Mary Clark Thompson Medal; The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and the War .......... 271

Scientific Notes and News ................

University and Educational News .........

Discussion and Correspondence :

Opisthotonos: Dr. Roy L. MOODIE. À ; Chinese Lamp in a Yucatan Mound: DR. EDWARD S. MORSE ...


.. 275


BOTANICAL EDUCATION THE pages of a leading English botanical journal have, for over a year past, in every issue, contained letters and articles discussing botanical reconstruction and the need of it." One of the foremost American universities has recently sent out a questionnaire asking for opinions and suggestions bearing on the reconstruction of general biological instruction within the college; and the National Research Council has invited constructive ideas as to what should be the content of an “intensive" course of study. The same topic is being discussed in addresses and magazine articles in America. Davis has recently called attention to the importance of the question in SCIENCE,” as has also Peirce, in his recent address before the San Francisco Bay Section of the Western Society of Naturalists.3

But how shall we decide the content of the introductory course? Something more is needed than mere personal opinion based on the peculiar experiences, and idiosyncrasies, and limitations of individuals. The question is larger than the subject of botany, for it includes the broad problems of educational policy and theory. First of all, then, certain basic principles must be formulated and, if possible, agreed upon. It is the aim of this paper to state, and briefly discuss, two or three of these principles:

One might think that, after all that has been said and printed on the subject, one need

1 "The Reconstruction of Elementary Botanical Teaching," New Phytologist, 16, 241–252, December, 1917; 17, each issue, January-December, 1918.

2 Davis, Bradly Moore, “Botany After the War," SCIENCE, N. S., 48, 514-515, November 22, 1918.

3 Peirce, George J., What Kinds of Botany Does the World Need Now?" SCIENCE, N. S., 49, 81–84, January 24, 1919.

[blocks in formation]

hardly refer to the most fundamental question of all-namely, the purpose of education in general; yet every time the content of the curriculum is discussed, it becomes all too evident that many worthy people either do not keep that question clearly in mind, or else they wholly misconceive it. One can not go into details here—the question is too large. At the risk of being trite, it may be categorically asserted that the aim of education is not merely to give information, nor merely to teach somebody how to do something, and especially is the aim of education not confined to preparing young people to get a living, nor (more emphatically) to get a living only by commercial pursuits. This could not be better said than it was by Professor A. Caswell Ellis :

Certainly they (the laboring classes] must have vocational education to make efficient producers, but they are going to be “producing” only about six or eight hours a day. What preparation is the school to give for the other sixteen or eighteen hours each day and the twenty-four on Sunday?

I think it will hardly be extreme to say that this question is the supreme problem of present-day education. As Professor Ellis continues to say: "If we do not show more intelligent recognition of this problem than we have in the past then the production of isms and impossible Bolshevist dreams during the leisure hours may more than offset the material production of the working hours.” And even if the individual is not inclined to be an agitator, or a public menace in any way, he has himself to live with sixteen or eighteen hours a day, and he exerts his conscious or unconscious influence on others whether he will or not; and he may become a member of the local government, or a member of the board of education, or, if worse comes to worst, even a school superintendent, having a large voice in the organization of public education. Certainly it ought to be clear that the public school curriculum, and the content of each subject taught should be determined with such eventualities, as well as with vocational needs, in mind.

Not to dwell unduly on this first point, let 4 Jour. Nat. Inst. Social Sci., 4, 135, 1918.

us very briefly note that public education should always adapt itself to the needs and ideals of the age, seeking at the same time to help mold and formulate them. In what direction, then, let us ask, is social organization now tending? What is the modern spirit? Well, a new spirit and changed ideals have certainly been developing during the past two or three decades. One of the outward expressions of this fact is the reduction of the hours of labor from twelve a day to nine or eight.

One of the finest expressions of the new spirit is the address of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., before the War Emergency and Recontruction Conference of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, at Atlantic City, on December 5, 1918. “Men are rapidly coming to see," said Mr. Rockefeller, “that human life is of infinitely greater value than material wealth ;” and “Modern thought is placing less emphasis on material considerations. It is recognizing that the basis of national progress, whether industrial or social, is the health, efficiency, and spiritual development of the people.” The fourth article of his proposed industrial creed rightly affirms, “ that every man is entitled to an opportunity to earn a living, to fair wages, to reasonable hours of work and proper working conditions, to a decent home, to the opportunity to play, to learn, to worship, and to love, as well as to toil.” Every subject in the curriculum, therefore, should, in its introductory course at least, have its content decided with reference to this entire modern ideal.

But, unfortunately, proposals are now being made in some quarters to revise the botanical course of study in exactly the opposite direction, evidently with the idea that the chief purpose of studying the subject is preparation for a vocation. I would not, for a moment, wish to appear to be losing sight of the fact that there is a vocation of botanist, and many vocations depending, in whole or in part, upon a knowledge of botany. What I am objecting to is the tendency to lose sight of every other consideration, and to commercialize or vocationalize every subject from the introductory course to the doctorate thesis. The committee

appointed some months ago in England by course may be the only one many students will Mr. Asquith said, none too emphatically: ever take of any particular subject. With “ Practical education is the only foundation this in mind the course should be made as rich on which idealistic achievements can be as may be in informational, cultural, educaraised; to neglect the practical ends of edu tional values. If regard is had for these recation is foolishness; but to recognize no other quirements the course ought to prove entirely is to degrade humanity."

satisfactory as a preparation for more adIn this connection I would like to urge the vanced study. desirability of offering, in all of our colleges from this point of view, undue emphasis and universities, “cultural courses” in the should not be placed on details of technique, various sciences, consisting only of illustrated or minor matters of mere information, but on lectures made as fascinating and broadening the broad generalizations that appeal to the as possible, and supplemented by assigned read- imagination and challenge one's admiration, ings and discussions. The aim of such courses enlarge one's vision, and stimulate and illushould be to give those who have not yet de minate one's thinking. Some glimpse should cided upon their life work as well as those who be given into the history of the subject, some have, a scholarly survey of the aims, problems, acquaintance, however slight, with the great methods, history, and results of the given sci- names of its makers; and especially should ence, and a clear idea of its significance for there be some introduction to the unsolved daily life personal and social. Such courses problems that continually challenge and beckon would have substantial benefits alike for those the explorer of the dark continents of knowlwho took them and for those who gave them, edge. In brief, the introductory course, that and would undoubtedly be the means of re- may prove to be the last, should be so planned vealing to many the direction in which their as to enrich the student's life as much as poslife work lies.

sible. If that given subject proves to be his In the second place we should never forget main life interest, such a course will also that one of the important aims of education prove to be a satisfactory introduction to more is to enable the individual to find himself; advanced work. and especially important is it to keep this in At this particular time there seems to be mind in deciding on the content of intro- a movement for “intensive” short courses of ductory courses. They should be made as in- study. This is no doubt a direct outcome forming and broadening as possible. The stu- from the program of the Students' Army dent should be made to feel that the given Training Corps, when intensive short courses subject touches his life, and to what extent, were made necessary by the exigencies of war. that a knowledge of it is of personal signifi- Osborne has called attention to the fact that cance to him, that it is replete with fascina. the view is likely to obtain with the adminting unsolved problems, in the solution of some istrators of student curricula that, if inof which he may find his obvious opportunity tensive courses are effective “in an emerfor a contented and useful life.

gency," they might well be useful at other And finally we should always remember that times. The danger here is in losing sight of the introductory courses should almost never why intensive courses are “ effective in an be planned on the sole supposition that the emergency.” The need in an emergency is student is to take more advanced courses, but action-accomplishment. What is demanded in full recognition of the fact that the first is the possession of knowledge that may be

quickly applied to meet the pressing need. To 5 Report of the Committee to inquire into the

live a life of culture of deep insight, broad position occupied by the study of modern languages, etc. Issued as a White Book. Quoted from Osborn, Herbert, “Zoological Aims and Opporthe New Statesman (London) by World Wide tunities," SCIENCE, N. S., 49, 109, January 31, (Montreal), August 17, 1918.


outlook, and wide sympathies—may not, at such a time, be an urgent immediate need; nor is preparation for such a life possible un der the stress of an emergency calling for the quick, effective solution of pressing practical problems; but in normal times this is one of the most (if not the most) fundamental needs of society and of individuals alike. A course a study possible under the more leisurely circumstances of normal conditions may be made not only to minister to these larger and deeper requirements of the spirit, but, if properly planned and administered, will at the same time supply the information to be applied under the stress of an unforeseen emergency.

Herein lies the superior advantage of planning our public education, not solely with reference to utilitarian demands, but on a basis of broad culture. If we wish a comspicuous example of the pitiful and deplorable results of a system of public education organ ized chiefly with a view to securing practical efficiency, at whatever cost, we have only to look at the sorry spectacle of Germany during the past four terrible years. The great world conflict, recently terminated, has emphasized no fact more clearly than the need of pursuing truth for its own sake, as well as for specific ends and results, and of planning our educational programs with a view to having truth taught from the same angle.

As to investigation and instruction in “pure" botany for its own ends—what should be the rational attitude of several odd thousands of wounded soldiers (and their friends and families) whose very lives have been saved because a number of people (misguided and impractical, no doubt, in the eyes of some of their contemporaries) found wholesome pleasure and recreation in studying the structure, ecology and geographical distribution of sphagnum moss, without the slightest thought as to whether that information might ever have any use; except to give them and others intellectual and spiritual satisfaction, to widen a bit the circle of man's intellectual horizon, and to throw some ray of light on the course of plant evolution. Or what should be the at

titude of thousands of aviators, the strength of whose aeroplane propeller blades could be insured only by the application of knowledge (of the structure of wood) resting in part upon investigations in pure botany.

The discovery of X-rays was not the result of trying to find a way to see bullets imbedded in human flesh, nor to ascertain the exact condition of hidden bones fractured by shrapnel; they were discovered in the endeavor of certain men of science to find out all they could about electricity, just because they preferred to spend their time that way than otherwise. Similar statements could be made with reference to the discovery of TNT; of the principle of electromagnetic induction, which underlies the telephone, now so vital in war as well as in peace; of the properties of chlorine gas, which made possible the rapid perfection of effective gas masks; of the classification, life history, and ecology of such insignificent objects as mosquitoes, on a knowledge of which is based a vital part of modern sanitary practise, which made it possible to reduce the death rate from disease to 17 per thousand in the present war (A. E. F.), as against 65 per thousand in the American Civil War; of bacteria and the modern science of bacteriology, without which aseptic surgery and antisepsis would be impossible, for Pasteur's early studies of germ life were made in order to demonstrate the fallacy of the current theory of spontaneous generation-or, in other words, to settle a question of pure science.

On the relation of pure to applied science it will be apposite here to quote Pasteur's statement, in his inaugural address as dean of the new Faculté des Sciences, at Lille. He said:

Without theory practise is but routine born of habit. Theory alone can bring forth and develop the spirit of invention. It is to you specially that it will belong not to share the opinion of those narrow minds who disdain everything in science which has not an immediate application. You know Franklin's charming saying! He was witnessing the first demonstration of a purely scientific discovery, and people round him said: "But what is the use of it?" Franklin answered them: "What is the use of a new-born child?Yes gentlemen, what is the use of a new-born child! And

« ZurückWeiter »