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yet, perhaps, at that tender age, germs already existed in you of the talents which distinguish you! In your baby boys, fragile beings as they are, there are incipient magistrates, scientists, heroes as vali. ant as those who are now covering themselves with glory under the walls of Sebastopol. And thus, gentlemen, a theoretical discovery has but the merit of its existence: it awakens hope, and that is all. But let it be cultivated, let it grow, and you will see what it will become.
Preparation for war, therefore, as well as preparation for the vocations of peace, is inextricably bound up with the pursuit of pure science of knowledge for its own sake. What would have been our preparation for the war just over if our educational system during the past generation, had been based on the practise of teaching only the applications of the science of twenty-five or fifty years ago, omitting or even making secondary the exploration of unknown fields in every direction, without continually raising the question of utilitarian values. As it was, the avoidance of that error was only partial, and the result of continual persistence on the part of “impractical ” college professors, combating and resisting all manner of pressure and insistence on the pursuit of the practical, to the exclusion of the theoretical and fundamental.
But straight in the face of all this experience, our educators are now confronted with the old demand. Profoundly impressed with the important part played in military operations by the applications of scientific knowledge, many of our civil and military officials, men of business, and even educators of narrower vision are insisting that our science teaching shall be wholly or largely confined to the applied phases of the subject: botany, for example, must be restricted to what is called agricultural botany, or to plant pathology, or to preparation for forestry or pharmacy. Let us teach our children how to grow healthy crops; never mind (or make incidental and secondary) investigating and teaching the fundamental principles and concepts which underlie intelligent and successful practise. Such a program not only loses sight of the difference between mere information and education (the essential business of schools), but
will ultimately defeat the very purposes which its advocates have at heart, viz., the efficient preparation of the nation to meet the demands of peace and war. It is a striking illustration of the folly of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, for it is absolutely necessary to teach something besides the applications of science in the schools if we wish to educate successive generations of scientific investigators, and have any science to apply when the need for application arises.
Here also, should be emphasized the urgent need of having our courses of study outlined and administered by men of broad outlook and wide sympathies, as well as of deep insight. so that the program shall not be lopsided, and narrow, and disastrously inadequate as a preparation of young men and women, not only to take their places in the social fabric in times of peace, but to rise fully equipped and prepared to meet any emergency that may arise—whether of war, or pestilence, or crime, or other disaster.
For example, something is certainly wrong when the education of a city superintendent of schools has been such as to render him unable to appreciate the educational values or the social need of any studies except those that happened to interest him in his school days. Of course we must be careful here not to hold the educational system too fully responsible for the shortcomings of its products; creatures of the Almighty have been known to come short, in spite of education and favoring environment. It is a serious and disquieting fact to find the value of botany, zoology and general biology as high school studies, really and apparently sincerely called in question, as is now being done in the schools of Greater New York (and possibly also in other cities); especially when the proposition is to supplant them with studies chosen chiefly for their so-called “practical ” nature, and from the point of view that the chief function of education is to pass on information, and the chief duty of public education to prepare boys and girls to secure and hold a position.
It was very timely for Professor Osborn, in
the address above cited, to point out the struction so as to partake more fully of the fallacy of basng introductory courses chiefly qualities that mark the humanities. The main on one of the various phases of a science, difficulty is that we somehow feel that our whether the economic or not, to the exclusion problem or duty is to teach somebody botany, of the others. It is breadth of contact that rather than to utilize botany as a means of is needed by the pupil, a broad survey of the educating men and women. We need never field, for it is just as true to-day as ever that fear that science and the advancement of scithe fundamental need is a liberal or liberal- ence will suffer in the least by complete recogizing, education—the setting free of the mind nition of its function as an educational disand spirit from all that narrows and dwarfs cipline. the correction of intellectual myopia. This But what then, you ask, is your proposal for is why I like the term introductory course an introductory course of study in botany? better than elementary course. One may give Professor Peirce, in his address above cited, an elementary course in plant physiology, or modestly refrains from answering such a quesmorphology, or taxonomy, or ecology, but tion in definite terms. He is so averse, he neither of these would be an introduction to states “to anything which may even seem to the science of botany.
dictate what intelligent, thoughtful, conscienNeither would a course be that dealt only tious students and teachers should do that, even with facts of structure and function, and the if I had a formula, I should keep it to myvarious ways in which such knowledge can be self.” The present writer is constrained by turned to commercial advantage, but paid similar inhibitions, so far as the details of a little or no attention to the larger conceptions course are concerned. There is quite probof interpretation, significance, cause, and spir- ably no one best course, but I feel certain that itual values. It is undoubtedly a general tend- any course organized on the basis of the conency of scientific men to neglect or subordi- siderations to which attention has been called nate those phases of their subject, especially above, will be superior to any course organin its educational aspect. This is natural; ized in disregard thereto. But whatever its it is partly because of their tendency to content in detail, it should and must, before it concentrate on facts and percepts, rather than is over, open the eyes and mind of the pupil to on interpretations and concepts, that they be those fascinating and liberalizing conceptions came scientists rather than philosophers. But which are the finest fruit of scientific research herein, also, lies in large part the explanation and thought, presenting chiefly such facts as of why, to the non-scientific, the various sci- will enable him to consider them with some ences seem deficient as educational disciplines. degree of intelligence. Among others are the To them something of intrinsic and supreme conceptions of biogenesis, evolution, nature educational importance is lacking.
and theories of inheritance, reproduction and Now this deficiency is not inherent in the the development and significance of sex, natsciences; it is only inherent in many of those ural selection, the struggle, especially in Darwho cultivate them, and we have ourselves to win's day, for freedom of inquiry, the nature blame in large part if school officials of class- of life, the fundamental relation of plant life ical training regard the sciences inferior as to all other life, botany in the service of man, instruments of a liberal education. A similar the wonderfully enlightening subject of geodeficiency would inhere in language and his- graphical distribution (in broad outlines), a tory, and even in literature if they were organ- practical acquaintance with scientific method ized for school courses from the same point of and what the perfection of that method has view as the sciences so commonly are. The meant to mankind as an instrument for the solution of this problem is easier and more ascertainment of truth in all departments of obvious perhaps for the humanities; but zool. knowledge, and glimpses, at least, of the hisogy and botany may easily be organized for in- tory of the subject, not forgetting to emphasize the fact that our present body of knowl. The reports at the final seminary were upon edge is the result of arduous, devoted labor, “Electromagnetic Induction,” by Dr. S. J. often attended with great personal sacrifice. Barnett; “The Vacuum Tube and the Devel
For purposes of a liberal education such opment of the Wireless Telephone,” by Capideas are vastly more important than mere in- tain Ralph Bown, and “Binaural Hearing formation concerning economic uses and com- and its Application to the Location of Air mercial processes, or the details of structure and Water Craft," by Professor George W. and function, and the latter, while essential, Stewart. to a certain degree, as a foundation for the At the conference-presided over by Dr. broad concepts above mentioned, should be pre P. I. Wold, Western Electric Co., New York sented, in the introductory course at least, as a City—there was a general discussion on physmeans to the larger end.? If such a revelation ics as a profession, in which the following as a course of this character will give does leading features were dealt with: (1) The not prove a stimulus and lure to delve further demand and opportunities for the physicist; into botany or general biology, nothing will, (a) in industry; (6) in government laboraand student and teacher alike should feel amply tories and departments and (c) in university repaid for the discovery that the student must teaching and research. This discussion was seek his own life work and major interest opened by Mr. E. C. Crittenden, of the U. S. elsewhere.
Bureau of Standards. (2) The preparation
C. STUART GAGER required to meet this demand: (a) the underBROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN
graduate curriculum; (b) graduate training.
This discussion was led by Dr. C. H. Sharp, THE RETIREMENT OF PROFESSOR of the Electrical Testing Laboratories, New EDWARD L. NICHOLS
York, and by Dr. P. G. Nutting, of the WestOne of the striking events of the Semi- inghouse Research Laboratory, Pittsburgh, Centennial Celebration of Cornell University Pa. (3) The function of research in this —June 19-23—was the “Physics Conference preparation: (a) research by students; (6) and Reunion in honor of Edward Leamington research by faculty; (c) how can conditions Nichols upon the completion of thirty-two for research be improved. Discussion opened years service (1887–1919) and his retirement by Dr. Wheeler P. Davey, of the General from active duty as head of the Department Electric Company, Schenectady, New York. of Physics.”
How could a department–indeed the univerBriefly stated it consisted of a reunion of sity as a wholebe so efficiently helped as by teachers and members of the physics seminary this method in which her loyal sons who have during the thirty-two years of his leadership faced the world and won, come back to tell in the department; of a meeting of the sem- wherein their college had helped them and inary—the last at which Professor Nichols wherein greater help could be given to those should act as official chairman; and finally of who are to come after! a conference to discuss by what methods and One of the pleasantest incidents was the rethrough what means the department can be union dinner, at which over two hundred and made of the greatest service to the university twenty-five of Professor Nichols's old stuand to the country.
dents, colleagues and friends joined in the ? This is in essential harmony with Professor spirit of a devoted family to show affection Davis's more concise statement that the introduc
and esteem for their retiring leader. The tory course will "come more and more strongly
toastmaster was Ernest Merritt, student, colto stand out as one that attempts nothing more than the grounding of fundamental principles and
league and friend, who succeeds Professor a selection of information with rather definite ref
Nichols as head of the department. In the erence to its general and practical interests, or its greetings given by the toastmaster and in all broad philosophical bearing."
of the speeches there were three dominant notes : Profound admiration for the clear mind Sharp, from the Illuminating Engineering which has accomplished so much for the uni. Society in recognition of Professor Nichols's versity and for science; gratitude for the work in putting the measurement of light wisdom with which he has guided the develop- upon a scientific basis. The tribute was elecment of the department, for the standards of tion as honorary member of the society—the teaching and research which he advocated only other honorary member being Thomas A. and maintained and for the inspiration he Edison. breathed into all about him; and greatest of Besides the address of former members of all the personal affection and esteem for their the physics seminary, Dean Frank Thilly of leader, and rejoicing that, freed from teaching the College of Arts and Sciences expounded and administrative cares, he was to remain in a pleasant way the skill with which Dr. with the department to carry on his researches Nichols had cut red-tape and made the dean's and lend the inspiration of his presence office in that college a really efficient and help
The first speaker called upon was the presi- ful element in the university; and Professor dent of the university-President Schurman. 'S. H. Gage welcomed Professor Nichols into He expressed in fitting words the feelings of the group of the emeriti with the assurance all of us when he characterized Dr. Nichols that its freedom for investigation and its as a man who as teacher, administrator and privileges made it the happiest group in the investigator had measured up to the highest whole educational world. standard, and had realized in his department Finally in behalf of the members of the and in the university the ideal college pro- seminary past and present Dr. C. W. fessor, one that a university president rejoices Waggoner, presented as a tribute of affection, in finding and when found gives him encour- a beautiful, inscribed silver tea service which agement and support to the limit.
up to that time had been hidden under a bank Professor Ernest Fox Nichols sketched for of roses. us in broad outlines “A Generation of Physics All generous minds can understand why in America,” and showed the rôle that he Professor Nichols was thus honored when they whom we were honoring had played in that read his response: generation, and the mighty impulse forward
If health permits and life lasts I am coming he had given by founding the Physical Review,
back (i. e., from Japan) and I hope I may have a where American work could be fittingly pub- few years more, so that with that sort of curiosity lished, and in aiding the formation of the which has always animated me I may have the American Physical Society where the young privilege of watching the wheels go round, for men especially found encouragement and a that is all I feel I can do or ever have done. It scientific home.
has been delightful-unspeakably delightful—that In discussing the early years of Professor
life which comes from the study of science.
What I would like to say, among the thousand Nichols's leadership, Mr. Louis B. Marks
things I would like to say and can not, is that you pointed out how that he had been one of the must not be content with the things the generabest possible friends of applied science from tion that is passing away had to be content with. the zeal and earnestness with which he ad- It is for you to do greater things, and more imvocated and joined in the discovery of science portant things than we have ever done. The to apply, and how the problem of the illumi things are crying to be done, and the world is nating engineer had been helped to get upon
crying out to have them done. If Cornell is to be
what we all hope and believe she is to be, it can a firm foundation by the exposition of the
only be through the endless strivings of the imagiprinciples of photometry and the establish
nation, through ceaseless labors and great creament of a photometric laboratory in the
tive art. It can only be by the highest efforts of department of physics. While it was not
everybody who has a mind to do anything whatupon the program, a pleasant incident was the soever. Then we can look back upon the crude tribute of appreciation brought by Dr. C. H. efforts of those who went before and while we smile, we may at least believe that they looked generosity in its endowment which has been forward to the things they could not accomplish more admired than imitated in this country. but which you shall accomplish.
It must always be remembered that the vital
factor in research is the man, and every posSCIENTIFIC EVENTS
sible inducement should be offered to secure THE JAMES WATT CENTENARY COMMEMORA- the best men, both as directors and students. TION AT BIRMINGHAM1
The commemoration ceremonies are to exTHE arrangements for the James Watt cen- tend over the three days, September 16–18, tenary commemoration are now practically and the official program includes a gardencomplete the general scheme being set forth party at Watt's house (where his workshop in a pamphlet issued by the Centenary Com
can be seen in the state in which he left it in mittee. The form which the memorial is to
1819), and visits to Soho Foundry and two of take is threefold: (1) To endow a professor
his engines (one of which, the first pumping ship of engineering, to be known as the James
engine built for sale by Boulton and Watt in Watt chair, at the University of Birmingham,
1776, will be seen at work). A degree confor the promotion of research in the funda
gregation is to be held by the university at mental principles underlying the production
which honorary degrees will be conferred on of power, and the study of the conservation
distinguished engineers and men of science. of the natural sources of energy; (2) to erect
The committee has issued a short pamphlet. a James Watt memorial building to serve as
(by Professor F. W. Burstall) in which an a museum for collecting together examples of appreciation is given of the salient facts in the work of James Watt and his contem
the life of Watt, and of his epoch-making poraries, Boulton and Murdock, as a meeting
association with his colleagues Boulton and place and library for scientific and technical Murdock. societies, and as a center from which engineers
MEETING OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON could cooperate in spreading scientific knowl
PATHOMETRY OF THE INFLUENZA edge; and (3) to publish a memorial volume.
EPIDEMIC OF THE PUBLIC The success of the memorial will depend
HEALTH ASSOCIATION upon the response to the appeal for funds, and THE Section on Vital Statistics of the we are glad to note that assurances of support American Public Health Association at the have come not only from all parts of the Annual Meeting in Chicago in December, British Isles, but also from France and 1918, reorganized the Special Committee on America. As indicated in our issue of May Statistical Study of the Influenza Epidemic 15, we attach special importance to the foun- with three subcommittees on Registration and dation of the James Watt chair of engineer Tabulation Practise of the Federal Departing, and we can imagine no better memorial ments (Subcommittee A), the State Departto the great engineer than the creation of a ments and Commissions (Subcommittee B) school of research so endowed as to attract Municipal Boards of Health and of other both a professor of exceptional ability and also local Public Heath Agencies (Subcommittee the most brilliant students, of whatever class. C) and a fourth subcommittee (D) on PathSuch a scheme would require an endowment
ometry or Mathematical Analysis and Interon a scale altogether greater than that which
pretation of the Epidemic. is usually associated with chairs in univer
Subcommittee A, B, C have met at various sities, but it should be possible to raise the
times and will have data ready for the connecessary money_especially with the sym- sideration of subcommittee D at a meeting pathetic help of America, which of recent called for 9:30 A.M., September 19, at Columbia years has shown not only a ready appreciation
University. Sessions wil follow in the afterof the value of scientific research, but also a
noon and on Saturday the twentieth. 1 From Nature.
The discussions at the preliminary meetings