Page images
PDF
EPUB

proper succession of crops on the same land, the best sources for good seeds, irrigation, and the raising of stock. They are made acquainted with improvements and new inventions in agricultural implements the adoption of which can be recommended. They are taught the rudiments of bookkeeping and other commercial knowledge essential for the up-todate farmer. In the spring, after these farmers have returned to their work in the fields, it becomes the duty of the teachers who instructed them during the winter to travel from county to county and to act as advisers to the farmers. Much good results from the travels of these wandering teachers. By practical suggestions to the farmers they induce them to make valuable improvements in the cultivation of their farms. The wandering teacher helps to form cooperative clubs for the joint interests of a number of farmers in one district. From time to time the teacher has to lecture in these clubs on any subject practical or scientific which might prove of interest to the members. These visits and lectures to the different districts are entirely free to the people, since the state assumes all expenses. There is probably no other country in the world in which so much is done by the state for its rural inhabitants as is the case in Bavaria. Other German states have these agricultural schools, but their teachers are not sent in such a practical way direct to the places where they can do the most good, as is done here. The results of this commendable care have been very gratifying.

Concerning the exhibition held recently in London in connection with the Optical Congress, Nature says: The exhibition of optical and scientific instruments which is being held during the present week at the Northampton Institute, Clerkenwell, E.C., in connection with the optical convention, presents many features of interest, and all who have had any experience in the use of an optical instrument, from the wearing of a pair of spectacles to the handling of an accurate spectrometer, will find something to repay the trouble of a visit to Clerkenwell, still the center of the optical industry. While the number of actual novelties offered is not, perhaps, very large,

there are few classes of instruments unrepresented, and though the names of certain important firms are conspicuously absent from the list of exhibitors, the exhibition as a whole may be taken as well representative of the activities of the British manufacturers of optical and other scientific instruments. In the main of an optical character, the scope of the exhibition has been extended to cover such other scientific instruments as are usually manufactured by optical instrument makers. Meteorological instruments and thermometers, mathematical and drawing instruments and calculating machines, and laboratory apparatus generally, are thus included. Electrical measuring instruments, however, are not shown. It is for many reasons to be regretted that the exhibition has been confined to the work of British makers; a foreign section would have had much interest for the ordinary visitor, and would have been of great educational value both to the British manufacturer and his competitors; we understand, however, that the limitation was dictated by considerations as to space, and the necessity of restricting the magnitude of a somewhat novel undertaking. In the catalogue which has been prepared in connection with the exhibition, the convention committee is to be congratulated on having produced a volume which should be of considerable value as well to the user of scientific instruments as to the firms whose instruments are there described. The volume is not confined to apparatus actually exhibited; the aim has been to provide a convenient work of reference generally descriptive of the productions of British firms, and in which particulars as to the types offered by different makers of any special instrument may be readily found. To this end the instruments have been arranged in classes, which are in many cases further subdivided, and in addition to a table of contents, an alphabetical list of exhibitors, with general information as to their manufactures, and an index of instruments have been provided. A short introduction to each class furnishes some particulars as to the instruments included thereunder, with notes as to recent advances in the mode of construction.

UNIVERSITY AND EDUCATIONAL NEWS.

PETER B. Rouss, of New York, son of the late Charles Broadway Rouss, has established at the University of Virginia a memorial to his father by the erection of two adjunct professorships, one of civil, and one of mechanical engineering, to be supported by him, and to be known as the Rouss memorial adjunct professorships.

MR. Tuomas H. SUEVLIN has given $60.000 to the University of Minnesota for a woman's building, which will contain a gymnasium, a luncheon room, etc.

The Liverpool City Council has agreed to grant a further sum of £10,000 to Liverpool University during the current year.

Mr. J. E. CROMBIE has given £1,000 towards the cost of the Aberdeen University quartercentenary celebration, primarily to guarantee any deficiency in the publication committee's expenses.

The University at Giessen will celebrate its three hundredth anniversary in May, 1907.

TILE Agricultural Department of Clemson College has been reorganized as follows: First. the division devoted to teaching. Second, the division devoted to research work. Under the first head is included the teaching of students, farmers' institute work and extension work. The second division comprises the state experiment station and all lines of original research in the sciences relating to agriculture. The directorship of the station, which office has heretofore rested with the president of the college, has been transferred to the Agricultural Department. A station council has been organized, presided over by the president of the college. This council will meet once a month for the purpose of discussing questions relating to the good of the station and to determine in a general way what shall be the character of the experiments conducted for the coming year. The issuing of all bulletins must be authorized by the station council. All investigations must have the approval of this council. It consists of the president, the director, the professors of chemistry, agrículture, horticulture, entomology and zoology, botany and bacteriology, veterinary science,

and animal husbandry and dairying. Under this organization, the following gentlemen comprize the Agricultural Department and are also employed in conducting experiments required by the experiment station. Professor J. N. Harper was elected to fill the place of director of the Agricultural Department and of the station, which post was vacated by the resignation of Professor J. S. Newman, on July 1. Professor Harper comes from the Kentucky state institution. The chair of animal husbandry and dairying has been filled by the election of Professor John Michaels, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Professor C. L. Newman, who has recently been elected to the associate professorship of agriculture, was for some years connected with the experiment station at Arkansas.

Professor W. A. TILDEN, F.R.S., has been appointed dean of the Royal College of Science, South Kensington, in succession to Professor J. W. Judd, F.R.S.

DR. WILLIAM M. Hicks, F.R.S., principal and professor of physics in Sheffield University, has resigned the post of vice-chancellor, and is succeeded by Sir Charles Norton Edgecumbe Eliot.

Professor E. J. TOWNSEND, of the University of Illinois, has been made acting dean of the College of Science.

DR. ALBERT LEFEVRE. of Tulane University, has been appointed professor of philosophy in the University of Virginia.

PROFESSOR S. J. Buck has retired from the chair of mathematics at Iowa College, after forty-one years of service. He has been made professor emeritus. Mr. W. J. Rusk, for the past three years associate professor, has been promoted to the chair of mathematics.

Miss Mary C. Bliss, for the past year assistant in botany in Wellesley College, has been advanced to an instructorship, and the been adv following new appointments have been made in the department: Assistant, Miss Maude Cipperly; graduate student assistants, Miss Alice M. Ottley and Miss Emeline Moore.

Dr. AUGUST GUTZMAR, professor of mathematics at Jena, has been called to Halle.

A WEEKLY JOURNAL DEVOTED TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE, PUBLISHING THE ORPICIAL NOTICES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION

FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE.

[blocks in formation]

ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEJENT OF SCIENCE.

1.

. BARTHOLOMEU DIAZ, the discoverer of the Cape of Storms, spent sixteen months on his voyage, and the little flotilla of Vasco da Gama, sailing from Lisbon on July 8, 1497, only reached the Cape in the middle of November. These bold men, sailing in their puny fishing-smacks to unknown lands, met the perils of the sea and the attacks of savages with equal courage. How great was the danger. of such a voyage may be gathered from the fact that less than half the men who sailed with da Gama lived to return to Lisbon. Four hundred and eight years have passed since that voyage, and a ship of 13,000 tons has just brought us here, in safety and luxury, in but little more than a fortnight.

How striking are the contrasts presented by these events! On the one hand compare the courage, the endurance and the persistence of the early navigators with the little that has been demanded of us; on the other hand consider how much man's power over the forces of nature has been augmented during the past four centuries. The capacity for heroism is probably undiminished, but certainly the occasions are now rarer when it is demanded of us. If we are heroes, at least but few of us ever find it out, and, when we read stories of ancient feats of courage, it is hard to prevent an uneasy thought that, notwithstanding our

* Cape Town, August 15, 1905.

[blocks in formation]

boasted mechanical inventions, we are per- to tell the cynic, if he is here, that perhaps haps degenerate descendants of our great the most important object of these conferpredecessors.

ences is the opportunity they afford for Yet the thought that to-day is less ro- personal intercourse between men of like mantic and less heroic than yesterday has minds who live at the remotest corners of its consolation, for it means that the lot the earth. of man is easier than it was. Mankind, We shall pass through your land with indeed, may be justly proud that this im- the speed and the voracity of a flight of

ment has been due to the successive locusts; but, unlike the locust, we shall, I efforts of each generation to add to the hope. leave behind us permanent fertilizaheritage of knowledge handed down to it

tion in the form of stimulated scientific by its predecessors, whereby we have been

and educational activity. And this result born to the accumulated endowment of cen

will ensue whether or not we who have turies of genius and labor.

come from Europe are able worthily to I am told that in the United States the

sustain the lofty part of prophets of sciphrase ‘I want to know' has lost the simple

ence. We shall try our best to play to meaning implied by the words, and has be

your satisfaction on the great stage upon come a mere exclamation of surprise. Such

which you call on us to act, and if when a conventional expression could hardly

we are gone you shall, amongst yourselves, have gained currency except amongst a

pronounce the performance a poor one, yet people who aspire to knowledge. The

the fact will remain, that the meeting has dominance of the European race in Amer

embodied in a material form the desire that ica, Australasia and South Africa has no

the progress of this great continent shall doubt arisen from many causes, but

not be merely material; and such an aspiraamongst these perhaps the chief one is that

tion secures its own fulfilment. However not only do we want to know,' but also

small may be the tangible results of our that we are determined to find out. And

meeting, we shall always be proud to have now within the last quarter of a century

been associated with you in your efforts for we have welcomed into the ranks of those

the advancement of science. who ‘want to know' an oriental race, which

We do not know whether the last hunhas already proved itself strong in the

dred years will be regarded forever as the peaceful arts of knowledge.

sæculum mirabile of discovery, or whether I take it, then, that you have invited us

it is but the prelude to yet more marvelous because you want to know what is worth

centuries. To us living men, who scarcely knowing; and we are here because we want

pass a year of our lives without witnessing to know you, to learn what you have to tell

some new marvel of discovery or invention, us, and to see that South Africa of which

the rate at which the development of we have heard so much.

knowledge proceeds is truly astonishing; The hospitality which you are offering but from a wider point of view the scale us is so lavish, and the journeys which you of time is relatively unimportant, for the have organized are so extensive, that the universe is leisurely in its procedure. cynical observer might be tempted to de- Whether the changes which we witness be scribe our meeting as the largest picnic on fast or slow, they form a part of a long record. Although we intend to enjoy our sequence of events which begin in some picnic with all our hearts, yet I should like past of immeasurable remoteness and tend

to some end which we can not foresee. It must always be profoundly interesting to the mind of man to trace successive cause and effect in the chain of events which make up the history of the earth and all that lives on it, and to speculate on the origin and future fate of animals, and of planets, suns and stars. I shall try, then, to set forth in my address some of the attempts which have been made to formulate evoluticnary speculation. This choice of a subject has, moreover, been almost forced on me by the scope of my own scientific work, and it is, I think, justified by the name which I bear. It will be my fault and your misfortune if I fail to convey to you some part of the interest which is naturally inherent in such researches.

The man who propounds a theory of evolution is attempting to reconstruct the history of the past by means of the circumstantial evidence afforded by the present. The historian of man, on the other hand, has the advantage over the evolutionist in that he has the written records of the past on which to rely. The discrimination of the truth from amongst discordant records is frequently a work demanding the highest qualities of judgment; yet when this end is attained it remains for the historian to convert the arid skeleton of facts into a living whole by clothing it with the flesh of human motives and impulses. For this part of his task he needs much of that power of entering into the spirit of other men's lives which goes to the making of a poet. Thus the historian should possess not only the patience of the man of science in the analysis of facts, but also the imagination of the poet to grasp what the facts have meant. Such a combination is rarely to be found in equal perfection on both sides, and it would not be hard to analyze the works of great historians so as to see which quality was predominant in each of

f them.

The evolutionist is spared the surpassing difficulty of the human element, yet he also needs imagination, although of a different character from that of the historian. In its lowest form his imagination is that of the detective who reconstructs the story of a crime: in its highest it demands the power of breaking loose from all the trammels of convention and education, and of imagining something which has never occurred to the mind of man before. In every case the evolutionist must fcrm a thecry for the facts before him, and the great theorist is only to be distinguished from the fantastic fool by the sobriety of his judgment-a distinction, however, sufficient to make one rare and the other only too common.

The test of a scientific theory lies in the number of facts which it groups into a connected whole; it ought besides to be fruitful in pointing the way to the discovery and coordination of new and previously unsuspected facts. Thus a good theory is in effect a cyclopedia of knowledge, susceptible of indefinite extension by the addition of supplementary volumes.

Hardly any theory is all true, and many are not all false. A theory may be essentially at fault and yet point the way to truth, and so justify its temporary existence. We should not, therefore, totally reject one or other of two rival theories on the ground that they seem, with our present knowledge, mutually inconsistent, for it is likely that both may contain important elements of truth. The theories of which I shall have to speak hereafter, may often appear discordant with one another according to our present lights. Yet we must not scruple to pursue the several divergent lines of thought to their logical conclusions, relying on future discovery to eliminate the false and to reconcile together the truths which form part of each of them.

In the mouths of the unscientific evolu

« PreviousContinue »