Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/643

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627
LITERARY NOTICES.

cause there are natural laws of society, laws of social condition, social action, and social change, and because human societies are parts of the general order of Nature; and that science must simply consist in the elucidation and exposition of these laws. So far from being of an isolated nature, which can be considered alone, social science is intimately and vitally dependent upon other sciences, and the proper preparation for it must consist in a knowledge of these, and a thorough discipline in scientific methods of thinking. The student must be steeped in science, as he is now steeped in classics. To thrust social science into the old traditional curriculum—to charge the minds of students with Latin and Greek literature, as a preparation for it—is, therefore, to say the least, irrational. Agreeing with the writer in the Christian Union as to the extreme importance of these studies, and the need of giving them a larger place in the collegiate scheme, we go yet further, and demand a reconstruction of the curriculum itself, and an adequate preliminary course of scientific study which shall be tributary to the end proposed.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

Michael Faraday. By I. H. Gladstone, Ph. D., F. R. S. New York: Macmillan & Co.

Whatever is truly great has an interest that is inexhaustible. Again and again we return to the mountain, the cataract, the cathedral, the picture, the poem, with an ever-deepening appreciation of their influence over us. And so it is even in a more eminent degree with the grand in human character, for a human life of noble impulse and heroic achievement has also its perennial interest. We read the story as told by the skilful and sympathetic biographer, and then come back to it again fascinated by the majesty and the mystery of a powerful personality. Michael Faraday was a man of this heroic type, great among his countrymen, illustrious in humanity. Prof. Tyndall has given us a vivid portraiture of him as a man of science and a discoverer; Dr. Bence Jones, in two elaborate volumes, has displayed to us his inner life as illustrated in his private correspondence; and now Dr. Gladstone, in the neat little volume before us, has again told the wonderful story in a fresh and fascinating way. Drawing freely upon the works of Professors Tyndall and Jones, adding new information from various sources, among which are his own reminiscences, he has make a book that needed to be made and which is a model of its kind—clear, simple, discriminating, and appreciative. It first gives us the "Story of his Life," next the "Study of his Character," then the "Fruits of his Experience," again, his "Method of Working," and finally the "Value of his Discoveries."

We have no space here to give a sketch of Faraday's life—his humble birth and the little education he got in early boyhood at a common day-school—his first occupation as an errand-boy—his apprenticeship to a book-binder—his thirst for knowledge and how he commenced his scientific education by reading the books that were given him to bind—his passion for experimenting—his application to Sir Humphrey Davy for a chance to devote himself to science—his entrance to the Royal Institution, which was to be the theatre of his career—his rapid ascent to an eminent place among savants and philosophers his rejection of wealth and titles, and his brilliant career as a discoverer, which was crowned by honors showered upon him by the learned societies of all nations—for the account of these things the reader is referred to the pages of Dr. Gladstone's book. But we cannot forbear quoting a few passages illustrative of Dr. Faraday's character. The author says:

As a source of success there stands out also his enthusiasm. A new fact seemed to charge him with an energy that gleamed from his eyes and quivered through his limbs, and, as by induction, charged for the time those in his presence with the same vigor of interest. Plücker, of Bonn, was showing him one day, in the laboratory at Albermarle Street, his experiments on the action of a magnet on the electric discharge in vacuum-tubes. Faraday danced round them; and, as he saw the moving arches of light, he cried, "Oh! to live always in it!" Mr. James Heywood once met him in the thick of a tremendous storm at Eastbourne,