Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/123

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113
LITERARY NOTICES.

visited here and elsewhere, this certainly struck me as being the best and most perfect of its kind. The children were divided into classes, each of which was examined by the master, the result of which greatly surprised myself and some friends who were present. The director, who justly took great pride in his work, assured us that all these boys under his care (whose ages did not exceed eleven), in consequence of the quickness, facility, and ability with which they received his instructions, had learned in one year what he had been unable to teach in double that space of time to children in Germany. He added that he was constantly called upon to answer a shower of questions and remarks made by the pupils on the theme of the lesson, which having explained, he allows them time and liberty to discuss the difficult points, until they have quite mastered them. On their first entrance they appear listless and uninterested; but, as the love of knowledge is developed and grows upon them, they often, when school-time is up, beg permission to remain an hour longer in class."

This was certainly a curious phenomenon to stumble upon among the barbarians. We recommend the troubled school-hunters, of whom there seem to be many who can find nothing satisfactory at home, to send their children to Salonica—the missionaries will convoy them.

Deeply interested in what she saw, and being of a turn of mind to look into causes and seek explanations, she desired to inform herself further in regard to the methods of this Greek teacher, and remarks:

"Very much pleased with all I had seen and heard in this establishment, I begged the director to let me have one of the class-books containing the routine of teaching. He replied that he had no special work on the subject to abide by, and that the routine of lessons, left to his own judgment, had been combined by him partly from the system he had studied in Germany, and partly from ideas suggested to him by reading the philosophical works of Herbert Spencer, for which he appeared to have a great admiration."

The writer in Scribner's Monthly should, therefore, feel encouraged. If "a new educational system, which, having had a fair trial, will eventually be adopted in all the educational establishments of the Greeks," has been specially moulded by ideas derived from Herbert Spencer, it will be no longer possible to say that his work is without practical result.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

Scientific Memoirs. Being Experimental Contributions to a Knowledge of Radiant Energy. By John William Draper, M.D. Harper & Bros., 1878. Pp. 473. Price $3.

Those who read the concluding paper of Dr. Montgomery in the October Popular Science Monthly, on the present aspects of the "Problem of Life," will remember the admirable terms in which he refers to a discovery of Dr. J. W. Draper, which seems to have a most important bearing on this subject. Though made many years ago, it is only now beginning to be appreciated in its full significance. The last generation has been especially devoted to the cultivation of the sciences of radiant energy and of that plastic, protoplasmic material out of which the fabrics of all life are spun; Dr. Draper anticipated the developments that were to take place in these fields of inquiry by first determining, thirty-four years ago, that ray of the solar spectrum takes effect upon the green parts of plants to decompose carbonic acid—the initiative and fundamental change that maintains all life processes. He was the first to decompose carbonic acid by exposing leaves to the sun in the actual spectrum, and to prove that it is the yellow ray that produces the change.

The history of science contains many interesting illustrations of the appearance of men of rare and exceptional genius, whose thoughts pierce the future, and who spend their intellectual lives far in advance of their contemporaries. They are the men who lay foundations upon which others build, who carve the great outlines of research which other men come to fill up with details, who open paths of inquiry which other men pursue to their maturer results. Dr. Draper is one of these broad original thinkers whose work has contributed largely