Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/134
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION AT PHILADELPHIA.
THE recent meeting of the American Scientific Association at Philadelphia was an eminently successful one. It was the largest ever held, the number of papers read was greater, and their merit above the past average. The presidential address by Professor Young, which we reprint, was a production of unusual ability. He chose the theme upon which he was best qualified to speak, the present state of astronomical science, with reference to its imperfectly solved problems, and the researches to which attention must next be given.
The great drawback to the enjoyment of the meeting was the intolerable heat, which was the more aggravating as there was so much to see, and 80 much laid out to do; but the Philadelphians, by their generous hospitality and their liberal arrangements for the pleasure and entertainment of visitors, did everything possible to mitigate the calamity of the weather.
The project of a permanent international scientific association, to which we have before called attention, was taken up and favorably received, although in the opinion of many the time has not yet come when such a plan can be vigorously carried out. It is reported that the project "has now a more assured existence" inasmuch as the philanthropist, Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, has contributed $5,000 to it and will give $5,000 more next year, on the condition that $10,000 are furnished from other sources. This lady also donated $1,000 to the American Association to promote researches in light and heat.
The coming of the British Association in full force to Montreal to hold a meeting, to be immediately followed by the session of the American Association in Philadelphia in which many British scientists took part, has naturally raised various questions of comparison between the policy and working of the two bodies. We give some of the points of comparison and contrast.
The Canadian meeting was considerably the larger: 1,773 members were registered, of whom about one half crossed the ocean. This is below the average of the past ten years by about a hundred members. The number of members registered at Philadelphia was 1,261, or about five hundred less than at the Montreal meeting. Of these, 303 were foreign visitors.
Fewer papers were read at the American Association than at the British, but more in proportion to the membership, 304 being reported at Philadelphia, and 327 at Montreal. But some forty, or one eighth of the entire number, were contributed by American gentlemen attending the Canada meeting. The character of the work at both meetings is generally admitted to be above the average. Of the five papers recommended by the British Association to be published in full, two were from the States; one by Professor Gray, and one by Professor Thurston.
Both Associations adopt the plan of appointing special committees to investigate and report upon designated subjects; but the British Association carries it out much more thoroughly than the American. While the reports at the Philadelphia meeting were so meager that "it can be hardly said there were any," on the other hand, "in addition to the regular papers, there were in the various sections of the British Association more than fifty reports presented, coming from committees ap-