Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/666

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

more necessary to the vital processes than any other substance, and is honored with a special channel for introduction into the system, and is liable to such variation of quality as profoundly to affect the health, its treatment was necessary to give completeness to the plan of the work, and no portion of it will be found more interesting or important than this. Dr. Smith has enriched his volume by a series of graphical diagrams, which present to the eye the effect of various alimentary substances upon the pulse and respiration. This method of physiological illustration is of great value, and has been long in use among scientific men, as it brings into pictorial view, so as to be quickly comprehended and easily remembered, the results of long trains of investigation. This is the first time that the graphic method of illustration has been applied to this subject, for purposes of popular instruction. A little careful attention will be required at first, to get familiar with the mode of illustration, but for this the result will be found amply compensating.

 

Arrangements have been made for the translation of the International Scientific Series into the Russian language, and the works are all to be published in St. Petersburg. Negotiations are also pending for the reproduction of the series in the Italian language. When this is done, each author will be read in six countries, and have payment for his book from six publishers. The works of Prof. Bain on "Mind and Body;" of Dr. Pettigrew, on "Animal Locomotion;" of Balfour Stewart, on "The Conservation of Energy;" of Prof. Marey, on "The Animal Machine;" of Herbert Spencer, on "The Study of Sociology;" of Prof. Amos, on "The Science of Law;" and of Dr. Carpenter, on "Mental Physiology," are now all in press, and will be soon issued, and are to be rapidly followed by other English, German, French, and American works, now in course of preparation.

Second Book of Botany; a Practical Guide to the Observation and Study of Plants. By Eliza A. Youmans. Pp. 310, 422 cuts. Price $1.50. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

This volume is a continuation of the method adopted by Miss Youmans in the "First Book of Botany," published three years ago; and its peculiarity is that it enforces the direct and systematic study of plants themselves. Her object is to make the study of Nature a means of mental cultivation—an end which can only be gained by familiarity with the objects of Nature, and for this our schools, as at present managed, make no suitable preparation. In her Introduction Miss Youmans says: "Our plan of general education includes not a single subject that can secure the mental advantages arising from the direct and systematic study of Nature. We do a great deal in the way of 'mental discipline,' but the order and truth of things around us are not allowed to contribute to it. We train the faculty of calculation and drill the memory in lesson-learning; but the realities of Nature find no place in our schools, as means of mental unfolding, for training in observation, and for working the higher faculties of reason and judgment, upon natural things. In short, for calling out the more important powers of the mind by actual exercise upon the objects of surrounding experience, our educational system makes no provision whatever. Neither reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, nor geography, brings the mind into contact with Nature at all; and even the sciences of physics, chemistry, physiology, and botany, are usually acquired from books, and with so little regard to the real objects of which they treat, that, as means of mental improvement, they are of very slight service."

Believing that botany has special and preëminent claims to be introduced into all schools, as a means of training the faculties of observation and reason upon actual phenomena, Miss Youmans has shaped her method entirely to the attainment of this end. She holds that "like arithmetic, botany is only to be acquired by first mastering its rudiments. And as in arithmetic the student is compelled to exercise his mind directly upon numbers, and work out problems for himself, so in botany, if worth pursuing at all, it should be studied in its actual objects. The characters of plants must become familiarly known by the detailed and repeated examination and accurate description of large numbers of specimens. The pupil must proceed step by step in this