Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/29

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19
THE SUN'S HEAT.

life is short, and that there are many different types of intellectual ability calling for many different combinations of studies. The number of subjects of study has become so enormously large, and the value of our own literature has increased to such an extent since the time when Greek was incorporated into our school curricula, that it is now utterly idle to think of requiring Greek of all students to whom we will accord the distinction, so far as college degrees will do it, of being liberally educated.

It will not do to say that we can have a separate degree for those who have not studied Greek. The subject is no longer important enough in comparison with other studies to deserve a separate degree; and, as long as we make this distinction, we shall practically close the doors of many of our institutions to numbers of students who would otherwise be found in our academic halls. It may be said that the degree of A. B. will have no recognized value such as it has at present. It is a stretch of language to say that the degree of A. B. has in this country a recognized value in the sense in which that expression is used in this connection. Institutions of all kinds can give the degree at pleasure, and some give it to men who could not enter the freshman class at Harvard College. At any rate, it would mean something in the same sense as the German Ph.D., which is one of the most honorable of degrees, and has lost neither in dignity, or value since Greek was dropped from the list of studies required for it.

Whatever we may think of the movement, whether we favor or oppose it, it seems perfectly clear that it is bound to go forward; and, as in the case of all other great changes, those who oppose it so valiantly at present may never be converted—that is too much to expect of those whose careers are identified with the old régime—but they will be overruled; or, when they retire, their places will be filled with men who will wonder how their predecessors could ever have held such opinions.


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THE SUN'S HEAT.[1]

By Sir WILLIAM THOMSON, F.R.S.

FROM human history we know that for several thousand years the sun has been giving heat and light to the earth as at present; possibly with some considerable fluctuations, and possibly with some not very small progressive variation. The records of agriculture, and the natural history of plants and animals within the time of human history, abound with evidence that there has been no exceedingly great change in the intensity of the sun's heat and light within the last three

  1. Lecture on "The Probable Origin, the Total Amount, and the Possible Duration, of the Sun's Heat," delivered by Sir William Thomson, F.R.S., at the Royal Institution, on Friday, January 21, 1887.