Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/287

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

THE CONVOCATION OF SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES

The American Association for the Advancement of Science and in affiliation with it the American Society of Naturalists and more than twenty special scientific societies will meet in Washington at the end of December and beginning of January. This first of the convocation week meetings of scientific societies will probably always be an important date in the history of science in America. It is a truism to say that the progress of science consists in cooperation among men of science. For such cooperation two main agencies exist which are equally essential—the printing press and personal contact. Books and journals bring the whole world together and make science truly international; but the coming together of the men of science of the country is necessary for a national spirit. This spirit has suffered in the past owing to the dispersion of our scientific workers over an immense area with no one center, such as exists in all foreign countries. A year and a half ago the American Association and its affiliated societies met for the first time west of the banks of the Mississippi, and a year ago the American Society of Naturalists and its affiliated societies met for the first time west of the Atlantic seaboard. Now these two associations and the twenty special societies affiliated with them will for the first time meet together, and we are about to have our first national congress of scientific men.

A convocation week in mid-winter for the meetings of societies has been provided by the action of the leading universities and other institutions, which have extended their Christmas holidays or made other provision by which the week in which the first of January falls is left free from academic exercises. Under these circumstances it is a duty as well as a privilege for all to attend the meetings who are able to do so, and there is no doubt but that the number of scientific men at Washington will be the largest that has ever been gathered together in this country. While the special societies are for scientific experts, it should be remembered that the American Association is concerned with the diffusion as well as with the advancement of science. Its membership is divided into fellows and members. The former class consists of those who are engaged in research, while the latter class contains those who are interested in science. Readers of this journal can obtain information in regard to membership from the permanent secretary, Dr. L. O. Howard, Cosmos Club, Washington, D. C. It may be said here that the dues are only $3 a year, and that members receive free of charge the weekly journal, Science. We should be pleased if ten thousand readers of this journal would join the association. They would receive a full return for the small membership fee and would at the same time perform an important service in keeping men of science in contact with the large public from which sympathy, support and recruits must be drawn. Science in the United States has suffered seriously from the fact that there is too great a gulf between the professional man of science and the educated public. In Great Britain there exists a class bridging this gulf, and from it have come men such as Darwin, Rayleigh, Avebury, Huggins and many more. Much would be accomplished for the promotion of such a class here if the member-