Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 64.djvu/89

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


BRAIN-POWER AND HISTORY. 85

ing staff of that class of university should be granted without demur.

It is the case of battleships over again, and money need not be sjjent more freely in one case than in the other.

Let me at once say that this sum is not to be regarded as practically gone when spent, as in the case of a short-lived ironclad. It is a loan which will bear a high rate of interest. This is not my opinion merely; it is the opinion of those concerned in great industrial enterprises and fully alive to the origin and effects of the present condition of things.

I have been careful to point out that the statement that our indus- tries are suffering from our relative neglect of science does not rest on my authority. But if this be true, then if our annual production is less by only two millions than it might have been, having two millions less to divide would be equivalent to our having forty or fifty millions less capital than we should have had if we had been more scientific.

Sir John Brunner, in a speech connected with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, stated recently that if we as a nation were now to borrow ten millions of money in order to help science by putting up buildings and endowing professors, we should get the money back in the course of a generation a hundredfold. He added that there was no better investment for a business man than the encouragement of science, and that every penny he possessed had come from the appli- cation of science to commerce.

According to Sir Eol^ert Giffen, the United Kingdom as a going concern was in 1901 worth 16,000,000,000L

Were we to put aside 24,000,000Z. for gradually organizing, building and endowing new universities, and making the existing ones more efficient, we should still be worth 15,976,000,000/., a property well worth defending by all the means, and chief among these brain-power, we can command. If it be held that this, or anything like it, is too great a price to pay for correcting past carelessness or stupidity, the reply is that the 120,000,000L recently spent on the navy, a sum five times greater, has been spent to correct a sleepy blunder, not one whit more inimical to the future welfare of our country than that which has brought about our present educational position. We had not sufficiently recognized what other nations had done in the way of ship building, just as until now we have not recognized what they have been doing in uni- versity building.

Further, I am told that the sum of 24,000,000/. is less than half the amount by which Germany is yearly enriched by having improved upon our chemical industries, owing to our lack of scientific training. Many other industries have been attacketd in the same way since, but taking this one instance alone, if we had spent this money fifty years ago, when the Prince Consort first called attention to our backwardness.

�� �