Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/252

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248
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY
THE PHYSIQUE OF SCHOLARS, ATHLETES AND THE AVERAGE STUDENT
By Professor D. A. SARGENT
HARVARD UNIVERSITY

IN the year 1893 Dr. W. T. Porter, now professor of comparative physiology in the Harvard Medical School, examined some 30,000 children who were attending the public schools of St. Louis, Mo. He found that among pupils of the same age, ranging from 6 to 18 years, the average height and weight of those who were in the higher grades were greater than that of those who were in the lower grades. In other words he found that those pupils who were mentally the most precocious were also physically the most precocious. This announcement called forth considerable criticism at the time, and many teachers, recalling a number of exceptionally bright pupils who were small in stature for their age, doubted the truth of the statement. It is of great scientific interest, therefore, to note that Porter's conclusions have since been confirmed by observations made by Hastings in Omaha, Nebr., by Byer in Cambridge, Christopher in Chicago, Roberts in London, Burgerstein in Vienna and by Leharzig in St. Petersburg. In the face of such a body of concurrent statistics from different parts of this country and Europe, no one can doubt for a moment the natural relationship between a vigorous brain and a vigorous body. Moreover this intimate relationship between body and mind does not appear to be limited to growing youth as shown by the statistics to which I have just referred, but it is true of all classes of individuals when taken collectively. For instance the fellows of the Royal Society of England and the English professional class, who may be said to represent the greatest brain power of the British Empire, average respectively 5 feet 934 inches and 5 feet 914 inches in height and 160 pounds in weight; while lunatics, criminals, idiots and imbeciles who may be said to represent the other end of the intellectual scale, if they are not classed as mentally defective, average in height from 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 4.87 inches, and average in weight from 147 pounds to 123 pounds. Here is a difference of 4.88 inches in average height and 37 pounds in average weight between the highest and lowest classes of English society as represented by members of the Royal Society and idiots and imbeciles. Compared with the general population, lunatics according to Roberts show a deficiency of stature of 1.96 inches and