Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/207

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203
THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE CLEVELAND CONVOCATION WEEK MEETING

There was an excellent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the affiliated national scientific societies at Cleveland during the week of January first. The scope and magnitude of their work can be indicated by a statement of the number of papers on the program for the different sciences, namely:

Mathematics 49
Astronomy 35
Physics 52
Engineering 40
Geology 27
Zoology 84
Entomology 73
Botany 60
Phytopathology 49
Horticulture 53
Anthropology 27
Psychology 56
Biological chemistry and pharmacology 63
Anatomy 63
Physiology 67
Education 11
Economics and Sociology 13
 Total 822

In no other country except Germany could there have been brought together such an extensive series of papers nearly every one of which was based on research work and contributed to knowledge. Such a program demonstrates an extraordinary extension of scientific work in the United States in the course of the past twenty years. It may appear that men of great distinction and contributions of noteworthy importance were not represented in proportion to the total number of those who read papers. But this is in part due to the circumstance that one does not see the trees on account of the forest. If the only advances made in science during the past year were represented by a dozen of the papers taken at random from the Cleveland program, each one of them would appear to be an important scientific contribution.

It is noticeable that the different sciences represented on the program contributed papers not far from equal in number, even though the sciences themselves may vary greatly in importance and in the number of its workers. Fifty to seventy papers are about as many as can be presented in a three days' meeting, and most of the societies had about so many. Thus phytopathology was as largely represented as botany, entomology as zoology, physiology as physics. This seems to demonstrate the value of scientific organization, for if there had not been societies for the presentation of these papers, it may be that the work would never have been done.

There are several cases in which the program does not adequately represent the scientific work of the country. Thus the engineering societies do not meet with the association and the section of engineering is weakened. This year the chemists decided to meet separately like the engineers, partly because New Year's week, chosen as a time when college and university men can be present, is inconvenient for those engaged in industrial work. It seems desirable to increase rather than to decrease the contact of the pure and applied sciences, and it may be hoped that joint meetings may be arranged, perhaps at periods of three years. In that case the national societies devoted to economics, history and philology might also join in a great convocation