Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/617

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE ANNIVERSARY MEETING OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

The National Academy of Sciences celebrated the semi-centennial anniversary of its foundation on April 22, 23 and 24, exactly fifty years after its; first meeting. It was a most successful meeting with the largest attendance of members in the history of the academy. There was no program of technical, papers, but in its place a series of addresses. Dr. Ira Remsen, the president of the academy, at the first session read an address on the history of the academy, and then introduced President Arthur T. Hadley, of Yale University, who spoke on "The Relation of Science to Higher Education in America." In his usual happy style he traced the increased part played by science in modern education and pointed out that his father, James Hadley, taught Greek at Yale more in accord with the methods of modern science, than was the case with physics, chemistry and biology in those days. James Hadley was elected to membership in the academy the year after its foundation, followed two years later by the election of another distinguished Yale philologist, William Dwight Whitney. There were also eminent economists in the academy, and the question may fairly be raised, though President Hadley did not do so, whether it would not be better for the academy to include in its scope the philosophical, historical and political sciences, instead of confining the membership to the natural and exact sciences.

The second formal address was read by Dr. Arthur Schuster, secretary of the Royal Society of London, who discussed "International Cooperation in Research." He stated that the strength of modern science lies not so much in the production of commanding genius as in an army of competent investigators. Problems in which useful results have already been obtained by international cooperation were reviewed, but scarcely in the "great variety" promised at the beginning of the address, for only those were mentioned in which the speaker was personally interested; all those concerned with the biological sciences, and most of those concerned with the exact sciences and their applications being ignored. The three categories of scientific cooperation mentioned—namely, the agreements on units of measurement, the distribution of work between different nations for ecenomy and the making of similar observations with similar instruments—cover but a small part of the field. Still the subjects reviewed—the Star Catalogue; the International Catalogue of Scientific Literature; Geophysics, and the Solar Union—illustrate sufficiently the advantages, and, it may be added, the difficulties, of international cooperation. Dr. Schuster perhaps went out of his way to ridicule the Belgian scheme for international associations and is too hopeful as to what the International Association of Academies may accomplish. Academies, national and international, must be placed on a representative democratic basis before they can represent the scientific men and the scientific work of the nation or of the world.

The two other addresses were on special scientific problems to which their authors have made distinguished contributions. Dr. George E. Hale, director of the Mt. Wilson Solar Observatory, had as his subject "The Earth and Sun as Magnets"; Dr. J. C. Kapteyn, director of the astronomical laboratory of the University of Groningen, "The Structure of the Universe." Both of these addresses