Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/784

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756
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The obvious logic of the case must have been that, although this scientific convocation was occupied with its own avowed and proper business, yet so far as ordinary outside folks were concerned it was something of a "sell." Now, we venture to think that this is all wrong, and if the American Association for the Advancement of Science were more liberally managed, it would recognize an important duty that it owes the public in each city where it is invited to hold its sessions. Granting that its strict and special aim is the advancement of science by original contributions to its various branches, and that its proper work is necessarily technical, and to be carried on in the little meetings of the scientists themselves, it is nevertheless true that there is a side of science in which the public is deeply concerned, and such a body as this, which goes annually from city to city, and has a great power of influencing the people for good, has no right to ignore its responsibility. The people are constantly appealed to by scientific men to give their money, while they live and when they die, for carrying on scientific investigations that are necessarily and largely expensive. Scientific men, in fact, must depend upon the public, and be supported by it. They, therefore, incur obligations, and cannot escape them. If science is a beneficent agency for all, if scientific truth requires to be diffused that every grade of society may reap its benefits in some form, then men of science, who have the knowledge and the capacity to present it in familiar and popular forms, are bound to do what they can according to their gifts and opportunities to promote these objects. The American Scientific Association, every time it enters a new city to hold its meeting, should contribute something useful and valuable for the instruction and enlightenment of all classes. It is a peculiar opportunity which should not be thrown away, and there are always men present competent to do the work, and who would cheerfully enter into it if it were a part of the regular arrangements of the Association. The British Association has done its duty in this respect for years. It has provided for the delivery of outside lectures, popular lectures, lectures to working-men given to the people in large halls, by the best talent of the body, and such gentlemen as Carpenter, Tyndall, Spottiswoode, Frankland, Huxley, Roscoe, and others, have not hesitated to do their share of the work when called upon. Notwithstanding all our talk of progress and the education of the people, the old monarchical and aristocratic country is far ahead of us in these matters. The American Association seems strangely indifferent to this aspect of its usefulness. It shirks its palpable duty in giving impulse and direction to general scientific education, and this omission to provide instructive lectures for the people at its yearly meetings seems further to show that it cares nothing about scientific teaching in any shape for public purposes.

 

 

THE AIR IN COURTS OF JUSTICE.

Judge Monell is dead; and we are informed he died of the foul air of the court-rooms in which he had officiated. Why should court-rooms poison those who frequent them, like Calcutta Black-Holes? We have not been often in such places, but we were never in a court-room yet that we did not think a fit subject for the action of the grand-jury as an indictable nuisance from its bad ventilation. Lawyers seem to be a good deal behind the age in the appreciation of pure air. When the chemists have gone to different places after samples of foul air, they generally report the worst from court-rooms. The way these are constituted for breathing-purposes is an excellent example of the way things are generally