Popular Science Monthly/Volume 17/August 1880/Recent Original Work at Harvard

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Popular Science Monthly Volume 17 August 1880  (1880) 
Recent Original Work at Harvard
By J. R. W. Hitchcock

RECENT ORIGINAL WORK AT HARVARD.
By J. R. W. HITCHCOCK, A. B.

SOME able and scholarly articles appeared in one of the leading New York dailies during the last winter, comparing Harvard with the principal universities abroad. The writer evidenced his thorough acquaintance with the curriculum and requirements at Harvard, but the original work done there outside the lecture-room was almost completely ignored, and dismissed with hardly a passing mention. This would tend to confirm the impression of the great majority that a university is simply a vast class-room, a place where young men study and recite certain time-honored branches of learning, varying their intellectual labors by feats of physical prowess, and are rewarded at the end of a specified time with mysterious parchment rolls, currently supposed to possess a subtile and awful power. Of the higher aims of a university, and of the distinction between instructors and investigators, the public at large realize almost nothing.

With a view to showing the inner intellectual activity of a university, I recently visited Harvard studies and laboratories to ascertain what work was being carried on aside from the regular routine of instruction. The spirit that prevails among the gentlemen with whom I was brought in contact is aptly illustrated by the words of Mill, quoted to me by one of the professors:

"If we were asked for what end, above all others, endowed universities exist, or ought to exist, we should answer: To keep alive philosophy. . . . To educate common minds for the common business of life, a public provision may be useful but is not indispensable."

And after these words followed a strong commendation of a plan for allowing each professor one year in three for independent original research. The wisdom of this becomes evident when we remember that the endowments of the professorships were, with one exception, given for the promotion of teaching. No research fund exists, and aside from the stated work of the university many of the instructors devote a portion of their time to private instruction, which has greatly increased since the success of the recent efforts to have women methodically instructed at Cambridge by Harvard professors. These drains upon the time and energy of the professors render it the more surprising and creditable that so much original research is being constantly carried on in the different departments of the university.

I have only aimed at noting the principal features of the original work carried on, in general, during the year. In some cases it was impossible to dissociate the researches upon which investigators were engaged at the time of my visit from preceding work, but anything like entering into details or giving a modified historical sketch has been utterly impracticable. This will be better appreciated by any one who has seen the catalogue of books and memoirs published by Harvard professors from 1865 to 1875, prepared under the direction of President Eliot in 1875, but unfortunately so printed by the Commissioner of Education as to be valueless for purposes of comparison.

While I acknowledge that my article is necessarily superficial and incomplete, I yet trust it may be found to possess a certain value as giving a view of the highest and yet least known side of the intellectual life of a university.

Professor W. W. Goodwin, at the head of the Greek department, has been recently preparing a new edition of his well-known grammar, and has also been engaged upon several articles on Attic law, Athenian antiquities, and Greek particles for the new edition of Liddell and Scott's lexicon, which is to be republished by Harper & Brothers. An article from the pen of Professor Goodwin recently appeared in Professor Gildersleeve's "Philological Magazine" on a matter of Athenian law. In this connection American scholars will be interested in knowing that Professor Goodwin's "Grammar" and his "Moods and Tenses" have been reprinted in England, and a recent visitor to Oxford spoke to me of seeing these books lying on the tables of Oxford dons and bearing the marks of frequent use.

The amount of Greek required of all students at Harvard has been gradually reduced during the past twenty-five years, until Greek scholars have recognized the fact that, for the department to hold its own, it would be necessary to substitute for the old plan of reading a given amount of Greek, the ability to read Greek readily at sight. To meet this new demand, Professor J. W. White is engaged in preparing a word-book, based on Curtius's Etymology, and not on the more or less untrustworthy etymologies of the lexicon. This book is to contain five or six hundred stems, from which five or six thousand words are to be derived in families, with their Latin and English cognates. This word-book is intended as a direct means of acquiring a vocabulary and facility in reading at sight, and, so far as I know, is entirely a new departure. Professor White is also revising the "First Greek Lessons," which is to be an accompaniment to the new edition of Goodwin's Grammar. He is assisted by the members of a graduate elective—a somewhat novel feature at Cambridge—who are pursuing advanced studies in Greek.

The traditional Latin grammar has become a thing of the past, and, in consequence, college students are daily found ignorant on many points, especially questions of comparative philology, that should have been answered in the schools. In order to furnish a more thorough and satisfactory groundwork for men who are fitting for college, Professor Lane is preparing a Latin grammar which will be based on new and scientific principles. It will be a thoroughly practical book, and, while not dealing directly with questions of comparative philology, will elucidate the important principles of the science.

Professor Greenough, whose name is familiarly known in connection with Allen and Greenough's Latin text-books, is preparing an edition of Vergil.

Since the publication of his "Modern Philosophy" Professor Bowen has been engaged in revising his "Political Economy," a new edition of which will appear in the fall. A volume of his essays is now in press. Within the last year he has written some important papers for the "North American" and "Princeton" Reviews, one of the most remarkable of which is "The Idea of Cause," which appeared in the "Princeton Review" for May, 1879, and has been republished separately.

Professor James is engaged upon a work on psychology, which is to form one of the series of American science text-books. Among his recent writings are articles in "Mind," "The Journal of Speculative Philosophy," "The Popular Science Monthly," and an essay in the "Princeton Review" on the "Sentiment of Rationality."

Perhaps the work that will prove most generally interesting is that upon which Professor Childs is now engaged—a book of English and Scottish ballads, with their derivations and variations. His life-long devotion to this subject, together with his mastery of English literature, will render this book perhaps the most valuable literary production of the year. It is owing to his efforts and researches that the Harvard library contains the richest collection of literature pertaining to folk and ballad lore in the world.

In connection with original work by students, Professor Hill has introduced a new elective, which consists of oral discussions on given subjects that the students investigate for themselves in the library.

In the department of modern languages, Professor Cook is editing and preparing articles for a French and English lexicon, to be published by Hachette & Co., of Paris. Mr. Sheldon, instructor in German, has recently completed a German grammar.

No course of electives in the university offers a broader and richer field for true culture than those in fine arts, which, though of comparatively recent institution, have been so conducted as to be firmly placed on an enduring footing. Professor Norton, the head of this department, is preparing a book on "Historical Studies of Church Building in the Middle Ages," which will probably appear within a few months. Assistant Professor Moore, who has recently returned from abroad, brought with him a number of exceedingly instructive copies and drawings made by himself, which serve as an important basis for the art-collection that, it is to be hoped, will be gathered together in connection with this department. The work of the Art Club also deserves mention. This is an association of students, with the cooperation of professors, who meet fortnightly for the discussion of art subjects, and to listen to lectures. The club has recently had two exhibitions, one of Professor Moore's collection, and one of Whistler's etchings, and has printed some valuable contributions to art-literature.

At the time of my visit to Professor Paine he was writing the "Spring Symphony," which has since been produced at a university concert in Sanders's Theatre, and at a Harvard symphony concert in Boston. Among the best known works that Professor Paine has composed of late years are his oratorio "St. Peter," the overture to "As You Like It," brought out by Thomas, the "Centennial Hymn," and a symphony in C minor.

The tendency of the practical mind to judge a man's work by its tangible results leads to a lack of appreciation and a total underrating of the work done by the faithful laborers in the field of pure as distinguished from applied science. An Edison outdoes the telegraph, or dazzles the world with the electric light, and the gaping crowd who bow before the successful inventor forget that he has simply applied principles and laws discovered long before by silent workers in studies and laboratories, who have toiled on comparatively unknown, amply rewarded by the knowledge that their life-work has added to the world's store of scientific truth. The scientific work of a university, fruitful though it may be in discoveries, is generally under-estimated, because true savants the world over feel no interest in turning the results of their work into the practical form of dollars and cents. And so at Harvard the investigations constantly going on in the chemical and physical laboratories, at the Botanic Garden, Agassiz's Museum, and the Observatory, though resulting almost daily in the discovery of new truths, are hardly calculated to awaken popular interest or enthusiasm.

The labors of Professor Benjamin Peirce, the head of the mathematical department, are too extensive to admit of more than a passing mention here. In addition to his private mathematical, physical, and astronomical work, he has entered the field of philosophy in his recent lectures on the connection between religion and science.

In the last publication of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in which, by the way, seven of the eight papers are by Harvard investigators, appear the following "Propositions in Cosmical Physics," by Professor Benjamin Peirce:

1. All stellar light emanates from superheated gas. Hence the sun and stars are gaseous bodies.

2. Gaseous bodies, in the process of radiating light and heat, condense and become hotter throughout their mass.

3. It is probable that their surface would become colder if there were not an external supply of heat from the collision of meteors.

4. Large celestial bodies are constantly deriving superficial heat from the collision of meteors, till at length the surface becomes superheated gas, which constitution must finally extend through the mass.

5. Small celestial bodies are constantly cooling till they become invisible solid meteors.

6. The heat of space consists of two parts: first, that of radiation principally from the stars, which is small, except in the immediate vicinity of the stars; the second portion is derived from the velocity with which the meteors strike the planet at which the observation is taken; and this velocity partly depends upon the mass of the star by which the orbit of the planet is defined, and partly upon the mass of the planet itself.

7. If the planets were originally formed by the collision of meteors, it is difficult to account for an initial heat sufficient to liquefy them, and, at the same time, to account for their subsequent cooling without a great change in the number and nature of the meteors; and any such hypothesis seems to invalidate the meteoric theory.

8. If the planets were not originally formed by the collision of meteors, their common direction of rotation becomes difficult of explanation.

Professor J. M. Peirce has recently published a set of "Mathematical Tables," in which the part relating to "Hyperbolic Functions" is entirely original. Other work in this department is represented by Professor Byerly's "Differential Calculus" and Mr. Wheeler's "Elementary Plane and Spherical Trigonometry."

The forbidding granite building called "Boylston Hall" conceals scenes of strange activity. Unwonted odors irritate the inexperienced nose of the visitor, and in the laboratories spectral shapes flit backward and forward behind clouds of vapor, occasionally lit up by lurid flames. These are the students; but in their private laboratories the professors pursue their own researches. Professor Cooke has been dealing with that unprincipled element, antimony, which has obdurately persisted in claiming two atomic weights, until he has successfully limited it to one. In connection with his laboratory-work, Professor Cooke is preparing a new edition of his "Chemical Philosophy." The results of his inorganic work have appeared from time to time in the publications of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Since the "Organic Laboratory" was established, in 1875, Professors Hill and Jackson have published twenty-five papers giving the results of their work, and have discovered one hundred new compounds. The discovery of new compounds, however, possesses as a rule no special importance, and is rather incidental to, than the result of, the main work. Two examples will indicate somewhat the character and object of organic investigations. The composition of uric acid has been long known to be C5H4N4O3, but its constitution—the exact arrangement of the atoms—has been uncertain. Chemists all over the world had endeavored to settle the question, but their failures resulted in eleven different formula? for this one substance. Professor Hill, taking this uric acid, C5H4N4O3, marked one part by replacing H by CH3 (methyl); then treating the acid so as to split it up, he determined to which part the methyl was attached, and, by continuing his treatment, was enabled to reduce the possible formulæ from eleven to three, with strong probabilities in favor of one. This possesses a practical value, inasmuch as it will lead to a knowledge of the method of formation of uric acid in the animal body. Professor Hill's work on "Fur-ferrol," found in the products of the distillation of wood, is interesting, as chlorophyll can probably be obtained from it.

An example of the curious subtilties of science is afforded by Professor Jackson's investigations of anthracene, which is obtained from coal-tar, and yields alizarine (madder-dye), used in dyeing pink and purple calicoes, Turkey reds, etc. Anthracene was known to consist of two hexagons of carbon with hydrogen-atoms attached, united by two other carbon-atoms. Professor Jackson proved, by making anthracene artificially, that these two carbon-atoms are united to adjacent corners in each hexagon, thus:

PSM V17 D503 artificial anthracene.jpg

These are but stray examples of the researches that are constantly being made by Professors Hill, Jackson, and their assistants. Brombenzylbromides, parachlorbenzyls, and benzaldehyds, however, fascinating as they may be to chemists, would offer few charms to the general reader.

Since 1841 Dr. Asa Gray has devoted such leisure as he could command to his great work "The Flora of North America," a labor the magnitude of which only an experienced botanist can appreciate. Mr. Watson, Curator of the Herbarium, is assisting Professor Gray, and at present is classifying the flora of California. The new series of botanical text-books, edited by Dr. Gray, will shortly be completed. The titles will be as follows:

1. "Structure and Morphological Botany of Phænogamous Plants," by Dr. Gray.

2. "Physiological Botany" (Vegetable Histology and Physiology), by Dr. Goodale.

3. "Introduction to Cryptogamous Botany," by Professor Farlow.

4. "Natural Orders of Phænogamous Plants and their Special Morphological Classification, Distribution, Products," by Dr. Gray.

One of the most recent of Dr. Gray's botanical contributions to the Academy of Arts and Sciences was a paper on the "Characters of some New Species of Compositæ in the Mexican Collection, made by C. C. Parry and Edward Palmer," and a notice of "Some New North American Genera, Species, etc."

Professor Farlow's work in cryptogamic botany is doubly interesting on account of its direct practical application. At the Bussey Institution Professor Farlow has been investigating the diseases of plants, and latterly has been engaged upon algæ and fungi. Among his recent work is a paper on algae for the United States Fish Commission, an examination of the causes of onion-smut and the diseases of trees for the Board of Agriculture, and an investigation of the alga? producing disagreeable tastes and smells in water, for the State Board of Health. His work resolves itself, speaking generally, into two kinds—one, the abstract descriptions and arrangements in families of alga? and fungi, and the other the detection of fungi in disease. As an example of the first, there is a European species of algae which constitutes the green scum on stagnant water. Several different varieties may be found in different places, but they have all been discovered to belong to the same family. To illustrate the second, there is a certain kind of fungus on cedar-trees, but this has been ascertained to be only a first stage, and the fungus in its second stage is found upon several members of the apple family.

Professor Wolcott Gibbs has been carrying on researches on complex inorganic acids, and Professors Lovering and Trowbridge have been conducting purely physical investigations. Professor Trowbridge has introduced a method of instruction that necessitates a large amount of original research on the part of his students. This consists of lectures, given by the students instead of by the instructor, to the class. . Although all the work at the Observatory really comes under the head of original investigation, the observations constantly taken in connection with the Observatory Time Service resolve themselves into mere routine work. An immediate and practical benefit is conferred by this Time Service, the signals of which reach Bangor, Lennoxville, in Canada, Albany, and New York, as well as different points in Massachusetts. The copper time-ball, held by a powerful electro-magnet at the top of the mast on the Equitable Life Assurance Building, Boston, is released at noon by the clock at Cambridge. During 1879 accidents caused a small error in its fall on two days only, and on three days it has been dropped at 12h. 5m. 0s.

The great equatorial of fifteen inches' aperture and the meridian circle whose telescope has an aperture of eight inches have been kept actively in use for the last three years. The former instrument has been devoted almost entirely to photometric work. The problem of astronomical photometry, roughly stated, is to determine the brightness of all the heavenly bodies, so that all may be compared with a single standard. Previous to the beginning of this work at the Harvard Observatory, photometric measurements had been made almost entirely upon the planets and brighter stars, and there was no definite knowledge of the amount of light emitted by the satellites and fainter stars. At the outset of the work several hundred measurements were taken of the brightness of the outer and inner satellites of Mars, which measures have been taken accurately nowhere else. The satellites of Jupiter and Saturn, including Hyperion, the faintest of Saturn's satellites, were similarly measured. In addition to measuring their brightness, a large number of determinations of the positions of the satellites were made. A comparison was also begun of the light of the sun and stars, with the idea of reducing all photometric measurements to a common standard—the light of the sun. This photometric work has been continued until the light of all the known satellites, except the two inner satellites of Uranus, has been measured.

One of the most important series of equatorial observations has been in connection with the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites. These phenomena have proved exceedingly valuable as a means not only of determining the orbits of the satellites themselves, but of measuring the distance of the sun or the velocity of light, and of obtaining terrestrial longitudes.

The observations of the mere appearance or disappearance of a satellite, however, can not be rendered sufficiently exact, and, to lessen the errors, photometric observations have been made of the satellites as they gradually enter or emerge from the shadow of Jupiter, using the planet itself or another satellite as a standard.

In order to furnish means for the comparison of the scales of stellar magnitude, employed by different astronomers in their estimate of the brightness of faint stars, a number of faint stars in the immediate neighborhood of the north pole were selected for photometric measurement, and a circular was distributed among astronomers requesting estimates of magnitudes of the same stars for comparison with each other, and with the results of the measurements made here. A series of measurements of all the planetary nebulae has also been undertaken. This work with the great equatorial has necessitated the invention of a number of new photometric instruments, which have been devised by Professor Pickering and his assistants.

For nearly eight years Professor Rogers has been engaged upon one of the largest astronomical undertakings that has been successfully completed in this country. This is the observation with the meridian circle of the zone of eight thousand stars, between fifty and fifty-five degrees north, undertaken by this Observatory as its share in the determination of the position of the stars of the northern hemisphere. The observations were finished about a year ago, but some years will be required to complete the reduction and publication of this work.

The total number of observations for 1879 with the meridian circle, including about six hundred for the Coast Survey, was nearly three thousand. The scientists at the Observatory are now engaged in the task of determining the light of all the stars visible to the naked eye in the latitude of Cambridge. The meridian is used in observations like a transit instrument in connection with a new and elaborately designed photometer.

At the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy the staff of specialists is almost entirely occupied in the classification and arrangement of different collections and the publication of the results of their researches. The most important accessions during 1878 and 1879 are the extensive collections of the Blake dredging expedition, and the collections of birds, mammals, reptiles, and fishes, made by Mr. Garman at St. Kitts, Dominica, Grenada, Trinidad, St. Thomas, and Porto Rico, after he left the Blake. The Blake collections and specimens from the entomological, conchological, and ornithological departments are in the hands of well-known specialists for final investigation. Of the extensive work in progress it is impossible to give any details. The results are embodied in the extensive publications of the museum. Five volumes of bulletins have been published, averaging about a dozen papers each. The quarto publications will hereafter be issued as memoirs. The catalogues thus far published have been collected into Volumes I.-IV. of the memoirs. Five volumes of memoirs and the first part of the sixth have already appeared. The second part of the sixth and Vol. VII. are now in course of preparation or in press. Vol. VI. contains the great work upon which Professor Whitney is now engaged, "The Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California." The Sturgis Hooper Professorship of Geology, held by Professor Whitney, is noticeable as being founded solely for original research.

The dredging operations of the Coast Survey steamer Blake have not only aided zoölogical science by the information obtained in regard to echini, corals, crinoids, ophiurians, worms, hydroids, and others, but have added to geographical knowledge of the Caribbean Sea by showing the changes in form and distribution of lands along various groups of islands, and in the form of the land beneath the water. Professor Agassiz considers the deep-sea collections of the Blake the largest and most important ever made 011 this coast, and, when combined with the results of other expeditions sent out under the auspices of the Coast Survey, they make the collections at the museum but little inferior to those of the Challenger. During the coming summer Professor Agassiz will probably undertake another dredging trip in the Blake, following: the course of the Gulf Stream to the north of the Bahamas, and dredging from the 100- to the 2,500- fathom line off the coast of the United States, so as to connect the isolated district with the deep-water fauna proper of the Atlantic.

Professor 1ST. S. Shaler, Professor of Paleontology, in addition to his work at the museum, and as an instructor, has, since 1873, had charge of the Kentucky State Survey. Four volumes of reports and one of memoirs have been already completed, and one volume of memoirs and nine of reports are now in press. The recent writings of Professor Shaler are "The Origin and Nature of Intellectual Property," and several articles in the "Proceedings of the Boston Natural History Society," "The Atlantic Monthly," and "The International Review." The article by Professor Shaler in the latter magazine is entitled "Sleep and Dreams."

Scientific publications, based entirely or in part upon the entomological collection of the museum, are the new edition of the "Catalogue of the Diptera of the United States," by Osten-Sacken, published by the Smithsonian Institution, Part VIII. of the "Monographic Revision of the European Trichoptera," by R. McLachlan, published in London, and several papers by Dr. H. A. Hagen, the head of the department.

The recent work of Professor Langdell, Dean of the Lower School, is peculiarly rich and important. It includes a "Summary of Equity Pleading," a new edition of "Cases on Contracts," containing a summary of the law of contracts as developed in these cases, and a book on the "Law of Sales."

Professor Ames is engaged upon a work to be entitled "Bills and Notes," and Professor Thayer is at work upon a book on "Evidence."

Aside from his duties as professor in the Divinity School, Professor Abbot is a member of the American committee which assists the English Commission for revising the translation of the Bible. He is also a contributor to "The Unitarian Review," in which he has lately published a series of articles on "The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel," which are masterpieces of critical scholarship.

Mr. Allen is preparing a new edition of his "Hebrew Men and Times," and is also engaged upon a book of "Latin Composition."

During the administration of Mr. Winsor, some new features have been introduced into the management of the library, which, though hardly coming under the head of original work, are important and interesting. At intervals of a week or less, printed lists are struck off of the books received, and posted up for reference. These are collected and published monthly. A quarterly bulletin is issued, containing valuable bibliographical contributions by members of the faculty and the librarian. The most important publication of last year was the "Catalogue of Scientific Serials from 1633-1876," an octavo volume of three hundred and seventy pages, by Mr. S. H. Scudder, the entomologist, who is assistant librarian. This book constitutes Vol. I. of the special publications of the library.

The instructors in the various departments indicate the books which their students will need to consult frequently, and all such books are reserved and placed in special alcoves where they can be freely consulted during library hours. One or two advanced classes meet and work at the library in the midst of the reference-books bearing on their subjects. The tendency of this method necessarily is to excite a spirit of investigation in the student, and, to a good degree, students as well as professors pursue original research.

It would seem unfair to leave Cambridge without a glance at the beautiful gymnasium, the lack of which was so long a heavy cross for Harvard students.

The medical director has devised various new and yet wonderfully simple forms of apparatus for strengthening the muscles of the neck, back, loins, and abdomen, as well as of the arms and legs. A physical examination and carefully supervised gradation of exercise distinguish the new era of Harvard muscular Christianity from the old.

At the medical school the largest amount of original investigation is carried on in the physiological and chemical laboratories. In the former a number of new forms of apparatus are in use, which have been designed by Professor Bowditch and his assistants. Among these are an apparatus for keeping animals alive by artificial respiration; a dog-holder, canulæ for observations on the vocal cords of animals, without interfering with their natural respiration; unpolarizable electrodes used in studying certain problems in the physiology of the nervous system, a new form of apparatus for barometric measurements, and a novel plan for measuring the volume of air inspired and expelled in respiration. A new form of plethysmograph has been devised by Dr. Bowditch. This is an instrument for measuring the changes in the size of organs, either hollow or solid, which are produced by variations in the conditions to which they are subjected. The essential part of Dr. Bowditch's invention is a contrivance by which fluid is allowed to flow freely to and from the organ to be measured without changing its absolute level in the receptacle into which it flows, while at the same time a record is made of the volume of the fluid thus displaced.

The more important work going on in the laboratory at the time of my visit consisted of experiments in regard to respiration, with special reference to the functions of the glottis and epiglottis, and trials of disinfectants with a view to ascertaining the temperature necessary to kill germs. A series of experiments was also in progress for testing the porosity of various stones used in building.

The results of the original work performed here have been recently published, together with an account of the physical apparatus in use at the school. Accounts of the most important investigations carried on during the last year are contained in the following papers: "Growth as a Function of Cells: Preliminary Notice of Certain Laws of Histological Differentiation," by C. G. Minot; "Effects of the Respiratory Movements on the Pulmonary Circulation," by H. P. Bowditch, M. D., and G. M. Garland, M. D.; "Pharyngeal Respiration," by G. M. Garland, M. D.; "Functions of the Epiglottis in Deglutition and Phonation," by G. L. Walton. This paper shows that the removal of the epiglottis does not seriously affect deglutition, and therefore it is not necessary for that process. The epiglottis, however, plays an important part in forming and modifying the voice, taking different positions during vocalization, changes of pitch, quality, and intensity.

In the chemical laboratory I found that Professor Wood had been examining the water-supply of Cambridge; and was then engaged in the investigation of the extent to which arsenic is being used in the manufacture or ornamentation of articles in general use, such as wallpaper, confectionery, playthings, etc. The results of this work will be published in the next report of the State Board of Health. Professor Wood is also writing the addition to "Ziemssen's Cyclopædia" on the subject of toxicology.

Dr. William B. Hills was engaged upon a special investigation in regard to the localization of arsenic in the animal economy.

The most important feature of original work at the school of late years has been Dr. Bigelow's introduction of the new operation of litholapaxy.

A number of interesting papers have been recently written by members of the faculty, some of which contain new discoveries of considerable scientific importance. I cite two: "Effects of Certain Drugs in increasing or diminishing Red Blood-Corpuscles," by Dr. Cutter; and "Alterations in the Spinal Cord in Hydrophobia," by Dr. Fitz.

The School of Agriculture and Horticulture, called "The Bussey Institution," is located on the sunny slopes of Forest Hills, about five miles southwest from Boston. The labors of the professors connected with this institution have been even more in the line of original research than of instruction, though of late the lack of a sufficient endowment has interfered with the quantity of work and the publication of the results.

A number of exceedingly interesting and valuable papers, however, have appeared in the "Bussey Bulletin," the titles of which give some indication of the character of the work. I give a few of the more important: "Hybridization of Lilies," by Professor Parkman; "Diseases caused by Fungi—"Professor Farlow; "Examinations of Fodders," "Trials of Fertilizers," Prominence of Carbonate of Lime in Soil Water," "Importance as Plant-Food of the Nitrogen in Vegetable Mold"—Professor F. H. Storer; "The Potato-Rot," and "The Black Knot" (of plum- and cherry-trees)—Professor Farlow.

The Bussey Institution ends my outline of the original work that has been carried on among Harvard professors mainly during the last year. Purely literary work I have endeavored to avoid, but I may say, in passing, that Dr. O. W. Holmes has recently finished an elaborate examination of the life and writings of Jonathan Edwards. Another feature worthy of special attention is the growing tendency with instructors to develop original research among the students. This is particularly noticeable in the departments of political economy, physics, history, and in some of the electives in mathematics. The case-system in the Law School is the purest example of an effort to cultivate independent thought. Mere memorizing is becoming by degrees a matter of secondary importance, and instructors are aiming to train their pupils to think for themselves, and to pursue lines of investigation outside of the beaten routine-path. Necessarily, the attainment of this result must prove in the highest degree beneficial. The cultivation of the powers of perception and insight becomes of inestimable value in fitting the student for the successful accomplishment of the duties of real life. As yet only a beginning has been made in training students to independent habits of thought, but this may fairly be considered the forerunner of a promising future. With the development of a thorough system of physical culture and the growth and prevalence of original investigation rather than memorizing for examinations, the Harvard student may perhaps obtain the ideal liberal education, when "his body is the ready servant of his will, and does with ease and pleasure all the work that as a mechanism it is capable of; his intellect is a clear, cold, logic-engine, with all its parts of equal strength, and in smooth working order—ready, like a steam-engine, to be turned to any kind of work."

The original work of the instructors, hastily sketched in this article, speaks for itself, and needs no word of explanation or commentary. That so much should be accomplished, however, outside of routine-work is indeed surprising and creditable, when we consider that the primary duty of these professors is an advanced teaching which absorbs both time and energy. It becomes evident that a life of scholastic seclusion is neither a life of monotonous drill-work nor one of dilettant leisure, and it is clear that American scholarship can no longer he called unproductive. Comparisons inevitably suggest themselves. Harvard possesses a larger number of professors engaged in independent research than any other institution in the country, and to Harvard, I believe, belongs the honor of leading all American universities in original work.

 
Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Left - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Circle - 6px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Right - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg