Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/387

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
373
LITERARY NOTICES.

construction has been carried in special lines of inquiry. For example, under the term "metre," we have a list of 218 instruments or machines for measurement, the description of each being found under its proper alphabetical heading. "These specific indexes afford the reader an excellent opportunity for investigating thoroughly all that pertains directly or indirectly to any special subject, by using the index under the title of that subject as a sort of head-centre, and following out its various branches through all their ramifications."

The work includes about 20,000 titles, and gives an exhaustive vocabulary of the technical terms that are employed in various trades and manufactures, and many of which are not to be found in the current large dictionaries. The work is, in fact, little less than a mechanical library, summarizing an endless multitude of books, and bringing up its accurate information to the present time. Of people who read and think at all, it is hard to think of any class that will not find it serviceable.

A Course of Elementary Practical Physiology. By M. Foster, M. D., F. R. S., Fellow of, and Prælector in, Physiology in Trinity College, Cambridge. Assisted by J. N. Langley, B. A., St. John's College, Cambridge. Macmillan & Co. Pp. 244. Price, $2.00.

As the sciences come to be more and more studied, directly and practically, there arises the necessity for books of special guidance in laboratory-work. In chemistry, treatises upon manipulation are as old as the science, and in recent years various works have been published, instructing the student in physical manipulations. The same necessity is now beginning to be felt in physiological study, and Prof. Foster's little hand-book now appears to supply this want for English-speaking students. The book has grown out of Dr. Foster's practice as a teacher. When in University College, London, he was in the habit of distributing among his students a syllabus to guide them in their work. This became extended, by the introduction of details, into a practical course, which is now published for general use wherever physiology is pursued, experimentally, or by the observation and verification of its facts.

Dr. Foster recognizes that the introduction of the microscope has given a direction to manipulative activity that is not altogether favorable to broad physiological study. The importance of histology is not questioned, but the tendency has been to pursue it separately, and to a certain extent to accept it as a substitute for physiological work on a large scale. Dr. Foster thinks that microscopical investigation can only be best pursued in combination with a full scheme of physiological work. He says: "Histological work, unless it be salted with the salt, either of physiological or of morphological ideas, is apt to degenerate into a learned trifling of the very worst description; and students are generally only too ready to spend far too much of their time in the fascinating drudgery of cutting sections and mounting stained specimens." And again: "The student who has mounted an exquisitely and beautifully stained section is only just so much the worse for his pains (as far as physiology is concerned) if he does not understand what the section means. Hence, when the features of some of the fundamental tissues and the general working of the more important mechanisms have been really learned, and the student has got, by doing things for himself, to know the value of a physiological experiment, and the pitfalls that are hidden under carmine and Canada balsam, he may be safely trusted to fill in the details of his study by means of reference to mounted specimens and to mere demonstrations, or even to descriptions of experiments."

Though the work is elementary, and is designed to be introductory to the author's "Hand-book for the Physiological Laboratory," it is, nevertheless, comprehensive, and covers the ground that should be passed over practically by every well-educated medical man. When our medical institutions provide better for this form of study, we can trust ourselves more safely in the hands of their graduates.

The Religion of Evolution. By M. J. Savage, Author of "Christianity the Science of Manhood." Boston: Lockwood, Brooks & Co. Pp. 253. Price, $1.50.

The multiplication of works on the religious bearings of Evolution, against it and