Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/716

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sider the higher questions of the science, but go out into the world only to keep alive the popular and erroneous idea concerning the nature of chemistry.

Finally, if we have correctly represented the attitude of the world toward chemistry, and correctly stated the causes of this attitude, it is plain that the world is not to be blamed, but rather, if fault is to be found, it must be with the chemists themselves. To them we must look for deliverance. They may by united efforts bring about the desired changes. But how?

Two general methods may be indicated. In the first place, the teaching of chemistry must be of a higher order than it is at present. In some of the higher institutions of learning students must be carried through strictly scientific courses; they must be brought face to face with the great questions of the science, and shown how to work at the solution of existing problems; and they must go forth with high and true conceptions concerning their science, prepared to influence those with whom they come in contact, and to give them, too, correct ideas. A great deal can thus be done in the right direction by a single strong man teaching properly, and the influence is very quickly felt. We need only refer to the influence of Agassiz on the science of zoölogy in this country, to show what results may be reached by a single man who is working in the proper way. A change in the methods of teaching in our higher institutions of learning, then, is the chief thing to which we are to look for an improvement in the popular conception of our science. But there is another means at our command which is very rarely taken advantage of by scientific chemists. This consists in popular presentations of the higher truths of the science, either in the form of lectures or of articles in magazines which are read by the public. A great deal of good can be accomplished in this way, if the work is properly done. There are chapters of great inherent interest treating of matter which belongs in the domain of the science of chemistry, and these are rarely alluded to in popular lectures or articles. If more stress were laid upon such subjects, and less upon the merely practical portions of the science, something would be done in the way of drawing the attention of the public toward the higher questions, and thus that good influence which was above referred to as resulting from popular discussions of the great truths of physics would also be felt, to some extent, in connection with chemistry. Thus, too, there would gradually grow up a respect for the science as well as for the art of chemistry.