Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/273

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
259
SKETCH OF M. ARAGO.

the principles involved in them; or of beginning with the rules of education that have been empirically collected and handed down, and then testing and evaluating these by scientific analysis. One great difficulty of education is how to deal with the various classes into which pupils fall as to their powers and groups of powers. The same treatment can not be good for all alike; but how to adapt it to each? We want an ethology of the school-room, somewhat more discriminative than that ethology of the assembly that Aristotle gives in his "Rhetoric." After that would come the question, What studies and combinations were suited to each type? But the field of suggestion is wide and the labor therein light.—Mind.

 

SKETCH OF M. ARAGO.

ON the 26th of February last the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of François Arago was celebrated at Perpignan, France, his native city. A grand celebration of the day had also been planned at Paris, to be held under the direction of the scientific men and publicists of the capital, but the municipal subvention, on which its promoters depended for its expenses, was not granted, and it failed. Nearly seven years previous to this time, on the 21st of September, 1879, a statue of the philosopher and patriot, the work of M. Mercier, was inaugurated at Perpignan; and one year previous to it an eloquent eulogy on M. Arago was delivered in the Academy of Sciences by M. Jules Jamin.

Dominique François Arago was born at Estagel, near Perpignan, February 26, 1786. His father, who was a sub-treasurer at Perpignan, put him to school quite early in the college of that city. At seven-teen years of age he was admitted to the Polytechnic School after a brilliant examination, in which he exhibited a peculiar spirit of independence, rising to the point of chiding his examiner for unwillingness to question him on account of his delicate appearance. Some months afterward, when the proclamation of the empire was contemplated, circulars inviting the act were distributed and introduced into the school to be signed by the pupils. Arago refused to sign the paper, and was the leader among the pupils who took that position. General Lacuée, reporting the transaction to the first consul, demanded that the recusants be dismissed from the school. Bonaparte took the list, read it, and remarked: "We will only not send the first name up for promotion. We shall have to give these boys a little time to be converted. You others have turned too quickly."

Before the end of his course at the Polytechnic, Arago, whose abilities had impressed all of his teachers, was appointed a secretary in the Bureau des Longitudes, where he became associated with Biot,