Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/30

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20
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

bution to the inspection and criticism of his comrades, and all hoping to add in some degree to the sum total of human knowledge.

The united presence of these two classes intensifies the interest which naturally attaches to an occasion like this, and not unnaturally suggests that a brief consideration of the relations that do exist and which should exist between them may afford a profitable occupation for us this evening.

In the beginning it may be truthfully affirmed that no other single agency has done as much to establish these relations on a proper basis as the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In the first article of its constitution the objects of the Association are defined as follows: "By periodical and migratory meetings, to promote intercourse between those who are cultivating science in different parts of the United States, to give a stronger and more general impulse and a more systematic direction to scientific research in our country, and to procure for the labors of scientific men increased facilities and a wider usefulness." So perfectly do these words embody the spirit of the Association that when, more than thirty years later, the constitution was thoroughly revised, none better could be found to give it expression. That it has been successful in promoting intercourse between those who are cultivating science in different parts of the United States may be proved by the testimony of thousands who have come to know each other through attendance at its meetings. In a country whose geographical limits are so extensive as ours and whose scientific men are so widely scattered, it is difficult to overestimate its value in this particular.

In giving a stronger and more general impulse and a more systematic direction to scientific research in our country it has been singularly fortunate. Its meetings have been the means of disseminating proper methods of investigation and study throughout the land; hundreds of young students, enthusiastic but often not well trained, have found themselves welcome (sometimes to their own astonishment), and by its influence and encouragement have been molded and guided in the utilization of their endowments, occasionally exceptional, to the end that they have finally won a fame and renown which must always be treasured by the Association as among its richest possessions. Wherever its migratory meetings have been held the pulse of intelligence has been quickened, local institutions have been encouraged and strengthened, or created where they did not before exist, and men of science have been brought into closer relations with an intelligent public.

But it is in relation to the last of the three great objects, to accomplish which the Association was organized, namely, "to procure for the labors of scientific men increased facilities and a