Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/743

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

APRIL, 1892.


 

AGASSIZ AT PENIKESE.
By Prof. DAVID STARR JORDAN,

PRESIDENT OF THE LELAND STANFORD JUNIOR UNIVERSITY.

AGASSIZ was above all else a teacher. His mission in America was that of a teacher of science—of science in the broadest sense as the orderly arrangement of all human knowledge. He would teach men to know, not simply to remember or to guess. He believed that men in all walks of life would be more useful and more successful through the thorough development of the powers of observation and judgment. He would have the student trained through contact with real things, not merely exercised in the recollection of the book descriptions of things. "If you study Nature in books" he said, "when you go out of doors you can not find her."

Agassiz was once asked to write a text-book in zoölogy for the use of schools and colleges. Of this he said: "I told the publishers that I was not the man to do that sort of thing, and I told them, too, that the less of that sort of thing which is done the better. It is not school-books we want, it is students. The book of Nature is always open, and all that I can do or say shall be to lead young people to study that book, and not to pin their faith to any other."

He taught natural history in Harvard College as no other man had taught in America before. He was "the best friend that ever student had," because the most genial and kindly. Cambridge people used to say that one had "less need of an overcoat in passing Agassiz's house" than any other in that city.

In the interest of popular education as well as of scientific research, Agassiz laid the foundation of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy. Here, in the face of all sorts of discouragements,