Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/633

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THE MARINE BIOLOGICAL LABORATORY.

appointments it is almost perfect, while in its results it takes the first rank of all the institutions of investigation in existence. Since its establishment other laboratories modeled after it have been founded in all quarters of the globe—Australia, Japan, and Java not being behind the rest. In America the station established by Mr. Alexander Agassiz at Newport is exclusively for investigation, but it is only open to invited guests of its founder. It was a part of the plan of the late Professor Baird to make the Woods Holl station of the United States Fish Commission a center of pure science as well as a laboratory for the solution of the more economic problems connected with the food-fishes, and it has been such. The scientific results published by the students who have availed themselves of the facilities afforded have been very considerable. Still, it is evident that in a Government institution research must ever be subordinate to the more practical questions. The people can pay for that which will put dollars in their pockets, but study for study's sake is something that the average politician can not appreciate. At present, at least, pure research must be supported by private means rather than by Government grant.

The Marine Biological Laboratory has the foundation upon which the ideal laboratory can be built. Its board of trustees includes some of the most prominent zoologists in America, who can be expected to guide it in the most profitable directions. It has already purchased land for future growth. The desire now is that upon this land shall be erected a building which can be kept open all the year, instead of some three or four months in summer. Here there shall be a force of paid investigators through the year, working at the many problems connected with the living world. On the other hand, it will at the same time prove an annex to every progressive college and university in the land, for to it in summer both professors and students can freely come for study and to collect the materials for the winter classes. It will need a large library for reference, and funds for the publication of the results worked out within its walls.

Such an institution can not live from hand to mouth, but it must have an endowment sufficient to pay all running expenses, salaries, and the like. It offers to the future benefactor much in return. To found a college or university to-day requires an enormous fortune; a fraction of that sum would establish a biological station the best in the world. Nowhere in educational lines can such great results be expected as here. We have enough colleges and universities; institutions primarily for research are as yet lacking; yet what honor they would reflect upon the man far-sighted and public-spirited enough to give them the means of existence!