Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/673

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673
THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

SCIENTIFIC WORK IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS.

The civil government of the Philippine Islands has been prompt in recognizing the importance of scientific work. The commission established in 1901 a Bureau of Government Laboratories and authorized the preparation of plans for a suitable building for the installation of biological and chemical laboratories. The commission was fortunate in securing as superintendent Dr. Paul C. Freer, professor of chemistry in the University of Michigan, under whose able direction the work has been organized and a building erected.

The illustration shows the building, which was designed with the assistance of the chief of the Insular Bureau of Architecture, Mr. E. K. Bourne, and is of pleasing and suitable architecture. In laboratory construction a low building has many advantages, and in the Philippine Islands the danger from earthquakes must be taken into consideration. In a tropical country coolness and ventilation are of great importance. Corridors, ten feet wide, run the entire length of the building, and as these are open at both ends a breeze usually passes through them. The laboratories are comparatively small rooms opening from the corridors. The building is divided into two symmetrical parts, the east half being used for biological and the west half for chemical work, with a library in the center. The power house has been placed in the rear, and in it is a serum laboratory. In addition to heat and electric power there are gas generators, compressed air, vacuum pumps and a refrigerating machine. The separate laboratories are provided with these conveniences for research and are well equipped with apparatus. The collection includes fifteen microscopes of the best Zeiss pattern, five Schanze microtomes and two Minot microtomes, incubators, balances, electrical furnaces and the like. The equipment is of special importance, as it takes at least seven months to procure new supplies from Europe or America. The library contains some 12,000 volumes and seventy sets of publications, and these again are essential where there is no access to large libraries.

The work done in the laboratories appears to be of much scientific value, twenty-two publications having been issued by members of the staff. It is, however, naturally difficult to secure scientific workers in distant and tropical regions unless they are attracted by the special problems that can only be solved there. The director of the laboratories hopes that facilities may be given similar, for example, to those at the Naples station, which will attract scientific workers to the islands. He also thinks it possible that the laboratories may be supported by gifts from those who are interested in the development of the islands or in the special problems that can only there be undertaken.

In addition to the scientific work undertaken by the Philippine government, the president of the United States has recommended that a scientific survey of the Islands be undertaken at the expense of the federal government. At his request the National Academy of Sciences appointed a committee to report on the desirability of instituting scientific explorations of the Islands, and this report was transmitted to the last congress