Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 7.djvu/531

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

SEPTEMBER, 1875.


 

SCIENTIFIC CULTURE.[1]
By JOSIAH P. COOKE, Jr.

PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY AND MINERALOGY IN HARVARD COLLEGE.

YOU have come together this morning to begin various elementary courses of instruction in chemistry and mineralogy. As I have been informed, most of you are teachers by profession, and your chief object is to become acquainted with the experimental methods of teaching physical science, and to gain the advantages in your study which the large apparatus of this university is capable of affording. In all this I hope you will not be disappointed. You, as teachers, know perfectly well that success must depend, first of all, on your own efforts; but, since the methods of studying Nature are so different from those with which you are familiar in literary studies, I feel that the best service I can render, in this introductory address, is to state, as clearly as I can, the great objects which should be kept in view in the courses on which you are now entering.

By your very attendance on these courses you have given the strongest evidence of your appreciation of the value of chemical studies as a part of the system of education, and let me say, in the first place, that you have not overvalued their importance. The elementary principles and more conspicuous facts of chemistry are so intimately associated with the experience of every-day life, and find such important applications in the useful arts, that no man at the present day can be regarded as educated who is ignorant of them. Not to know why the fire burns, or how the sulphur-trade affects the industries of the world, will be regarded, by the generation of men among whom your pupils will have to win their places in society, as a greater mark of ignorance than a false quantity in Latin prosody or a solecism in grammar. Moreover, I need not tell you that physical science has become a great power in the world. Indeed, after religion, it is the

  1. An Address delivered July 7, 1875, at the opening of the Summer Courses of Instruction in Chemistry, at Harvard University