Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/192

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follow a certain revealed law, is, nevertheless, still very large and sufficient to tax his energies. Witness, for example, the host of observed phenomena obeying the law of inverse squares!

The remaining sections of Littrow's article deal with the reduction of the experiments to the laws of motion, the numerical expression of the observed results in definite units, the importance of the part played by instruments or mechanical appliances, derivation of laws governing the observations, methods of ascertaining these laws, methods of reduction and of publication, and errors to be avoided.

These two articles will show sufficiently the character and scope of similar ones we should like to see in our standard English and American encyclopedias.[1] Such information is contained in some measure, at least, though not as comprehensively, in the modern German book of reference, Brockhaus's "Conversations-Lexikon," as also in the "Grande Encyclopedia" of the French. It is truly remarkable that there should be such an oversight in our "International Encyclopedia," when it is remembered that the editor-in-chief was one to whom research work owes a very great debt of gratitude indeed—the late and greatly lamented Daniel Coit Gilman. The only article found is one on "expert," and this pertains chiefly to "expert evidence" in courts of law. Yet what better statement concerning the "research or scientific spirit" could be made than contained in the following quotation[2] from Gilman's writings?

It is perpetually active. It is the search for the truth—questioning, doubting, verifying, sifting, testing, proving, that which has been handed down; observing, weighing, measuring, comparing the phenomena of nature, open and recondite. In such researches, a degree of accuracy is nowadays reached which was impossible before the lens, the balance, and the metre, those marvelous instruments of precision, had attained their modern perfection. Wherever we look we may find indications of the scientific spirit. The search after origins and the grounds of belief, the love of natural history, the establishment of laboratories, the perfection of scientific apparaj;us, the formation of scientific associations, and the employment of scientific methods in history, politics, economics, philology, psychology, are examples of the trend of intellectual activity. The readiness of the general government and of many State legislatures to encourage surveys and bureaus, the establishment of museums of natural history, and the support of explorations illustrate this tendency. Even theology feels the influence. The ancient and sacred proverb has been rediscovered—the letter killeth and the spirit maketh alive. I will go only to the edge of this disputed territory and shelter my own opinions behind those of a learned devout prelate of the English Church (Bishop Walcott), whose words are these: "No one can believe more firmly than I do that we are living in a time of revelation, and that the teachings of physical science are to be for us what Greek literature was in the twelfth century.". . .

  1. "Chamber's Encyclopedia" is found to contain a short article on "Experiment"; also one on "Observation."
  2. Extracts from the "Launching of a University," 1906, pp. 147-150.