Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/108

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104
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

professors, and for the professors in turn to teach and know all the students, and to feel personally responsible for the work of the whole institution. It is, however, somewhat difficult to decide how the number of students shall be limited. According to the committee it should be done by competitive examinations. This, however, is a doubtful expedient, as the preparation for a competitive examination is not necessarily the best educational method, and young students who can pass such an examination with the highest grades are not always those who will be successful in their later work. It would apparently be a better plan to admit all promising students and to drop a considerable percentage at the close of the first year. Under these conditions students are likely to work well at the start, whereas if they pass a competitive examination of which they do not particularly approve they may feel that they deserve some relaxation. It would probably be desirable for Amherst to decrease the number of students by giving up the degree of B.S., unless the college is prepared to offer adequate courses in the natural and exact science. The degree of B.S. at certain colleges is scarcely more reputable than the degree of B.E.—bachelor of the elements—which is given by one college to the students who fail to obtain any other degree.

The third recommendation of the committee will certainly be approved by college professors. The maximum salary at Amherst is $3,000 and the committee finds that, on the average, professors spend a thousand dollars in excess of their salary. This fact is in itself not significant, for it might mean that one or two professors had large incomes. To make the figures of value the committee should give the number of professors who spend on their living more than three thousand dollars. It is, however, well known that college and university professors receive relatively smaller salaries than men at the head of the other professions, and if a college such as Amherst wishes to obtain and retain for its faculty men of the highest ability, the salaries must be increased.

 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS

We record with regret the deaths of Dr. Samuel H. Scudder, of Cambridge, eminent for his contributions to entomology; of Dr. Stanford Emerson Chaillé, for forty-one years professor of physiology and pathological anatomy in the medical department of Tulane University; of Dr. Edward Burnett Vorhees, professor of agriculture at Rutgers College and director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station; of Professor William Russell Dudley, professor of botany in Stanford University; of Nathaniel Wright Lord, professor of mineralogy and metallurgy in the Ohio State University; of Mrs. Williamina Paton Fleming, curator of astronomical photographs in the Harvard College Observatory, and of Dr. N. Story Maskelyne, from 1856 to 1895 professor of mineralogy at Oxford.

Professor E. C. Pickering, director of the Harvard College Observatory, has been created knight of the Prussian order Pour le mérite. Simon Newcomb and Alexander Agassiz are the only other American men of science on whom this honor has been conferred.—At its annual meeting the American Academy of Arts and Sciences voted to award the Rumford premium to Professor James Mason Crafts "for his investigations in high temperature thermometry and the exact determination of new fixed reference points on the thermometric scale.'

During his recent visit to Washington at the time of the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, Sir John Murray presented a fund of six thousand dollars to the academy for the purpose of founding an Alexander Agassiz gold medal which shall be awarded to scientific men in any part of the world for original contributions to the science of oceanography.