Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/520

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

which showed that the correlation was about 0.60. The student who did well in Latin not only was likely to do well in other studies, but was as likely to do as well in mathematics or in gymnasium work as in French. Ability and hard work lead to success rather than special aptitudes or previous training. Apart from manual skill, the student can learn in four years about as much as he is able to remember, and consequently students at the end of the Harvard medical course can pass their examinations about as well whatever were their studies four to eight years before.

This does not, however, mean that a student might not have passed these examinations equally well if he had begun his medical work two years sooner and begun to practise medicine two years earlier, or that he would not have been a better prepared physician if he had left the college at the end of the sophomore year and spent six years in the work of the medical school. The real difficulty in the way of a prolonged college course in its bearing on future professional work is that the student begins too late. This is an economic danger, as only the well-to-do can enter the professions, and it is psychologically unfortunate, as by the time a man has begun his real work in life, he has passed the period when he is best able to learn how to carry it forward and most likely to have new ideas.

 

THE PORTSMOUTH MEETING OF THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION.

The meeting of the British Association at Portsmouth appears to have maintained the high traditions of its eighty years of scientific service. The attendance of about J, 400 was smaller than usual, but this depends on the number of local associates who join for the meeting. Details are not at hand for Portsmouth, but at one of the larger recent meetings there were in attendance 885 members, a large part of whom were not engaged in scientific work, and in addition to these there were registered 1,384 local associates and 873 ladies. This indicates a striking difference between the meetings of the British and American associations, which has become even more emphasized in recent years. At the approaching meeting of the American Association and its affiliated societies at Washington, there will probably be about 2,500 members in attendance who will be almost exclusively scientific men. They go to attend the meetings of the special societies having very technical programs; the people of the city will know very little about the meetings and will not even attend the addresses and sessions which might be of interest to them.

The constitution of the British Association states that one of its principal objects is "to obtain a more general attention to the objects of science." The constitution of the American Association contains a similar statement. Both associations have concerned themselves with the diffusion as well as with the advancement of science, and it must be admitted that the British Association has in this direction been the more successful. It accomplishes more for the city in which it meets, and the city in turn provides social functions such as are unknown in this country. At Portsmouth there were two dukes ready to entertain the members at their castles and a bishop to preach for them on Sunday. The mayor offered both a garden party and an evening reception, and there were all sorts of social entertainments. There were excursions to the Isle of Wight and to the New Forest, and the members were taken on a battleship to witness an attack by torpedo-boat destroyers and submarines. The association in turn arranged a number of public lectures and general addresses, and these were fully reported in the daily press. Thus the London Times published the address of the president, Sir William Ramsay, and large parts of other addresses, together with full accounts of the proceedings. It printed in advance an elaborate forecast of the meeting and afterwards an