Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/384

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the relations of scientific bodies to what may be called the outlying and adjoining departments of thought, culture, and mental activity. The contrast, for example, between the Germans and the English in the policy and management of their great popular scientific associations is, in various respects, striking and instructive, and an intelligent correspondent of Nature has lately drawn attention to some of their peculiarities, which are so suggestive as to deserve a special notice.

The writer intimates that the "Association of German Natural Philosophers and Physicians," which was founded in 1822, is the original of the British Association, which was established some years later, and modeled in various respects upon the German pattern. Speaking of the late meeting which was held in September at Gratz, the chief town of Styria, in one of the most beautiful valleys of the Austrian Alps, after noting that the number of those in attendance corresponds very nearly with the average number of attendants at the British Association, he adds that, although this may be a merely fortuitous resemblance, yet "both associations are convened for the same number of days; both hold the same number of general and sectional meetings; they resemble each other in the nature of the recreations offered to visitors—excursions, dinners, and concerts, to which, in Germany and Austria, are added balls and theatrical performances, while England has the private hospitality of its nobles and rich manufacturers and merchants to offer, which does not enter into the German programme, or certainly does not appear in it to the same extent. A festivity of a peculiar character, in addition to those named, was offered by the municipality of Gratz: an illumination by bonfires of the mountains surrounding the town, a sight of most impressive beauty."

The chief points of contrast in the proceedings of the two bodies are stated to be that, "generally speaking, there are no evening meetings in Germany, and, the festivals being of a public nature (not depending upon private hospitality), the connection between the visitors is greater than it is at the British meetings. The peculiarity of the German meetings is the absence of a president; two chargés d'affaires being nominated to conduct the business of the Association—one a natural philosopher and the other a physician. The sections nominate new presidents for each of their daily meetings. A consequence of this arrangement is a certain want of formality. No retrospective introductions (presidential addresses) are offered at the opening of the sectional meetings, no criticisms of the work of fellow-workers by more or less competent critics, no sweeping remarks on the state of science in general. In two respects the British Association has an indisputable advantage over the German meetings. Those splendidly illustrated evening lectures addressed to the general public, which form one of the attractions of the meetings in the United Kingdom, are not offered in Germany. Again, the funds of the German Association are small; they are spent for the purposes of each meeting, and no money can be given in grants for scientific purposes, as is done in Great Britain. On the other hand, the German Association offers the advantage of a speedy publication of its transactions. Instead of publishing an annual volume long after the close of the meetings, the German Association offers a daily paper, giving the proceedings in a more or less condensed form, according to the notes given by members to the general or sectional secretaries. Generally, some supplementary numbers are issued completing the report within one month after the conclusion of the meeting."

The German scientists are furthermore contrasted with those of England by their more pronounced repudiation