Page:Science and Citizenship.djvu/48

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Science and Citizenship

every young scientist to become an "authority." In the many graduated stages towards this consummation there is one of special significance. If the young observer steadily continues his observations and interpretations, and faithfully compares his results with the records of science, he will find that he steadily progresses towards a climax. He will some day catch a moment or a mood, a phrase or a happening, in the fleeting movement of things, which will thrill him with an emotion intenser than any he has before experienced. He will instinctively feel that one of the secrets of the universe has been revealed to him and to him alone. Under the mysterious glow of an unforgetable enthusiasm he will feel his personality expand, until the self of his ego meets and touches in a sublime union the self of the world. In other words, he has been initiated into the fraternity of science, and for the first time he is, and feels himself to be, no longer a mere novice, but a full brother of the community.

It is clear we are here in the presence of a psychological phenomenon known in another walk of life as Conversion. In science it is known as the discovery of new truth. It may be a truth which is of the most trifling importance in relation to the total body of ordered knowledge which we call science. But the event is, in the life history of the individual scientist, one of most profound significance. It is, if not a turning-point in his career, yet an experience which will not be without its effect upon his whole future life. As is the way