Popular Science Monthly/Volume 66/February 1905/The Progress of Science
CONVOCATION WEEK IN PHILADELPHIA.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science has been fortunate in its associations with Philadelphia. In our last issue we called attention to the fact that its first meeting was held there in 1848, and it was there again in 1884 that the registered attendance reached its maximum of 1,261, including 303 representatives of the British Association. If we include the members of societies which met in affiliation with the association at the third Philadelphia meeting, held during convocation week in December, the number of scientific men in attendance must be estimated as about 1,200, although only 581 members registered under the several sections of the association. Perhaps there has never been a larger gathering of American workers in science. More significant than mere numbers is the representative character of the men in attendance, the spirit of the convocation as a whole and its influence upon the general public. In all these respects the recent meetings at Philadelphia were eminently successful. There were, in addition to the nine sections of the association which were in session, thirty affiliated societies and scientific clubs, including a majority of the national societies in the exact and natural sciences. More than 500 papers were read, covering even a wider range of topics than the names of the societies would indicate.
The societies were comfortably accommodated in the beautiful buildings of the University of Pennsylvania, many of which were independent objects of interest to visiting members. The material conveniences were but typical of the hospitality which the several societies enjoyed at the hands of the provost, vice-provost and faculty of the university and the local committee. A feature in the entertainment of guests was the lunch provided daily for all in attendance. There were the usual receptions, smokers, etc., and excursions to many places of interest to all scientific men or to special groups, including such important local institutions as the Baldwin Locomotive Works, Cramp's Ship Yard, the United States Mint and the Navy Yard.The number and variety of papers of popular interest was notable, including discussions of some of the most promising applications of science in invention and industry, in agriculture, in medicine and in social economics. All the societies were fortunate in that the American Association had secured the services of Mr. Theodore Waters, as press secretary, in older to insure more adequate reporting of the meetings than has been possible hitherto. This is an important consideration, as it is assuredly one of the purposes of the association to impress upon the general public the dignity and importance of science. Modern civilization is increasingly dependent on the progress of science, and men of science must profit by the sympathy and support of the public benefiting by their labors. Owing partly to geographical conditions, partly to inadequate organization, though doubtless not wholly to these causes, there is here less public interest and general participation in the annual meetings of the American Association than is the case in England with regard to the British Association. It is evident, however, that our public interest
Professor of Physiology, Harvard Medical School, Vice-President for Physiology and Experimental Medicine.
Professor of Chemistry, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Vice-President for Chemistry.
THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION.
Professor of Experimental Mechanics and Engineering Physics, Stevens Institute of Technology, Vice-President for Science and Engineering.
Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany, Harvard University, Vice-President for Botany.
of social and economic science, having been secretary for the last two, and at different times elected to the vice-presidency of the same. At Philadelphia he gave the vice-presidential address before Section D on 'Lines of Progress in Engineering.' His portrait will be found in the issue of the Monthly for February. 1904. Space does not permit more than a list of the well-known names of the newly elected vice-presidents, which are as follows:
Section of Mathematics and Astronomy—Professor W. S. Eichelberger, Washington. D. C.
Section of Physics—Professor Henry Crew. Evanston, Ill.
Section of Chemistry—Professor Charles F. Mabery, Cleveland, Ohio.
Section of Mechanical Science and Engineering.—Professor F. W. McNair. Houghton, Mich.
Section of Geology.—Professor William North Rice, Middletown, Conn.
Section of Zoology.—Professor H. B. Ward, Lincoln, Nebr.
Section of Botany.—Dr. Erwin F. Smith, Washington, D. C.
Section of Anthropology.—Dr. George Grant McCurdy, New Haven, Conn.
Section of Social and Economic Science.—Professor Irving Fischer, New Haven, Conn.Section of Physiology and Experimental Medicine.—Professor William T. Sedgwick, Boston. Mass.
Dr. L. O. Howard, of Washington, D. C., was reelected for a term of five years, as permanent secretary;C. A. Waldo, of Lafayette, Ind., as general secretary and Professor John F. Hayford, of Washington, D. C., as secretary of the council.
THE PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS.
State Geologist of Alabama and Professor of Geology in the University of Alabama, Vice-President for Geology and Geography.
physiological and psychological conditions of efficiency as factors in the labor problem. It was shown how the progress of science has resulted in the abandonment or modification of the hard and fast theories of the classic school of political economists and the substitution of more flexible formulas, suited to the number and variety of facts brought to light by newer methods of investigation not only in economic and social science, but in the so-called exact and natural sciences as well. Modifications of old 'laws' also become necessary as the result of the progress of applied science, the extensive use of machinery, e. g., tending to modify the operation of the 'law of diminishing returns.' Agricultural science, or more accurately, the agricultural sciences, stand in the closest relation to the economic situation in any civilized country, and consequently not only to the science of economics, but to governmental policy.President Wright's address was typical of the interests and objects for which the association exists. The Popular Science Monthly has consistently maintained that science is not a thing apart, the curious pastime of an exclusive clique, but that it is nothing more nor less than the most complete and exact statement of fact that can be reached by the most careful and thorough methods of inquiry, and that
Assistant Curator, Division of Ethnology, U. S. National Museum, Vice-President for Anthropology.
Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission, Vice-President for Social and Economic Science.
science shall have become satisfactorily organized within, then it will be possible for science as a whole to take its proper place in public affairs.
President of the Case School of Applied Science, Cleveland, Ohio; General Secretary o the American Association.
Chief of the Division of Entomology, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Permanent Secretary of the American Association.
there is at the same time a growing class of problems which may be termed synthetic, to which special students must devote themselves without reference to the traditional boundaries of the separate sciences. These include the problems of evolution and many of the most pressing problems of solar research, geophysics, and the like, and still more of such applied sciences as medicine, agriculture and engineering. This suggests one of the strongest reasons, appealing to the interests of pure research itself, for a common meeting-ground of investigators in artificially separated though not unrelated fields, which shall serve as a clearing house for different classes of students at work on the same problems.Professor William James, the eminent psychologist, who made a notable presidential address before the psychological association this year, was elected president of the American Society of Naturalists for the next meeting. There will inevitably be some separation of the societies next year, but it is hoped that all will be reunited for an especially good general meeting at Boston the year following.
The Nobel prize for physics has been awarded to Lord Rayleigh, professor of natural philosophy at the Royal Institution. The chemistry prize is conferred upon Sir William Ramsay, professor of chemistry at University College. M. Pavloff, professor at the Military Academy of Medicine at St. Petersburg, receives the prize for physiology and medicine. The literature prize is divided between M. Mistral, the Provencal poet, and Don Jose Echegaray, the Spanish dramatist. The peace prize has been awarded to the Institute of International Law.
Mr. Luther Burbank, whose important work on plant-breeding was described by President Jordan in the last issue of the Monthly, has been appointed a special lecturer at Stanford University. He has received a liberal grant from the Carnegie Institution, which will permit him to devote himself to scientific work—Professor Svante Arrhenius has been made head of a laboratory for physical chemistry, to be established at Stockholm by the Nobel Institute.—Dr. Horace Jayne has resigned the directorship of the Wistar Institute of the University of Pennsylvania.
Professor S. W. Burnham, astronomer at the Yerkes Observatory, has been awarded the Lalande gold medal of the French Academy of Sciences for his researches in astronomy.—The Lavoisier medal has been awarded to Sir James Dewar.—Professor G. Sergi has heen made president for the International Congress of Psychology to be held at Rome from April 26 to 30 of the present year.—Lord Kelvin has accepted the nomination of the council for the presidency of the London Faraday Society, in succession to Sir Joseph Swan.