Popular Science Monthly/Volume 67/June 1905/The Progress of Science

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

THE CARNEGIE FOUNDATION.

Mr. Andrew Carnegie has added to his vast gifts for public purposes a foundation to provide pensions for college teachers. He has selected twenty-five trustees, all but three of whom are heads of educational institutions, and lias addressed to them a letter in which he states that he has transferred to them $10,000,000 five per cent, first mortgage bonds of the U. S. Steel Corporation to provide retiring pensions for the teachers of universities, colleges and technical schools in the United States, Canada and Newfoundland. Mr. Carnegie says: "I have reached the conclusion that the least rewarded of 'all the professions is that of the teacher in our higher educational institutions. New York City, generously, and very wisely, provides retiring pensions for teachers in her public schools and also for her policemen. Very few indeed of our colleges are able to do so. The consequences are grievous. Able men hesitate to adopt teaching as a career, and many old professors whose places should be occupied by younger men can not be retired." Strictly sectarian institutions and those supported by the state are excluded from participation.

This foundation opens up many problems of extreme importance. If it should be administered as a fund for indigent and disabled professors it would be an intolerable nuisance; but the trustees are of course too wise to permit any such outcome. Still it will be somewhat difficult to prevent it from becoming a charity. About ninety-five institutions are included in the preliminary list of those coming within the scope of the foundation. It would doubtless have been better to have distributed the money pro rata among such of these institutions as would agree to establish a pension system, and, as far as we can see, it would be best to distribute the income in this way. The obvious objection is that the demands of each institution would vary greatly from time to time. One of our leading universities with five hundred officers has a pension system, and we believe that there is at present only one professor on the retired list, whereas twenty years hence there may be a dozen. Still if the income were distributed among the institutions as a trust fund on condition that they establish a pension system, things would come out even in the long run. The expenses and machinery of administration would be reduced to a minimum, and the objectionable charity features would be avoided.

When an institution has a pension system, the professor who accepts a position in it does so under a business contract, and there is no question of any patronage or charity. Thus the statutes of Columbia University read: "Any professor who has been fifteen successive years or upwards in the service of the University, and who is also sixty-five years of age, or over, may at his own request signified to the president in writing, or upon motion of the trustees, be made an emeritus professor on half-pay from the beginning of the next succeeding fiscal year." When a man becomes a professor at Columbia University at the age of forty years, he has an expectation of life of about thirty years, and may look, say, to five years of half pay in retirement. As part of his salary an annuity is paid for by the university at the rate perhaps of $300 a year, and his salary is that much larger than the sum he receives. The income of the Carnegie Foundation should be administered in some such way. One of the most important results of the scheme will be the pressure brought on the state universities to establish pension systems. The College of the City of New York has already provided liberal pensions, and the example will doubtless be followed elsewhere.

If eleemosynary features can be eliminated from the Carnegie Foundation, the matter is reduced to a phase of the world-wide conflict between individualism and socialism. Should the college teacher be taken care of by society, or should he take care of himself? Much can certainly be urged in favor of life tenure of office, fixed salaries and pensions for university professors. They are thereby set free to do their work, exempt to a considerable extent from anxiety over their material support, from commercial standards, from intrigues and possible injustice, from hasty work, from fear of the consequences of free speech. There are many who will develop the highest scholarship and produce the best research work under these conditions. But there are some who go to sleep comfortably in such a utopia and others who find it irksome. It tends towards dependence on the part of the professor and despotism on the part of the administration, to small salaries, to petty rivalries for honors in place of the serious competition of real life, to a kind of panmixia, where all are chosen who are called and there is but little selection of the best. Probably most people who take thought look forward to socialism as a necessary outcome of the increased complexity of social conditions, but there will be division of opinion as to whether steps in this direction such as Mr. Carnegie's foundation should be welcomed or regretted.

 

THE CONFERENCE OF ANATOMISTS AT THE WISTAR INSTITUTE.

The conference of anatomists held on April 11 and 12 at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy, Philadelphia, portends an important step in the advancement of the science of anatomy in America. The men called to this conference differ widely in their interests, in their methods of work and interpretation, yet all are interested in the one great problem of anatomy in its broad sense. They were selected for this reason, as representing the various phases of activity in morphology. They were invited by the Wistar Institute of Anatomy at the suggestion of its director, Dr. M. J. Greenman, to meet in Philadelphia and discuss the relations which the institute might, with mutual advantage, bear to other forces in the promotion of anatomical research.

The following anatomists took part in the conference:

Dr. Lewellys F. Barker, professor of anatomy, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ills.

Dr. Edwin G. Conklin, professor of zoology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.

Dr. Henry H. Donaldson, professor of neurology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ills.

Mr. Simon H. Gage, professor of embryology, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.

Dr. G. Carl Huber, professor of embryology and histology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Dr. George S. Huntington, professor of anatomy, Columbia University, New York City.

Dr. Franklin P. Mall, professor of anatomy, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.

Dr. J. Playfair McMurrich, professor of anatomy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Dr. Charles S. Minot, professor of embryology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

Dr. George S. Piersol, professor of anatomy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
The belief of the institute authorities that there is much of common value to be gained by a cooperation of the institute with the anatomical forces of America is shared by many others, and it is the common opinion that the Wistar Institute, on account of its independent organization, will be of great value in supplementing the work
 
PSM V67 D192 Wistar institute of anatomy.png
The Wistar Institute of Anatomy, Woodland Avenue and 30th St., Philadelphia.
 

of other research schools and museums and especially in acting as a central institution for the collection and distribution of research materials and a storehouse for valuable morphological material which has been studied and is to be conserved for future comparisons. The Wistar Museum was instituted in 1808 by Dr. Casper Wistar and incorporated as an independent institution in 1893 to foster and increase and make useful the museum originally known as the Wistar, or Wistar and Horner Museum—the first museum of human anatomy in America—and to promote researches in human and comparative anatomy. A charter was secured from the state of Pennsylvania, a modern fireproof building and endowment being given by General Isaac J. Wistar to maintain the equipment. This endowment has been most generously doubled and quadrupled several times over since 1893 by the same donor, almost without the knowledge of its board of managers.

PSM V67 D193 Osteological material stored in dustproof cases.png

Method of Storing Valuable Osteological Material in Dust-proof Steel Cases; the Specimens are in Trays.

During the past twelve years the museum of the institute has multiplied its collections by six and their value by fifty, researches have been encouraged and much valuable work has been turned out, not to mention the great use which has been made of its museum (which is open free to the public), by students of medicine and natural history from the various educational institutions. The line in which the Wistar Institute has made decided progress is in museum technique; the development of new methods of exhibiting specimens, new dust proof steel and glass cases, new form of glass exhibition vessels, the value of which has been recognized both at home and abroad. Most of this work, especially the experimental part, is done in its own machine shops, and it is likely that a high degree of technical skill will be developed here. This in itself enables the institute to be of great assistance to research anatomy, especially in those
 
PSM V67 D194 Museum hall of the first floor.png
Museum Hall of First Floor.
 

branches of the work where serial sections and other difficult preparations are to be made.

With an equipment for anatomical work equal to any in the country, with an endowment equal to the sum total expended by the three great anatomical schools in the states, with no energies expended in teaching undergraduate students, the Wistar Institute, organized as an independent research institution, stands unique in this country for the substantial support and encouragement of anatomy. How can it be made of greatest use to the science? This problem, coupled with the fact that there is no central institute for anatomy in America devoted solely to the one purpose, where research materials may be collected together, properly prepared and sent freely to interpreters who can not come to the institute, was the reason for calling together ten leaders in the science. They discussed it from their various standpoints and were unanimous in their opinion as to the work which might be accomplished. It was fully agreed at the first session that the development of a museum and the pursuit of research are inseparably united. A committee was then appointed to formulate certain suggestions to be discussed at the second session of the conference; this committee presented the following propositions:

PSM V67 D195 Method of storing a human skeleton in tray.png

Method of Storing a Human Skeleton in a Tray.

Notes taken at the meeting of the committee yesterday are presented in the following order: (1) The principal object of the institute to be research and under these headings; (a) a chief of investigation, (b) research assistants or assistantships and men who shall divide their services between the museum proper and research, (c) technical assistants. (2) Research and materials: (a) research shall be in the field of neurology, (b) comparative anatomy and embryology. (3) Relations: (a) committee recommends that the subvention to the Journal of Anatomy be granted, (b) committee be appointed to consider relations of the Wistar Institute to American anatomists, (c) the Wistar Institute to apply to the Association of American Anatomists for cooperation. (4) That an advisory board of ten be appointed for general purposes: (a) to form a sub-committee on neurology as well as other sub-committees that may be needed, (b) to establish relations with the committee of the International Association of Academies for Brain Investigation and with other committees for collective investigation, (c) the committee recommends that the board bear in mind that while the general trend of work above outlined is recommended there is no intention to advise limitation of the functions of the institute to it exclusively.
This report was briefly discussed on the following day and presented to the Wistar Institute as the finished work of the conference. The institute accepted it and suggested that the advisory
 
PSM V67 D196 Anatomists conference at the wistar institute.png
Gage. Mall. Wister. Conklin. Greenman
(standing).
Minot.
Piersol. Barker. mcmurrich. Donaldson. Huber. Huntington.
Conference of Anatomists Held at the Wistar Institute on April 11 and 12, 1905.
 

board organize at once and outline any work that might seem proper, pending the approval of the board of managers of the institute. This was done by electing Dr. Charles S. Minot as chairman and Dr. M. J. Greenman as permanent secretary.

The advisory board proceeded to appoint the following committees: on neurology and the establishment of relations with the International Association of Academies, Dr. L. F. Barker, Dr. H. H. Donaldson, Dr. F. P. Mall, Dr. J. P. McMurrich, Dr. C. S. Minot (this committee to elect its own chairman); on relations of the Wistar Institute to American Anatomists, Professor S. H. Gage, chairman, Dr. Geo. A. Piersol, Dr. G. Carl Huber; on comparative anatomy and embryology, Dr. Geo. S. Huntington, chairman, Dr. E. G. Conklin, Dr. F. P. Mall.

This move on the part of the Wistar Institute places its future development largely in the hands of a national board of leaders in anatomy, a feature as unusual as it is desirable, and through the Wistar Institute the work of anatomical schools may be supplemented and strengthened and brought into cooperation. If the plan is carried out as successfully as it has been started, there will be a decided increase in the efficiency of every effort put forth in the science.

It is expected that through the advisory board the facilities and opportunities offered by the Wistar Institute will be brought to the notice of active American anatomists, that difficult problems for cooperative research will be proposed, especially in neurology. Material will be collected, prepared and distributed to workers who are unable to come to the institute laboratories. The Wistar Institute asks nothing in return for its opportunities and the material it sends out, neither does it require papers to be published in any particular journal. The returns are sufficient so long as the science is aided, and the greater service it can be to research workers in the development and spread of original knowledge the more nearly will its purpose be achieved. That the Wistar Institute appreciates the cooperation and suggestions of the anatomists is shown by the prompt manner in which its board of managers created the advisory board and elected to its membership the anatomists who took part in the conference. It is understood that the suggestions made at this conference will be carried out in every detail as fast as the resources of the institute will permit.

 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS.

We record with regret the deaths of Professor Otto Struve, director of the Poulkowa Observatory from 1862 to 1890; of Dr. Joseph Everett Dutton, who died in the Congo, where he was sent by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to investigate trypanosomiasis and tick fever; of M. Henri de Saussure, the French zoologist; of Mr. H. B. Medlicott, F.R.S., director of the Geological Survey of India from 1876 to 1887, and of Colonel Nicholas Pike, known for his contributions to the natural history of birds, reptiles and amphibia.

The National Academy of Sciences has elected to membership Professors John C. Branner, of Stanford University; William H. Holmes, of the Bureau of American Ethnology; William H. Howell, of Johns Hopkins University; Arthur A. Noyes, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Michael l. Pupin, of Columbia University. M. Henri Becquerel, of Paris, and Professor Paul von Groth, of Munich, have been elected foreign associates.

Professor E. B. Frost has been appointed director of the Yerkes Observatory by the trustees of the University of Chicago, in succession to Professor G. E. Hale, who gives his whole time to the establishment of the new Solar Observatory of the Carnegie Institution at Mt. Wilson, Cal.—Professor John F. Jameson, head of the department of history at the University of Chicago, has been offered the post of director of the Bureau of Historical Research in the Carnegie Institution, Washington, D. C. This position is vacant through the return of Professor J. Lawrence Laughlin to the University of Michigan.

Lord Rayleigh is about to retire from the professorship of natural philosophy at the Royal Institution, which he has held for eighteen years. He will be made honorary professor. Lord Rayleigh has given twenty-three Friday evening discourses and twenty-one courses of afternoon lectures at the institution.—Sir Patrick Manson has been invited to give the Lane lectures at the Cooper Medical College, California, this year. He will lecture on some aspect of tropical diseases.—Professor Hugo Münsterberg, of Harvard University, has declined the offer of a chair of philosophy, tendered to him by the University of Königsberg.

Dr. E. F. Nichols, professor of physics at Columbia University, has been awarded the Ernest Kempton Adams research fellowship, recently established at Columbia University by Mr. E. D. Adams in memory of his son. Professor Nichols has at present leave of absence and is working at Cambridge University.—Dr. Nettie Maria Stevens, of San Jose, California, associate in experimental morphology at Bryn Mawr College, has been awarded the prize of $1,000 offered every two years by the Association for Maintaining the American Woman's Table at the Zoological Station at Naples and for Promoting Scientific Research by Women.—The Smithsonian Institution has made a grant of $250 from the Hodgkins Fund to Professor W. P. Bradley, of Wesleyan University for an experimental study of the flow of air at high pressure through a nozzle.—The following appropriations have recently been made from the Rumford Fund of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: To Professor Charles B. Thwing, of Syracuse University, $150 in aid of his research on the thermo-electromotive force of metals and alloys; to Dr. Harry W. Morse, of Harvard University, $500 in aid of his research on fluorescence.

Dr. C. J. Martin, director of the Lister Institute, London, has been sent to India to investigate the plague. It is understood that with several bacteriologists he will carry on work at Kasauli. The deaths from the plague in India average more than 30.000 a week in spite of all efforts which have been made to cheek its ravages.

Plans have been filed for a fifteen-story building to cost $975,000, which Mr. Andrew Carnegie is to present to the Associated Societies of Engineers of New York. It is to be erected on the large plot from 25 to 33 West Thirty-ninth Street, and immediately adjoining it in the rear, facing at 32 and 34 West Fortieth Street, will be a thirteen-story club-house, which is to cost an additional $375,000, also part of Mr. Carnegie's gift.