Popular Science Monthly/Volume 72/June 1908/The Progress of Science

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AND THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

The scientific meetings held at Washington and Philadelphia during the third week of April offered programs of interest and were pleasant events for those able to attend them. Neither of these societies is exactly in touch with democratic institutions or is able to adjust itself to the differentiation of science, but they have shown in recent years more vitality than might have been expected. The National Academy has taken steps to make its scientific programs of greater general interest and has enlarged its membership, so that instead of at most five new members elected annually there may now be ten. The American Philosophical Society has within the past few years resumed to a certain extent the national character which it possessed when Philadelphia was the chief scientific center of the country. Its annual general meetings bring together a considerable group of men of science from different parts of the country, and the meeting two years ago to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Franklin, its founder, was probably the most elaborate and successful scientific celebration ever held in this country.

At the meeting of the National Academy in Washington there were twenty papers on the program, twelve by members and eight on introduction. Several of the papers were elaborately illustrated with the lantern, the most noteworthy slides being the extraordinary enlargements of photographs of cells, showing the chromosomes on which the determination of sex depends, made by Professor E. B. Wilson, of Columbia University. Other illustrated papers were presented by Professor W. M. Davis, of Harvard University, showing standard land forms for a proposed international atlas; by Professor W. B. Scott, of Princeton University, on the age of certain beds in Patagonia, with restorations of Santa Cruz mammals by Mr. C. R. Knight, of the American Museum of Natural History, and by Professor E. L. Mark, of Harvard University, on the Bermuda Biological Station at Agar's Island. Mr. Alexander Agassiz gave an account of the pelagic fauna of Victoria Nyanza and of the elevated reefs of Mombasa and the adjacent coast, and Professor T. C. Chamberlin, of the University of Chicago, described atmospheres supplementary to the one ordinarily considered. Then there were more technical papers. That such papers can be made attractive was shown by the account by Professor W. G. MacCallum, of the Johns Hopkins University, of the parathyroid glands in their relation to tetany and calcium metabolism, and by the paper of Professor F. R. Moulton, of the University of Chicago, on the application of periodic solutions of the problem of three bodies to the motion of the moon. Other events of the meeting were a visit to the newly constructed and admirably equipped geophysical laboratory of the Carnegie Institution, an illustration of which was shown in a recent issue of the Monthly, and a lecture on solar research, given under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution by Professor George E. Hale, of the Mt. Wilson Solar Observatory.

The new members elected were: Edwin Brant Frost, director of the Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago; William E. Storey, professor of mathematics, Clark University; Edward F. Nichols, professor of physics,

 
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New Buildings of the College of the City of New York.
 

Columbia University; W. F. Hillebrand, chemist in the U. S. Geological Survey; Wm. B. Clark, professor of geology, the Johns Hopkins University; Whitman Cross, geologist, U. S. Geological Survey; E. G. Conklin, professor of zoology, University of Pennsylvania, professor-elect of biology, Princeton University; Theobald Smith, professor of comparative pathology, Harvard Medical School; Simon Flexner, director of the laboratories of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.

At Philadelphia the program was twice as long and even more diverse, as the Philosophical Society includes in its scope the historical and philological sciences. Of the forty-two papers presented, it is possible to mention only three or four. Professor C. S. Minot, of Harvard University, discussed the differentiation of the protoplasm of the cell in its relation to reproduction; Professor H. S. Jennings, of the Johns Hopkins University, described experiments on inheritance among the protozoa. Dr. C. B. Davenport, of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, considered the extent to which Mendelian inheritance obtains; and Professors E. T. Reichart and A. P. Brown, of the University of Pennsylvania, showed that the crystals of oxyhemoglobin from the blood of different genera differ, and that even species can be recognized by the crystals. Dr. H. F. Osborn, president of the American Museum of Natural History, gave a lecture on the results of the Museum's explorations in the Fayfûm desert of northern Egypt, preceding a reception in the hall of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, and there was a concluding dinner with speeches by the Chinese minister and others.

 

DEDICATION OF THE NEW BUILDINGS OF THE COLLEGE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

The beautiful and well-planned buildings of the College of the City of New York were dedicated with ceremonies adequate to the event on the fourteenth of May. As shown in the accompanying sketch, drawn by Mr. Richard Rummell, they form a group of buildings such as has rarely if ever before been dedicated at one time to academic purposes. The situation on St. Nicholas Heights equals that of Columbia University, a mile to the south, and is less likely to be marred by the encroachments of shops and apartment houses. An institution of this character, which embodies in its external impressiveness as well as in its work and aims civic duty and pride, represents the best ideals of modern civilization.

The College of the City of New York is maintained by the people of the city for the education of its young men, and is in some respects unparalleled in this country or elsewhere. Philadelphia and Baltimore have high schools of nearly college rank, and Cincinnati has a municipal university, and these four institutions represent a movement likely to become general throughout the country. The College of the City of New York, in view of what it has already accomplished and in view of the great population and wealth of the city, seems destined to take the lead in an educational advance likely to be as important for the next generation as the evolution of the state universities has been for the present generation.

 

LEWIS HENRY MORGAN

Under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences there are published biographical memoirs of its deceased members. These documents are of value for the history of science in this country, but are not as widely circulated or as well known as they should be. Just published is a memoir of Lewis Henry Morgan by Mr. W. H. Holmes, chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology, which from several points of view is of special interest.

Morgan, who was born in Aurora,

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Lewis Henry Morgan.

N. Y., in 1818, and died in Rochester in 1881, was by profession a lawyer and man of affairs, interested in the first development of the railway system in the middle west, a member of the legislature, both house and senate. He was thus the type of man more usually found among the hereditary upper classes of Great Britain than in our industrial democracy. In view of the increasing specialization of science, there appears to be but little place for the amateur and perhaps this is not to be regretted. But those who begin as amateurs and become serious students with science for their main concern, arc selected from large numbers in accordance with interests and talent, and the threatened disappearance of such a group is a serious loss to science.

As a young man Morgan became interested in the League of the Iroquois Indians and an intimate friend of Hasa-no-dú-da, or Ely S. Parker, a Seneca Indian, later commissioner of Indian affairs. He was adopted into a clan of the Seneca nation and admitted fully to its society. His intimate knowledge resulted in the publication of a book on "The League of the Iroquois," the first scientific account of an Indian tribe. Morgan then became well acquainted with the Algonquins and other families and prepared his volume on "Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family." This was followed by his important work on "Ancient Society," which treats the growth of intelligence through inventions and discoveries, of government, of the family and of property. He was also the author of works on "Houses and House-life of the American Algonquins" and on "The American Beaver."

Morgan bequeathed most of his property to the University of Rochester for the higher education of woman. His anthropological works led him to say: "Democracy in government, brotherhood in society, equality in rights and privileges, and universal education foreshadow the next higher plane of society to which experience, intelligence and knowledge are steadily tending. It will be a revival, in a higher form, of the liberty, equality and fraternity of the ancient gentes." Morgan was not only a pioneer and leader in the study of the American Indians, but one of the founders of ethnology, a science likely to become dominant in the course of the present century.

 

THE SARGENT ANNIVERSARY MEDAL

The former students and friends of Dudley Allen Sargent, A.M., Sc.D., M.D., director of the Hemenway Gymnasium, Harvard University, have presented him with a bronze medallion. The medallion, designed by Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, has above the face of Dr. Sargent the words "Dudley Allen Sargent, Pioneer in Physical Education, 1907," while on the reverse is a row of five Harvard seals below the words, "A Recognition by his Friends and Students." Two hundred and thirty persons contributed to the medallion fund. A plaster model of the medallion and a bound volume containing the autographs of the contributors to the fund were presented to Dr. Sargent by Dr. Luther Halsey Gulick at the twenty-fifth commencement of the Sargent Normal School of Physical Training held in Sandars Theater, June 1, 1907. The bronze medallion was finished recently and presented to Dr. Sargent. The Sargent medallion committee is having struck a limited number of copies of the medal. These are to be presented to President Roosevelt, Secretary William Taft, Major General Bell. Governor Curtis Guild and Booker T. Washington, who were all students under Dr. Sargent.

 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS

We record with regret the death of Dr. Robert Chalmers, of the Canadian

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Medal Struck in honor of Dr. Dudley Allen Sargent.

Geological Survey, and of Professor Franz von Leydig, the eminent zoologist of Bonn University.

The body of Emmanuel Swedenbourg has been removed from the Swedish church in London, where it was buried on his death in 1772, and taken by a Swedish man-of-war to Stockholm, where it will be interred.—By the will of Lord Kelvin, Lady Kelvin is appointed sole executrix, and all his property is bequeathed to her. According to the inventory, the value of the property is over $800,000.—The bill providing a pension of $125 monthly each to the widows of Drs. James Carroll and Jesse W. Lazear has passed the congress by a unanimous vote.

Professor Frederick F. Jones, dean of the College of Engineering and Mechanical Arts in the University of Minnesota, has been elected dean of the academic faculty of Yale University. Professor Jones graduated from Yale College in 1884 and has been connected with the University of Minnesota since 1885.—At the University of Wisconsin Professor Carl C. Thomas, now head of the department of marine engineering of Cornell University, has been elected to the professorship of steam engineering made vacant by the death of Storm Bull.

The Boston Society of Natural History has awarded the Walker grand honorary prize of one thousand dollars to Dr. Grove Karl Gilbert, of the United States Geological Survey. This award is made once in five years under the terms of the will of the late William Johnson Walker, a benefactor of the society, "for such scientific investigation or discovery in natural history as the council may think deserving thereof; provided such investigation or discovery shall have first been made known and published in the United States of America." The previous recipients of the Walker grand prize have been: Alexander Agassiz, Joseph Leidy, James Hall, James D. Dana, Samuel H. Scudder and Joel A. Allen.—The Rumford medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has been awarded to Dr. Edward G. Acheson, of Niagara Falls, for his work with the electric furnace.—Dr. William H. Walker, professor of technical chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been presented by the New York Section of the American Chemical Society with the Nichols medal.