Popular Science Monthly/Volume 75/December 1909/The Progress of Science

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE MEDICAL SCHOOL AND THE COLLEGE

The marble palaces which American millionaires have built for the Medical School of Harvard University are justified by their beauty. They will house part of the meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the affiliated societies during convocation week at the end of the present month, and it would be worth while for scientific men from a distance to attend the meetings if their only object were to see these beautiful and stately halls. But these buildings have not solved the complicated problems of medical education; they have, to a certain extent, fossilized the system of sequestering the medical school from the university. Reinforced cement at Cambridge might have accomplished more for training and research in the medical sciences than marble on the Boston fens.

President Eliot appears to be in large measure responsible for separating the medical school from the university both in space and time. Shortly before his retirement, he appointed a dean of the school who to a certain extent shares his views. Dean Christian, in his address at the dedication of the Medical Department of Stanford University, said that the institutions which have adopted a combined academic and medical course "have succeeded in rendering the A.B. degree of less value and significance than formerly and have sacrificed one or two years of college work while seeking to conceal this fact by the award of the two degrees, A.B. and M.D."

President Lowell, who does not hesitate to express educational theories at variance with those of his predecessor, agrees with him in wanting to base the professional schools on the college, and apparently would have the professional schools so ordered that "every college graduate ought to be equipped to enter any professional school." In his inaugural address he says: "Our law school lays great stress upon native ability and scholarly aptitude, and comparatively little upon the particular branches of learning a student has pursued in college.... Many professors of medicine, on the other hand, feel strongly that a student should enter their school with at least a rudimentary knowledge of those sciences, like chemistry, biology and physiology, which are interwoven with medical studies; and they appear to attach greater weight to this than to his natural capacity or general attainments."

It may be doubted whether in the Harvard Medical School or elsewhere there are professors who attach greater weight to rudimentary knowledge of certain sciences than to natural capacity and general attainments. But there are those in the Harvard Medical School, as appears from an extended article filling half the Harvard Bulletin for November 3, who do not approve the attitude of the administration in determining the relation between the college and the medical school. It is there argued that students in the college should be permitted to study in the college the sciences required by the medical student, as they now can the sciences preliminary to engineering, and that it should be possible for the student to complete both his college work and his medical course in six years.

President Lowell apparently wants a four-year college course, followed by a medical course which can not count on any special knowledge on the part of the student—it should in this case be five years—and this must be followed by a year or two in the hospital. Students are on the average over eighteen years old when they enter Harvard, and the physician would not begin to practise medicine and to learn what can only be taught by practise until he is nearly thirty. To this late start in life there are serious objections both educational and economic.

It may be that the local separation of the medical school from the rest of the university which obtains at Harvard and also elsewhere, as at Columbia and the Johns Hopkins, may ultimately lead to greater independence on the part of the medical school. In this country we find that medical schools were usually started as independent institutions which later became parts of universities. This was a great advance, for the medical schools were largely proprietary institutions whose standards were lower than in the university. But it is perhaps now true that the spirit of scholarship and research is more advanced in the medical school than in the college. When a medical school is sufficiently well endowed and its professors are men devoted to research, it is probable that it would be best for it to take charge of the education of students after they leave the high school, whether their period of instruction is to be four years or ten. The resources of the college and the graduate schools could be fully used, but men engaged in medical practise, teaching and investigation should be responsible for the education required by physicians and by those preparing to undertake research work in the medical sciences.

 

KAKICHI MITSUKURI, 1858-1909

In Tokyo on September 16, after a long illness, died Kakichi Mitsukuri, professor of zoology in the Imperial University, dean of the college of science, and the foremost zoologist of Japan.

Any one might safely have predicted that Mitsukuri would succeed. For he came from stock which was both intellectual and energetic. For generations his family had produced prominent scholars, especially physicians, and I recall that one of his forefathers had learned the Dutch language and was translating works in surgery and anatomy in the days of the early Tokugawas, when such exotic studies were punishable with death. And it came to pass that this family with its tradition of western learning pushed to the front in the enlightened upheaval of the restoration. And that of its youngest members Mitsukuri and two of his brothers were among the scholars who sought the training of foreign universities. They were better by one than par nobile fratrum, those young Mitsukuri, and if they could have looked from their ship into the waters of the future they would have seen themselves high in the counsels of a new and national university, one of them a dean of a college, another a peer, a minister of education, and a president of a university.

Mitsukuri Kakichi, as he is known in Japan, owed his training largely to the United States. He received his first foreign education in Hartford—he was then but a boy and was in the care of the Misses Goldthwaite, to whom his gratitude was ever almost filial. In 1875 he entered the Sheffield Scientific School, and took his degree of Ph.B. in 1879. The same year he matriculated at Johns Hopkins and studied with Brooks and Newell Martin for four years. In 1881 he became fellow in biology and he took his degree (Ph.D.) in 1883. It may be mentioned that his thesis "On the Gills of Nucula" has not fallen into the limbo of forgotten dissertations. In his Hopkins days he was an enthusiastic frequenter of the Chesapeake laboratory, and was an intimate of his fellow students, Fessenden Clark, Sedgwick and Wilson. After this he traveled in Europe, visited universities, English and continental, and thence returned to Japan. There he arrived at an opportune moment: the department of zoology which had been organized by Morse and given a second bent by Whitman, was in a state of upheaval. Japan in general was then beginning to assert her intellectual rights: from the imported foreigners it had learned nearly all it felt the need of, and in this instance there seemed no reason why one branch of the educational work should not be carried on entirely by Japanese. Mitsukuri entered into the work with his new training, and with a knowledge of Japanese diplomacy and breeding and obligations which no foreigner, at least in those days, had mastered. So it came about that the department of zoology began a new development, and in this work Mitsukuri would be the first to testify how much he owed to his trusted associate, Professor Iijima, and his other colleagues.

Mitsukuri devoted much of his life in Japan to his numerous pupils, sacrificing to no little degree his research work. He was tireless in his attendance at the university, accessible at all times, and with an affectionate friendliness which no one appreciates more keenly than a Japanese. "I feel I have lost a parent," writes Dr. M—. And this is the common sentiment among his pupils. His attitude was ideal: he was frank, inspiring, uncompromising when a question involved accuracy or scientific purpose. "How different," he would say, "is the training of the diplomat and the scientist—the one studies to dress up the truth, the other to expose it naked." in spite of his long years of foreign training" because of it," he would perhaps have said), Mitsukuri was intensely Japanese—patriotic to his finger-tips, alert to point out the advantages of his country's ways, but like Okakura, so skilful in his dissection of the failings of his foreign friends that they never minded the pain. None the less, I have still the feeling that the Japanese looked upon him as somewhat too progressive. He admitted foreigners among his most intimate friends, he had rooms in his house in foreign style, and his family took its place in social gatherings in the same informal way as in America or Europe. And he could think as a foreigner, and he certainly could write as one, for his English never betrayed him. And he had a wide circle of correspondents for whom he was constantly doing, and with the greatest courtesy, troublesome favors.

For zoology in Japan Mitsukuri did these things: He directed the upbuilding of the zoological and, to a certain degree (as dean of the science college), the scientific work of the university; he organized zoology in Japan, making his department its focus, not only in technical matters but popular and semi-popular as well; he was the moving spirit in sending zoological expeditions throughout Japan from Sagahalin to the Liu Chiu islands—even to Tai Wan; he was conspicuous in founding and developing the Misaki Biological Station; he was potent in building up a fisheries bureau, officered it with his pupils and contributed to its publications; he gave an important stimulus to the pearl industry in Japan and furnished numerous ideas to the culturists who sought to produce natural pearls by artificial means; and last of all he lifted up the position of zoology throughout the country by means of his many-sided teachings and by means of the influence exerted in his behalf by many friends in all stations. In this regard it has often been said he had not a few personal attributes of our own Professor Baird.

His researches cover many branches of zoology. At the time of his death he was completing a monograph of the holothurians of Japan. "We must do systematic work," he said in mock apology, "for you know that nearly everything we find here is new, and it

 
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Kakichi Mitsukuri.
 

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The Spruce Tree House.

will be decades before we outgrow the zoological age of Linné But his great work was undoubtedly reptilian embryology—indeed his papers on the gastrulation and embryonic membranes of turtles have long become classic. Here, for example, he first gave the correct interpretation of the primitive streak, discovering the rudiment of the yolk plug and enabled comparisons, on the one hand, with the amphibian, on the other, with avian and mammalian types. Here, also, he gave the first satisfactory explanation of the relation of the archenteric to the subgerminal cavity, and the peculiar growth of the sero-amniotic canal, which, by the way, one of his pupils afterwards demonstrated in the chick. It is in a manner the test of the bigness of Mitsukuri that with the keen interest in his purely morphological work he did not fear loss of dignity by contributing to economic subjects. A delightful little paper is his report on Japanese oyster culture, quite after the fashion of his old teacher, Professor Brooks.

 

THE SPRUCE TREE HOUSE OF THE MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK

Dr. J. W. Fewkes has performed a useful service in exploring and restoring one of the great aboriginal monuments of the country, and the Bureau of Ethnology has now printed a description of the ruin. The Spruce Tree House and the Cliff Palace, the largest of the ruins of the Mesa Verde Park, were discovered by native cattle herders, and were first adequately described by Baron Gustav Nordenskiold in 1893. The imposing ruin shown in the illustrations extends 216 feet under the over-hanging cliff. It contains about 120 rooms and probably housed some 350 people.

The buildings are divided by an alley into two sections, the northern being the larger and the older. There are in all eight subterranean rooms, which were used for ceremonial purposes and are known as kivas. Above these are plazas used for dancing and other ceremonies, and about the plazas are the living and other rooms, sometimes

 
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Kiva D, from the North.
 
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North end of the Ruin, showing Masonry Pillar.
 

in three tiers. These rooms are small and usually dark, the only entrance being often a small doorway which served also for window and chimney.

The kivas, one of which is shown in the illustration, are curious structures, probably survivals of pit-houses of an antecedent people. Two walls enclose the circular room, on the inner of which rest six pedestals which support the roof beams consisting of cedar logs cut with stone axes. The fire-place is in the floor and there is a second depression which is a symbolic opening into the under-world. In addition to the kivas there are two other circular rooms and several rectangular rooms, which were probably used for ceremonial purposes. There is also a mortuary room, in which several skeletons have been found.

The culture was apparently self-centered; the people were farmers, timid, industrious and superstitious; they seem never to have ventured far from home and seldom met strangers; the language they spoke is unknown.

 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS

We regret to record the death of Dr. William Torry Harris, for many years U. S. Commissioner of Education and eminent for his contributions to education and philosophy.

The Copley medal of the Royal Society has been awarded to Dr. G. W. Hill, the eminent American astronomer.—Dr. Theodore W. Richards, professor of chemistry at Harvard University, has been elected a corresponding member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.—Professor J. H. Van Amringe, head of the department of mathematics in Columbia University, and dean of the college, will retire from active service at the end of the present academic year, when he will have completed fifty years of service for the institution and reached his seventy-fifth birthday.

Mr. John D. Rockefeller has given the sum of $1,000,000 to combat the hookworm disease and has selected a commission to administer the fund which includes Dr. William H. Welch, professor of pathology in Johns hopkins University; Dr. Simon Flexner, director of Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, and Dr. Ch. Wardell Stiles, chief of the division of zoology, United States Public Health and Marine Hospital Service, discoverer of the prevalence of the disease in America.

By the will of John Stewart Kennedy, the banker of New York City, who died on October 31, in his eightieth year, bequests are made for public purposes amounting to some $30,000,000. The bequests depend on the size of the estate and the amounts are conservative estimates. They include seven bequests of $2,225,000 each, respectively, for Columbia University, the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, and to three of the boards of the Presbyterian Church; of $1,500,000 to Robert College, Constantinople, and to the United Charities of New York; $750,000 to New York University and the Charity Organization Society of New York for its School of Philanthropy; $100,000 to the University of Glasgow, Yale University, Amherst College, Williams College, Dartmouth College, Bowdoin College, Hamilton College, the Protestant College at Beirut, the Tuskegee Institute and Hampden Institute; $50,000 to Lafayette College, Oberlin College, Wellesley College, Barnard College (Columbia University), Teachers College (Columbia University), Elmira College, Northfield Seminary, Berea College, Mt. Hermon Boys' School and Anatolia College, Turkey; $25,000 to Lake Forest University and Center College; $20,000 to Cooper Union. There are also a number of other bequests to hospitals and charities.