Popular Science Monthly/Volume 78/April 1911/The Progress of Science

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES IN 1910

Preliminary announcements have been made of the population of the states and of some of the cities as determined by the thirteenth census. The population of continental United States is 91,972,267, as compared with 75,994,575 in 1900, an increase of 21 per cent. This is the smallest rate of increase hitherto recorded, but is practically the same as for the preceding decade. The accompanying chart shows the percentages of increase, those prior to the first census of 1790 being somewhat rough estimates. Apart from drops at the time of the war of revolution and the civil war the percentage remained very constant for two centuries, but in spite of the large immigration it has dropped in the past fifty years from 35 to 21.

It is unsafe to make any prediction from such figures but it is clear that the increase in population has been maintained by immigration and by a falling death rate, and it is doubtful whether these factors will continue to make up for the declining birth rate. In 1820 there were 489 children under 16 years old among each thousand of the white population—that is, about half were children. In 1900 the number of children had fallen to 356 and in New England to 291. Or, to put the matter in another form, there were in

PSM V78 D419 Us population increase between 1650 to 1900.png
Percentage of Increase in the Population of the United States by Decades from 1650 TO 1900.

1790 nearly four children under 16 for each three adults, in 1840 an equal number of children and adults, in 1900 more than three adults for each two children. If the proportion of children in 1790 had been maintained there would be at present in this country about twenty-five million children who are unborn.

Next in significance to the declining birth rate and the lack of children and related to them is the decreasing rural population and the increasing urban population. This change is shown in the curve; the percentage of the population living in cities and towns with a population of over 8,000 has increased from 3.3 per cent, in 1890 to 32.9 per cent, in 1900. In 1790 there were six places having a population as large as 8,000; in 1900 there were 545 such places.

The increase in population of the several states from 1900 to 1910 is shown on the map. The percentage of increase is clearly greatest in the west, the population having more than doubled in Washington, Oklahoma and Idaho, and having increased more than

60 per cent, in California and Oregon. In the east Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have about maintained the average increase, while New York has exceeded it with a gain of 25.4 per cent. Although the details have not been announced it is clear that the states having relatively the largest rural population have increased most slowly. The three rural New England states show a gain of about five per cent. But the most striking fact is the stationary condition of the great agricultural states of the middle west. Iowa has actually a smaller population in 1910 than in 1900; the increase in Indiana is 7.3 per cent., in Missouri 6, in Kentucky 6.6, and these small increases are due to the cities.

The relative increase in the population of the country during the last decade was smaller than ever before ana this increase was due mainly to the settling of the west and to the foreign immigration to eastern cities. The depopulation of the country districts and the lack of children are ominous for the future.

PSM V78 D420 Total population percentage of us cities of 8000 and over.png

Percentage of the Total Population of the United States in Cities of 8,000 and over.

PSM V78 D421 Population increase by state as of 1910.png

 

THE RESEARCH WORK OF THE CARNEGIE INSTITUTION

Mr. Carnegie's recent gift of $10,000,000 in bonds of the U. S. Steel Corporation to the institution which he established in Washington nine years ago gives it an endowment of $22,000,000 in securities bearing 5 per cent, interest and worth at least $25,000,000. The endowment of Stanford University is about the same, and Mr. Rockefeller's endowment of the University of Chicago is about $10,000,000 greater. Each of these institutions through the gift of a single man has resources larger than any university has had until very recently, and aproximately equal to the present endowments of Harvard and Columbia. If this country does not assume the leadership in scientific research and productive scholarship, it will not be through lack of endowment.

The work of the Carnegie Institution is each year reported with clearness and fullness in the year-book. The president gives an account of the financial operations and a summary of the investigations accomplished and in i progress and the heads of departments and the recipients of grants describe their work. Last year the sum of about $440,000 was appropriated for the ten research departments, about $90,000 for minor grants and research associates, about $100,000 for publications and about $45,000 for administration. Among the research departments astronomy fares the best with an appropriation of over $150,000, and geophysics and terrestrial magnetism next, with over $125,000.

The solar observatory on Mt. Wilson reports the results of nineteen researches concerned largely with sunspots and the sun's spectrum, but extending also to stellar spectroscopy and photography. The tower telescope, shown in the accompanying illustration, is now complete except the spectroscopic attachments. A well in the rock below 75 feet deep forms part of the tube of the instrument. The meeting of the Solar Union at the observatory has been described in this journal. The department of meridian astronomy has conducted observations in Argentina and compilations at the Dudley Observatory.

The geophysical laboratory has concerned itself with the study of rocks under experimental conditions more especially with reference to temperature and pressure. The non-magnetic ship of the department of terrestrial magnetism

PSM V78 D422 Tower telescope of the mount wilson observatory.png

Tower Telescope of the Mount Wilson Observatory.

having been tested on the Atlantic, is now on a cruise around the globe which will cover about 65,000 miles.

The institution is only undertaking minor work directly in physics and chemistry, though these fundamental sciences are concerned with the research of all the departments, and in the case of the nutrition laboratory, physiological chemistry may be regarded as the field of investigation.

There are three departments devoted to the biological sciences. The work in botany has its headquarters at Tucson, Ariz., where the desert conditions are desirable for experimental research in certain directions. In equally favorable situation for its special work is the marine biological station on one of the Tortugas off the coast of Florida. The station for experimental evolution at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, has

 
PSM V78 D423 Charles Frederick Chandler.png
Bronze Bust of Dr. C. F. Chandler.
Presented to him by the chemists of America on the occasion of his retirement from the active duties of the Mitchill chair of chemistry in Columbia University.
 

acquired additional land, including an island in the sound which can be used for the experimental isolation of plants and animals.

While the work of the Carnegie Institution is mainly in the natural and exact sciences there are departments cf economics and sociology and of historical research, certain classics of international law are being republished and appropriations are made to the American schools of classical studies at Athens and Rome.

PSM V78 D424 An old cambridge landmark.png

An old Cambridge Landmark.

 

THE HOUSE OF ASA GRAY

The Harvard Graduate's Magazine gives a picture, here reproduced, of the house in the Botanic Garden of the university with some account of the history of this old landmark by Professor Robinson. Such a frame dwelling house is almost as characteristic of Cambridge conditions as the courts and quads of the colleges of English universities, for it has scarcely been respectable for a Harvard professor to live in a house of brick or stone. This house was built in 1810 for William Dandridge Peck, the first professor of natural history at Harvard and the organizer of the Botanic Garden. After Peck's death in 1822, it was apparently used as a boarding house and in it lived Thomas Mitchell, lecturer on natural history, an eccentric bachelor of English birth. Asa Gray was appointed professor of natural history in 1842, and lived in this house from his marriage in 1848 to his death in 1888, and Mrs. Gray continued to live there until her death in 1909. In this wooden house were kept the herbarium and library of Asa Gray until 1864, when the university provided a building, fireproof according to the standards of these days. To obtain space for the enlargement cf the herbarium building and to avoid the danger from fire, the old house has now been sold and is being removed from the botanic garden, but will be restored without considerable changes in its form.

 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS

We record with regret the deaths of Dr. Edward Hitchcock, for fifty years

 
PSM V78 D425 Alfred Russel Wallace.png
Dr Alfred Russell Wallace,
the English naturalist, in his eighty-ninth year.
 

professor of hygiene and physical education at Amherst College; of Professor Frank J. Phillips, head of the department of forestry in the University of Nebraska; of Dr. Walter Remsen Brinckerhoff, assistant professor of pathology in the Harvard Medical School; of Dr. Aloysius Oliver Joseph Kelly, assistant professor of medicine in the University of Pennsylvania, and of Professor J. H. van't Hoff, eminent for his contributions to physical chemistry.

The congress has passed a bill to retire Commander Robert E. Peary, with the rank and pay of a rear-admiral and to extend to him the thanks of congress.—Sir William H. White has been awarded the John Fritz medal for 1911, for "notable achievements in naval architecture," by the national societies of civil, mining, mechanical and electrical engineering. The first award was made in 1905 to Lord Kelvin, and subsequently to Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas A. Edison, George Westinghouse, Charles Porter and Alfred Noble.—Various honors have teen conferred on Dr. Paul Ehrlich, director of the Institute for Experimental Therapeutics at Frankfort, whose work was the subject of an article in the last issue of the Monthly. The Emperor of Russia has conferred on him the Order of St. Anne First Class, with a badge set in diamonds. The King of Spain has bestowed on him the Grand Cross of the Order of Alfonso XII. The German Emperor has nominated him a member of the senate of the recently founded Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science; on this body he is the only representative of medicine. The St. Petersburg Institute of Experimental Therapeutics has elected him an honorary member. The municipal authorities of Buenos Aires have given Professor Ehrlich 's name to a street in the suburb of San Fernando.

M. Auguste Loutrefil has bequeathed $700,000 to the Paris Academy of Sciences, $500,000 to the University of Paris and $20,000 to the Pasteur Institute. Herr Leopold Koppel, a Berlin banker, has given $175,000 for the erection of a research institute for physical chemistry in Berlin and will make a further gift of $87,500 extended over the next ten years for maintenance.—It is announced that Professor Hans Meyer has presented 150,000 Marks to the University of Leipzig for the laboratory of experimental psychology established by Professor Wilhelm Wund.