Popular Science Monthly/Volume 82/January 1913/The Progress of Science

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The Main Building of Adelbert College of Western Reserve University and the Main Building of Case School of Applied Science.

 
THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE CLEVELAND MEETING OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE

The sixty-fourth meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the eleventh of the "convocation week" meetings, will be held in Cleveland from December 30 to January 4. Between twenty-five and thirty national scientific societies meet during the same week in affiliation with the association. These include the American Society of Naturalists and the societies devoted to anatomy, anthropology, astronomy, biological chemistry, botany, entomology, horticulture, mathematics, physics, physiology, psychology and zoology. There will consequently be a large gathering of scientific men at Cleveland and the tradition of convocation week will be worthily maintained.

The geologists meet at New Haven and the bacteriologists in New York, and the chemists have decided to meet hereafter in the spring and autumn instead of in the summer and winter. This change has been made by the chemists owing to the fact that those engaged in industrial work find the end of the year an inconvenient period and

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Interior of the Amasa Stone Memorial Chapel of Western Reserve University.

are besides not concerned with academic holidays. Similar conditions have led the engineers to meet apart from the American Association, and the societies devoted to economics, history, philology and other sciences which have been called "unnatural" and "inexact" meet separately. The convocation week meetings have consequently never fully represented the whole weight of science in America, and it is probably undesirable that they should attempt to do so every year. Such a gathering can only be held in one of the great cities, and there are advantages in small meetings as well as in a large congress. It would, however, be an admirable plan if once in five years all organizations concerned with research, higher education and the applications of knowledge could come together in order to demonstrate to themselves and to the world the great part that science plays in modern civilization.

Cleveland is perhaps the most central city in the United States for a scientific meeting. It is north and east of the center of population, but very close to the center of scientific population. A radius of 500 miles may include nine tenths of the scientific men of the country. The city has good hotel accommodations and, what is even more important, institutions which offer excellent places for the sessions and themselves add an attraction to the meeting. The adjacent main buildings of the Western Reserve University and the Case School of Applied Science are shown in the accompanying illustration. Western Reserve College opened in Hudson in 1827 and removed to Cleveland in 1882. As Western Reserve University since 1804, it has enjoyed a prosperous history, to the original Adelbert College there having been added a college for women and a graduate school, and in addition to professional schools of medicine and law, there are a dental school, a school of pharmacy and a library school. The medical school is one of the strongest in the country. having ten years ago adopted the requirement of three years of college work for entrance and having an endowment of one and a half million dollars, two thirds of which has been recently obtained. What is of even more consequence, it has on its faculty men of high distinction both in the scientific and clinical departments.

The Case School of Applied Science in like manner takes a leading position among our technical schools. It enjoys an educational affiliation with Western Reserve University by which students may complete their course by taking the first three years at the university and the last two years at the technical school. It will be a pleasure to physicists and chemists to meet in the laboratory named in honor of Professor Edward W. Morley, for many years professor in the university, a past president of the American Association and one of the most active of its supporters. There are other personal associations with the meeting in the fact that the vice-president of the section of mechanical science and engineering, Dr. Charles S. Howe, is president of the Case School, and Professor George T. Ladd, vice-president for the section of anthropology and psychology, is a graduate of Western Reserve University and has been a lecturer there. The other vice-presidents of the association and the presidents of the affiliated societies will give addresses of general interest, and there will be a number of discussions and general meetings that will bring together men of science working in different departments and should be attractive to those who are not professionally engaged in scientific work. The president of the association, Professor Charles E. Bessey, of the University of Nebraska, has chosen as the subject of his address "Some of the Next Steps in Botanical Science." At the opening session he will introduce the president of the meeting, Dr. Edward C. Pickering, director of Harvard College Observatory.

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The Morley Laboratory of Western Reserve University

 

THE SPREAD OF INFANTILE PARALYSIS

In an article by Mr. Charles T. Brues, of the Bussey Institution of Harvard University, on insects as agents in the spread of disease, published in the last issue of the Monthly, a footnote was added to the effect that since the article had been written experiments with monkeys by the author and Dr. Rosenau showed that infantile paralysis, poliomyelitis, can be transmitted from one monkey to another by the stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans. A brief account of the experiments was presented before the International Congress on Hygiene and Demography in September and has been printed in the Monthly Bulletin of the Massachusetts State Board of Health.

Monkeys were infected by injecting virus from man into the central nervous system, and large numbers of stable flies were permitted to bite them.

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Tablet in the Morley Laboratory.

Twelve healthy monkeys were then exposed to the bites of the same flies. Six of them contracted the disease and of these three died from it. The authors state that they would like to emphasize the fact that this does not appear to be simply a mechanical transference, but rather a biological one, requiring a period of extrinsic incubation in the intermediate host. Details are, however, lacking concerning the period of incubation and the precautions used to avoid passive contamination. Dr. Flexner had in one ease obtained infection by a filtrate from bedbugs which had fed on the blood of inoculated monkeys.

The preponderance of infantile paralysis in August, September and October, its prevalence in rural districts and its failure to spread in schools, asylums and the like, suggest an insect carrier, and the fact that the virus is a filterable parasite, invisible with the microscope, suggests an analogy with yellow fever and dengue known to be inoculated by mosquitoes. Dr. Flexner and his fellow workers at the Rockefeller Institute have, however, adduced strong experimental evidence that the mucous membrane of the nose is the site both of egress and ingress of the virus. While the problem in the case of infantile paralysis is not yet completely solved we may take satisfaction in the progress made by experimental methods in discovering the causes and preventing the occurrence of many of the most terrible diseases.

 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS

We record with regret the death of Sir George Howard Darwin, Plumian professor of astronomy and experimental philosophy at Cambridge University; of Dr. Elie de Cyon, formerly professor at the Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg and the author of important contributions to physiology; of Dr. Oliver Clinton Wendell, assistant professor of astronomy in Harvard University; of Eben Jenks Loomis, for a half century in the Nautical Almanac Office; and of Edwin Smith, connected with the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey since 1870, known especially for his work on determinations of the force of gravity.

The Royal Society has awarded its medals as follows: a Royal medal to Professor William Mitchinson Hicks, F.R.S., for his researches in mathematical physics and investigations on the theory of spectroscopy; a Royal medal to Professor Grafton Elliot Smith, F.R.S., for his researches on the comparative anatomy of the brain; the Copley medal to Professor Felix Klein, of Göttingen, For.Mem.R.S., for his researches in mathematics; the Rumford medal to Professor Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, of Leyden, for his researches at low temperatures; the Davy medal to Professor Otto Wallach, of Göttingen, for his researches on the chemistry of the essential oils and the cyclo-olefines; the Darwin medal to Dr. Francis Darwin, F.R.S., for his work in conjunction with Charles Darwin, and for his researches in vegetable physiology; the Hughes medal to Mr. William Duddell, F.R.S., for his investigations in technical electricity; the Buchanan medal to Colonel William C. Gorgas, of the United States Army, for his sanitary administration of the works of the Panama Canal.

By the will of the late Morris Loeb, formerly professor of chemistry in New York University, large sums are left to scientific, educational and charitable institutions, mainly subject to the life interest of Mrs. Loeb. Harvard University will receive $500,000 for the advancement of physics and chemistry; $25,000 is given to the American Chemical Society for a museum and $2,500 to the National Academy of Sciences. Part of the residuary estate goes to the Smithsonian Institution and to the American Museum of Natural History.