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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

less the work-rooms above are made the most important feature of the whole. These vast collections will spread the elements of natural science among the people of New York, and the surrounding region; but the quiet workers in the attic, who pursue science for its own sake, will bring the Museum renown throughout the world.

There is yet a more important reason for making this institution a centre for original research. The science of to-day stands face to face with great problems. The antiquity of man, the origin of the human race, and even the origin of life itself, are among the questions which the present age submits to science, and to which it demands an answer. If these problems are to be solved by science, America must do her full share of the work, for the materials are here. In all that pertains to ancient life, the Western Continent possesses countless treasures, unknown in other lands. These, as I believe, are to unlock many mysteries in biology, and render important aid toward the solution of the profounder questions I have named. American science can thus repay its debt to the Old World, where science began, and gathering new facts, from broader and richer fields within her own borders, carry forward, with the vigor and enthusiasm of youth, the never-ending search for truth.

If the American Museum of Natural History, opened to-day under such favorable auspices, does not take a prominent part in this great work, it will not do justice to its founders, or to its opportunities. But with such a foundation as we have here, and such resources as wait to unfold their secrets within walls yet to be reared on this commanding site, I venture to predict for natural science in America greater triumphs than have hitherto been won in any land.

 

SPONTANEOUS GENERATION.
By Prof. JOHN TYNDALL, F. R. S.

WITHIN ten minutes' walk of a little cottage which I have recently built in the Alps, there is a small lake, fed by the melted snows of the upper mountains. During the early weeks of summer no trace of life is to be discerned in this water; but invariably toward the end of July, or the beginning of August, swarms of tailed organisms are seen enjoying the sun's warmth along the shallow margins of the lake, and rushing with audible patter into the deeper water at the approach of danger. The origin of this periodic crowd of living things is by no means obvious. For years I had never noticed in the lake either an adult frog, or the smallest fragment of frog spawn;