voidably led to conclusions which contradict (not religious dogmas, of which I said not a word, but) well-established principles of Physics themselves.
Your reference to my Address was so casual and slight, that it may hardly seem sufficient to justify this seriousness of remonstrance, but, slight as it was, it placed me wholly wrong before the readers of the Monthly, the greater number of whom have probably not seen my Address.
|I am, very respectfully,|
|Columbia College, October 9, 1872.|
A Handbook of Chemical Technology, by Eudolf Wagner, Ph. D., Professor of Chemical Technology at the University of Wurtzburg. Translated and edited from the eighth German edition, with Extensive Additions, by Wm. Crookes, F.R.S.
Technology is the term now generally applied to the applications of the principles of science to the arts of industry. The earth in its matter and its forces is a treasury of material for the service of humanity. These materials furnish the aliment by which our bodies are daily nourished, the textures with which we are clad, the buildings that shelter us, and the innumerable objects of use and pleasure that minister to the service of civilized man. The transformations of matter constitute the great business of mankind in all stages of its development. In the lowest stage they are few in number, crude and imperfect in form, and wasteful both of material and of power applied. Nothing is understood, and blind groping leads to scanty and uncertain results. For every particle of matter is bound in the meshes of inexorable law, and the sole condition on which refractory Nature can be conquered and put to use, is that of knowledge. Science creates this knowledge, and thus becomes the guide of industry. The office of science in directing the operations of labor is now the great fact of civilization, and it is daily becoming of more importance to all classes of the community. Processes are daily becoming more expeditious and more perfect; the uses of things are more extended; new objects of value are created; waste-products are utilized; and the economy of effort in production vastly augmented. There is still great deficiency of scientific knowledge on the part of artisans; but large manufacturing establishments have their scientific directors and advisers, while the movement for extended technical education is participated in by all the leading nations of the world.
Technology, though always grounded in science and starting from it, is not in itself a science like astronomy or mechanics, that is, a body of inductive truths applying to specific divisions of natural phenomena, nor is it mainly concerned with true scientific work which is the elucidation of the laws of phenomena. It begin* where science leaves off, or rather at the highest point which it has attained, and turns scientific results to practical account. Nevertheless, technology is by no means passive in the research after new truths. Its office being to carry out, or to verify, on a comprehensive scale, the results of pure scientific investigation, it cannot fail to react powerfully upon the work of original investigation. It is constantly putting questions, wanting further explanations, and demanding more light; and by thus forcing tangible problems upon the scientist, under pressure of great interests involved, it both stimulates research and furnishes the experimenter with what he most wants—a definite subject to be worked out. The peril of the technologist of falling into routine, and following blind rules, is thus constantly checked and more or less counteracted by the influence of his own difficulties, and the need of frequent appeal to those whose business it is to explain them.
The raw materials of Nature, which require transformation before they can be available for human use, take two routes to this destination. They either go by the mechanical way, or by the path of chemistry, and so we have two kinds of technology—mechanical and chemical. Mechanical technology deals with the outward changes of natural products, or alterations of form only, as, for example, the joiner and carpenter working in wood; the making of iron