Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/256

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

before the class a few birds, some insects, a fish, some frogs, and a few tadpoles. The remainder of the term was spent in studying comparative physiology and anatomy. I followed out this course, with few modifications, with a number of classes, and never failed to interest them. There was but little attention paid to the nervous system, as I considered it too abstruse for the students. I will say, however, that, after spending some little time on the brain and spinal column of a cat and dog, a few of the pupils of their own accord worked out the nervous system of a crawfish in quite an admirable manner. The work done was, of course, far from thorough, and will bear no comparison to that performed in more pretentious institutions: it will be remembered that I was working under a school system which does not require physiology to be taught, that I had nothing to work with except what I myself furnished, and that, worse than all, I had a tremendous prejudice to combat.

Whether I was successful or not may be judged by the fact that some members of the class who went over the ground in this way now occupy their spare time in summer in making collections of the flora and fauna in their vicinity. I further noticed that in Latin and mathematics those pupils who were most interested in physiology were quicker and clearer observers, more accurate reasoners, and more just and keen in their criticisms, than those of equal caliber who had not taken the course.

I give this experience for what it is worth, hoping that, if it meets the eye of one teacher who has a class in physiology, and is teaching by the old method of exclusiveness, he will try the process above described (which is far from original), confident that he will meet with success beyond his most sanguine expectations.



AMONG the distinguished men who came together at the recent International Medical Congress—a gathering altogether unexampled for its combination of great and varied ability, and worthily representative of almost every country in which medicine is studied—there was no one whose presence was more universally or more cordially welcomed than a quiet-looking Frenchman, who is neither a great physician nor a great surgeon nor even a great physiologist, but who, originally a chemist, has done more for medical science than any savant of his day; and this, not only (probably not so much) through the results already attained by Pasteur himself and by others working on his ideas—great though these results are—but through the entirely