Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/382

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

The powers and possibilities of protoplasm may be crudely compared to those of steam, the expansive property of which may be observed in a simple apparatus for the grinding of coffee, for example, or in the operations of a magnificent Corliss engine, by which all the complicated machinery of an entire Exposition may be set in motion. The steam has precisely the same properties in the two cases, but the resulting forces differ in proportion to the complexity and multiplicity of the relations of the parts of which the different mechanisms are respectively composed.

In the study of the highly complex mechanism, the human body—which constitutes the study of medicine—all the powers and properties of matter must be duly considered and taken into account, for all are concerned in the production of its forces and in the performance of its functions; not one is violated or turned out of its natural course, but all combine in a harmony more complete than is manifested by any other known combination of materials and forces. Heterogeneousness the most extreme, complexity the most intricate, actions and reactions the most delicately balanced, all unite, in the play of the forces of the body, in the production and manifestation of its varied powers.

The study of science in any of its numerous departments is intrinsically elevating and ennobling if it be pursued in the true scientific spirit, viz., in the desire and search for truth for truth's own sake; and, while the pursuit of medicine has its practical side in preparing its votaries for the service of suffering and sick humanity—perchance for making the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk—it also broadens and enriches their own individual characters and lives, since it leads them into the green pastures by the still waters of the eternal truths of nature, at the same time bringing them into the still higher experiences of sympathy and charity toward all mankind.



THE springs called thermal springs are found in all latitudes, at various elevations above the sea, and in most of the geological formations. The word thermal does not, however, denote a spring of any particular degree of temperature, and is far from signifying that the springs to which it is applied are all equally warm; for any spring is thermal, the water of which is warmer than the mean annual temperature of the place where it occurs. In the equatorial regions, where the mean annual temperature is about 80°, a thermal spring should have a temperature of about 85°, while in the northern parts of the