Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/864

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
844
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

as there would be at any rate, whatever the excellence of its plan or the thoroughness of its execution; but its sagacious editors and enterprising managers may be best trusted to detect its deficiencies, and to repair them by self-correcting experience. The first number, of course, exemplifies the plan of the weekly. Besides its prospectus, and the opening introductory article, there are interesting communications from Professor Langley, Samuel Kneeland, Captain Dutton, and E. H. Hall, together with an admirable notice, by Professor Asa Gray, of Alphonse de Candolle's work on "The Origin of Cultivated Plants," contributed to the "International Scientific Series," and soon to appear in English. After a brief review of the "Natural History of Minnesota," we come to perhaps the most distinctive feature of the journal, in the "Weekly Summary of the Progress of Science" which is given in the first number, under the successive headings of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Metallurgy, Geology, Meteorology, Physical Geography, Geography, Botany, Zoölogy, Vertebrates, Physiological Psychology, and Early Institutions. Several of these have subdivisions, as Acoustics, Optics, Photometry, and Photography, under Physics; and Fish, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals, under the title of Vertebrates. The information is of the most varied kind, but all refers to recent observations, experiments, or inquiries. Each distinct statement or item is numbered, for convenience of future reference; and, in the ten pages here devoted to the weekly progress of science, we have seventy-nine of these brief articles, each signed with the initials of a responsible editor in his own branch. We know something of the immense care and labor which such a department involves. Following this is "Intelligence from American Scientific Stations," with "Notes and News," general and personal, and a copious list of "Recent Books and Pamphlets on Scientific Subjects." Our new journal is thus packed with the concentrated nutriment of science, and will have value wherever the substantial data of inquiry are appreciated. "Science "is sure to contain a great deal of information that is of general importance, and we cordially recommend it to the patronage of all classes who care anything for the positive advance of knowledge in this country.

It is proper to add that we are ourselves interested in the success of "Science," with special reference to our own line of work. The law of progress is ever through division of labor, which in this field takes the shape of specialty of publication. We have felt the need of such a periodical as "Science," because we have been pressed to do the work which it now undertakes, but which it has been impossible for us to perform. A monthly can never compete with a weekly or with the daily press in giving scientific news; as to do that work well requires a definite and comprehensive organization for the purpose, and a frequency of publication that shall secure the prompt diffusion of scientific intelligence. "Science" will do this work effectually, and, by becoming an organ of accredited discovery and authorized opinion, will leave us free to devote ourselves to popularizing and diffusing the approved results of scientific inquiry.

 

 

INCENTIVES TO THE PURSUIT OF SCIENCE.

But while welcoming our new coadjutor with unqualified approbation as to its purpose and method, we confess to some misgiving about its first formal utterance on "The Future of American Science," which it is declared almost in a tone of jubilation is to be distinctively and supereminently utilitarian. The utilitarian passion of the American people, it is here maintained, must also become the animating impulse of American science. Criticism may seem un-