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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/716

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ber of the Albany Institute; and a member of the "Norske Turistforenings," of Christiania, Norway.

Professor Nason, although, as we have seen, he has made a quota of contributions in the way of special studies and publications to the spread of scientific knowledge, is best known as a teacher; and many hundred men, now earnestly at work in fields of engineering and scientific activity, can trace the beginnings of their usefulness and professional devotion to the enthusiasm which they drew from his instructions and example. His assiduous industry and constant labor to improve and develop the educational facilities and appliances of the seminary have contributed no little to the growth of the solid and world-wide reputation which the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute enjoys. The marks of his work are especially seen in the laboratory, with its three departments—metallurgical and chemical rooms and lecture and study rooms—affording experimenting accommodations for forty students, which was planned and built under his direction. After the mineralogical cabinet of Professor Eaton, which had been rearranged and labeled by Professors Hall and Nason in the previous year, was destroyed by fire in 1862, Professor Nason, who was then in Europe, immediately began collecting the nucleus of a new cabinet, and this is now known as the Henry B. Nason collection of minerals, containing five thousand specimens, which are arranged in several divisions to illustrate their structural, physical, and chemical properties. His name is also closely associated with the botanical rooms, in which one of the special features is a collection of more than three thousand specimens of American and European plants presented by him. As a teacher, he possesses in a high degree the power of inspiring the minds of his students with a love of science for the sake of science. In consequence of his faithful attention to the drilling of the lecture-room, this work absorbing his time and being honored by him as his duty of paramount importance, he has not been as fruitful in the publication of original investigations and the announcement of the new discoveries which he is so competent to search for, as he might have been had he divided his attention more equally between the two branches of his work. His methods of teaching are quiet, analytical, simple, and winning. An eminent writer has said of him: "He is, in my opinion, one of the most competent scientific instructors of our country; he brings to his classes in the laboratory enthusiasm for their inspiration, rich stores of scientific learning for their enlightenment, and is, in himself, in respect to good nature, gentleness of manner, and elegance of language, a model of what they should be." If the workman may be known by his work, the hundreds of engineers and scientific experts who have enjoyed the tuition of Professor Nason are the best evidence of his ability as a teacher.