osity of the cities where it met for the publication of its "Proceedings." Since that time it had been able to pay all its expenses, had acquired a valuable stock of "Proceedings" and possessed a cash balance amounting (with interest) to more than two thousand dollars. As president of the Portland meeting of 1873, he emphasized, in his reception address, as the one object of the Association, the advancement of science in the United States. "Few of us," he said, "can aspire to the honor of being discoverers of the laws of nature, in the high sense of that phrase. But no one, however humble his capacities, or however limited his opportunities, who labors for science, will fail to advance it and be rewarded by it. We meet together from year to year, the veterans in science, with the younger aspirants for distinction, and many more who long to catch the earliest tidings of the last word which Science has to say in regard to the earth under our feet or the stars above us; a few to speak but many more to listen; but each doing his part to advance science, either by active research or encouraging sympathy. Our brief meetings allow us no leisure to listen to what is old or to what may be read in books, or to glittering generalities, or ingenious speculations on the universe, unsupported by evidence and individual investigation. But any new fact, however microscopic, any new investigation, whether it concerns a planet or an atom, any new experiment in which a law of nature is made more palpable and convincing, finds with us a ready welcome." The members, he added, did not concern themselves with the utility of the truths which were communicated at these meetings. If they had no immediate practical value, it was sufficient for them that they were true and revealed the plans of the Creator. "It is impossible for the man of science to serve two masters, the Kingdom of Nature and Mammon. It is a dangerous thing for him to be thinking of the utility of his discoveries, or of the pecuniary profit which may be made out of them." In his retiring address, in 1874, which was published in the "Monthly" for December, 1874, and January, 1875, Prof. Lovering spoke of "Instruments in Physical Progress" and "Mathematical Investigations in Physics," and sketched the resources and present attitude of the physical sciences. He presented the view that "the great problem of the day is how to subject all physical phenomena to dynamical laws. With all the experimental devices and all the mathematical appliances of this generation, the human mind has been baffled in its attempts to construct a universal science of physics. But nothing will discourage it; when foiled in one direction, it will attack in another. Science is not destructive, but progressive; while its theories change, the facts remain. Its generalizations are widening and deepening from age to age. We may extend to all the theories of physical science the remark
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/716
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.