Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/744

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we find depression and darkness enough without going back very far.

I am still numbered, I trust, with the young men. I am sure that I have never yet heard the word "old" seriously joined to my name. When they speak of "old Jordan," I know that they mean the river, and not me. Yet, in the few years during which I have taught biology, the relation of science to education has undergone most remarkable changes.

I remember very clearly that, twenty years ago, when, in such way as I could, I had prepared myself for the two professions of naturalist and college professor, I found that these professions were in no way related. I remember having in 1872 put the results of my observations into these words: "The colleges have no part or interest in the progress of science, and science has no interest in the growth of the colleges."

The college course in those days led into no free air. A priori and ex cathedra, two of its favorite phrases, described it exactly. Its essentials were the grammar of dead languages, and the memorized results of the applications of logic to number and space. Grammar and logic were taught in a perfunctory way, and the student exhausted every device known to restless boys in his desire to evade the instruction he had spent his time and money to obtain. Then, when all the drill was over, and the long struggle between perfunctory teachers and unwilling boys had dragged to an end, the students were passed on to the president to receive from him an exposition of philosophy. This was the outlook on life for which three years of drill made preparation. And this philosophy was never the outgrowth of the knowledge of to-day, but simply the d├ębris of the outworn speculations of the middle ages.

We well remember the first invasion of science in the conventional programmes of study. This came in response to an outside demand for subjects interesting and practical. It was met in such a way as to silence rather than to satisfy the demand. A few trifling courses, memorized from antiquated text-books, and the work in science was finished. The teachers who were capable of higher things had no opportunity to make use of their powers. Their investigations were not part of their duties. They were carried on in time stolen from their tasks of plodding and prodding. It is to the shame of the State of Indiana that she kept one of the greatest astronomers of our time for forty years teaching boys the elements of geometry and algebra. That he should have taught astronomy and made astronomers occurred to no one in authority until Daniel Kirkwood was seventy years old, and by the laws of Nature could teach no longer. What was true in his case was true in scores of others. The investigator