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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/481

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UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA.

every part of the human body, but also a large number of preparations in comparative anatomy. In 1892 the Wistar Institute was established, being the first in America open to the public. General Isaac J. Wistar has given to the Institute a large and costly fireproof building, together with a sufficient endowment to provide means for the original work for which it is intended. While the museum is free for the inspection of all teachers and students, the object of its laboratories is to afford facilities to advanced students only, and the institute is not to supersede the elementary instruction of undergraduate students of the university.

The university aims not only to equip physicians with the skill to combat disease, but also to send forth missionaries of health to provide for the hygienic needs of the people. For this purpose, in 1892, the Institute of Hygiene was established. The discoveries of Pasteur led up to Koch's convincing proof of the part played by minute organisms in the causation of tubercle. One disease after another has been traced to its cause in some tiny agent of mischief. Realizing the value of the many ways thus open to beneficent knowledge, Mr. Henry C. Lea offered to provide the means for the construction of a building for the Institute of Hygiene. The building was completed in 1892, and Dr. John S. Billings became the director. The laboratory is the first structure of its kind erected in the United States, and it opens a comparatively new field of work in this country. Regular courses are given in practical hygiene, bacteriology, and physiological chemistry. The following important investigations have already been made: Sewer gas—a chemical, physical and bacteriological investigation, by Dr. A. C. Abbott, First Assistant; a chemical and bacteriological study of the Schuykill and Delaware water supply of Philadelphia, by Dr. J. H. Wright, Scott Fellow, 1892-93; investigation into the nature and cause of membranous rhinitis, by Dr. M. P. Ravenel, Assistant in Bacteriology; investigation on the influence of light on bacteria, by Dr. J. S. Billings and Dr. A. W, Peckham. The most important contribution to science from the new Laboratory of Hygiene is the one recently made by John S. Billings, M. D., S. Weir Mitchell, M. D., and D. H. Bergey, B. S., M. D., Assistant in Chemistry in the Laboratory, on the Composition of Expired Air and its Effects upon Animal Life. This valuable study has been published under a grant from the Hodgkins Fund of the Smithsonian Institution. The results obtained in this research indicate that in the air expired by lower animals or by man there is no peculiar organic matter which is poisonous to the animals mentioned, excluding man, and that the injurious effects of such air appeared to be due entirely to the diminution of oxygen or the increase of carbonic acid.

The establishment of the Laboratory of Hygiene was the be-