Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/872

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
850
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

GENERAL NOTICES.

Mr. R. P. Halleck's recent book was not written for scientists, and scientists as such will find nothing in it.[1] The author undertakes merely to make a practical application of the results which others have attained by patient investigation. His book is written for teachers and parents, and every teacher or parent who reads it from an educational standpoint will be amply repaid. The author aims to emphasize the facts that a large element in education consists in the physical modification of brain and nerve cells; that these cells are more easily modified at one age than at another; that the effects of wrong training or lack of training can never be eliminated in later life; that every person, in order to live a full life, must have all his senses and the corresponding brain-cells developed in his youth. The first chapters give a summary of our present knowledge of the nervous system and the changes that have been found to occur as results of growth, fatigue, and training. Then follow discussions of the effect of environment on training, and on development as related to age. Various definite suggestions are given for training the different senses in the classroom, both by immediate objects and by the formation of memory images. The chapter, How Shakespeare's Senses were Trained, is interesting and intensely practical. The great value of motor training is clearly demonstrated; and the final plea for the early symmetrical development of all the senses as a preparation for fuller, more joyous life in later years is another expression of the present hope for a brighter future in education. Our scientific knowledge of the facts in the case, the changes in brain-cells which are correlated with education, how these vary under different conditions, and how far they may be varied by training, is meager enough as yet; and many scientists would have hesitated to construct such a book on the basis of our present knowledge, while recognizing the far-reaching importance of the investigations which are now going on. Owing to the widespread interest in these questions, we expect in the near future numerous contributions to pedagogy from experimental and physiological psychology. Scores of books similar in scope will doubtless be written, more complete and more valuable to the teacher. Meanwhile we already know far more than we practice, and thousands of children will be indebted to this book for a broader, deeper, and more sensible education.

 

A text book of physiology for medical schools has been prepared by ten collaborators under the editorship of W. H. Howell, Professor of Physiology in the Johns Hopkins University.[2] The physiology of the muscles is treated by Prof. Warren P. Lombard; secretion, digestion, the blood, and some allied topics, by Prof. Howell; the circulation, by Profs. John G. Curtis and W. T. Porter; respiration and animal heat, by Prof. Edward T. Reichert; the central nervous system, by Prof. Henry H. Donaldson; vision, by Prof. Henry P. Bowditch; the other special senses and the voice, by Prof. Henry Sewall; reproduction, by Prof. Frederic S. Lee; and the chemistry of the animal body, by Prof. Graham Lusk. The preparation of such a work by collaboration is unusual, and the editor names as advantages of this method that it enables each author to base his account upon a comprehensive knowledge of the part of the subject assigned to him, and that the student gains by it the points of view of a number of teachers, especially where the various topics overlap. References to literature are given, and some of the authors have used them so freely as to afford fairly complete bibliographies of their respective subjects.

 

The purpose of Mr. Woglom's Parakites[3] is to place before the public the result of the


  1. The Education of the Central Nervous System. By Reuben Post Halleck. New York: The Macmillan Co. Pp. 258, 12mo. Price, $1.
  2. An American Text-Book of Physiology. Edited by William H. Howell, Ph. D., M. D. Fully illustrated. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders. Pp. 1052, royal 8vo. Subscription price, cloth, $6; sheep or half morocco, $7.
  3. Parakites. By George Totten Woglom. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 91, 4to. Illustrated. Price, $1.75.