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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/124

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

velop the tendencies necessary for the improvement of our colleges and schools. Until the people see and recognize the difference between true investigators and mere collectors of specimens, between original workers and text-book authors, little real progress will be made."

While these pictures were correct, when made, of a very large number of American colleges, a vast improvement has taken place since the articles were written in the quality of instruction given; but there yet remain too many institutions to which they are still not inapplicable.

This was not the beginning of Professor Clarke's efforts to show men of science that the true interests of their cause lay in their making their knowledge easily accessible to the public. In the first volume of the Monthly he had an article on Scientific Dabblers, the purpose of which, as he defined it, was, after calling attention to the silly character of much that was called "popular science," to urge upon true scientific men the importance of rendering real knowledge more accessible to the masses. There is a demand for science, he said, "or the trash which is written would not be read. It works into nearly all departments of common life, and is, in one way or another, of interest to almost every one. Yet, as I have already said, the current popular lectures upon scientific topics are frothy and worthless; the theologian often misrepresents science for partisan purposes; and the newspapers, with all the good they may do, are too frequently conducted by those ignorant of all science. The people ask for knowledge, and unwittingly get much chaff with their wheat. . . . Therefore it seems to be time that true students of science should seek to popularize their learning. . . . Men of science constantly lament that the Government does not extend more aid to scientific research. The Government is a popular one, and the people must be trained before its help can be expected. Therefore it is for the interest of the teachers, as well as for the good of the people, that scientific truths should be popularly put forward in simple, untechnical language, and made accessible to all."

Later, in his chairman's address before the Chemical Subsection of the American Association, in 1878, he had this subject in mind, and mentioned it as part of the work of the section "to attract public attention to the subjects that interest us, and to do what we can to secure for chemistry a wider appreciation and greater means for development. . . . If the general public," he said later in his address, "is not interested in chemistry, it is because we as chemists have neglected a part of our duty. We have but to speak, in order to command the public ear."