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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/700

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ciate in later years. You have here an opportunity of acquiring a wide general view of the whole range of scientific thought and method. If you proceed to a science degree you are required to lay a broad foundation of acquaintance with the physical and biological sciences. You are thus brought into contact with the subjects of each great department of natural knowledge, and you learn enough regarding them to enable you to understand their scope and to sympathize with the workers who are engaged upon them. But when your academical career is ended, no such chance of wide general training is ever likely to be yours again. You will be dragged into the whirl of life, where you will probably find little time or opportunity to travel much beyond the sphere of employment to which you may have been called. Make the most, therefore, of the advantages which in this respect you meet with here. Try to insure that your acquaintance with each branch of science embraced in your circle of studies shall be as full and accurate as lies in your power to make it. Even in departments outside the bounds of your own tastes and ultimate requirements, do not neglect the means provided for your gaining some knowledge of them. I urge this duty, not because its diligent discharge will obviously tell in your examinations, but because it will give you that scientific culture which, while enabling you to appreciate and enjoy the successive advances of other sciences than that which you may select for special cultivation, will at the same time increase your general usefulness and aid you in your own researches.

The days of Admirable Crichtons are long since past. So rapid and general is the onward march of science that not only can no man keep pace with it in every direction, but it has become almost hopelessly impossible to remain abreast of the progress in each of the several subdivisions of even a single science. We are entering more and more upon the age of specialists. It grows increasingly difficult for the specialists, even in kindred sciences, to remain in touch with each other. When you find yourselves fairly launched into the vortex of life you will look back with infinite satisfaction to the time when you were enabled to lay a broad and solid platform of general acquirement within the walls of this college.

Perhaps the most remarkable defect in the older or literary methods of education was the neglect of the faculty of observation. For the training of the other mental faculties ample provision was made, but for this, one of the most important of the whole, no care was taken. If a boy was naturally observant, he was left to cultivate the use of his eyes as he best might; if he was not observant, nothing was done to improve him in this respect, unless it were, here and there, by the influence of such an intelligent teacher as is described in Mrs. Barbauld's famous story of Eyes and No Eyes. Even when