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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/706

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

them and bind them into a harmonious and organic whole. With the help of a guiding system of classification, you were able to see the connection between the separate facts, to arrange them according to their mutual relations, and thus to ascend to the great general laws under which the material world has been constructed. With all attainable thoroughness in the mastery of detail, you have been taught to combine a breadth of treatment which enables you to find and keep a leading clew even through the midst of what might seem a tangled web of confusion. There are some men who can not see the wood for the trees, and who consequently can never attain great suc- cess in scientific investigation. Let it be your aim to master fully the details of the tree, and yet to maintain such a breadth of vision as will enable you to embrace the whole forest within your ken. I need not enlarge on the practical value of this mental habit in every- day life, nor point out the excellent manner in which a scientific education tends to develop it.

In the fourth place, I would inculcate the habit of wide reading in scientific literature. Although the progress of science is now too rapid for any man to keep pace with the advance of all its depart- ments, you should try to hold yourselves in touch with at least the main results arrived at in other branches than your own; while, in that branch itself, it should be your constant aim to watch every onward step that is taken by others, and not to fall behind the van. This task you will find to be no light one. Even were it confined to a survey of the march of science in your own country, it would be arduous enough to engage much of your time. But science belongs to no country, and continues its onward advance all over the globe. If you would keep yourselves informed regarding this progress in other countries, as you are bound to do if you would not willingly be left behind, you will need to follow the scientific literature of those countries. You must be able to read at least French and German. You will find in these languages a vast amount of scientific work relating to your own department, and to this accumulated pile of published material the journals of every month continue to add. In many ways it is a misfortune that the laterature of science increases so fast; but we must take the evil with the good. Practice will eventually enable you to form a shrewd judgment as to which authors or papers you may skip without serious danger of losing any valuable fact or useful suggestion.

In the fifth place, let me plead for the virtue of patience. In a scientific career we encounter two dangers, for the avoidance of which patience is our best support and guide. When life is young and en- thusiasm is boundless; when from the details which we may have laboriously gathered together we seem to catch sight of some new