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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

reader will find in them a presentation not too technical or detailed. Professor Loeb's lecture, for example, is for such readers the best account yet given of his experiments in artificial fertilization.

The range and originality which characterize these lectures are really characteristic of the general work and spirit of the Woods Holl Laboratory. Few people realize the amount of research work which is done there from summer to summer. Yet last year there were seventy-one investigators there. Moreover, these represent a superior selection from among the instructors and students of the various colleges.

It is a symptom of a healthy, vigorous condition in biological science that the best workers of the country are glad to devote their vacation season to research, and it is highly creditable to the Woods Holl management that it offers them such attractive facilities. Similar summer laboratories are now being established in other parts of the country, and are to be reckoned with as very important factors in the progress of biology.

 

CYTOLOGY.

It is a somewhat surprising fact that among educated people of scientific training there prevails generally the greatest ignorance as to some of the most important problems of biology. We refer to those problems connected with the structure and functions of the animal and plant cell. Men who can understand and appreciate recent discoveries in astronomy, physics, chemistry and geology are usually wholly lost in cytology. In fact, in general writing or speech it is not safe to use this name without at once defining it, since it is commonly supposed to be a mispronunciation or a stupid misspelling of 'psychology,' while to most people nuclei, chromosomes, centrosomes and mitotic spindles are words without meaning, signifying nothing.

The reason for this is twofold: First, cytology is one of the newest of the biological sciences and it has but recently found its way into college curricula, and second, there have been few text-books or general works on this subject to which an intelligent layman could turn for information.

And yet, in spite of this fact, there are few fields of scientific work possessing more general interest than that of cytology. At the present day the greatest problems of biology are centered in the cell. Assimilation, growth, metabolism, reproduction, differentiation, inheritance and variation—these are at bottom cellular phenomena, the result of the structure and functions of cells. It is not surprising, therefore, that "all the searchlights of science have been turned upon the cell," and that cell studies during the past ten years have received an amount of attention which is comparable only to that devoted to evolution under the stimulus of Darwin's work.

 

Professor Wilson's book on the cell,[1] the second edition of which has just appeared, is a work of more than ordinary interest, not only to the biologist, but to all persons who are interested in the general advance of science. Although there are several other good text-books of cytology which have appeared during the past five or six years, Professor Wilson's book, in thoroughness of treatment, in philosophical insight, in clearness and forcefulness of style and in wealth and beauty of illustrations, easily surpasses them all.

It is impossible in this brief note to give any adequate summary of the volume or of the position of the author on questions of general interest; the subjects of the chapters, however, may serve to give some idea as to the scope of the work. After an introduction which gives a brief historical sketch of the cell theory and its relation to the


  1. The Cell in Development and Inheritance. Edmund B. Wilson. Second Edition Revised and Enlarged. Columbia University Biological Series IV. New York and London, The Macmillan Co., 1900. Pp. xxi, 483 with 194 Figures in the Text. $3.50