Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 59.djvu/315

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A NATIONAL association for the advancement of science occupies at the beginning of the twentieth century a dominant position. The greatest achievement of the nineteenth century was the progress of science; its most definite tendency was towards the voluntary organization of individuals for the accomplishment of certain ends. The advance of science, the movement that is of the greatest importance for civilization, requires for its guidance the strongest association of individuals. Such an association will certainly arise, and will develop from existing institutions.

The organization of science in America has progressed parallel to the advance of science. Local societies concerned with the whole field of knowledge, and especially with its utilitarian aspects, were first established in Philadelphia, in Boston and in other cities. These societies were modeled on the similar institutions of Europe; the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia following the Royal Society of London, and the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Boston, the Paris Academy of Sciences. As centers of scientific activity increased in number, as the postoffice and railways developed, as general scientific journals were established—'The American Journal of Science' began publication in 1818—the need of a national organization was felt, and here again the older nations had established the precedent. The meetings of German scientific men and physicians began in 1828, and the British Association for the Advancement of Science was established in 1831. An Association of American Geologists and Naturalists was organized in 1840, and became the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1848.

Fifty years ago the sciences were comparatively undifferentiated. Special societies and special journals were not required. It was pos-

  1. We reproduce this article from advance sheets of 'Science,' as all our readers will be glad to have brought to their attention the question of the organization of science in America. The American Association for the Advancement of Science meets this year in Denver, further to the west than ever before, and its influence and membership should be greatly increased in the states west of the Mississippi River. Nothing is more gratifying to the conductors of this Journal than its large circulation in the middle and western states, and we hope that many of those who read this article will become members of the American Association. The conditions of membership can be obtained from the permanent secretary. Dr. L. O. Howard, Cosmos Club, Washington, D. C.—Editor.