Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/388

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

380

POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

be increased best in two ways; by permitting a larger number of young men to carry on work long enough to be eligible for national selection, and by offering certain prizes for those who reach the highest efficiency. Our universities now provide a considerable number of scholarships and fellowships; they should be increased, but even more than these we need offices, such as the secretaryship of the Smithsonian Institution, that will attract young men to science as a profession and provide adequate rewards and the best opportunities for those whose work is most fruitful. It has already been pointed out in these columns that while a lawyer may become a judge, a clergyman a bishop, a business man a millionaire and the like, there are no similar rewards for a scientific man or a university professor. At a comparatively early age he receives the maximum salary of from three to five thousand dollars, and no further advancement is possible—unless he leaves scientific work to become an inventor or a college president.

The directorship of the Carnegie Institution will be one prize, but its duties will be largely administrative. The trustees of the institution selected by Mr. Carnegie are men of tried administrative ability; but they are too busy and too widely scattered over the country to attend to the details of the scientific work of the institution. We should view with much satisfaction the establishment of a board of scientific directors who should at the same time be research professors, spending part of the year at Washington and part at their present universities or institutions, receiving ample salaries and having the best facilities for work. The honor of selection for this position and a salary comparable to that which may be earned in other professions would add great attractiveness to science as a profession and serve as a continual stimulus to scientific research.

There are, however, many ways by which the great resources of the Carnegie Institution can be utilized for the benefit of science, and the trustees are certainly competent to select the best methods. There is no doubt but that the institution will greatly aid in giving the United States a leading place among the nations that are contributing to the advancement of science, and will tend to make Washington one of the three or four chief scientific centers of the world.

MEETINGS OF SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES.

The meeting in Chicago at the beginning of the year of the American Society of Naturalists and of the national societies devoted to the biological sciences was of more than usual interest. It marked the establishment of convocation week. At the instance of the American Association for the Advancement of Science our leading universities have set aside for the meetings of scientific and learned societies the week on which the first day of January falls, greatly facilitating those meetings of scientific men, which are among the most potent factors in the advancement of science. The meeting at Chicago was also noteworthy because it was the first to be held west of the Atlantic seaboard. It will be remembered that the American Association met this year for the first time west of the Mississippi, and our two great scientific societies and centers of affiliation have thus in the same year become truly national in character. The remarkable development of science in the central states within recent years is witnessed by the fact that the meeting at Chicago was the largest and probably the most important ever held by the affiliated societies. There were over 300 scientific men in attendance, and over 250 scientific papers were presented. It is of course impossible to give here any adequate account of this great mass of scientific work. The annual discussion, in which Professors Minot, Davenport, McGee,