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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY

 

JUNE, 1902.




ON THE DEFINITION OF SOME MODERN SCIENCES.[1]
By Professor W. H. DALL,

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.

INTRODUCTION.

IN the early days of this Society, as some of you may remember, it comprised those workers in science resident in Washington who were most eminent in varied branches of research. While in our Society, as in the firmament, one star differed from another star in glory, yet among those ready to contribute to the program or discussion, we might then count many of those reckoned as authorities in their special lines of work and in many different fields.

As the body of scientific men in government service, or local educational institutions, increased with the increasing importance of scientific method and the evolution of the sciences themselves, new bodies sprang into existence, aiming to exploit special provinces of the realm of science. To these naturally gravitated the members of the Philosophical Society chiefly concerned, and in the numerous flourishing organizations now existing in this city the original members of the parent association recognize its intellectual progeny.

With the differentiation of the avenues of communicating thought, it naturally came about that the chief papers in certain branches would be read in the society devoted to those specialties, and the programs of the Philosophical Society thus became less varied. But we have rather prided ourselves, and trust to the younger members to carry on the tradition, in still holding the doors open, so that any communica-


  1. Discussion before the Philosophical Society of Washington, March 15, 1902.