THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE.
The first convocation week meeting of the American Association and its affiliated societies was a notable event in the progress of science in America. We have on several occasions called attention to the circumstances that led up to this meeting. The American Association with its affiliated societies has hitherto held its meetings in the summer, when the dispersal of men of science and the heat have been disturbing factors. The American Society of Naturalists with its affiliated societies has met during Christmas week when the time was too short, especially for those who traveled from a distance. The American Association was successful in securing a short extension of the Christmas holidays from all our leading institutions of learning, some seventy in number, leaving free for the meetings of scientific and learned societies the week in which the first of January falls. The American Association and the American Society of Naturalists and most of the national societies devoted to the special sciences then united to hold the great congress which met at Washington from December 29 to January 3.
There were at the meetings more scientific men than had ever before assembled on this continent. The enrolment of members of the association was 989, which was increased to 1,352 by the registration of those attending the meeting of affiliated societies, but not members of the association. The attendance was larger than the registration, and may be estimated at considerably more than 1,500. The addresses, papers and discussions were truly bewildering in their number and range. There were about thirty-five special societies and sections of the association meeting nearly or quite simultaneously. Under these circumstances conflicts and inconveniences were not entirely absent, but on the whole the complicated machinery worked with remarkable smoothness. Such a great meeting accomplished much in promoting solidarity among men of science, and in demonstrating their activity and power of organization to the world. It was especially fortunate that this meeting should have been held at Washington, which is now the scientific, as well as the political, capital of the country. Men of science from all parts must have been greatly impressed by the immense quantity and admirable quality of scientific work being done under the national government, whereas the government officers must have been encouraged in their research by the visitors.
A number or even a volume of the Monthly would go but a small way toward publishing the addresses and papers presented at the Washington meeting. We print elsewhere the address of the retiring president, Professor Asaph Hall, one of the world's great astronomers. Other addresses and abstracts of the proceedings will be found in Science; the real scientific work of the meeting, however, must be looked for in the special journals and series of publications.
Dr. Carroll D. Wright, U. S. Commissioner of Labor, was chosen as the next president, and St. Louis as the next place of meeting. The range of the association and its affiliated societies was demonstrated by both selections.