Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 63.djvu/91

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continued for thirty-seven years until his retirement with the rank of rear-admiral in 1899). Harkness served on the monitor Monadnock in its cruise through the Straits of Magellan, making exhaustive observations on the behavior of compasses under the influence of iron armor and also terrestrial magnetic observations. This work was published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1871. He observed the total solar eclipse of 1869 at Des Moines and of 1870 in Sicily. Soon thereafter he devoted himself to the arrangements for the transits of Venus in 1874 and in 1882. The former transit he observed in Tasmania, later spending some years in reducing the observations, in the course of which he invented the spherometer caliper. He observed the transit of Mercury in Texas in 1878 and the total solar eclipse in Wyoming in the same year, and devoted much time to editing and preparing the reports. Professor Harkness then carried out an important work in reducing the observations of the zones of stars observed by Gilliss in Chili, and later prepared his work on the solar parallax and its related constants. From the publication of that work in 1891 to his retirement he was principally occupied with the new building of the observatory, in devising and mounting its instruments and in establishing a system of routine observations. Professor Harkness on his retirement expected to take only a few months' rest, and then to continue his scientific work at Washington, but he suffered from nervous prostration, and for the four years until his death he was scarcely able to leave his house.


Brief reference has already been made here to the meeting of the American Society of Naturalists held at Washington in convocation week in conjunction with the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and other scientific societies. The annual discussion before the society, the subject of which was 'How can endowments be used most effectively for scientific research,' has now been published. Professor Chamberlin, of the University of Chicago, who opened the discussion, spoke of the importance of endowing in connection with universities not only chairs and departments but also special schools and colleges of research. He said that instead of the colleges of the English universities, devoted mainly to personal education, the ideal university should be an association of colleges of research for the benefit of mankind as a whole. He also held that we need independent institutions of research and endowments for the coordination of research. Professor Welch, of the Johns Hopkins University, spoke with special reference to the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, describing what had been accomplished since its foundation two years ago, and foreshadowing the permanent institution, the establishment of which has since been announced. Professor Boas, of Columbia University, spoke with special reference to publications, arguing that academies and other institutions should unite their publications, so that series for each of the sciences might be established; the wasteful effects of competition and the exchange system of publication would then be supplanted by series that would became self-supporting. Professor Wheeler, of the University of Texas, criticized the present system of fellowships, and argued that fellows should be selected competent to carry on research, that they should not be regarded as recipients of alms, or required to waste their time on routine work, or do work beyond their power or in a place unsuited to it. Professor MacMillan, of the University of Minnesota, favored the multiplication of institutions and agencies for research.