Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 63.djvu/92

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88

POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and said that there is some danger lest too great cooperation might lead to subordination. Professor Münsterberg, of Harvard University, argued that the equipment for research in America is ample, the difficulty is in the lack of the right men. Americans are particularly well suited to research work, but the ablest students tend to follow law or business, where the rewards are greater. Endowments can accomplish the most by creating great premiums, as by establishing an 'over-university,' where the masters of research chosen by their peers would be brought together for work transcending the possibilities under existing conditions. The giving of subsidies to individual men of science and to existing institutions is a system of charity that will in the end weaken research.

The address of the president. Professor Cattell, of Columbia University, was on the natural history of men of science. He gave the following table, showing the number of American men of science and their distribution among the sciences by different agencies:

Special
Societies.
Fellows of
Assoc-
iation.
Member
of
Academy.
Univer-
sity Prof-
essors.
Doctor-
ates in
Five Years.
Contrib-
utors to Science,
13 Vols.
Who's Who. Biog.
Dictionary
(estimated).
Mathematics 375 81 1 136 61 3 46 380
Physics 149 167 23 105 69 155 73 556
Chemistry 1933 174 12 143 137 73 166 656
Astronomy 125 40 12 41 16 48 51 212
Geology 256 121 13 55 32 161 174 436
Botany 169 120 7 57 53 94 70 416
Zoology 237 146 17 83 71 243 131 620
Physiology 96 10 2 53 18 22 25 156
Anatomy 136 10 0 56 1 13 18 116
Pathology 138 14 5 68 4 44 56 224
Anthropology 60 60 3 4 5 56 37 92
Psychology 127 40 1 37 63 58 21 136
3801 983 96 838 531 1002 868 4000

RACE SENESCENCE.

The article on 'The Decrease in the Size of American Families,' contributed by Professor Thorndike to the present number of the Monthly, is one of the first attempts to solve by scientific methods a scientific problem of the first magnitude. Incidental remarks by persons high in authority have led to numerous newspaper comments, serious and otherwise, on the failure of college graduates to reproduce themselves, and 'race suicide' has become a current term. The question of the decreasing birth rate has, however, for some years been a subject of discussion by French economists, and it has been recognized that the conditions in New England are similar. Indeed, nearly every country shows a decreasing birth rate, though only France and New England have a native population that is actually decreasing, destined, if present conditions continue, to be exterminated.

Attention has been attracted to the subject in France by economic conditions—the failure to maintain a population equal to that of Germany and Great Britain, the lack of young men for the army and the like—and economic and social causes have been assigned for the small families. The chief cause is said to be the method of dividing property among the children. The French peasant is a landowner, and if his property is to be maintained intact, he must have but one son, and can not afford to give the necessary dot to more than one daughter Other causes are also alleged—the increase of luxury, high taxation, the crowding into cities, immorality, alcoholism, etc. It is nearly always assumed that the families are small because the parents wish to have them small, and the remedies proposed, such as exemption from taxation or the payment of bounties in the case of larger families, are based on this supposition. But facts are lacking. For example, if voluntary restraint due to the economic conditions usually alleged is the cause, and the French family wishes to have one son and not more, then when there is but a single child (as is the case in one fourth of all families), it would be more often a boy than a girl; the most common family of two would be a