Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/179

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
175
THE PRUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCE.

render them more nearly equal. But the objection to Hegel on the part of many, and the admiration felt for him on the part of others, made it well-nigh impossible to elect any one to the historical class. This abnormal condition of things was brought to an end by the sudden death of Hegel on November 14, 1831. A commission was appointed to see if some means could not be devised for reducing the four so called classes of the academy to two, a mathematical-physical class and a historical-philosophical class, the arrangement which now exists, but which was not brought about till 1838, although the difficulties between the classes had long before passed away. By special decree on March 31, 1838, many desirable changes were favored and made legal by the king. In 1837 it had been definitely decided that the academy should stand for research, chiefly in science and literature, that the number of members should not exceed fifty, equally divided between the classes, and that each class should nominate only one hundred corresponding members. The mathematical-physical class voted to have two members each for chemistry, physics, botany, zoology and anatomy, and six for the mathematical sciences. In May, 1839, the historical class proposed three members for the study of philosophy and its history, three for the study of general history, two each for archeology, mythology and oriental literature, four for the old classical literature, one member for the study of German philology, and one for the study of politics.

With this arrangement of its forces the academy could now be defined as 'a society of learned men organized to advance and spread general knowledge apart from the function of teaching.' It was agreed that each class should determine and direct its own work, that special meetings for each class should be held once a month, general meetings each week, that no person should belong to two classes at the same time, that each class should propose its own members, though they must be elected by the vote of both classes of the academy and that vote confirmed by the king. The right to lecture in any Prussian university was made one of the perquisites of members of the academy. Ordinary members were paid $50 a year, the botanist, the chemist, the astronomer, two philologists and two historians, more than twice as much. The four secretaries while managing their special sections were to preside in turn at general meetings four months each.

Three public meetings were appointed for each year, Frederick's Day in January, Leibniz Day in July and the king's birthday. For January the program was to be a general history of the year; for July, an account of the special work done. Persons not belonging to the academy could be employed for special service, but only two men at a time for each class, and not more than $300 a year could be paid out for this kind of work. With slight modifications these arrangements and regulations are still in force, although the members are paid $225 (900 Marks) each a year, and divisions into sections in the