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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/275

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THE PRUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCE.

to his son, after the father's untimely death, was not in vain. Means for aid in making a new dictionary of the Latin language on the most extensive scale possible, and for other important enterprises, were asked for and granted. Toward the cost of the dictionary the academies in Munich, Göttingen, Leipzig and Vienna contribute and share in directing and furnishing the labor which must be done on it. It is estimated that this will extend over twenty years at least, and require the aid of a score of men. The headquarters of the work are at Munich. An edition of the works of Kant worthy his name has been published, another of the writings of William von Humboldt, another of the mathematical works of Weierstrass. A dictionary of the old Egyptian language has been planned, and work in gathering material for it, in which scholars from different countries are taking part, is now progressing. The value of the academy as a mediator in projecting and carrying out costly works is illustrated in the excavations at Olympia and Pergamon. For the former the sum of $75,000 was granted. The work was planned solely in the interests of scholarship, with the agreement that all articles of value discovered by the excavations should be the property of Greece and be left within its limits. Suggested by Professor Curtius, entrusted to the care of a man of his selection, the first spadeful of earth was turned on October 4, 1875, and six years later the last. The results astonished the learned world, and not less so those obtained at Pergamon.

Preparations for observing the occupations of Venus were begun by Minister von Muhler as early as 1869, and an expedition, at the cost of the academy, was sent to Luxor in 1874, and another to Punta Arenas in 1883. Both were under the direction of the astronomer Auwers, who has published the results of his discoveries in six volumes. In 1878 plans were laid for a proper celebration of the four hundredth anniversary of Luther's birth, and the academy, in carrying out the wishes of the king and of the nation, offered a prize for a perfect edition of the writings of the reformer prior to 1521. The prize was awarded to E. Henrici in 1880, and in June, 1883, arrangements were made for a complete and standard edition of all Luther's works.

The year 1874 is remembered by the academy as the year in which its income was so increased as to enable it to undertake enterprises previously beyond its reach and at the same time to assist individuals in work for which their private means were insufficient. This change in its affairs was happily emphasized by Mommsen in his speech in July, 1874. In it he said there is something more in the world than Latin and Greek, than the upheaval of mountains or than the counting of figures, important as the academy deems them. The academy is and must be a common meeting place for all men of science, and must show an interest in whatever men of science of any nationality may