Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/282

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

of valuable material for future study. In 1876 Hildebrandt went from Zanzibar to Kilimandjaro and Ndur Kenia; Sachs visited Venezuela in order to study the habits of electrical fishes, and the results of his studies were published by Du Bois Eeymond and Nitsch. Fritsch in 1878 was sent to Micronesia to study the rapidly vanishing native races and gather as many as possible of the memorials of their habits and customs. He spent a year in Jaluit, visited several of the smaller islands, then went to New Zealand and New Guinea, and in 1882 brought back to Berlin many thousands of the specimens he had been sent out to obtain. In 1883 Guessfeldt went to the Andes, Arning to Hawaii, and the next year Schweinfurth was sent to examine the desert between the Nile and the Bed Sea and report its geodetic and geographical conditions. In 1889 nearly 25,000 Marks were voted to Hensen in aid of an expedition he was preparing to send to Rio Janeiro for the study of sea life. Several naturalists accompanied him. He discovered what he called planktons, from which, according to a report made to the academy in 1890, sea life is sustained. To this expedition the king gave 70,000 Marks and other private gifts brought the amount up to 105,000 Marks. Between the years 1890 and 1898, Völkens was sent to Kilimandjaro to study botany; the zoologist von Voelzhow to Madagascar, and Platte, in the interest of the same science, to the coasts of Chili; Fritsch to New Zealand; the geologist Moericke to the Chilian Andes, and the geographer Dove to Africa.

Thus the academy has kept itself in close touch with all recent movements in science, as well as with the advance in literary or historical studies. It has not hesitated to begin work which must take a generation to finish, and of which few of its living members can hope to see the results. Intimately connected with the universities, many of its members, professors in the University of Berlin, enjoying the respect and favor of the reigning sovereign, embracing in its ranks some of the foremost men in science, philosophy and history now living, it has naturally become a center around which the best men of Germany have gathered, and to which the eyes of students, wherever they live, are constantly turning.