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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/475

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CONGRESS OF ARTS AND SCIENCE.

now to be mentioned which will admit of reading or discussing subjects of interest, though technical in character. After assigning due time for the reading of the principal papers, and making the necessary arrangements, there will remain about an hour, perhaps a little more, in each sectional meeting, for such intercommunication of ideas as will promote the object of the congress. This hour will be filled by 'brief communications'—of which it is supposed the average or ordinary length may be ten minutes. The conditions will be of so varied a character in the different sections that it is impossible to lay down unchangeable rules, or make uniform arrangements for these discussions. Everything must depend upon the number in attendance who desire to speak, and their respective wishes. An effort has been made to obtain in advance promises from five or six who expect to be present to make such communications. It is quite likely that, in many cases, the requisite number will not be prepared beforehand. But it is not to be expected that two elaborate scholarly papers of wide scope will be listened to without some one being able to add a few ideas. It should, however, be emphasized that discussions of the papers in the ordinary sense such as are usual in scientific meetings, is not expected. Many, perhaps most, of these papers will have involved weeks and months of preparation; and it is scarcely respectful to assume that an off-hand discussion of them, without previous knowledge of their contents, will be possible. But this will not preclude expression of the ideas to which the hearing will undoubtedly give rise in the minds of the auditors.

As already intimated, no attempt has been made to place absolute limitations on the themes of these brief communications. It has been deemed wise to prepare discussions which will promote the general object of the congress, and to ask that technical papers be on subjects of wide general or professional interest.

Another new feature is that the program of the congress not only includes all the great branches of science in its scope, but several subjects of wide human interest which we are accustomed to regard as lying outside the boundaries of exact knowledge. History, art, diplomacy, religion, education—and indeed most of the great fields of human activity are brought into the plan. An effort is thus being made to correlate not only what has been in the narrow sense of the term called science, but other great subjects which admit of the treatment proposed in the general plan of the congress.

An idea of the extent to which there will be a bringing together not only of the sciences but of representatives of wide fields of human activity is also shown by the men who are to treat them. For example, it is expected that the subject of national administration will be treated by the eminent author of the 'American Commonwealth.' unless the