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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/494

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490
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

PSM V65 D494 Nevilles court trinity college.png

Neville's Court, Trinity College.

means more to a speaker than it does with us, at least during the last fifteen years since the tendency to segregate into special scientific societies has been so marked. It would be difficult to bring together in America any such group of mathematicians and physicists as sat with Professor Lamb on the platform on Thursday morning while he read his presidential address before section A. The vote of thanks after the address was moved by Mr. Balfour and seconded by Lord Kelvin. Nevertheless admitting all this, it is evident to one who listens to papers in both associations that the essential difference in the character of the papers presented at the two meetings lies in the difference in scientific training and habits of scientific work in England and in America; and one can not but be struck with the fact that the scientific training and methods of work in America are far more German than English. While the addresses in American scientific societies lack the philosophic interest and charm which characterize many of those given before the British Association, the authors of these papers are trained to go more directly at their problems, laying bare the difficulties and even the failures of the method or the process, but passing on to some point of vantage. One finds in many English scientific papers a clever use of words and terms; a tendency to philosophize instead of doing the hard work of investigation; a disposition to deal charmingly, sometimes half humorously, with the results and observations costing great labor; and in the end the whole subject loft in a sort of agreeable haze in which one seems to have traveled a long distance without going any whither. The method of attack adopted is