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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/495

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491
THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION MEETING,

somewhat akin to that of the modern military practice, under which frontal attacks are abandoned in favor of a less direct method of assault. One sees in English scientific papers a greater tendency to attack by the flank than in America or Germany; a somewhat readier disposition to be satisfied with a general statement of facts already known rather than the concentration of effort on particular problems which need to be cleared up. All of which simply means that the methods of education and of national life in England have not brought into existence a large army of disciplined students of research such as one finds, for example, in Germany.

The fact that physics and mathematics are still retained in one section in the British Association is not without significance. The necessary connection between the two was many times referred to in the addresses and papers of the section. Notwithstanding this there was more than one reference to the fact that mathematics, as taught in the universities and colleges, is seldom grasped by the student so that it becomes a facile tool in his hands. This is a disappointing fact in our present day teaching on this side the Atlantic no less than in England. Why is it that mathematics, the oldest of the sciences, should lend itself less readily as an instrument of research or of practice than chemistry or physics? Is it because we fail to use the laboratory method in mathematics? or because we are still tied to the methods of the past? or is it due in part to the fact that too little time

PSM V65 D495 First court of sidney sussex college.png

First Court of Sidney Sussex College.