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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/496

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492
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

is given to learning elementary mathematical concepts before rushing on to complicated theory and partly perhaps to the fact that those who teach mathematics in the colleges are almost always those who never have occasion to apply it?

The groups of individuals who made up the small army of 2,800 persons registered at the Cambridge meeting were varied. First of all there were the well-known men of science like Lord Kelvin, Lord Rayleigh, Professor Thomson, Professor Forsythe, Professor Dewar and many others. Next in interest came the large group of younger men, probably mostly from Cambridge University, who were to be seen in many of the sections. The great body of associates was made up, as is the case in meetings of the American Association, of the wives, daughters and friends of the members. The women associates, as in America, were in greatest evidence in the social functions, the excursions and in a few of the sections, particularly in that devoted to educational science, the last section organized in the British Association. On Thursday morning before this section Dr. Kölössy, of Budapest, read his paper before an audience of about fifty men and three hundred women.

Considering the present relation of public education in England to the church it was quite natural that the president of this section should be the Lord Bishop of Hereford, himself a teacher of experience. The papers before this section were however devoted to elementary educational questions rather than to problems of educational science, and the discussions which were had, particularly when they touched on such subjects as the education of women or the function of manual training, sounded curiously like those to which we were accustomed in the United States twenty-five or thirty years ago. The questions which occupied the larger part of the time were in large measure local and concerned themselves with details of educational work rather than with fundamental underlying theories of education. This also is perhaps to be expected in a country which has placed its work of education in large measure in the hands of a single section of the protestant church.

To an American visitor the large number of curates of the established church who appeared in the meetings of the association formed a pleasant picture. This presence does not mean any widespread study of science on the part of the clergy, but is rather a natural outgrowth of the association of university men. A large proportion of those who graduate at the universities enter the church, and it is to be expected that in a gathering which brings together distinguished scientific men, as well as those interested in a general way in science, there should be a number of the clergy. Their presence also serves to emphasize another feature of the association which the American is likely to overlook, and this is the fact that the British Association finds its strength