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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/564

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

THE CAMBRIDGE MEETING OF THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE.

The meeting of the British Association at Cambridge was an event of sufficient scientific importance to deserve attention here as well as in Great Britain. We are pleased, therefore, to be able to devote the present number of the Monthly to it. President Pritchett, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, contributes an interesting account of the general features of the meeting. The address of the president of the association and of the president of the section of mathematics and physics are printed in full, and parts of other addresses are given. These addresses appear to give the best available survey of the range and problems of modern science. It is possible that some of them are in part too technical for the purposes of the general scientific reader, but he must meet the man of science half way. The difficulty is more in the terminology than in the ideas. When the pages are scattered over with statoliths and gametes there is a natural tendency to skip rather than to add to our usable vocabulary. But the entire terminology needed to understand the main results of modern science is not more difficult than one foreign language and not more extensive than that of the sporting field. The language of science should be acquired by people of intelligence, but at the same time men of science should learn on occasion to address those who are not specialists.

In addition to the presidential addresses before the sections, the British Association makes arrangements for several still more popular lectures, one addressed explicitly to 'working-men.'

This lecture was given by Dr. J. E. Marr, of Cambridge, his subject being the 'Forms of Mountains.' Other lectures were given on 'Ripple Marks and Sand Dunes,' by Professor George Darwin; on 'The Origin and Growth of Cambridge University,' by Mr. J. W. Clark, and on 'Recent Paleontological Exploration,' by Professor H. F. Osborn, of Columbia University. On the other hand, the papers before the sections were mostly technical in character, though geography, anthropology, political science and education always give occasion for popular papers and discussions.

The entertainments and excursions at meetings of the British Association are always well arranged; it has indeed been urged that they are too attractive to camp followers. The social conditions in Great Britain are favorable to dinners and garden parties, and there is nearly always a duke or at least a lord ready to offer hospitalities. At Cambridge the entertainments were naturally academic in character, the principal functions being at Trinity and St. John's Colleges. Honorary degrees were conferred on some fifteen of the visitors, America being represented by Professor Osborn.

Cambridge proved to be an attractive place for the meeting, and no wonder, for a large part of the active British scientific workers have studied there, and the university unites scientific preeminence and medieval charm. The registration was 2,783, the sixth largest in the history of the association, and representing probably the largest gathering of scientific men. At Manchester and Liverpool, where the largest meetings have been held, the registration is swollen by local associates who pay the fees without taking