Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/576

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

on influence of examinations on teaching, and on the course of experimental, observational and practical studies most suitable for elementary schools, and one on conditions of health in schools.

A special session of the anthropological section was devoted to the question of an anthropometric survey of Great Britain and the alleged deterioration of the people. Mr. J. Gray outlined a plan that had been presented to the Privy Council committee according to which the United Kingdom would be divided into 400 districts, in each of which a representative sample of about 1,000 adults of each sex would be subjected to a large number of measurements and observations. The whole of the school children would be measured, because a thousand of each sex for each age interval of one year would be required, which would amount to about the whole of the school population. The survey would be completed once every ten years, and the total number measured in that time would be about 800,000 adults and 8,000,000 children. It is much to be hoped that the work of the Bureau of American Ethnology may be enlarged so that a similar survey may be made in the United States. Professor D. J. Cunningham and Dr. F. C. Shrubsall read papers, the latter discussing the relations of the blond and brunette types and the fact that the former tends to disappear in cities.

Mr. Balfour, who presided over the meeting, remarked that the progeny of every man who won his way from the lowest ranks into the middle class was likely to diminish because of later marriages in that class. Hence it seemed that, as the state so contrived education as to allow this 'rising' from a lower to upper class, by so much did it do something to diminish the actual quality of the breed. It was, of course, not an argument against the state's attitude towards education in this respect; but there was, or seemed to be, no escape from the rather melancholy conclusion that everything done towards opening up careers to those of the lower classes did something towards the deterioration of the race.

In a survey such as this, it has of course only been possible to select from the programs and printed abstracts a few topics from the large number which came before the sections. They indicate, however, the general subjects now engaging the attention of scientific men and call to mind the names of a few of the leaders of science of Great Britain. It seems that on the whole the more eminent British men of science are more likely to attend the meeting of their general association and to take a part in its proceedings than is the case in this country, and it appears also that Great Britain has, at least in the physical sciences, more eminent men than we have.