Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 66.djvu/297

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

place of meeting this year. Philadelphia is centrally situated, at least for the Atlantic seaboard. The city is noted for its scientific societies and institutions. The University of Pennsylvania is one of the great universities which can offer admirable accommodations to all the societies and at the same time much to interest all men of science. Houston Hall, the beautiful club house of the students, will be an admirable center for social intercourse. The magnificent new medical laboratories will not only give excellent places of meeting for the societies devoted to the biological sciences, but a visit to them would repay a trip from Boston or even from Chicago. Each group of scientific men will find something to interest them in the advances made by the university during the ten years of Provost Harrison's administration. These include the laboratories of physics and of chemistry, the engineering hall, the observatory, the botanical garden, the vivarium and the museums, to mention only certain of the developments connected with the natural and exact sciences.

 

THE U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

Much has been written of late about the work of the National Department of Agriculture, and widespread public interest aroused in its developments. There have been occasional criticisms of particular investigations, but there has been much to commend, which has appealed to people as having an important bearing in the development of agriculture. Interest in its annual report is by no means confined to the farmers and horticulturists, and no one can read it without being impressed by the fact that under the direction and stimulus of the present secretary of agriculture it has become an agency of great activity and aggressiveness in all that pertains to agricultural science and practise.

No reasonable expense or effort is evidently being spared to introduce or originate plants of improved quality, or better adapted to particular sections, to find remedies for diseases and pests of plants and animals, to extend the market for agricultural products, and to bring about an improved and more intelligent agriculture. In this the department is ably seconded by the agricultural experiment stations, located in every state and territory of the union, whose services the secretary acknowledges in the opening clause of his report and elsewhere. Many of the investigations reported from the department have originated and been worked out at the experiment stations, but they have been fostered and exploited by the department. Much of this work is a joint undertaking. The relations between these agencies are so close in object and method that specific reference to the stations is not made in each case, although evidently implied in a summary of what has been accomplished. The secretary endorses the movement for increasing the federal appropriation to the state stations, a bill for which is now pending in congress, and commends their work unsparingly.

Among the exigencies of the year which have called for special attention are the control of cattle scab and mange in the west, of which the individual states were unable to prevent the spread, and the serious and threatening ravages of the cotton-boll weevil in Texas and Louisiana. The latter work has been widely described in the press. The past season was a favorable one in bringing out the value of macaroni or durum wheats, introduced by the department in the semiarid west a few years ago. It is estimated that fourteen million bushels were grown, and a great impetus was given to their culture. The growing of pedigreed sugar beet seed is showing home-grown seed to be equal to the imported seed, and often better. A