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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/189

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185
THE VALUE OF SCIENCE

PSM V70 D189 Alfred C Lane.jpg

Alfred C. Lane, State Geologist of Michigan, Vice-president for the Section of Geology and Geography.

matter of fact, the great discoveries in I the history of science are but few, and it is as a rule only in retrospect that they are seen in their true perspective. The doctrine of the origin of species by natural selection is probably one of the two great scientific advances of the past century, and it was clearly and dramatically announced at a certain meeting of the Linnean Society. Yet no one would expect the newspapers the next morning to devote their front pages to a report of the meeting. The work of the scientific men of the country during the year was more important for the people than the proceedings of its congress and legislatures, and this work was in large measure reported at the New York meeting. Almost any one of the researches presented might be the subject of an interesting article; abstracts of all of them, so brief as to be unintelligible, would fill a volume of the Monthly.

The first article of the constitution of the American Association reads as follows: "The objects of the Association are, by periodical and migratory meetings, to promote intercourse between those who are cultivating science in different parts of America, to give a stronger and more general impulse and more systematic direction to scientific research, and to procure for the labors of scientific men increased facilities and a wider usefulness."

PSM V70 D189 Edwin G Conklin.jpg

Edwin G. Conklin, Professor of Zoology in the University of Pennsylvania, Vice-president for the Section of Zoology.

Certainly a meeting such as that of the present year does much to advance these objects. The council of the association, to which the affiliated societies now elect delegates, is a body truly representative of scientific research and of scientific men. Its functions in the future will probably become more important than hitherto, for it is not only able to conduct the business of the association, but to exert a predominant influence on the conditions which affect scientific progress.

The retiring president of the Association, Professor Calvin M. Woodward, known both as an engineer and for his