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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY

 

NOVEMBER, 1907




THE SCOPE AND IMPORTANCE TO THE STATE OF THE SCIENCE OF NATIONAL EUGENICS[1]
By Professor KARL PEARSON, F.R.S.,

UNIVERSITY OF LONDON

IT needs more than a little boldness to suggest within the walls of one of our ancient universities that there is still another new science which calls for support and sympathy; nay, which in the near future will demand its endowments, its special laboratory, its technical library, its enthusiastic investigators and its proper share in the curriculum of academic studies.

The prestige of an ancient university does not wholly depend on the extent and novelty of the fields it cultivates, nor even on the external reputation of its doctors and masters. I remember my Savigny well enough to know that historically a university does not express the universality of the learning taught within its walls, but that the word emphasizes the corporate character of its masters and scholars. I also understand—with the experience of four universities behind me—not only the social, but the educational value of the traditional universitas of the middle ages; that common life of teacher and scholar which we now find preserved in broad outline, if in detail obscured, at two English universities alone.

As your guest to-day, even if I had the necessary knowledge, it would be ill-fitting to praise or to criticize modern Oxford. My intellectual debt to Oxford is too great to make me an unbiased judge; looking back on the stadia of intellectual growth from the days of the Oxford schoolmaster who taught me scientific method and a love of folk-lore in failing to teach me Greek grammar, the sign-posts are marked with Oxford names, whose moment to me must be a small part of what it formed to the mental life here. I note those: of Mark


  1. Fourteenth Robert Boyle lecture delivered before the Oxford University Junior Scientific Club on May 17, 1907.