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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/208

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

the years that I spent in Berlin, I must acknowledge that the help I received directly from Helmholtz was not great, but we all felt such an unbounded admiration and respect for the great man, such a pride in reading his investigations as they appeared, and trying to understand them, that I would not exchange those memories for any amount of assistance in the preparation of a doctor's dissertation. After spending the four happiest years of my life in this atmosphere, when it came time to return home it was with some misgivings that I began to consider the prospects of the life about to begin. On the steamer returning I fell in with a classmate from whom I learned something of a new institution in which great stress was laid on research, a fact that produced an agreeable stimulus in many others than myself, as I have since learned.

The foundation of the Johns Hopkins University in 1876 marked an epoch in education and in science in this country, for into it President Gilman succeeded in gathering such a body of strong and enthusiastic scholars all permeated by the spirit of research and production as had never been got together in this country. What American physicist does not owe something to the life and work of Rowland, what biologist to that of Brooks? From that remarkable circle of inspiring teachers came one who was to furnish the creative ideas for this Clark University, where the idea of research, of the production of fruit as the criterion of vitality, was to be emphasized as had never before been the case in this country. The idea of founding a university without a collegiate department was derided in some quarters. "No students to teach! What do your professors do then?" was the question frequently asked. And yet the prospect was unspeakably alluring to many young men. One of my colleagues tells me of a letter that he received from a friend who declared that on reading the first announcement of Clark University he felt like selling all he had and going there. This I believe was the feeling of many others. I was not so fortunate as to be here the first year, but I have had described to me by colleagues the exhilaration of the start in the race, in the company of a band of leaders, mostly young, but already eminent, and every one imbued with the determination to do all that in him lay toward the increase of knowledge and the glory of his country.

Of the history of the university it is not for me to speak. My remarks are not intended to be of local, but of general, application. My main contention is of the indispensability of research, by all teachers, not only in universities, as a means of vivification and fructification. It is hardly necessary to speak of the necessity to the community of research, on account of its practical applications. Of this the public is becoming decidedly sensible. To say nothing of those