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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/209

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AMERICA'S INTELLECTUAL PRODUCT

great practical utilities, the telegraph and the telephone, the application of steam and electricity in the production and transmission of power, the conquests of biological science in its applications to medicine and the preservation of the public health, are matters of common knowledge. The disappearance of the plagues with which the cities of Europe were so frequently scourged, of the ravages of smallpox so prevalent one hundred and fifty years ago that one person in every three or four was marked with it, and finally the control of yellow fever and malaria, speak volumes in favor of medical research. Who is doing the medical research of the world? In this country the statement is made that out of about one hundred thousand physicians not over five hundred are engaged in research. Fortunately the Germans are at this too, so that every physician has the ambition to study at some period in Germany, and find out all he can of the newest methods of practise and discovery.

The effect of research on the industries of a country is well known. One of the most celebrated applications of chemistry was the creation of the aniline dyes. This discovery, made in England, bore its greatest fruits in Germany, and at the recent celebration in London of the jubilee of the discovery of the aniline colors in honor of Sir William Perkin, one of the speakers said that it was a painful fact that although the English had the discoverer the Germans had the factories. In fact, the Germans not only make the dyes, but the greater part of all the fine chemicals for the world. Every one of these great German factories employs scores of chemists, each with a doctor's degree from a university, not only for the purpose of superintending the manufacture, but for the prosecution of research and the development of new processes and products.

In the commercial race of to-day, England has lost that preeminence that she once had, and is extremely nervous with regard to the competition of the United States and Germany. If we compare the methods of the latter two countries, I believe we shall find a decided difference. In this country success has been achieved by the application of business acumen, in finding out how to save cost by the concentration of huge amounts of business under one management, and by production on a large scale. When it comes to improving the quality of the product, we are not so successful. As a familiar example take the steel manufacture, where we have passed England in the quantity of the steel we manufacture, but if steel is wanted of the finest sort for razors the greatest part of it still comes from England or Germany. The principles of the manufacture of steel are still largely a mystery, and the development of the method that seems to give us the most information on this subject, that of metallography, or the study of metallic alloys under the microscope, has been devel-