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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/385

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PSM V72 D385 Tower telescope of the mt wilson observatory.png

Tower Telescope of the Mt Wilson Observatory

the Desert Laboratory, the Department of Botanical Research has studied the conditions of the Salton Sea, and Dr. MacDougal has continued his remarkable experiments, showing that reagents ingested into the ovaries of seed-plants produce new characters which are transmissible and stable. The important work in experimental evolution under Dr. Davenport and in marine biology under Dr. Meyer has produced interesting results. The special new undertaking of the year has been the erection of a laboratory adjacent to the Harvard Medical School for the study of nutrition.

Since its establishment in 1902 the Carnegie Institution has appropriated $1,356,185 for large projects and $784,678 for minor projects. In 1904 more than twice as much was spent on minor projects as on large projects, whereas in 1907 more than six times as much was spent on departments conducted by the institution as for minor grants. The institution is thus coming to be a congeries of scientific departments situated in different parts of the country with administrative headquarters at Washington. In the appropriations astronomy and geophysics have been shown special generosity, astronomy having received $524,925 and geophysics and terrestrial magnetism $428,500. On the other hand, only $6,500 has been appropriated for psychology and $5,900 for mathematics.

While it is gratifying that the Carnegie Institution is able to carry forward on a larger scale work that was being admirably done by Professor Hale at the Yerkes Observatory, Dr. Boss at the Dudley Observatory, Dr. Bauer under the Coast and Geodetic Survey, Dr. Day under the Geological Survey, Professor Benedict at Wesleyan, Professor Davenport at Chicago, Dr. MacDougal at the New York Botanical Garden, etc., it is certainly disappointing that it has so completely failed to become a central force for the organization and the advancement of science, literature and art in this country. If a million dollars had been given to each of our twelve leading universities for the endowment of research professorships and fellowships, more would have been accomplished for science and scholarship. It is, however, none the less true that the establishment of the Carnegie Institution has contributed in large measure to the advancement of science, and Mr. Carnegie's addition of two million dollars to the original endowment of ten million dollars is very welcome.