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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/383

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379
FOREIGN ASSOCIATES OF NATIONAL SOCIETIES

society had displayed great skill and discernment in its selection. In fact, the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg elected four of these men before their talents were discovered by any other foreign society on this list, and two of them before they were elected by the home society. If one society was always the last to elect we should suspect that it awaited the judgment of others, in which case its choice would have little value as an independent opinion. It might, however, be due to other causes, as, for instance, a higher standard, if its total membership was less. A society which elected many members who were never elected into any other would appear to show poor judgment, although other conditions might enter in particular cases. Thus, every member must, for a time belong to one society only. The failure to detect marked differences by these tests confirms the view that the selections are made independently and fairly.

An examination of Table II. reveals some interesting cases. One member was elected into the six foreign societies in five years, while with another this period extended over thirty years. One was elected into all seven societies before he was fifty years old. One has been elected into the six foreign societies for eight years, and has not yet been elected into the home society. One was elected into three foreign societies before he was forty. Three persons have been elected into a foreign society after attaining the age of eighty, and ten before they were forty. About two thirds were elected into foreign societies between the ages of forty-five and sixty-five. On the average, these men were elected into their first foreign society about eight years after election into the home society. The successive elections then took place at average intervals of three years and a half. The oldest member is ninety-one, the youngest forty-six. Many other conclusions regarding age might be drawn, such as its relation to country, science or society, but no striking differences have been noticed.

The most important conclusions to be drawn by inhabitants of the United States, are that the representation per million inhabitants is less than a fifth that of the principal countries of Europe. We have no representative in mathematics or medicine, while in astronomy we have three out of ten members. The explanation is not hard to find. While immense sums are spent on higher education in this country, the endowment for advanced research is comparatively small. Astronomy is almost the only science having institutions devoted to research, and in which a large part of the time and energy is not expended in teaching. Of the six American members, five have occupied positions in which no teaching was required, but their entire time was supposed to be devoted to original investigation.