Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/105

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

number of "big men" I found what seemed to me to be the least desirable systems of management." Mr. Cooke would remedy this by arranging matters so "that when a man has ceased to be efficient he must be retired, as he would in any other line of work "but he does not tell us who would be responsible for dismissing professors or whether under these circumstances professors in our leading universities might not properly expect salaries equal to those of our leading engineers, physicians and lawyers.

It should be understood that these remarks and quotations give only one side of Mr. Cooke's report, which is in many respects a document worth reading. The usefulness of our universities should be increased; their money is not always spent to the best advantage. It seems to be generally true that efficiency is inversely as the size of the "concern." The writer of this note has recently had dealings with a department store, a publishing house and an express company, and he can assure Mr. Cooke and the Carnegie Foundation that there is even more urgent need for missionary labors on behalf of efficiency elsewhere than in the university. Efficiency is desirable everywhere; but it is only a means to an end. The university stands for higher things—scholarship, research, service, leadership, ideals, honor. It is doubtful whether the further elaboration of department-store methods in the university will even reduce the "cost per unit hour," if "overhead charges" are included. The solution is the reverse of that proposed by Mr. Cooke. The department should have autonomy and the individual freedom. Only thus will the best men be drawn to the universities and be led to do their best work.

THE MOUNT WILSON CONFERENCE OF THE SOLAR UNION

The fourth conference of the International Union for Solar Research was held at the Solar Observatory of the Carnegie Institution, Mount Wilson, California, from August 31 to September 2, 1910. The attendance was large, 37 delegates from eleven foreign countries being recorded on the official list, together with 46 Americans. Many of the latter, though not members of the union, had accepted its invitation to attend the conference.

Nearly half the delegates crossed the continent together, as many had attended the meeting of the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America at Harvard (August 17-19). This afforded opportunities for informal conferences and discussions almost equal in value to those provided by the conference itself.

On Monday, August 29, the members of the conference visited the laboratories and shops of the Solar Observatory, which are in Pasadena at the foot of the mountain. Among the things of greatest interest may be mentioned the exceedingly well-equipped spectroscopic laboratory, the massive machinery for grinding the great 100inch mirror and a wealth of photographs, some of which showed the enormous light-gathering power of the great 60-inch reflector now installed on the mountain.

The afternoon was pleasantly occupied by a garden party given by Professor and Mrs. Hale, and on the following morning the party, numbering nearly 100, began the 5,000-foot climb to the observatory, some in carriages, some on horseback and a few hardy souls on foot. The hotel on the summit, though crowded to the limit, provided all with very comfortable accommodation.

No formal papers were read at the sessions of the conference, which were devoted to the reports of committees and to questions of general policy; but the larger part of the day was free for conferences of an informal nature, which were most valuable, especially to the younger men.

The first official session was on Wednesday morning. Professors Pick-