Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/25

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AFTER some introductory remarks by Dr. Finley, president of the College of the City of New York, Professor Abbe said:

I think myself specially honored by these kindly words from the president of the College of the City of New York. You all know how thoroughly that noble institution has, during the past sixty years, entrenched itself in the hearts of our citizens, and you know what Dr. Finley is doing to carry its work forward. To it many of us owe those youthful inspirations that have determined our careers in maturer life. It is always a delight to me to recall the years 1851–1857 when at that college I studied the foundations of modern physical science; mathematics under Docharty, descriptive geometry under Koerner, mechanics under Nichols, physics and chemistry under Gibbs. Not to speak of those other revered instructors, Owen in Latin and Greek, Anthon in history, Duggan in architecture, Roemer in French. Each one of these is still to me a living inspiration. Such men do not die so long as their words and lives continue vividly before us. It was worth living in those days to have listened to the brilliant diction and witnessed the successful experiments of Robert Ogden Doremus in his lectures on the Nebular Hypothesis. These admirable educators dealt with questions that I have gradually come to see are intimately associated with our atmospheric problems, though they themselves probably did not think of such connection at that time. It may be said that every course of study then pursued at that college has proved useful in the modern development of meteorology. Of course this is equally true of the studies now pursued at Columbia University. May both that college and this university in the future send forth many meteorologists and others to benefit our city, our nation and our science.

My task to-night is to be as difficult as the problem proposed of old by Pharoah to Joseph. I am to tell you a dream of the future of science and also the interpretation thereof.

In the preceding nine lectures, my colleagues have given you some idea of the present state of our knowledge of the atmosphere. Possibly you may have already suspected that we know very little about the air in which we live. You must not think less of the honest scholar when

  1. A public lecture, illustrated with experiments, at Columbia University, March 16, 1909.