Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/29

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THE METEOROLOGY OF THE FUTURE

that he is capable of. He may temporarily devote himself to acquiring knowledge or money; to perfecting art or inventing machinery; he may apparently devote his whole life to some mercantile pursuit, but if he be true to his own conscience, his ultimate hope must be to benefit his country and mankind. Anything else less than this dies; just as he himself must die; it dies with him. Patriotic philanthropy can alone afford a man the comfortable assurance that his life has been well spent. No one founds a hospital, a library, a museum, a park or a university, for purely selfish ends; he knows, and he takes pleasure in knowing, that the whole community will be benefited, and that future thousands will thank him for that which otherwise would have been unattainable to them. He has given to his money and his life their maximum power for good.

At this moment Columbia University surrounds us with this group of noble buildings, testifying to the wisdom of many wealthy men. The names of the best of New York are inscribed above these portals. There is room for other temples and why should not one of these be devoted to the science and the art that I represent, to the study of the atmosphere, and the utilization of that knowledge for the benefit of man? Give meteorology a home of its own among these temples of science, and its students will build a noble intellectual structure. Provide generous fellowships, stimulate able physicists to devote their lives to this study, and thus assure the development of useful meteorolgy by future generations of men.

But is there a future for meteorology? Can we to-night lift the curtain and look forward? What are the problems that now seem to be pressing for solution? The great problems of the past were vital to the progress of science and to the welfare of mankind. Some of these problems still await our careful attention, and other newer ones have become prominent. This present generation of men must provide for this future study. "We understand the general nature of the work that remains to be done, but a future generation must do it. It is our first duty to provide for the education of the young men that are to carry the work a few steps further forward. Progress in knowledge is always slow. How slowly Africa has been opened up. How hard it was to find the North Pole. How long the world waited for Christopher Columbus to cross the Atlantic.

With the kind assistance of Professor Wm. Hallock and his colleagues I have prepared a few experiments to illustrate the points to which I would draw your attention. But first I must emphasize my statement that as soon as one generation of men arrives at a simple law or generalization, then another generation calls attention to the fact that there are exceptions to these laws and that obscure influences are at work preventing the operation of any one single, simple law. Thus