Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/312

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

states. Knowing how nearly we have approached phosphate poverty we can take measures to more properly protect them.

With these materials, with the systematic study which is being carried on in government laboratories, in experiment stations, in agricultural colleges and universities of the chemistry of the soil and of the food and metabolism of plants, with the industry of the fertilizer chemists, and with the awakening of the farmer to the needs of such knowledge, we can hopefully expect a bountiful food supply for the world's table.

The aid of science is noteworthy in increasing human vitality,—one of the principal factors in national efficiency, and a form of conservation. In the sixteenth century the average length of human life is estimated as being between 18 and 20 years; to-day it is between 38 and 40 years. Modern hygiene is markedly lowering mortality and lessening illness. Compare the former death rate of Havana, 50 to 100 per 1,000, with the present one which is but little more than that of our northern cities. Note the disappearance of yellow fever and cholera from the Isthmus of Panama and the fall of the death rate to one third of that of the French administration. Known to everybody is the successful fight which is being waged to decrease the ravages of small-pox, tuberculosis, diphtheria, meningitis and the hook-worm.

The food of the nation is being studied as never before by hundreds of chemists; the actual needs of the body are being determined, the kinds and amounts of food adapted to particular conditions are learned, dangerous and adulterated foods are proscribed. Through the studies of milk and children's foods by physiological chemists the mortality of infants has been greatly diminished. In all these conflicts against disease the chemists are in the front of the battle. A strenuous campaign of education must be carried on, but already the light begins to shine into the dark places.

In this broad field of conservation where the opportunities for labor are so great how are we, as educators, doing our part? Are we merely applying our scientific knowledge, or are we also training others for service—the young people of this university?

Regardless of current discussions as to woman's proper place in the social fabric, it is certain that society has caused her to specialize as the conserver of the home. Her position may be modified in the future, but it will be long years before she abdicates this regal station. I do not mean that she should remain a household drudge, confined to the walls of the kitchen, nor do I intimate that all women can, or care to, be so distinguished. But Woman—das Ewig-Weibliche—is destined long to preside, the goddess of the family, as in the days of Solomon, the Wise, for, as then.