Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/313

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THE CHEMIST IN CONSERVATION

Her price is far above rubies.
Her children arise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praiseth her.

In common with other large universities we are doing our best for the young men, preparing them for the professions or the business to which they will be called—physicians, lawyers, dentists, engineers, chemists, accountants—fitting them to aid in the conservation of material resources, of liberty and of life.

When we are asked regarding our stewardship of the young women a discreet silence may be the safest reply. We are giving them disciplinary studies, a general education in subjects interesting alike to man or woman, an opportunity to develop the social instincts, to gain by association with educated people, and to become more at ease in society. But we look in vain for a careful training in the field where woman should be supreme, an opportunity for any detailed study of chemistry with the related sections of physics, bacteriology and physiology, as applied to food and diet, disinfection and disease, particularly diseases of children, general prophylaxis, sanitary construction, the disposal of wastes, and the manifold other problems of the home. As homekeeper much of the financial success of the average family will depend upon her. Where is she getting the instruction? Most men are only indirectly interested in such problems and therefore if woman can not, or will not, solve them they will be unsuccessfully met. It is true that most of them are merely applications of scientific principles, and that somewhere in the university these principles are taught. Yet nowhere are they correlated to make a systematic course for this large proportion of our students. The men of the University of Iowa may make good husbands, but, as a rule, they will not be able dieticians; the women may make the best of wives but, in that case, the university can claim but a small part of the credit for it. The University of Iowa is missing its great opportunity.

In all this I am not pleading for the special training of teachers and experts; only for aid in the conservation which shall supply our needs, through the symmetrical development of our students and their best preparation for their life-work.

I have spoken of a few of the means used by science to conserve our resources, but they are typical of hundreds of others carried on all over the world by thousands of men with chemical training and working by scientific methods. From this present activity we can look ahead and predict some of the tasks next to be accomplished. Were the time sufficient, it would be interesting to discuss them—the probability of the synthetic production in the laboratory of many of our foods now only formed by the slow processes of nature; a system of intensive agriculture whereby our crops will be increased many fold;