Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/526

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Harvard and Columbia Universities have for several years maintained an exchange of professors with the Prussian government, and both universities have recently made similar arrangements for Paris. Columbia has had at least one visiting professor from Copenhagen, and Wisconsin has recently obtained a Karl Schurz endowment for German professors. Each of our leading universities has lectureships which are frequently filled by foreign men of science and scholars; and there are certain extra university courses, such as the Lowell lectures in Boston and those of the Brooklyn Institute. Thus during the month Professor Svante Arrhenius, of Stockholm, has been giving the Silliman lectures at Yale University; Professor L. T. Hobhouse, of London, lectures at Columbia, and Sir John Murray, of Edinburgh, a course of Lowell lectures. Our students and teachers have for years gone abroad in swarms; foreign students are beginning to frequent our universities, and foreign men of science, scholars and publicists to visit our institutions. Several international congresses have been held in this country and others will follow in due course.

All this exchange of men and ideas has been stimulating and fruitful. Up to the present we have on the whole played the part of the provinces, paying men to come to us and paying for the privilege of visiting them. We have in the main been content to exchange our money for their ideas. With other American republics and with Japan and China conditions have been reversed. With the older European nations they are changing; collectively they still overshadow the United States, but we can compare our institutions and our culture with I those of Germany, France or Great Britain on tolerably equal terms.

The official exchange of professors with Berlin has probably been the least successful part of this movement. The visiting professors learn, but their teaching is not particularly profitable. Books and journals are better ways to communicate to one country the scientific work of another, and the foreign language is a bar to oral teaching. A German professor lecturing in his own language for a week in each of twenty American universities would perform a more useful service than in attempting to give regular class-room instruction in one of them. Incidentally it may be noted that attendance at court functions or failure to attend them seems not to cultivate the sense of humor of the American professor.

The eastern seaboard plays somewhat the same part toward the western and southern sections as Europe does to the United States. Students from other parts of the country frequent the eastern universities and their professors lecture elsewhere. But the first official arrangement for an exchange of professors among American institutions has just been announced by Harvard University. A professor is to be sent annually to four colleges in the middle west—Colorado, Grinnell, Knox and Beloit—spending an eighth of a year at each, and the college sends one of its junior officers to Harvard, where he takes part in the regular instruction and may at the same time pursue graduate studies. The scheme is doubtless intended to draw students to Harvard and in a sense usurps the functions of the state university. But it appears to be on the whole commendable. It is certainly desirable for the officers of