Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/594

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

THE VIENNA INSTITUTION FOR EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY[1]
By Professor CHARLES LINCOLN EDWARDS

COINCIDENT with the founding of our own government, the Emperor Joseph II., of Austria, opened to the public the Prater, the largest park in Vienna. At the entrance is the Prater-Stern, a street-car center directly accessible from all parts of the inner city and the outer districts by means of the city railway and many lines of electric cars. Here the people flock, especially on Sundays and holidays, to that part known as the Volks-Prater, which is a veritable Austrian Coney Island, with music, theaters, a giant wheel, circus, race-tracks, exhibits of natives from various lands and the attractive sights of "Venice in Vienna." On Easter Monday and May Day the largest and gayest throngs seek the Prater, where they visit the many forms of amusement, or walk and drive for miles through the park. Under the four rows of chestnut trees in the Haupt-allée the fashionable aristocrats parade in their fine equipages drawn by beautiful horses and bearing liveried coachmen and footmen.

The International Exhibition of 1873, located in the Prater, had an imposing aquarium constructed after plans by Brehm. More recently this structure has been used by the Zoological Society of Vienna as a vivarium for the display of the smaller animals. In consequence of the existence of an older zoological garden, the royal menagerie at Schönbrunn, it has not been possible to maintain this similar enterprise in Vienna. Following a suggestion of Professor Hatschek, Dr. Hans Przibram obtained the vivarium building from the zoological society in 1902 and joined with the botanists. Dr. Wilhelm Figdor and Leopold V. Portheim, in the establishment of an institution exclusively for scientific research which has already become renowned. The field is not limited, but offers an opportunity for the investigation of any biological problem, chiefly by means of experimentation, upon either plants or animals of the sea or the fresh waters, of the air, or the land, or dwelling in caves or burrows beneath the surface of the soil. The grounds, forming the garden around the vivarium building, were rented from the government for fifteen years. The main building (Fig. 1) had to be completely reconstructed and was then supplemented by two glass

  1. For his courtesy in lending me the photographs here reproduced and for his paper entitled "Die biologische Versuchsanstalt in Wien," Zeitschrift f. biol. Technik u. Methodik, 1910, I am especially indebted to Dr. Hans Przibram.