Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/319

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315
GENETICS
That bulletins or reports of progress shall be published at said stations at least once in three months, one copy of which shall be sent to each newspaper in the states or territories in which they are respectively located, and to such individuals actually engaged in farming as may request the same and as far as the means of the station will permit.

It would be difficult to draft a condition more unfavorable to the primary purpose of the Act, which was "to conduct original researches or verify experiments on the physiology of plants and animals." I can scarcely suppose the most prolific discoverer should be invited to deliver himself more than once a year. Not only does such a rule compel premature publication—that nuisance of modern scientific life—but it puts the investigator into a wrong attitude towards his work. He will do best if he forget the public and the newspaper of his state or territory for long periods, and should only return to them when, after repeated verification, he is quite certain he has something to report.

In this I am sure the best scientific opinion of all countries would be agreed. If it is true that the public really demand continual scraps of results, and can not trust the investigators to pursue research in a reasonable way, then the public should be plainly given to understand that the time for inaugurating researches in the public's name has not arrived. Men of science have in some degree themselves to blame if the outer world has been in any mistake on these points. It can not be too widely known that in all sciences, whether pure or applied, research is nearly always a very slow process, uncertain in production, and full of disappointments. This is true, even in the new industries, chemical and electrical, for instance, where the whole industry has been built up from the beginning on a basis developed entirely by scientific method and by the accumulation of precise knowledge. Much more must any material advance be slow in the case of an ancient art like agriculture, where practise represents the casual experience of untold ages and accurate investigation is of yesterday. Problems moreover relating to unorganized matter are in their nature simpler than those concerned with the properties of living things, a region in which accurate knowledge is more difficult to attain. Here the research of the present day can aspire no higher than to lay the foundation on which the following generations will build. When this is realized it will at once be perceived that both those who are engaged in agricultural research and those who are charged with the supervision and control of these researches must be prepared to exercise a large measure of patience.

The applicable science must be created before it can be applied. It is with the discovery and development of such science that agricultural research will for long enough best occupy its energies. Sometimes, truly, there come moments when a series of obvious improvements in