Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/320

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practise can at once be introduced, but this happens only when the penetrative genius of a Pasteur or a Mendel has worked out the way into a new region of knowledge, and returns with a treasure that all can use. Given the knowledge it will soon enough become applied.

I am not advocating work in the clouds. In all that is attempted we must stick near to the facts. Though the methods of research and of thought must be strict and academic, it is in the farm and the garden that they must be applied. If inspiration is to be found anywhere it will be there. The investigator will do well to work

As if his highest plot
To plant the bergamot.

It is only in the closest familiarity with phenomena that we can attain to that perception of their orderly relations, which is the beginning of discovery.

To the creation of applicable science the very highest gifts and training are well devoted. In a foreign country an eminent man of science was speaking to me of a common friend, and he said that as our friend's qualifications were not of the first rank he would have to join the agricultural side of the university. I have heard remarks of similar disparagement at home. Now, whether from the standpoint of agriculture or pure science, I can imagine no policy more stupid and shortsighted.

The man who devotes his life to applied science should be made to feel that he is in the main stream of scientific progress. If he is not, both his work and science at large will suffer. The opportunities of discovery are so few that we can not afford to miss any, and it is to the man of trained mind who is in contact with the phenomena of a great applied science that such opportunities are most often given. Through his hands pass precious material, the outcome sometimes of years of effort and design. To tell him that he must not pursue that inquiry further because he can not foresee a direct and immediate application of the knowledge he would acquire, is, I believe almost always, a course detrimental to the real interests of the applied science. I could name specific instances where in other countries thoroughly competent and zealous investigators have by the shortsightedness of superior officials been thus debarred from following to their conclusion researches of great value and novelty.

In this country where the Development Commission will presumably for many years be the main instigator and controller of agricultural research, the constitution of the advisory board, on which science is largely represented, forms a guarantee that broader counsels will prevail, and it is to be hoped that not merely this inception of the work, but its future administration also will be guided in the same spirit.