Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/467

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AMERICAN MATHEMATICS

Society, which is now one of the strongest mathematical societies of the world and has probably a larger income than any other similar organization. It publishes two journals and its frequent meetings furnish favorable opportunities to renew zeal and to cooperate in the more important advances. These meetings serve also as a good medium to spread reliable information in reference to young men of promise and to secure for them more prompt recognition than would otherwise be possible.

One of the most hopeful signs as regards American mathematics is the fact that our students are in close contact with several of the mathematical centers of Europe. It is no longer true that nearly all Americans who go abroad for the purpose of studying mathematics locate in the same institution or in the same country. In recent years, Italy has grown rapidly in favor, while the leading universities of Germany and France continue to attract a considerable number of our best students. The rapid interchange of ideas resulting from the scattering of our mathematical students in foreign countries is doing much to dispel prejudices, to make American mathematics cosmopolitan, and to awaken a keener appreciation of the advantages and the disadvantages of our own institutions.

If one bears in mind the facts that our library facilities were very poor until recent years and that no locality offers in itself any special inducements for mathematical study, one should perhaps be surprised by the rapid mathematical advances during the last few decades rather than by the fact that we have not yet attained to greater national eminence. It remains to be seen whether we shall ever be on an equality with the leading mathematical nations of the world. The rapidity with which we have obtained respectful recognition and the American eminence in some of the other sciences might reasonably awaken the hope that we may be not far from the time when we shall deserve, in the strictest sense, the position pictured in the first paragraph in such a friendly spirit.