Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/414

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A scientific man has relations with his fellow workers in the same field throughout the world. In some narrow specialties he may know that his paper will be read by not more than twenty people who may be citizens of ten different nations. He belongs to a social group or fraternity which is independent of language or nationality. A scientific subject, whether large or small, is built up by contributions accruing from many nations. The symbols of mathematics, physical constants, the names of species and genera, in large measure the terminology of all the sciences, form an international language. It is easy to read scientific literature in English, German and French; practically all those engaged in research work can do so. Communication by way of the mails and the printing press and interest in a common subject lead to personal contact and acquaintance, which have been especially forwarded by the university. When the present writer was assistant in the psychological laboratory of Professor Wundt at Leipzig twenty-five years ago, more than half the research students came from beyond the borders of Germany. They now hold professorships in universities in many different countries. In the classes of the writer at Columbia University last year, there were represented Great Britain, German}, France, Italy, Russia, Denmark, Bulgaria, South America and Japan. Interchange of professors as well as of students has become a feature of academic life. Scientific men from foreign nations are continually visiting our institutions and lecturing at our universities. Each is an ambassador of peace and good will.

The common interests of scientific men have led to their organization in international conferences and congresses. These bodies are more numerous than is commonly known. The Central Office of International Institutions at Brussels, which aims to become a clearing-house in its field, enumerates as many as 280, most of which are concerned with science in its wider aspects. Dr. P. J. Eijkman, of the Hague, in his L'internationalisme scientifique gives a list of 614 societies and L organizations in the main scientific and international in character. International congresses devoted to each of the sciences and to the applications of science in the various branches of engineering and medicine meet periodically, each time in a different country. Experience shows that the organization of an international congress is not always conducive to domestic peace, but such difficulties perhaps dispose us to appreciate all the more the good qualities of foreigners. Certainly these congresses, bringing together men from different nations and giving them opportunity to cooperate for their common ends, have a real and increasing influence toward international good-will.

International congresses, conventions and conferences often lead to permanent plans and institutions for international cooperation. Some of these, such as the Hague conferences, are directly concerned with preventing wars or ameliorating their conduct. Others, such as the