Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/417

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
413
THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE ROCKEFELLER INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH

The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research has issued an interesting brochure giving an account of its history, organization and equipment. The institution was incorporated in 1901 with a board of directors consisting of seven distinguished pathologists, at which time Mr. John D. Rockefeller pledged a sum of $200,000 to be given in ten annual installments. At the end of the first year, he promised an additional sum of a million dollars for a building and support, and in that year the Schermerhorn estate on the East River, between 64th and 67th Streets, was purchased. Buildings were erected costing about $300,000, the formal opening taking place on May 11, 1906. In the following year Mr, Rockefeller gave an endowment of over two million, six hundred thousand dollars, and in 1908 arrangements were made for the construction of a hospital which cost $900,000. Other gifts followed from Mr. Rockefeller and the endowment fund now amounts to over $7,000,000.

At first the funds of the institute were used only for grants to investigators, but in 1902 Dr. Simon Flexner, then professor in the Johns Hopkins University, was elected director, and in 1904 research was begun by the institute. The original staff included, in addition to Dr. Flexner, Drs. S. J. Meltzer, E. L. Opie, H. Noguchi, P. A. Levene and J. Auer. Dr. Opie has since removed to St. Louis, and the scientific staff has been strengthened by the addition of Drs. Jacques Loeb, Alexis Carrel, Rufus Cole and other distinguished investigators. The original directors of the institute agreed in 1908 to become themselves a board of scientific directors, and to transfer to a board of trustees the management of the property. Both boards appear to form the corporation, their relations being somewhat unusual. The present board of trustees was appointed by the board of scientific directors, but they will in future be selected by the trustees. The arrangement, however, gives much more influence to scientific men than the organization of our universities, as the board of scientific directors retains control of the scientific work supported by the annual income, and one third of the trustees holding the property are men of science who are also members of the board of scientific directors.

The laboratory building is a fireproof structure of light gray brick and limestone, commanding a beautiful view of the East River and the country beyond. There are laboratories of pathology, bacteriology, chemistry, physiology, pharmacology, experimental medicine and experimental surgery, each of which is under the charge of a member or associate of the institute with a staff of assistants. The hospital includes a main building and an isolation pavilion for contagious diseases. Its capacity is about seventy beds and its work is confined to selected cases bearing on a limited number of diseases, those first selected having been acute lobar pneumonia, infantile paralysis, syphilis and certain types of cardiac disease. No charge is made for persons treated in the hospital, and all discoveries and inventions made by those working in the institution become its property to be placed freely at the service of the public.

The institution publishes The Journal of Experimental Medicine, a series of monographs and a series of studies. In its first ten years the institute has produced a large number of researches of great importance both for pure science and for applied medicine. Some of these have been described in this journal by the director. Dr. Flexner,