Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/61

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RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS IN PURE SCIENCE

time vivacious, convincing, and dependable, by persons who have merely "read up" on biology with nothing but an elementary training to start from. Only persons constantly occupied with the first-hand gathering of data, with the making and testing of hypotheses, and with the submitting of results and conclusions to fellow workers for criticism and verification, can do the safest teaching in these ways.

Here comes not only the opportunity but the obligation of those whose vocation is in research institutions. The university teacher may generally be considered to have done his share when in addition to his research work he has instructed his regular classes. Those, on the other hand, whose lots are cast in institutions of research, being relieved of the round of duties incident to the university professorship, would seem to be marked as the ones to use such instruments of general education as are most suitable for reaching the great public outside the schools and colleges. The press, as already said, is probably the most available and powerful of all such instrumentalities.

I would not be understood to mean that every person regularly employed by institutions of research in non-industrial science should be held responsible for a certain amount of popular writing or lecturing or arranging of collections or the like. Such an idea put into practise would undoubtedly carry disaster in its train not alone to the institutions, but to the cause designed to be promoted. My view is that these institutions, as institutions, ought to hold themselves obliged, from time to time, to give out in a form readily accessible to and comprehensible by the rank and file, the results of their most significant achievements. Indeed, I am willing to go a step farther and say that such institutions might well be held to something of the sort by their boards of administration. I am persuaded that such a course would be, in the long run, not only not obstructive, but actually promotive, of the work of investigation itself.

It is true something in this way is being done by some, possibly all, of the research foundations of the country. But in very few, if any, so far as I can judge, is the doing accepted as a weighty obligation and as a set policy. So it happens that what is done is an exceedingly small fraction of what ought to be and might be done.

Under its present management the Marine Biological Station of San Diego holds duties in this direction to be as incumbent upon it as are those of making discoveries about the Pacific Ocean and the things that live in it.