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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/220

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

supported by the national government, have made original investigation of the infectious diseases an important and often major part of their work. In addition the Hygienic Laboratory has made most important investigations in pharmacology. Other non-university research institutions, as the New York State Laboratory for the investigation of cancer, the Rockefeller Commission for the Study of Hook-worm Disease, Trudeau's laboratory at Saranac for the study of tuberculosis and that for the study of problems of nutrition supported by the Carnegie Institution at Boston, are of great importance. Such institutions, and I have not exhausted the list, devoted to the investigaion of the problems of medicine and without affiliation with teaching institutions must be counted as among the most important factors in our social system.

Research in the medical school or the hospital, on the other hand, has developed slowly and has been in most institutions a matter of secondary importance. The reason for this is not difficult of demonstration when one remembers that even schools of university rank emerged only a short time ago from the proprietary state and that most physicians just past middle age can remember the two-and three-year course. Large classes, the belief in the didactic lectures, and the expense of laboratory equipment retarded the development of proper laboratory facilities and therefore the development of men trained to exact methods in the medical sciences. Likewise in the clinic the ideal teacher, with a few notable exceptions, was the busy consultant who devoted only a few hours of oratorical effort to clinical instruction and who disdained investigation as beneath the notice of a practical physician—an ideal which still holds in many of the more conservative schools and is responsible for the slow progress in the development of a science of clinical medicine. This type, however, is rapidly passing away and another generation may look back upon it as we do upon the age of the proprietary school, the two years' course and the amphitheater lecture.

It is not my intention to trace the beginnings of research in medical laboratories in this country, or, fascinating as it would be, if time allowed, to analyze early conditions and influences. A few men, however, stand out prominently, as, for example, Leidy, of Pennsylvania, teacher of anatomy and investigator in comparative anatomy, one of the greatest of American investigators in general biology, and Bowditch, who offered at Harvard in the seventies the first opportunity for organized research in physiology in this country. Laboratories of anatomy, that is, dissecting rooms, had always existed, but the modern type of anatomical investigation in anatomy is due to the influence of Minot, of Harvard, and Mall, of Hopkins. Likewise, laboratories of inorganic chemistry and so-called medical chemistry existed, but research in physiological and biological chemistry goes back only to Chittenden, of