Popular Science Monthly/Volume 64/February 1904/The Progress of Science
CONVOCATION WEEK MEETINGS OF SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES.
There is an accounting of scientific stock at the close of each year when the national scientific societies hold their annual meetings. There does not, however, exist either for this or any other country a census of scientific work and scientific men. As a rough guess, it may be suggested that there were perhaps 100 men in the United States
Otto H. Tittmann, Superintendent of the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, Vice-president for Mathematics and Astronomy.
professionally engaged in scientific work in 1850, 200 in 1860, 400 in 1870, 800 in 1880, 1,600 in 1890, 3,200 in 1900; and that we may expect to find as many as 6,400 in 1910. Certainly the increase in endowments, in opportunities and in men appears to follow a geometrical rather than an arithmetical progression. The American Association for the Advancement of Science held its first meeting in 1848, but the first meeting for which the record of attendance has been served was that of 1851, when 87 members were present. The National Academy of Sciences was incorporated in 1863, and its fifty members included a large proportion of the scientific men of the country. There was no national society for a separate science until the American Chemical Society was established in 1874. Now the American Association is divided into ten sections, and about twenty different societies met
in affiliation with it in St. Louis, six societies devoted to the biological sciences met simultaneously at Philadelphia, the Historical and Economic Associations met at New Orleans and the Philosophical Association at Princeton. Nearly every year new national associations are established, which are rarely if ever abandoned. Thus there became this year affiliated with the American Association two new societies—The Society for Horticultural Science and the Society of College Teachers of Education.
A Society for Vertebrate Paleontology held its first meeting at Philadelphia and a Political Science Association was organized at New Orleans.
There were about 500 members of the American Association and affiliated societies at St. Louis, about 200 naturalists at Philadelphia and about 50 philosophers at Princeton. Last year the American Association and affiliated societies held two meetings—one at Pittsburg in the summer with an attendance of about 600, and one at Washington during convocation week with an attendance of about 1,400. The attendance at the winter meeting was consequently this year only half as large as last year, and the attendance of the year only about one third as large. Yet the number of scientific workers increases continually, and the membership of the association rose during the year from 3,600 to 4,000. The falling off in attendance due to the abandonment of the summer meeting appears to be a definite loss with no compensating advantages. Many members unable to attend in midwinter want a summer meeting, and those who can not travel as far as a thousand miles should be given an opportunity to attend a meeting within reach, and this requires two meetings annually. The summer meeting can also be given certain distinctive features of out-of-door life and scientific excursions, which are out of the question in midwinter. The American Association must be national in scope, but meetings in the central states are always smaller than those on the Atlantic seaboard. The scientific centers in the east are more concentrated, and it is also true that it is psychologically further from the east to the west than from the west to the east. Many scientific men would rather travel 1,000 or 1,500 miles to an eastern meeting than a much shorter distance to a meeting in the central states.
Under the circumstances the St. Louis and Philadelphia meetings may be regarded as successful. They were working meetings of scientific men with nearly as many papers on the programs as members in attendance. In both cities excellent local arrangements were made for the meetings of the societies and sections and for the entertainment of visitors.
We publish above the address of President Ira Remsen, the retiring president of the American Association, and the address of President David Starr Jordan before the Sigma Xi Society. Other addresses of interest were given before the sections of the associations and the special societies, and the public lecture on radium by Professor Rutherford was on a particularly timely topic. The American Association, and it may be hoped all the societies that were affiliated last year in Washington, will meet next year at Philadelphia. New Orleans is recommended as the place of meeting two years hence. Professor W. G. Farlow, the eminent botanist, was elected president of the association. His portrait is given as a frontispiece, and we reproduce here the photograph of the vice-presidents who presided over the sections. Presiding officers for the sections and for the special societies were elected as follows:
Calvin M. Woodward, Professor of Mathematics and Applied Mechanics, Washington University, Vice-president for Mechanical Science and Engineering.
Section of Mathematics and Astronomy—Professor Alexander Ziwet, University of Michigan.
Section of Physics—Professor William F. Magie, Princeton University.
Section of Chemistry—Professor Leonard P. Kinnicutt, Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Section of Mechanical Science and Engineering—Professor David S. Jacobus, Stevens Institute of Technology.
Section of Geology and Geography—Professor Eugene A. Smith, University of Alabama.
Section of Zoology—Dr. C. Hart Merriam, U. S. Biological Survey.
Section of Botany—Professor B. L. Robinson, Harvard University.
Section of Anthropology—Walter Hough, Bureau of American Ethnology.
Section of Social and Economic Science—Martin A. Knapp, Washington, D. C.
Section of Physiology and Experimental Medicine—The present vice-president, Professor H. P. Bowditch, Harvard University, will serve another year.
The American Society of Naturalists—Professor E. L. Mark, Harvard University.
The Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America—Simon Newcomb, Washington.
The Geological Society of America—Professor J. C. Branner, Stanford University.
The American Philosophical Association—Professor G. T. Ladd, Yale University.
The American Psychological Association—Professor William James, Harvard University.
Association of American Anatomists—Professor Charles S. Minot, Harvard University.
Society of American Bacteriologists—Dr. F. G. Novy, the University of Michigan;
Society for Plant Morphology and Physiology—Dr. G. T. Moore, Washington.
American Physiological Society—Professor Russell H. Chittenden, Yale University.
American Society of Zoologists, Eastern Branch—Professor E. A. Andrews, Johns Hopkins University.
American Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists—Professor Henry F. Osborn, Columbia University.
Edward L. Mark, Professor of Anatomy, Harvard University, Vice-president for Zoology and President of the American Society of Naturalists.
THE ST. LOUIS EXPOSITION AND ITS CONGRESS OF ARTS AND SCIENCE.
It is quite possible that the attendance at the St. Louis meeting of the American Association was somewhat decreased by the fact that many members propose visiting the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and were unable to make the journey to St. Louis twice within a year. Those in attendance at the meeting had, however, the privilege of visiting the grounds of the exposition and witnessing the extraordinary magnitude of the undertaking. We are told that the approximate cost is $50,000,000, the size of the grounds 1,240 acres, and the area of the buildings 200 acres. It is consequently planned on a scale much surpassing the expositions of Philadelphia, Chicago and Paris. The making of expositions is becoming a sort of applied science, each showing progress over its predecessors. A large proportion of the chiefs of departments and others in charge of the work at St. Louis have been trained at previous expositions.
Thomas H. MacBride, Professor of Botany, State University of Iowa, Vice-president for Botany.
An exposition is both interesting and tiring, whereas a description is likely to be tiring without being interesting. The subjoined plan gives some idea of the arrangement of the buildings, their number and their size. An enumeration of the buildings shows clearly that the whole undertaking is an apotheosis of applied science, extending even to the shows along 'The Pike.' Education has been given a central place, both in the position of the building, the first to form part of an exposition, and in the classification of the exhibits. The exposition and education are also fortunate in the fact that the new buildings of Washington University are on the grounds. We are glad to be able to publish elsewhere in this number a description of the university which is rapidly becoming one of the great universities of the country. The art gallery is also a permanent building, erected with its temporary annexes at the cost of over a million dollars.
Several of the features of the exposition—such as the exhibit of aerial navigation—for which prizes of the value of $200,000 have been set aside— are of direct scientific interest. Far surpassing all the rest in this respect is, however, the Congress of Arts and Science, to which we have already called attention. Instead of congresses devoted to each special science, such as have met in connection with other expositions, one great congress has been planned to represent the total accomplishment and unity of science. It is easy to object to certain details of classification and method; but it is evident that a large idea has been conceived and is likely to be successfully realized. The original plan is due to Professor Hugo Münsterberg. The members of the committee visited Europe during the summer to extend invitations to foreign men of science, and at St. Louis during the meeting of the American Association the list of American speakers to be invited was completed.
Simeon E. Baldwin, Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors, New Haven, Conn., Vice-president for Social and Economic Science.
About 125 of the most eminent foreign men of science and scholars have accepted the invitation, and there will doubtless be an equally cordial response from Americans. Professor Münsterberg in an article on the congress in The Journal of Philosophy says: "Almost every one of these European scholars has in his own field brought about a certain synthesis of widely separated elements of thought, and has devoted not the smallest part of his work to the fundamental conceptions and methods of his science. The addresses which they will deliver thus lie essentially in the line of their own best thought, and yet it is most probable that the greater part of these addresses would never have been written had not the outer occasion of our invitation stimulated them to undertake the task. Such work is too easily postponed. And thus the congress may I hope to create in these hundreds of addresses a connected and consistent work which no chance group of individuals would have produced, which demanded a unified program and the enthusiasm of the
leading thinkers of the world. But we hope that still more important than the set addresses will be the living influence of this gathering, in which the four or five hundred invited official speakers and chairmen, together with the thousand who may make shorter communications, will form merely the nucleus of the international meeting. That such a unique fusion of scholarship will be productive in itself no one can doubt; but that these scholars are brought together and are doing their work under the control of the demand for unity in knowledge, for interrelation and synthesis—this thought will be the living force, the most powerful factor of the congress, and a tremendous influence in overcoming the pedantic and unphilosophic narrowness of specialists in every corner of the realm of science."
THE SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF CHEESE MAKING.
The processes involved in the making and curing of cheese have been the subject of some of the most noteworthy dairy investigations which have been made. While the subject had been studied in a fragmentary way in this country and in Europe for some time, little real progress was made until several of the American experiment stations undertook a systematic investigation of the nature and causes of the changes involved and the chemical character of the products formed. This has gone on steadily for eight or ten years, and has resulted in the working out of the scientific principles underlying this very ancient art. The largest amount of work has been done by the experiment stations in Wisconsin, New York and Canada, and the names of Babcock, Russell, Van Slyke and Hart are especially prominent. The reports of progress have appeared in a series of bulletins from these stations, several particularly important ones having been issued during the past few months.
In the course of the chemical studies the product formed by the action of rennet on milk, about which there had previously been considerable doubt, was identified as paracasein. This was found to combine with acids to form mono and di-acid salts, quite different in character and in their effect upon the appearance of the curd. In normal cheese making the mono-acid salt is formed, the paracasein uniting in that proportion with the lactic acid produced in the curd by lactic-acid bacteria. These bacteria have invariably been found in the milk and green cheese in predominating numbers, but their true function has remained until now a mystery. They are indispensable to the formation of paracasein monolactate in cheese curd, and this compound is found to be the starting point of the ripening or curing process.
The first step in this appears to be a peptic digestion of the monolactate, the rennet ferment being the active agent. Rennet, which was formerly supposed to contain two tend to the formation of the compounds that give the flavor to cheese. In normal cheese tyrosin, oxyphenylethylamin, arginin, histidin, lysin, guanidin, putrescin and ammonia were found as end products of the proteolysis. The investigations indicate that the formation of secondary amido compounds and ammonia are due to the action of a biological factor, not yet determined., is found to be in reality a peptic ferment and to act in all essentials like commercial pepsin in forming soluble nitrogen compounds. In fact, normal cheese has been made by the substitution of commercial scale pepsin for rennet extract. The chemical changes produced by both rennet and pepsin are confined mainly to the formation of paranuclein, caseoses and peptones, only small amounts of amids and no ammonia being formed. The action of these enzyms does not appear to
The conditions affecting the chemical changes in the ripening process have been worked out in detail, and among these the favorable effect of low temperatures has been demonstrated. The latter is entirely opposed to the views heretofore held by practical cheese makers, who have avoided too great cold, believing it to result in a bitter, inferior product. The advantages of cold curing are shown by an extensive experiment recently concluded by the National Department of Agriculture in cooperation with the experiment stations in Wisconsin and New York. About 500 cheeses representing a great variety of makes were cured at temperatures of 40°, 50° and 60° F., whereas the temperature of ordinary curing rooms runs up to 70° and often higher in summer. The improvement in quality of the cold-cured product was evident in the flavor and texture and in its higher market value. The loss of moisture in cold curing was very much less, resulting in diminished loss from shrinkage; moreover, the cheese can be held a long time at low temperatures without impairment of quality. These investigations will tend to revolutionize cheese making in several respects, by furnishing a scientific basis for it in place of the purely empirical rules and traditions which formerly prevailed, and will simplify the process, rendering possible a more uniform product of improved quality.
We regret to record the death of Professor Karl Alfred von Zittel, the eminent paleontologist of the University of Munich; of M. Proust, professor of hygiene of the University of Paris and inspector general of the Sanitary Service; of Dr. Eugene Askenasy, honorary professor of plant physiology at the University of Heidelberg; and of Mr. Gurdon Trumbull, the artist and ornithologist, of Hartford, Conn.
Mr. John Morley will deliver the principal address at the opening of the Technical Institution, founded at Pittsburg by Mr. Carnegie, in the autumn of 1904.—Sir William Ramsay, of London, will give a course of lectures during the summer session at the University of California on 'The Constituents of the Atmosphere and the Emanations from Radium.'
Dr. G. W. Hill, of Nyack, N. Y., has been elected a corresponding member in the section of astronomy of the Paris Academy of Sciences.—Professor George W. Hough, of Northwestern University, has been elected an associate member of the Royal Astronomical Society.—The sixtieth birthday of Dr. Robert Koch was celebrated on December 11. A portrait bust was unveiled in the Institute for Infectious Diseases, Berlin, a museum for bacteriology was established and a Festschrift is in press.
Mr. Shyamaji Krishnavarma, of India, has offered $5,000 to Oxford University to establish a lectureship in honor of Herbert Spencer to be known as the Spencer Lectureship.
The Nobel prizes, each of the value of about $40,000, were awarded in Christiania, on December 10. The prize in physics was divided between M. Becquerel and M. and Mme. Curie, of Paris. The prize in chemistry was awarded to Professor Arrhenius, of Stockholm; the prize in medicine to Dr. Finsen, of Copenhagen, and the prize in literature to Dr. Björnstjerne Bjornsen, of Christiania.—The prize for French contributions to science given by M. Osiris through the Paris Press Association has been divided between Mme. Curie and M. Branly. Mme. Curie receives 60,000 francs for her work on radium and M. Branly 40,000 francs for his work in connection with wireless telegraphy.