Popular Science Monthly/Volume 77/July 1910/The Progress of Science

A Perspective view of the Proposed Buildings on the new Site of the Johns Hopkins University.



The authorities of the Johns Hopkins University have issued a pamphlet in the interest of the endowment and extension fund which they need and should have. The General Education Board has undertaken to contribute $250,000, on condition that $750,000 be obtained from other sources: but the university aims at more than this. It would remove to its new site and would complete its university organization by the establishment of a school of higher engineering, a law school maintaining the standards of its medical school, and a school for the training of teachers. It would also obtain an endowment fund for its college, establish a department of preventive medicine and erect a building for pathology.

When the Johns Hopkins University celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of its foundation in 1902 a site was given to it which cost $500,000, and is now worth twice as much. The hundred and twenty acres, finely situated two miles from the center of Baltimore, admit of picturesque development beyond the possibilities of any other city university. We reproduce a plan of the site with pictures of two of the buildings which it is intended to erect first and of the Carroll mansion on the grounds, which is to serve as a model for the architecture. A botanical laboratory and garden and an athletic field are already in use. The administration and academic buildings, shown in the illustration, and laboratories for chemistry physics, geology and botany must be erected promptly. These with the power plant, grading, etc., will cost about $1 200,000, towards which can be used the proceeds of the sale of the present site and buildings.

So long as a national university is not established in Washington, there is needed a great university at Baltimore. The states to the south and west are not adequately supplied with institutions of higher learning, and for a long while the Johns Hopkins University will set a model for that region, whose industrial development will surely be followed by an intellectual renaissance.

The Johns Hopkins University deserves well not only of Baltimore and Maryland and the south, but of the whole country. When it was opened on October 3, 1876, there were colleges in this country, but no universities. The idea of the university was doubtless in the air, but it was first placed on a solid foundation at Baltimore. Remarkable wisdom was shown by

Administration and Academic Buildings with Entrance to Quadrangle.

The Carroll Mansion at Homewood, built in 1803, the architecture of which will be the key-note for the new buildings.

President Gilman and his advisers, not only in deciding that the Johns Hopkins should be a university rather than a college, but also in adopting standards and ideals, which have not elsewhere been paralleled. The smallest possible amount of money was spent on buildings, and no attempt was made to cover all kinds of subjects. A small group of professors, each a man of distinction—Rowland, Remsen, Sylvester, Martin, Brooks, Gildersleeve—were brought together, adequately paid and given complete freedom. Fellowships and means of research and publication were provided; the ablest students in the country were drawn to Baltimore. These men are now in nearly every academic center of the country, and the influence of the Johns Hopkins and of the university ideal is everywhere.

Not only in 1870, but again in 1893, and again with comparatively modest resources, the Johns Hopkins set university standards by the establishment of its school of medicine. Again a small group of distinguished men—Welch, Osier, Howell. Mall—were brought together, and for the first time in this country there was a school of medicine on a proper university basis. Like the graduate faculty of philosophy this school has set a model, which other institutions are now following.

The country can only in slight measure repay the Johns Hopkins University for its great service by giving it the money it now needs. Columbia and Princeton have each received $5,000,000 within the past year; the Johns Hopkins should have as much. If the writer of this note—who is one of those who came under the influence of the university in its great days—had despotic control of the vast wealth of the country, he would assign to the Johns Hopkins University as many millions as it might ask. But it would not be for new buildings and new departments. It would be on condition that the standards set in 1876 and 1893 should be maintained, that we should have a university where every teacher is a, great man, free to do his own work in his own way.


The Carnegie Foundation has issued a bulletin on medical education in America, which is likely to do good service in attracting attention to the low standards and inadequate endowment of many of the medical schools of the United States. On behalf of the foundation, Mr. Abraham Flexner has visited every one of the 155 medical schools, and gives a brief description of each. The conditions in each state are summarized, and plans are proposed for their improvement. This detailed report is preceded by an introduction by President Pritchett and by fourteen chapters by Mr. Flexner on the whole subject of medical education in this country, beginning with a historical sketch and ending with the education of the negro. The bulletin, which extends to 347 pages, may be obtained by sending seventeen cents for postage to the foundation.

The conditions of medical education in the United States have been investigated with equal thoroughness by the council on education of the American Medical Association, and are well understood by experts. There are too many inadequately trained physicians in the country, and one of the principal difficulties is the existence of proprietary schools dependent on the fees of students. Physicians are ready to be professors in medical schools for the title and connections. When the school depends for its support on the fees, low standards are likely to be adopted in order to attract students. It was at one time possible to conduct a proprietary school with tolerable efficiency, as can now be done in the case of law, but with the development of laboratory and clinical methods, the cost of a satisfactory medical education can not be met by fees. It is certainly a scandal that one third of our medical schools have incomes below $10,000, all from fees, that in some cases there are as many professors as students, and that many students do not have even a high school education. One school actually exists with twentysix professors and a total income of $1,060.

But while every one knows and admits the evils, the remedy is not clear. Though Dr. Pritchett and Mr. Flexner have obtained their medical education by a short course, they have had expert advice and their general point of view is sound. We need several university schools of medicine emphasizing research and demanding long preliminary preparation, the schools for the training of the great mass of practising physicians should require a training in science and the languages equal to two years of college, the schools in the south can not at present reach this standard, but should require a preparation equal to a four-year high school course. Each school should have adequate laboratories for anatomy, physiology, chemistry and pathology under the charge of professors and instructors who give their whole time to the work of teaching and research. The clinical departments should be under the charge of professors whose practise does not interfere with their teaching, and there should be a suitable hospital and dispensary controlled by every school.

But how are we to reach these standards? We are slowly approaching them. When the Johns Hopkins Medical School was opened seventeen years ago, it was the only well-organized department of medicine in the country. With Harvard it still maintains preeminence; but there are now some thirty schools which give adequate training for the medical profession. The commercial schools are closing and being merged every year, for by the nature of things they can not last when they do not pay. When good schools are adequately endowed in all sections of the country, students will naturally frequent them. The states can accomplish more for the profession of medicine and the people by supporting good medical schools than by suppressing those that are poor or by formal restrictions making it difficult to enter the medical profession.


In the death of Robert Koch, the world loses one of its greatest men, whose service to it has been beyond all measure. It is not easy to realize the changes in bacteriology and in medicine which have taken place in the course of the past thirty or forty years, or how largely these are due to this one man. Koch was preceded by Pasteur and Lister, but bacteriology and the germ theory of disease scarcely existed when in 1876 he published his paper announcing the isolation of the bacillus of anthrax. He was at that time a country physician, but had had the advantage of studying medicine at Göttingen under Wagner and Henle. One wonders whether the hundred and twenty-five thousand physicians now practising in the United States would not produce some men of the type of Koch if they had been turned in the right direction at the university. If so, how small would be the cost of such schools in comparison with their value.

Koch published in 1878 a second important paper on infectious diseases, and was in 1880 given opportunity to devote himself to research work by being appointed to the Prussian department of public health. In his small laboratory at Berlin, with Loeffler and Gaffky as assistants, he developed the methods of bacteriology by cultures and disinfection, and in 1882 made announcement of the far-reaching discovery of the bacillus of tuberculosis. A year later he visited Egypt and India and discovered the comma bacillus of cholera.

Koch continued his study of tuberculosis, cholera and other diseases, not only from the point of view of laboratory science, but devising and applying means to combat them. In 1880 came the discovery of tuberculin, the curative power of which was exaggerated, not so much by Koch as by the general public. Koch was fully justified by its diagnostic value; his statement of its curative properties was cautious, and if it has not fully justified even these modest claims, it has led to the whole subject of vaccine therapy, including diphtheria anti-toxin, and may still fully confirm such claims as Koch made for its curative value in tuberculosis. Koch was again criticized when in 1901 he announced the discovery that human and bovine tuberculosis are not identical, but time appears to have proved that he was correct in his facts and also in his claim that the main efforts should be directed toward preventing human contagion.

In later years Koch devoted himself largely to tropical diseases and accomplished much by his studies in Africa and Asia of parasitology, bacteriology and hygiene, investigating rinderpest and surra, the bubonic plague, malaria and sleeping-sickness.

Such rewards as a scientific man may have were given to him. He was appointed in 1885 professor of hygiene in the University of Berlin and director of the Hygienic Institute, then newly established. In 1891 he was appointed director of the new Royal Institute for Infectious Diseases, and became an honorary professor in the university. This institute now forms a part of the Rudolf Virchow Hospital, and is known as the Koch Institute. Koch received the Nobel prize in medicine in 1905. But the rewards that could be given to him were insignificant beside his services.

Of the world's debt to Koch the Journal of the American Medical Association says: "But death has claimed the master and the world has lost its leader in the struggle against infection. Endowed with a mind of the first order, and animated, beneath a quiet, impassive and meditative exterior, by a spirit of unceasing but wonderfully well-regulated activity, which drove him on as by an internal
Robert Koch.

fire from achievement to achievement, he made his own age preeminent over all the ages that have gone before for advances in the exact knowledge of the causation and prevention of infectious diseases. Rarely, if ever, have so many discoveries of such decisive importance to mankind emanated from the activities of one person; yet he served with all humility of mind. He simply tried to do his duty, being, as he said, fortunate to find sometimes the gold among the gravel of the road which is open to every one. When we consider the advancement medicine owes to Robert Koch and the endless and inestimable blessing which has come to mankind through his work and life, there comes an overpowering sense of admiration, reverence and gratitude."


We record with regret the deaths of Dr. George Frederic Barker, emeritus professor of physics in the University of Pennsylvania; of General Cyrus Ballou Comstock, U. S. A. (retired), the eminent engineer; of Professor William P. Blake, known for his contributions to geology; of Professor Stanislau Cannizzaro, the distinguished Italian chemist, and of Lieutenant Boyd Alexander, the African explorer.

New York University has given its doctorate of laws to Dr. Henry Mitchell MacCracken, who retires from the chancellorship of the university.—Sir David Gill, K.C.B., F.R.S., has been appointed a knight of the Prussian Order of Merit.—Lord Rayleigh has been promoted from a corresponding to a foreign member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Following the advice of its advisory board, the Wistar Institute of Anatomy has established a department of embryology, and Professor G. Carl Huber, of the University of Michigan, has been called to this chair.

By the will of Isaac C. Wyman, of Salem, Mass., a graduate of Princeton College, most of his estate is bequeathed to Princeton University, to be used for a graduate school. Mr. John M. Raymond, of Salem, Mass., and Professor Andrew F. West, dean of the Graduate School, are the trustees. The value of the bequest is estimated at $3,000,000. Mr. W. C. Procter has renewed his gift of $500,000 for the Graduate College. A great graduate school is thus assured at Princeton.

At a meeting of the trustees of the General Education Board, held on May 24 in New York City, $682,450 in appropriations was voted. Of this sum $538,000 was appropriated conditionally for the endowment funds of eight colleges, $113,000 for the furtherance of demonstration work in agriculture throughout the southern states, and $31,450 for the salaries and expenses of special professors of secondary education in the several state universities of the south. The appropriations voted in support of college endowments raised to $5,177,500 the sum already spent in this direction. The seventy colleges that have received these endowments during the last four years of the board's activities have each raised sums in endowment which, taken with the board's gifts, aggregate $23,670,500.